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Success of Hitlers economic and social policy

As with all authoritarian single-party states, Hitlers regime frequently adapted

ideology to better fit the necessities of policy. With the knowledge that Nazi
Germany, like all other single-party states was founded in a state of crisis and
maintained through the constant societal pressure to expand and reclaim what
was argued to be Teutonic territory, the faade of NSDAP social ideology began to
wear away as realistic problems arose problems surrounding social unrest,
economic tensions and the gradual weariness of war.
In order to govern society effectively, the Nazi Party had to ensure that the public
believed they were acting in accordance with their ideology but also that they were
working for net societal benefit. Hitlers internal policies can be argued to be in
parallel to many of the ideas utilised by similar dictators such as Mao and Stalin.
Despite the perceived differences between such single-party states and
conventional society, many of the problems encountered by these nations were
similar or the same as those found throughout modern societies today. As such, this
essay will examine the success or lack of success of Hitlers homeland policies
categorised into three key areas of social, political and economic issues.
Hitler faced a large number of different issues before and during his rule over
Germany, issues that had to be rectified in order to maintain stability and engender
trust in the German populace. A critical issue that had to be first confronted was to
do with the economy after the 1929 Wall Street crash, Germanys economic status
was in peril and the nation was in no state to seize the military objectives that it had
promised to take. The economy was unfit for any serious war-faring and it would
take some significant financial boosting to turn Germany into a modern fighting
country. Additionally, unemployment peaked at 31% in the early 1930s, causing
further social fallout and increased anti-government sentiment. The nation would
soon sink beneath its own debt and bankruptcy Hitlers regime had to solve that
before any national stability could be established.
Another primary issue was political conflict with the Catholic and Protestant
churches. The contrast between the exclusive and elitist Social Darwinist society as
imagined by the NSDAP and the classically utopian and multicultural Christianity
established by the churches would become more and more significant as Hitlers
race policies evolved to become radical. Notably, the involuntary euthanasia
program known as Aktion T4 was massively opposed by religious fronts within
Germany, causing publically-adored Bishop Galen to start open rebellion against the
Hitler regime. Opinion was divided in society as to the moral standing of the Nazi
Party; the Nazis were nominally a Christian organisation but grew increasingly at
odds with the Church as they strived to undermine its sectarian influence over the
Finally, one of Hitlers social obstacles was the practical aspect of racial segregation.
As the NSDAP publically stated that it would purify the German nation of minorities
and untermensch it had to oppress undesirables whilst maintaining the public
faade of a beneficial and benevolent government. The Nazis needed a way to
tighten the pressure on Jews and other non-Germans without open violence or
threats; any alternatives would have frightened the native German populace and
perhaps led to widespread mistrust of the government.

Hitlers regime confronted all of these issues over the course of the 1930s and into
the early 40s. Much of the financial trouble was dealt directly with by Hermann
Goering, who led the Four Year Plan which aimed for self-sufficiency. This was an
ambitious economic plan which revolved around re-armament and re-establishment
of conscription, defying the Treaty of Versailles but creating hundreds of thousands
of new jobs across Germany. The Four Year Plan also built up the Autobahn network
of Germany which was both a boon for civilian life and designed for easy
mobilisation of troops. Automobile production was set up to generate profit, while
Germany stopped paying back its war reparations completely, causing cessation of
debt accumulation. These policies were regarded by the civilian populace as highly
desirable and helped to secure public support of the regime. An added benefit was
that these policies were very much in line with Hitlers German nationalist rhetoric
as they could be seen as an open defiance of the Allies and a pan-German
movement to re-establish order in a slowly collapsing country. This was a reasonably
successful venture that allowed Nazi Germany to stand on its own and remain selfsufficient.
Hitler can be said to have abandoned various elements of his conservative and
traditional German nationalist ideology through the inconsistent treatment of
women in his policies. As he was heavily right-wing Hitler argued that women
should be bearers of children and caregivers, returning to more traditional views. He
famously summed up his perception of women with the tripling kuche, kirche,
kinder or children, kitchen and church he wished for women to remain at home,
provide for the family and create more Aryan offspring to populate the land that
Hitler would soon obtain through the Liebensraum doctrine, legitimising this
diminutive view of women with traditionalist interpretations of the Bible. However,
as the war dragged on and thousands and thousands of young men and boys were
dying on the Western and Eastern Fronts every day, the Nazi Party realised that a
workforce composed solely of men would soon become inefficient due to rapidly
depleting troop numbers. As such, women were then compelled to work as factory
workers, producing munitions and vehicles for the war effort. This can be argued to
be a direct violation of Nazi ideals, but in the later stages of the war ideals were
largely abandoned for practical policies.
Hitler combatted the social unrest of conflict with the church in a few different ways.
Initially, he was heavily tolerant of the Catholic Church and other Christian
denominations as he believed that a good relationship with them would lead the
majority Catholic and Protestant German population into following the Nazi Party. A
Deutsche Christen movement was created by the NSDAP, embodying all aspects of
German nationalism with Christian fundamentalism in order to further bind religious
belief with political tolerance.Indeed, Hitler himself was raised Catholic and he
claimed Nazi Germanys state religion to be Christianity. Famously, the belts of the
troops of the SS or Schutzstaffel, security troops were emblazoned with their logo
and the motto gott mit uns God is with us.
Such tolerance would turn sour as the Catholic Church began open defiance of
Hitlers racist and genocidal policies; Bishop Galen of Munster issued many fleeing
Jews with falsified Christian documents to avoid their persecution and subsequent
execution during the Holocaust. For a short while Hitler proposed nationwide
abandonment of the Christian faith for promotion of traditionally German pagan

beliefs; a return to pagan religion would signify a return to German glory as

Christianity had only percolated through German society by 800 AD. This system did
not work and was thus forgotten shortly after as most Germans did not want to give
up their childhood and cultural faiths. One of the ways in which Hitler managed to
avoid conflict with the Church and like-minded conservatives in the 1934 was the
execution of the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler had always used the brown-shirted
Sturmabteilung left-wing paramilitaries in causing social unrest throughout
Germany. Their violent actions and their leader Ernst Rohms open homosexuality
led to the Church condemning the SA heavily; Hitlers purge of the SA and execution
of Rohm endeared him to the right-wing once more and allowed him to clean his
hands of having committed un-Christian acts such as starting street brawls or
tolerance of homosexual actions. Ultimately Hitler temporarily solved the issue of
power struggles with the Churches by silencing them and purging them of
dissenters, scaring otherwise defiant clergy members into remaining quiet or forcing
them to take their rebellion underground. Hitler forced churches under the Deutsche
Christen movement to continue with pro-Nazi propaganda, and utilised the SS to
inspect and threaten church groups suspected of dissent. The Reichsconcordat was
also established as a treaty between the Holy See and Nazi Germany; it decreed
that the Church could in no way interfere or intervene in political affairs, but also
that the government could not directly deal with the teachings of the Church.
However, the Nazis violated this agreement repeatedly and consistently
immediately after it was signed, while using threats of violence to keep the clergy
on their toes.
Lastly, the Nazi Party implemented a series of different policies to make life much
harder for undesirable races. The first of these was entirely legal, with the
establishment of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 being a culmination of all of the
Nazis initial attempts to legitimise racism. The Nuremberg Laws dictated that Jews
could not marry German Aryans and cited protection of the German bloodline as
being reason for this. Additionally, Jews were given a street curfew of 9:00 PM
which was designed to limit their ability to continue with normal social lives and to
patronise them in the same manner as one would a child. Finally, Jews were forced
to pay 90% of their money as a tax for leaving the country, preventing many Jews
from fleeing to other countries seeking refuge. The Nazi Party first utilised legal
oppression to carry out subtle attacks on the Jewish population of Germany.
More violently, the SS was utilised by the NSDAP as a mechanism for initiating the
Holocaust. In their function as secret police, they were used in Germany and on
foreign battlefields to cleanse towns and villages by locating Jews and other
undesirables, then either taking them to concentration camps or executing them
on the spot. The SS allowed Hitler to maintain social stability as he could quietly
execute the Holocaust from under the noses of the German public, and his
exploitation of captured Jews as unpaid labour meant that he could easily justify
their imprisonment as beneficial for the nations economic status.
Potentially also notable would be Hitlers forced membership of the Hitlerjugend or
Hitler Youth by 1936. By educating all individuals below the age of 18 and
implanting racist and nationalist doctrine into their minds, Hitler was preventing a
future uprising by weeding out dissent in its youngest days. Hitlers early
intervention in Germanys education, especially during the most formative years of

childhood was an effective strategy in producing a Germany that was entirely loyal
to himself and fully believing in the policies of the Nazi Party.
In conclusion, Hitler can be said to have been incredibly effective in his solution of
political, social and economic problems that plagued Nazi Germany. He utilised
many covert and overt methods to smoothen out the quality of life throughout his
country, solving age-old problems such as the usurping of power by the church, and
dealing with Weimar Germanys ridiculous debt and >30% unemployment rate.
Hitler and the Nazi Party managed to maintain their nationalist faade while still
providing the nation with practical policies, effectively combining ideology and
practice. Hitler, in this regard, can be said to have been an excellent single-party
state leader.