Evaluation of the Benefit of the Nazi Policy to the Working Class in Germany 1933 - 1939

Evaluation of the Benefit of the Nazi Policy to the Working Class in Germany 1933 - 1939

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Evaluation of the Benefit of the Nazi Policy to the Working Class in Germany 1933 - 1939

When the Nazis came to power, Germany transformed from a former
depression country into a powerful world state but there is
conflicting evidence as to whether the German working class benefited
from the Nazi regime.

Source A is statistical evidence showing a decrease in the number of
unemployed people between the years 1932 (just under 6 million) and
1938 (0.4 million). Assuming this source is reliable, one can come to
the conclusion that the Nazi policy was directly beneficial to the
working class as many jobs were created, bringing employment, and
therefore money, to many more people. The author of this source had
direct access to official figures, so it is more likely that they are
correct; however the Nazis would have wanted to create a positive
public image for themselves by showing people that their regime was
working and so the source may be biased. The source also does not
measure working conditions, or the pay that they received. Many
working class Germans lost their jobs during the depression. Although
they were being re-employed the source does not tell us whether they
were being re-employed with their original or lower wages. It is most
probable however that they returned to work for a lower amount of
money than that that they received before the depression. Although
there was a massive improvement in the amount of employment for the
German working classes compared to 1932 before the Nazis came to
power, the Nazi regime may not have managed to return the unemployment
levels to their pre-depression state.

Source D supports this view. It is an SPD report (the SPD are
responsible for some of the few sources concerning Nazi Germany that
are not Nazi), written by an undercover agent (the SPD were outlawed
by the Nazi regime), on the 'variety and complexity of working-class
attitudes to the regime in central Germany', written in 1938. It
supports my concerns raised about source A, saying that the workers

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'often complain about the fact that they earn much less now than in
1929', however, there are some views in source D which have a more
positive attitude to the Nazi regime, 'the years of unemployment have
not been forgotten', this indicates that the number of jobs available
rose under the regime. Source D also states that the workers are 'at
the end of the day' glad to have work and draws attention to the fact
that the worker's wages 'continually buy less and less'. Even though
they have jobs, the workers are finding it increasingly hard to get
by. From this source it appears that, contrary to what source A says,
Nazi policy was definitely not beneficial to the working class.

This idea of a fall in wages compared to those before the depression
is also reflected in source C, the average gross hourly earnings in
industry, from original German sources. According to this source, the
earnings have increased since the Nazis came to power but they are
well below the amounts they were before the depression. This may be
because the Nazis main concern was to get money to fuel their war
industry, and not to help the poor. As this source only contains the
average hourly earnings we don't know what the minimum earning amount
was and so there may be people whose earnings decreased under the Nazi
regime.

Sources B and E are reports on the Nazis Strength Through Joy system,
which was there to give Nazi workers improved facilities and benefits
such as holidays, trips to the theatre and to the cinema. They both
take different views on the effects of this scheme. Source B, written
by the German Labour Front, who wanted to portray the Nazi regime in a
positive light, suggests that it makes 'life worth living again' for
thousands of workers and comments of the large amount of opportunities
it's given workers to travel around the world. Source E, another SPD
report by an undercover agent, written without any access to official
figures, says that Strength Through Joy is a 'clever appeal' to the
'petty bourgeois' unpolitical workers. The SPD agent is claiming that
this is a publicity stunt for the Nazis, and that the Nazi regime is
fooling workers into believing that this scheme is working. As they
were obviously against the Nazi regime, they would not have wanted to
portray the regime in a positive light, meaning that this report has
reason to be biased against the Nazi regime. The truth probably lies
somewhere in between the two sources. Some workers were given
privileges through the scheme but the majority did not benefit and the
experiences of those that did were exaggerated by the German Labour
Front.

All these sources show that the Nazi regime was beneficial to workers
to some extent, creating employment for those that had none, but not
up to the standards that they claimed. They tried to portray
themselves as helping the workers and giving them more rights, but
from the SPD reports we can see that this is untrue and that they
exaggerated the work that they were doing at returning Germany to the
state it was before the depression.
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