Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy


An extraordinary mythology has grown up around the Third Reich that hovers over political and moral debate even today. Adam Tooze’s controversial new book challenges the conventional economic interpretations of that period to explore how Hitler’s surprisingly prescient vision- ultimately hindered by Germany’s limited resources and his own racial ideology-was to create a German super-state to dominate Europe and compete with what he saw as America’s overwhelming power in a soon-to- be globaliz…

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Teenagers explain why Hitler wasn’t so bad after all.(r/badhistory)

The idea that Hitler saved the German economy is a common myth which is, of course, false. Please read Wikipedia’s page on the subject and stop perpetrating myths such as these, created by Neo-Nazis to embellish Hitler’s image.

Hjalmar Schacht was the man responsible of the Nazi economy. A talented economist, no doubt one of the best of the interwar period, he saw that the economy was a ticking time bomb (Between 1933 and 1939, the total revenue was 62 billion marks, whereas expenditure (at times made up to 60% by rearmament costs) exceeded 101 billion). He attempted to reform the economy and is thus the true hero of the economy, although his plans never came to fruition due to Hitler firing him.

“The economy is something of secondary importance”

— Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s idea of the Nazi economy were entirely based on war. Without war, there was no economy. As stated above, 60% of expenditures were spent on rearmament – spent on the war. A war, I remind you, which was lost by the Nazis and cause the country to be occupied by foreign powers for quite some time.

An image is worth a thousand words, is it not? The Nazi Economy, pictured.

Please stop spouting Neo-Nazi lies such as these ones in future, for they only aid their case.

Sources: The Myths of Reparations by Sally Marks, The Wages of Destruction: the Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, by Adam Tooze.

More reading, if you’d like (not written by me):

Economics are not my strong suit, so this might not be 100% correct in the sense of being trustworthy. To my understanding there are two main versions of debunking this claim, though.

One is that you can look at Germany in, say, 1930, before the Nazis ran everything, and in 1945, after they had, the German economy had, you know, tanked. And bombed. But at least it hadn’t gone nuclear.

The second is that during German recovery from the Great Depression in the early/mid-’30s, the economy was actually operated under Hjalmar Schacht with Keynesian principles (now generally used by most Western governments) involving government investment into the private sector (think, say, government bailouts, road-building, etc.) to drive demand. In this regard it wasn’t actually terribly different from the US with FDR’s New Deal.

As the Nazis entrenched themselves, they massively increased military spending without seeing a concomitant increase in income, as the country suffered from an ever-widening trade deficit in which the costs of imports was rising as the value of exports was falling. In reaction Germany partially isolated itself from imports and started nationalizing industries.

This also led to an emphasis on economic imperialism, drawing foreign states in Germany’s sphere of influence so as to better capitalize on their natural resources, and would form an important component of lebensraum. A somewhat more literal version of imperialism can also be found in Germany’s conquest of Norway in 1940, to protect shipments of Swedish steel to German factories.

Basically the Nazis created an economy that couldn’t support itself without literally conquering other nations.

Stolen from here. Emphasis all mine.

Explanation of why it’s badhistory, with the help of Wikipedia and a fellow badhistory-er.

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Adam Tooze

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Penguin Books

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The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy

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Teenagers explain why Hitler wasn’t so bad after all.

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