‘Guns not Butter’  [EFICS]



1.   Employment

      In June 1933, the Nazis passed a Law to Reduce Unemployment.

      The RAD (National Labour Service) sent men on public works; eg the autobahns.

      Government spending rose, 1932–38 from about 5 billion to 30 billion marks.

      Unemployment fell from nearly 6 million to virtually nothing.

      Hitler built up the armed forces (e.g. conscription took 1 million unemployed).

      The soldiers needed equipment, so this set steel mills, coal mines and factories back into production. The Luftwaffe gave jobs to fitters, engineers and designers.

      The Nazi state machinery needed thousands of clerks, prison guards etc.



2.   Farming

      By the 1933 Farm Law, farmers were assured of sales and given subsidies.

      The government kept food prices at the 1928 level.


       BUT farmers were organised into the Reich Food Estate and strictly controlled (e.g., one rule stated that hens must lay 65 eggs a year).



3.   Industry

      The New Plan of 1934 stopped imports, and subsidised industry.   This is called 'Autarky' - the belief that Germany should be self-sufficient.

      Production rose, especially of oil, steel, coal and explosives.

      In 1936, Goering was put in charge. His Four Year Plan proposed to get the army and industry ready for war in four years.

      Employers were happy when workers were well disciplined.


        BUT businesses were strictly controlled; they could be told to make something different/ were not allowed to raise wages/ workers could be sent to other factories.

      Goering said: ‘Iron makes an empire strong; butter only makes people fat’.

      Economists know now that these policies cause massive economic problems.



4.   Conditions

      The Nazis tried to make people proud (e.g. the film The Beauty of Work in 1934).


      BUT trade unions were banned and all workers had to join the German Labour Front. They lost their right to strike for better pay and conditions.

      Wages actually fell.

      People who refused to work were imprisoned.

      Wages and conditions on the RAD schemes were very poor.



5.   Strength through Joy (KdF) Movement

       Workers were offered cut-price holidays, theatre trips and concerts. In Berlin, 1933–38, the KdF sponsored 134,000 events for 32 million people (2 million went on cruises & weekend trips, and 11 million on theatre trips).

      The KdF designed the Volkswagen (or ‘People’s Car’) ‘Beetle’, which it was planned to be able to buy for 5 marks a week.

      The government made sure that everybody could get a cheap radio.




What do YOU think?

Discuss these statements:

?       'Germans gave up their political freedom in return for work and other benefits.'

?      ‘Germany was actually a wonderful place to live unless you were Jewish, Socialist or Communist, or you believed in individual freedom’.

?       The historian Tim Mason thinks that Germany was in a financial mess in 1939, and that Hitler went to war to cover it up.