After the Great Depression, 6 million Germans were left unemployed. However, by 1939, the figure was reduced to 119,000 people. Why does this happen? In 1932, Hitler decided to build 7000km of motorway (autobahns.) His reasoning for this was to provide a better route for vehicles when the war starts up
again. By September 1933, the first motorway was built, which provided 600,000 jobs. Supplies were needed, such as: steel, concrete etc. So, the state paid for the private companies to provide what they needed. The companies hired new workers to exceed the demand. This got people out of unemployment.
In 1933, a 600RM marriage loan was supplied to all unemployed women. This was to persuade them to give up their jobs for men. But, it worked; 700,000 women took up the offer of the 600RM, which was given in a form of vouchers and could only be used to buying household items. These women could buy items such as prams, for their babies. The company which makes prams would then need to hire more workers to help exceed the demand.
In addition, the Nazis cut taxes, which meant the working class had more money. Therefore, they can spend more money on items, which meant that shop owners would’ve needed to employ more workers. However, childless couples had to pay higher taxes.
Adding to the Nazis aim of persuading women to give up their jobs, they literally banned women from being judges or lawyers in 1936. The civil service was also told to employ men over women. Finally, Hitler introduced ‘The Law for the Reduction of Unemployment,’ which meant women and Jews were forced out of their jobs.
Furthermore, the Nazis stopped unemployment benefits, which forced people to work.
Also, in 1935, Hitler introduced ‘conscription’ which meant that all 18-25 year old men were required to work in the army for 2 years. This meant that other men outside this age range could take their jobs, which decreased the amount of job-less citizens.
In 1934, a youth group called RAD provided 400,000 jobs and the armed forces grew from 100,000 in 1933 to 1,400,000 in 1939. This meant that there was less unemployment.
One of the Nazi aims was to rearm Germany (almost 20 billion RM was invested in rearmament.) In 1935, the Nazis provided more jobs to make weapons in preparation for the war.
What were the economic effects of Nazi policies towards Jews and towards women? In Germany 1933, there were 100,000 women teachers, 3000 women doctors and one tenth of the Reichstag members were women. For the Nazis, this was yet another sign of how degenerate and corrupt Weimar Germany was. What the Nazis wanted from women was a more traditional role, they wanted mothers.
The policy for women in 1933, was the 3 K’s. (Kirche, Kuche and Kinder) This translated to Church, cooking and children. The Nazis wanted women to stay at home and look after the home and their children. To achieve this aim, they needed women out of employment. In 1933, the Law for the Reduction of Unemployment prevented any woman from becoming civil servants, doctors or lawyers. Also, in October in the same year, official guidelines were introduced for all companies to employ men over women. The economic effect of this was that women were out of their jobs. Therefore, men could replace them.
Furthermore, marriage loans were provided to women who gave up their jobs. These women were given 600RM in a form of vouchers, which they could only spend on furniture. Therefore, this boosts the income of industries, which exceeds the demand of customers, so they need to employ more workers. This is also part of another Nazi aim to make Germany self-sufficient. (Autarky)
The Nazis provided money for couples to have children. In 1935, large families were given grants of up to 100RM per child. Birth control centres were closed down and less contraception became available. Therefore, more women became pregnant. In another attempt to keep women at home, the Nazis decided to cut people’s debts by a quarter, every time they produced a child. However, it seemed to work, 42% of women gave up their jobs, which meant there were more jobs available to men.
In 1936, the economy was suffering from a labour shortage. At the moment, the policy was that a woman’s place was in the home, which the Nazis wanted to change. The idea of female conscription was suggested to Hitler, but he refused. However, in 1939, a compulsory agricultural labour service was introduced for unmarried women under the age of 25. Also, in 1942, women between 17.45 were told to register for work. Therefore, the policy was change due to the economic need.
In 1933, Jews were considered as successful: 10% of them were doctors, 16% were lawyers, but far more owned businesses. Even though Hitler resented them, he wasn’t the centre of the attacks against them. Local people began to vandalize Jewish shops. However, Hitler sympathizes with them, so he wanted to plan a boycott against the Jews. But, as advised by President Schacht, (Head of the Reichsbank) he decided that it shouldn’t go ahead. This was because Jews contribute too much to the economy, so Germany would lose money for rearmament. Instead, Schacht suggested a gradual policy of attacking Jews, whereby there would be a one-day boycott. So, on 1st April 1933, due to the excess of antisemitic propaganda, there was a nationwide boycott. This will keep the people happy. Due to the drastic effect on the economy, the Nazis couldn’t just close down all the businesses. However, they close down some and prevent any new ones from opening up. This would only effect full-Jews at the moment. Therefore, the Nazis create a gradual policy to shut down Jewish businesses.
From 1933, the Nazis wanted to stop Jews from becoming German citizens. However, Jews generate plenty of money for Germany. Therefore, Germany needs the Jews to keep the economy successful. By the end of 1935, the economy is going well. So, Hitler lended the Jewish Hertie Department stores money to maintain the success of the economy.
In 1937, the economy is going well because of Schacht’s ideas. Therefore, the Jews are no longer needed. The Nazis decide to get rid of Schacht, as they could now afford to. He was replaced by Goering, who wanted to Aryanize businesses, which contributed to the Nazi aim of making Germany self-sufficient and being run by pure Germans (the Aryan race.) This meant that the Jewish firms were ‘voluntarily’ sold to Germans. In 1938, their policy was to squeeze Jews out of the German economic life. This was proceeded by the Jews not being given any raw materials, so they couldn’t produce anything. Therefore, they had no choice but to hand over their businesses. On 18th October 1936, a decree was issued, registrating all Jewish property to enable The Nazis to take over. In one year, 32,000 businesses were taken over.
In 1938, an incident titled, ‘Crystal Night’ was another example of how the Jews were gradually pushed out of German economic life. It involved Germans destroying all Jewish shops and burning down the synagogues, where the police and fire services were told not to interfere. This created huge damage, which the Jews had to pay up for because the Nazis had fined them 1 billion RM out of their insurance. The money raised went towards rearmament.