1933 to 1936
1933 – 1936, Partial Fascism: Hjalmar Schacht and the New Plan
Period defined by several state measures and objectives:
- Job creation – the end of the Weimar republic left Hitler with 11 million unemployed Germans on his hands, and something had to be done about them rapidly.
- Wage control –
- Elimination of trade union powers
Job creation achieved through massive government-led construction projects, (such as the Autobahn), the removal of women from the ‘working population’ in line with Nazi ideology that women belonged to the home, and mass conscription of unemployed into the military.
Nazi economic policy at this time aimed to make Germany economically self-sufficient in order to make the country a superpower (autarky), primarily through cutting German imports and devoting research into the making of synthetic materials (such as rubber, petroleum and textiles).
Influenced by Hitler’s vision of Lebensraum and the inevitable conflict this would cause with other nations, Germany also adopted the policy of Wehrwirtschaft; the preparation of the German economy for total war in the long term by increasing industrial production and prior autarky measures of production of synthetic materials.
Schacht, the then-Reich finance minister, developed the New Plan in response to the requirements of social and military improvement: signing of trade agreements with underdeveloped countries in South America and the Balkans (Southern/Eastern Europe), providing German capital and investment in exchange for raw materials in order to supply the massive government public works and finance military development.
In terms of preparations for war, the Nazi economy was not yet successful in this aspect as it was other equally pressing concerns -such as unemployment, and the need to improve the average German’s life- which took centre stage in early Nazi economic policies. Therefore, military rearmament was slower and spending lesser in the initial years of the Nazi government comparative to later years.
In general, the quality of people’s lives improved during the first few years of Nazi government. This was primarily because of the extremely poor standard of living the people already were in (needing to burn the worthless monetary notes for fuel as opposed to buying coal, food and water shortages, lack of purchasing power, etc.), as opposed to improvement from pre-Depression levels.