How successful were Nazi economic policies in the years 1933-45?

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How successful were Nazi economic policies in the years 1933-45?

When the Nazi Party came to power in 1933 it had two main aims - to solve unemployment, and to make Germany as strong an economic and military power as possible, so that the humiliating and devastating defeat of the First World War could never happen again. In order to do this, several areas had to be tackled. Firstly, unemployment was huge and rising steadily - in 1933 six million people were unemployed. Secondly, the party had promised better conditions for workers, and this had to be balanced with continuing the good relationship that the Nazis had with businesses. In order to build up Germany's military strength after the under-funding and downsizing that Versailles imposed, large amounts of funding were needed for the armaments industry and the armed forces. Lastly, the Nazis wanted to create autarky - making Germany self-sufficient and ready for war. The stages of the German economy – The economic recovery, the four year plan and the war economy, all reached different extents of success, to which are subjective to their strengths and failures. The ‘success’ can be divided between the policies aims, and the results, the results being of most importance.

Germany had faced continuing economic problems since the end of the first war, those problems then worsened coinciding with the world economic depression that began in 1929. The fundamental problems consisted of those related to trade, industry, employment agriculture and finance. These problems were to be confronted with the Nazi economic policies introduced by Hjalmar Schacht. Financial benefits were given to farmers and small businesses. This helped to stimulate economic growth, but also rewarded the sympathetic supporters of the Nazi’s.  These benefits came in the form of maintaining tariffs on imported produce, reducing debts by tax concessions and lowering interest rates trough the Reich farm law. They also gave allowances to encourage the re-hiring of domestic servants and allocated grants for house repairs. These benefits subsequently protected German farmers and small business owners, and gave them the opportunity to recover financially. The government assistance here gave room for economic growth and benefitted those who were worthy of assistance, and therefore the economic policy of financial benefits for farming and small businesses was very successful in both terms of aims and results.

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Schacht also introduced work schemes through the direct spending by the state on a range of investment projects. The main aim and focus behind this economic strategy is evident in the spread public expenditure in rearmament, construction and transportation. These work schemes were in reforestation, land reclamation, motorization and building. Subsequently through this there was a dramatic growth in jobs and decline in unemployment. By early 1939 the economic recovery was advanced and the focus then turned to rearmament orders. However, this economic recovery happened during the recovery of the world economy and so it was aided through the ...

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This essay is a very thorough and detailed account of Nazi economic policy and shows an excellent level of knowledge and understanding of the topic. In a timed exam question it would be better to deliberately select and focus on a few key aspects of the policies and focus more on the analysis of the impact and extent of success rather than attempting to cover so much detail on the period . ****