One people, one reich, one leader: A look at the economic theories of Adolph Hitler
By Hope Pasztor
Dashingly handsome in his Swastika-embellished uniform, Deputy Rudolph Hess mounted the stage. Leaning over into the microphone, he proudly announced: "The Fuhrer speaks!" Hardly had these words come out of the Deputy's mouth than the masses assembled erupted into thunderous applause, as Adolph Hitler grandly ascended the stage. Dramatically, he paused. His flashing dark eyes, black as his infamous clipped mustache, scanned the crowd. His mouth opened, and thus he began.
What was it about this man that infatuated the people of Germany? Why did they so readily succumb to Hitler's economic and political ideas? Perhaps it was his message of hope, his idealistic theories of Deustlandic dominance that had the entire land begging at his feet for more. After a brutal post WWI "reconstruction" at the hands of the Allied Powers, the citizens of Germany welcomed with open arms the seemingly noble, patriotic ways of Hitler. Germany had just finished recovering from this national crisis at the time of Hitler's ascent to power. They were only too glad to promote such man, full of strength and vitality, to the esteemed position of High Chancellor. When listing the theoretical foundations of his affiliated Party, the National Socialist German Worker's Party, Hitler stated that "first, it would be a Party with a true ideology, and second, it would be uncompromisingly the one and only power in Germany." Hitler was confident in the beliefs of the Nazi Party, and stated that his rule would last for a thousand years of golden-age splendor, known as the Third Reich. Together, he and the people of Germany would conquer the world. Ein volk, ein Reich, ein Führer-ne people, one Reich, one leader.
Ironically, Hitler's governmental and economic policies did not benefit his country in the long run. Hitler may have been able to bond the people of Germany together to fight in WWII, but in the end, it would have been better if he had never existed. Not long after Hitler gained power as Chancellor of Germany, he assumed full control over the country. The authority of the German Parliament was ignored, and Hitler undertook the role of supreme dictator. It was he, and not a body of Parliament members, that possessed authority and the ability to create new laws and policies.
It's true that Germany did experience some economic growth during the first few years of Hitler's reign. The unemployment rate was drastically lowered, and the instillation of nation-wide highways, known as autobahns, greatly improved the convenience of travel and information progress. Men were encouraged to seek work, while women were promoted to stay at home and raise their families. Special awards were given to mothers who produced four or more children. If the Third Reich were to last for a thousand years, Germany would need scores of healthy young Nazi citizens to make up the next generation of loyal Hitler-followers.
That said, Hitler's effect on Germany was not a good one. The Nazi Party believed that all people should be equal, and subsequently increased taxation to redistribute the wealth. Capitalism was discouraged, believed to be an unfair way of living. According to Hitler's standards, wealth and prosperity should not be accumulated by the means of personal motivation and labor, but by intervention and planning of the economy by the state and government.
Contrary wise to this idea of equality, Hitler promoted a number of very unequal acts. As George Orwell said in his politically satiric novel, Animal Farm "Some are more equal than others." Hitler steadfastly believed in the idea of selective breeding, in order to strengthen the German people. In order to carry this idea out into action, Hitler encouraged the murder of the physically and mentally disabled, as well as the act of euthanasia. These crimes appear small in comparison to his gruesome mass-murder against the Jews. Nearly six million men, women and little children were brutally tortured and killed, under Hitler's command, simply because their lineage bore the Star of David. While the idealistic blonde, blue-eyed German mothers received awards for excessive childbearing, dark-haired olive-skinned pregnant Jewish mothers were dissected alive for "scientific experiments" in horrendous concentration camps. There's nothing equal whatsoever about such two radical treatments of human beings.
It seems as if Hitler's famed motto for the Third Reich was simply just an illusion to cover up the wickedness of his heart. Both in terms of economics and in terms of morality, Hitler's method of rule was anything but equal. One people, one Reich, one leader? I don't think so.
Hope A. Pasztor is a senior in high school and wrote this essayfor her Pennsylvania Homeschooler's AP Economics class. After high school she's like to purse fashion journalism after she graduates from Liberty University with a degree in English. © 2009
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