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Weimar and Nazi Germany

The Weimar Constitution

The impact of the Treaty of Versailles

1919 -1923: years of crisis?

The Munich Putsch

The Origins of the Nazi Party

Mein Kampf

1924 - 1929: A Golden era?

Gustav Stresemann

German Foreign Policy 1919 to 1933

Germany in the Depression

The Rise of the Nazi party

- Why did people vote for Hitler?

From Chancellor to Fuhrer

The failures of Weimar

Creating a totalitarian state

Nazi methods of control

- Organisation of the Nazi Party

- Obedience to the Fuhrer

Opposition to the Nazi's


- Nazi Ideology

The Economy under the Nazi's

- Schacht

- The 2nd 4 Year Plan

- Evaluation of the 4 Year Plan

- How successful was the policy of Autarky?

- German Labour Front

- Dr Robert Ley

Nazi Foreign Policy

- Did Hitler plan to have a Second World War?

Education in Nazi Germany

Women in Nazi Germany

The Holocaust

- The Jewish Problem in 1933

- Kristallnacht

- Anti-Jewish Legislation

- Policy 1933 - 1937

- Origins of Anti-Semitism


Herman Goering and the 4 Year Plan: 1936-40

Schacht failed to convince Hitler of the necessity for scaling down rearmament and found that his responsibility for the economy reduced, in 1936, in favour of Herman Goering. The promotion of Goering over the experienced and responsible Schacht would obviously undermine Schacht. He resigned his posts in 1937 and replaced by the more subservient Walter Funk. Hitler had used Schacht for his ability to rehabilitate the economy and German financing, now he had no use for someone with ideas.

Goering introduced the second plan for German economic recovery. It became known as the four year plan. This plan is key to our understanding of how far Hitler was creating a war economy in peacetime or actually creating the conditions necessary for war in the future.

Herman Goering

Goering's Role

Goering was the effective economic overlord of Germany and his main tasks were:

1. Rearmament
2. Works Programs (keep unemployment low)
3. Autarky

His powers included:

1. The ability to acquire property and businesses for his programmes.
2. Direct industry
3. Re-channel financing
4. Direct policy

From 1937 onwards he amassed a vast fortune through his state-owned mining and industrial enterprise company. It became the largest industrial enterprise system in Europe. He controlled the production of:

1. Iron Ore
2. Coal mining
3. Smelting
4. Oil refineries
5. Steel works
6. Armament manufacturing factories - especially heavy machinery plants

One of Goering's key aims within autarky was to replace products that Germany was not producing enough of or at all by synthetic methods. For example, rubber, oil and petrol were produced in large quantities and stock-piled for future need. Iron ore was concentrated at Salzgitter in Hanover and Fanconia (south) order to reduce reliance upon Swedish imports. He established companies in the Ruhr to supply German industry with coke and coal rather than importing from Italy and France.

Such schemes were not always built upon economic sense and also did not always meet with success. Production in Salzgitter fell below target levels while in Franconia steel and iron works were not completed before the war started. Completing them during war was not of immediate concern. Additionally, Hitler's foreign policy (1936-38/9) brought Germany territories that were richer in raw materials and minerals. Even so, by the mid-1930s Germany was second only to the USA in iron and steel production.

Goering was also keen to establish links with big business, especially with those who would be useful to the Nazi regime later. He forged a strong relationship between the Nazi party and the chemical giant IG Farben. The company supported the party financially and committed itself to produce synthetic substitutes for rubber, petrol, petrol, oil and textiles. Likewise, the company persuaded the Nazi party to increase its investment on the promise that it could help Germany achieve self-sufficiency.

IG Farben factory, situated close to Auschwitz - Birkenau

The IG Farben factory close to Auschwitz

Goering, though, was more than a war developer. He was a vicious administrator, who would make continued demands of his staff and would sack civil servants at will. He set up a General Council that was directly answerable to him. He made all the decisions on foreign exchange and raw materials, as well as taking responsibility for the allocation of labour, agriculture, price control, industrial investment and foreign trade.


Essential Revision

Key Issues:

  1. How far did Germany recover under Stresemann?
  2. How did the Nazi party develop, upto 1929?
  3. How did Hitler become Chancellor?
  4. Howdid Hitler create a dictatorship?
  5. What were the main features of Totalitarian rule?
  6. What were the benefits of Nazi rule?

Full Germany revision section








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