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Man of Stoat
12-05-2007, 03:52 AM
The German economic recovery of the 1930s.

The policies of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist party in the 1930s restored pride to the average German and the German people as a whole , reduced unemployment practically to zero , reindustrialised the nation, and advanced technology. It made Germany a player again on the world stage, carried out a policy of reuniting oppressed German minorities suffering under the yoke of neighbouring countries without firing a shot, and managed to prepare the nation for a war (initially very successful) both against the decadent capitalist western European democracies and the Bolshevik Soviet Union.

Sure, so they had to crack some heads and kill a few communists and Jews, and had to suppress all opposition, but what is it the saying about omelettes and breaking eggs? And ends justifying means?

(Of course I don't believe the last paragraph, and the main paragraph has been deliberately spun, but it is a demonstrable fact that the German economic recovery of the 1930s happened, despite the despicable way in which they went about it. The funny thing is, had they not gone in for cracking heads in the way that they did and had stopped before the invasion of Poland , they probably would have gotten away with it all.)

Discuss...

Man of Stoat
12-06-2007, 04:57 AM
The legacy of this particular period still lives on today with us in a positive manner:

VW beetle -- a 1930s design by Porsche to Hitler specification for a cheap, good car for the masses. Hitler himself (an artist) made the final stylistic touches, giving the car the "face" that we know and love today. The car was still being produced around 50 years later, and the styling lives on in the "new beetle". It was certainly better, even in the 1930s, than anything produced by Lada far more recently.

Motorways -- the autobahn was a Nazi concept to be able to travel very quickly around the country. Much of the original network is still in use, and the concept has been adopted by practically every industrialised nation.

Monumental public works -- okay, so a lot of these were "make work" projects putting the pride back into the working man after the Depression and the hyperinflation of the Weimar years, but many of them were useful (the autobahn counts as this). perhaps we could take all the chav scum and put them to work on such schemes...



Of course, there's the dark side:

Concentration camps, such as Dachau, was set up immediately for political opponents, criminals, and the workshy/vagrants . well, it's one way to achieve 100% employment...

The focus of everything on the state -- Despite being fundamentally (non-Marxist, and thereby rather more pragmatic pragmatic) Socialists, private ownership of property and of industry was tolerated provided it furthered the aims of the state. You can bet your bottom Reich's Mark though that had the industrialists opposed the new order they would have been nationalised post-haste. but why would they? They had been raised out of the Depression and were functional again. The current New Labour regime in Britain uses a "soft" version of this principle ( PFI's and so on).

Suppression of political opposition and the press.

pdf27
12-06-2007, 05:39 AM
I think the German economy of the 1930s was rather flattered by war breaking out when it did. Had they stayed at peace (and thus "got away with it" as you suggested in your first post) then they would likely have faced rather a severe economic crunch.

The spending programmes of the 1930s which pulled Germany out of the Great Depression were funded effectively by printing money and handing it out. The revival of confidence the Nazis brought about with their nationalism kept the hyperinflation of the Weimar years from returning, but one day they would have had to pay for it. In our reality of course they funded it by the worlds largest bank robbery - half of Europe! Had they not done then I suspect we would have seen something of a major crunch in about 1940 and probably the fall of the Nazis from power within Germany. Their replacements of course would probably not be any more pleasant...

Man of Stoat
12-06-2007, 06:31 AM
The same is probably also true of the US economy around the same period -- Franklin Roosevelt's "new deal" was cut from exactly the same mould.

In both cases, however, I think there would merely have been slow down, since the increases in industrial output for private purposes would have supported the economy enough to prevent a crunch.

Gordon Brown is about to ably demonstrate that buoying up an economy with public money and borrowing can not work as a long-term policy. Short-term, yes if done cleverly, long-term, no.

Rising Sun*
12-06-2007, 06:57 AM
The legacy of this particular period still lives on today with us in a positive manner:

VW beetle -- a 1930s design by Porsche to Hitler specification for a cheap, good car for the masses.

This represents the simplistic appeal fascist regimes had to their peoples, and still do for their advocates. Mussolini's great claim to fame was making the trains run on time, and draining the Pontine Marshes. Major achievements over what existed before, with much benefit to the nation just like the VW, but at what cost in less tangible areas such as liberty and justice?

The problem always is that if you're the bloke who gets the VW or the punctual train or the reclaimed Pontine land, and that matters to you, and you’re the sort of bloke who doesn’t care what it costs, then often you don’t care about who paid the price. Same as now, with no concern for working poor minimum wage workers servicing the well paid.

Conversely, the Soviets did rather more damage to liberty and justice by, say, English standards, but not necessarily by Russian or some other European standards 1917-39.

Although there were serious denials of liberty and justice in Italy and Germany in the same period, there was nothing to compare with the brutality and semi-genocide, e.g. attacking the intellectuals and kulaks, in the USSR in the same period.


Motorways -- the autobahn was a Nazi concept to be able to travel very quickly around the country. Much of the original network is still in use, and the concept has been adopted by practically every industrialised nation.

The Americans were busily engaged in major highway and other construction projects, such as dams, during the same period. The difference is that the Right in America was opposed to many New Deal projects to compensate for the Depression where the Right in Germany was flat out supporting similar projects under the Nazis.

It's too often forgotten that Nazi stands for National Socialists.

Few people in power in America during the same period supported the sort of welfare or quasi-socialist state that Germany really represented, yet many of them loved Hitler as a strong man opposed to communism, while he wrought a form of socialist revolution in Germany.


Monumental public works -- okay, so a lot of these were "make work" projects putting the pride back into the working man after the Depression and the hyperinflation of the Weimar years, but many of them were useful (the autobahn counts as this). perhaps we could take all the chav scum and put them to work on such schemes...

Interesting comparison is that in 1932, before Hitler came to power, Gen Douglas MacArthur took an aggressive approach to WWI veterans demonstrating in Washington because they wanted accelerated promised benefits to tide them through the Depression. He fired on them and injured many, and killed a couple. No different to robber barons like Henry Ford and his thugs in the same era, bashing up the workers and poor who offended the ruling classes.

Mac represents the anti-New Deal element, and the hostility of the ruling classes and bourgeoisie in America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, among others, to communism in general and the USSR in particular.

The non-USSR combatants had a lot more in common with each other than any of them did with the USSR.

As post-war events proved.

pdf27
12-06-2007, 07:20 AM
The same is probably also true of the US economy around the same period -- Franklin Roosevelt's "new deal" was cut from exactly the same mould.
There is one fundamental difference - Roosevelt's projects tended towards those which would have a long term beneficial effect on the economy - the TVA being an excellent example. Electrification of the area was probably brought forward by at least a decade compared to what the private sector would have done (it being a chicken and egg situation to an extent - industry wouldn't move in without reliable electricity, and without an industrial customer the power plants wouldn't be built for some time).
In comparison Germany was much more heavily biased towards rearmament (with no long term beneficial effect - it's effectively purely dumping money into the economy). Even the Autobahns were frankly a cross between a white elephant and a propaganda project - the volumes of cars and lorries needed to make beneficial use of them simply didn't exist yet.

In other words, the mechanism by which money was injected into the economy was the same, but the economic effects of that money were different.

Man of Stoat
12-06-2007, 07:37 AM
Let's avoid use of such a meaningless term as "the right", since it means a very different things to very different people. "The right" in US politics means free-market conservative/libertarians/classical liberals, in German politics means National Socialists (non-Marxist totalitarian Socialists). These have nothing to do with each other, and only a Bolshevik would lump the two under the same term (since he stands to the left of both of them and hates them both).

It is not surprising that free marketeers would oppose the New Deal while National Socialists would support Hitler's equivalent policy.

It only becomes confusing/strange when two practically polar opposite political strands are inappropriately lumped together in the same term.

Drake
12-06-2007, 11:39 AM
The Nazis actually ended many proposed "New Deal" like programs which were initiated by previous governments, the Autobahn was the only one they kept running cause they thought that it might come handy in case of war. But the program was never a nazi idea. A part that actually helped the recovery of the economy was the barter style bilateral trade agreements they managed to arrange. Germany lacked the liquidity to pay for raw materials with money. Coincidentally this pissed of both the US and the British government which I personally consider a rather tenuous attitude, even from todays perspective with all the knowledge about the evilness of the nazi regime.

alephh
12-06-2007, 05:00 PM
There is one fundamental difference - Roosevelt's projects tended towards those which would have a long term beneficial effect on the economy.

You don't consider conquering huge amount of natural resources from Russia a long term improvement? ;-D

Without enough natural resources each and every country is doomed during chaotic moments in history (war, black death, etc closing borders and stopping import of natural resources -- see germany in WW1: there just wasn't/isn't enough food in Germany to feed population, so it's very easy to put down Germany in the longish run).

Getting enough natural resources is the first step building a (long term) world power. United States made something like over 50 treaties with Native Americans, and almost all of them were broken - That's how you build a world power.

Of course American economical actions during 1930s look "smarter" than German ones because United States had more room (=resources) to operate.


_

Panzerknacker
12-06-2007, 06:00 PM
Here you can found an interesting documentry of this period.

http://www.stage6.com/user/elThyge/video/1703060/A-New-Germany-(1933-1939)

pdf27
12-06-2007, 06:20 PM
You don't consider conquering huge amount of natural resources from Russia a long term improvement? ;-D
Nope, I consider it a short-term improvement. By the end of 1945 none of these natural resources were left under German control!

Carl Schwamberger
12-06-2007, 11:05 PM
The recently published 'Wages of Destruction' by Tooze is a good economic analysis of nazi government and economic policys. It has both breadth and depth on the subject.

For many decades it has been clear the nazi economic miracle was based on taking credit for earlier governments efforts, trick bookeeping, and strong arming the business and bank leaders into underwriting questionable credit schemes for the nazi government. Confisticating Jewish property and back accounts provided a little cash and collateral, but was more usefull as a example for the looting of the Austrin governments treasury and credit after the Anschluss. In 1939 the takeover of Chechoslovakia allowed another large scale rape of a national treasury, banking system, and business wealth.

Without the cash and credit from the Austrian and Czech nation its very likely the nazi goverment would have been bankrupt and in a economic crisis worse than that of 1922-24.

Nickdfresh
12-07-2007, 06:31 PM
There is one fundamental difference - Roosevelt's projects tended towards those which would have a long term beneficial effect on the economy - the TVA being an excellent example. Electrification of the area was probably brought forward by at least a decade compared to what the private sector would have done (it being a chicken and egg situation to an extent - industry wouldn't move in without reliable electricity, and without an industrial customer the power plants wouldn't be built for some time).
In comparison Germany was much more heavily biased towards rearmament (with no long term beneficial effect - it's effectively purely dumping money into the economy). Even the Autobahns were frankly a cross between a white elephant and a propaganda project - the volumes of cars and lorries needed to make beneficial use of them simply didn't exist yet.

In other words, the mechanism by which money was injected into the economy was the same, but the economic effects of that money were different.


I think this is pretty close to the mark regarding FDR's New Deal. Certainly, organizations set up such as the WPA and CCC were designed to remake certain areas of America that have been traditionally backwards and to create infrastructure where little or none existed. I think one of the things you're referring too is the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Niagara River Gorge Dam project as well as of course the Hoover Dam which all created the generation of new sources of hydropower.

I think one key difference from any concerns that most of Europe perhaps save Britain had was the large, unemployed number of able bodied males that were out of work, and either womanless or unable to provide for their families. Unlike the case of say Germany, there was no conscription and the US Army was still rather small at less than 200,000 men. So the administration of bureaus such as the Civilian Conservation Corp were created in order to employ large numbers in productive work and. There's little question in my mind that the New Deal was essentially a counterrevolutionary program..

Carl Schwamberger
12-08-2007, 09:26 AM
One close paralle between Germany & the US is in the the 1920s the changeover from a agricultural rural labor force to a urban industrial labor force peaked. Sometime between 1910 & 1935 the crossover where more than 50% of the population became urban (or suburban) dwelling occured in both nations. As the farm laborers (male & female) transitioned from farm work to industrial work there was a obvious period of disruption in their income added on top of declining farm labor wages. Furthermore the skilled agricultrual worker usually started at the lowest skilllevel & wage level in the urban employment. The same trend was reflected in immigrant to the US and Germans from outside the new German boundarys moving to Germany. In both cases a large portion of the migrants came from small town or farm agricultural backgrounds. Adapting to the urban culture and work enviroment aggrivated the social tensions of the 1920/30s.

Britian had gone through this changeover a decade or two earlier & the problems had be mitigated somewhat by the prosperity of the golden years of the empire and easy immigration to the colonys. In the 1920s the pressure release of immigration from Germany was declining, keeping a increasing number of marginally employed in Germany, and in Europe as a whole.