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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


The Second 4 Year Plan

1936 was a turning point for the Nazi party and for the economy.

Hitler's initial policies had been clearly successful. Confidence was high, unemployment was down to 1.6m, the nation was benefiting from Hitler's policies. He now needed to keep them up and, if possible, improve. The question was now: how does the Nazi state progress?

The Undermining of Schacht

Schacht had initially accepted the need for government deficit financing in the reflation of the new economy but he was becoming concerned at the distortion of the economy due to rearmament. He was worried at the increasing strains on the budget and on the mounting balance of trade deficit. Schacht wanted to increase exports and slow the increase in arms expenditure. Hitler became impatient with Schacht and put Goering in charge of the Office of the 4 Year Plan.

The Plan

This website has dealt with the basic plans already but it must be reiterated that the Goering's brief was to:

1. Maintain the platform that had been established by Schacht.
2. Rearmament
3. Autarky (Self-Sufficiency) in food, industrial output, raw materials and machinery output.

In all, the office of the 4 Year Plan under Goering, set the overall targets that private industry had to meet for the benefit and advancement of the Nazi State and Hitler's future plans.

Goering, Business, Industry and Power

* Goering planned to take control of the vast resources of the Germany through one vast bureaucratic apparatus to ensure that private industry fulfilled the aims of the State.
* Targets would be pre-set for each company.
* Before long, Goering held almost complete authority over the allocation of capital, raw materials and labour.
* Firms such as IG Farben co-operated with the plan as they benefited materially and from huge Government investment.
* IG Farben also benefited from the cartelisation of industry that enabled them to control price, distribution, supply and product.

* Businesses who did not co-operated incurred the Goering's wrath.
* When the iron ore producers of the Ruhr refused (1936) he set up theReichwerke - a massive state run mining operation - to compete with them.
* He also used compulsory purchase, denied companies access to funding and used intimidation to keep companies in line.
* By 1939, the Reichwerke was the largest industrial enterprise in Europe.


* Depends on when you look at the either of the four year plans.
* Unemployment was certainly lowered - it drew great praise from nations outside Germany. Many historians have come to question the success of the programme in actually lowering unemployment as their a natural up-turn in the world economy after 1933.
* Work creation schemes and massive social programmes certainly gave the impression of a vibrant, exciting and exhilarating work for all scheme. The GLF, through Strength Through Joy and The Beauty of Work, may have improved working conditions but real wages rarely rose between 1933-39 despite a distinct labour shortage.
* Heavy industry certainly showed improvement in output - especially industries related to the military and rearmament.
* Iron, steel and chemicals also saw an up-turn in their output figures - this again was partly due to international sales and government patronage.

Rearmament plans were extensive but they did not provide the platform for full-scale war. That was certainly realised in Sept and Oct 1939. At best the army had enough ammunition and shells for 6 weeks of warfare.

The strains of attempting to produce for guns and butter produced an economic crisis by 1939 which (according to the historian Ian Kershaw) may have convinced Hitler to go to war early. As such, we understand Hilter's motive for war as resources.

In general, it must be remembered that by the outbreak of war Germany was still dependent on foreign sources of supply for one third of her raw material requirements. It was only by 1942 that Germany was in any way self-sufficient but by then Germany was embroiled in a full-scale European war. Her resources were mainly those plundered from enemies and conquests.


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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