Question: Was preparing for war the main reason for Hitler’s economic policies?
Answer: I do think that Hitler’s main reason for economic policies was to prepare for the war. But at the start we can see that Hitler had to deal with a lot of problems when the Nazis came into power the German economy wasn’t in a good state and Hitler had to sort this all out. However, with the recovery of the economy came a clearer focus on preparation for war, and after the introduction of the 4-year plan in 1936, we can consider that there was a significant leaning towards Hitler's aim for war.
In 1933, the German economy showed significant weaknesses in all its major areas. Although it was in fact at the end of the cycle of depression this was not yet clear and the recovery of the economy was important for Germany. Hitler himself also had little involvement at this stage his interest was mainly ideological and he had limited economic understanding. Nazi economic policy in these early years revolved around traditional socialist principles; for example the nationalisation of industry, and focused on reducing unemployment and building up infrastructure.
Firstly, Hitler wanted Germany to be in a better state because without that he wouldn’t be able to start the war and also wanted to gain the trust from the people of Germany. So to do that he acted as forming a policy for the employed workers in which was Hitler believed that the trade of union could disrupt the economy so he banned them in 1933. Then he set up the DAF (German Labour Front) this organisation was to ensure that the workers served the best to the Nazi regime. It also controlled the power of employees and also the employer’s rights. It also regulated the working hours for the workers. However, the German people lost their freedom of work but the German army was growing from 1000,000 to 9000,000 established the minimum working class for the workers which prevented the workers going against the Nazi policy. Now, Hitler had to look at the unemployed people because most of the unemployed people were communist so he wanted the support of every German citizen so for this he also established a policy for unemployed men which was that he set up the RAD (National Labour Service). It was made compulsory after 1935 that all young men serve in the service for six months. However, the rates of pay for these were very low, and these men had to work in fields, build public buildings and autobahns (motorways) which on another hand improved the economy as well as the infrastructure. Also the public work scheme was important for Hitler as more jobs had to be created to meet the needs of the preparations of the war this meant coal and chemical industries have to be doubled. Hitler had already decided about the women in Nazi Germany as he had made the three K’s for them, children, church and family. However, the social life for the people of Germany became really better after Hitler's policies as some of the people were given prizes such as free tickets to the theatre, free holidays with the family etc.
Overall, unemployment decreased so hardship was reduced this caused Germans’ lives to be better and the DAF worked with German workers to ensure they were prevented from exploitation of employees and to make sure they are treated fairly, this meant workers were more happy to participate in work.
After all this Hitler now needed to make Germany stronger so that it can be able to fight in the war because doing this was important for the future of Germany to make sure they were safe if a war should occur.
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