The Significance of the Four Year Plan in Terms of Understanding Nazi Economic Structure

The Significance of the Four Year Plan in Terms of Understanding Nazi Economic Structure

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The Significance of the Four Year Plan in Terms of Understanding Nazi Economic Structure

Before Hitler and his economic policy, Germany had just suffered from
the collapse of world trade as a result of the Wall Street Crash in
1929. Germany had already been facing low economic status and this
only contributed to its problems such as unemployment, poverty and
homelessness.

To tackle these problems Hitler placed Hjalmar Schacht in the position
Minister of Economics in 1935. Hjalmar Schacht supported the public
works programs and the construction of the Autobahn in an attempt to
improve unemployment. Schacht also found an innovative solution to the
problem of the government deficit following the raise in welfare
claims due to mass unemployment by using mefo bills to fund government
run projects. Hjalmar Schacht was in charge of the Nazi party’s
economic policies until 1937. When Hitler replaced Hjalmar with Goring
who was more valuable to his cause now that he no longer required
strengthening the Nazi Party’s political standing. Goring was
determined to follow up plans to rearm Germany while Schacht opposed
rearmament. Hitler now included rearmament in to his overall views
creatingThe Four Year Plan that favored both the protection of
agriculture and economic independence. They created the campaign of
guns or butter with the slogan "Guns will make us strong, butter will
only make us fat." This campaign became infamous and saw the beginning
of the rearmament programme put forward by the radical mind of Goring.
This lead Germany into a peacetime war economy and this was in an
effort to train a workforce for war.

The Four Year Plan included a public works project, this was headed by
Fritz Todt. Germany needed to become motorised and there was an
immediate need for autobahns. The project’s achievements rivaled
Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal both in size and scope. Another source
of inspiration for the plan was the USSR’s Five Year Plan, which
provided many ideas as the plan itself was just ending by the time the
German equivalent began.

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Along with tinkering with the economic policy, Hitler also planned the
rearmament of Germany beyond the limits set by Allies in the Treaty of
Versailles;

The German army was to be restricted to 100,000 men, there was to be
no conscription, no tanks or heavy artillery and no general staff. The
German navy was restricted to 15,000 men and no submarines while the
fleet was limited to six battleships (of less than 10,000 tonnes), six
cruisers and 12 destroyers. Germany was not permitted an air force.
Finally, Germany was explicitly required to retain all enlisted men
for 12 years and all officers for 25 years, so that only a limited
number of men would have military training.

In the last war germany had been”starved out “ by the allies i.e they
had stopped trade or suplies entering Germany and the four year plan
promissed to stop this from happening again. Giving Germany a better
chance of winning a war.

In terms of understanding nazi economy the four year plan was very
significant as it tells us of how the war was planned and not just a
snap decision as it was previously conceived. The four year plan
allowed Hitler to make a war with the allies and without it he would
have failed due to the lack of resources.
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