Germany History – The Third Reich Part III

Alongside the political crises, an economic-financial crisis had also occurred, or rather accentuated, as a consequence of the lack of raw materials and import currencies. The appointment, on August 2, 1934, of the president of the Reichsbank Schacht as Minister of the Economy marked the beginning of a severe policy of control and regulation: imports were limited to the extent permitted by the availability of foreign exchange, efforts were made to develop production domestic raw materials; exports were supported; Compensation agreements were stipulated with the countries producing raw materials for the exchange of goods: industry was controlled through offices regulating the import and distribution of raw materials. All payments abroad were concentrated in the Reichsbank with the task of prevent the daily outflow of uniforms from exceeding the inbound. On June 15, a six-month moratorium was declared in the service of foreign debts, which led to protests by the states concerned, lengthy negotiations with representatives of foreign creditors and the definition of compromises. With this system, accompanied by draconian measures against the transfer of trademarks abroad, it was possible to keep the mark in place, despite the lack of strong gold reserves.

These measures were matched by those aimed at simplifying the industrial organization under state control. The “law for the organic construction of economic life” of March 14 gave Germany a system of regulated economy with resolutely self-sufficient aims. While the establishment of new banks was forbidden, full powers were entrusted to the Minister of Economy for the dissolution of all existing industrial groups and their replacement with others, for the verification of the statutes and the confirmation of the managers. Production was divided into 12 branches and the associations of each branch were grouped under a single head (the “mines and ironworks” branch was placed under the direction of Germany Krupp von Bohlen). At the head of the entire production was placed a supreme leader, Kessler. A court of honor was established to ensure “decent and fair” competition. It was the old cartel system transformed into an institution governed by the state, legally obligatory and oriented in a political-social sense, as it was to serve not only for the elimination of waste and overproduction, but also for the fight against unemployment.

The peripheral organization was established in March 1935 with the division of the country into 14 economic districts, at the head of each of which were placed a chamber of commerce and a chamber of crafts, with managers appointed by decree. The representatives of the economic chambers and economic groups or branches were gathered in an economic chamber of the Reich, at the head of which a council was placed as an advisory body to the minister.

Social policy corresponded to this economic policy. Until January 1934, as already mentioned, a “German labor charter” had been promulgated, which established the unity of management, the personal responsibility of the head of the company, the principle of solidarity between entrepreneur and workers through agreements honorable and affordable.

According to intershippingrates, the agrarian policy was directed to the formation of a solid class of proprietary peasants. The establishment of 845,000 hereditary farms, indivisible and inalienable, with the right of primogeniture was deliberated. The area envisaged was a total of 17 million hectares, that is 42% of the cultivated and wooded area of ​​Germany. At the same time, large land holdings were reduced. On July 4, 1935, six special chambers were established to hasten the liquidation of the trusts, which the Weimar Republic had suppressed only theoretically, and full powers were entrusted to the Minister of Justice to speed up the procedure, according to the urgency of new lands for colonization. internal.

For the labor policy it was created, under the guidance of Dr. Ley, head of the “Labor Front”, a “Reich Labor and Economic Council”, grouping the heads of companies, the heads of the labor chambers, the chambers of the economy and the different economic organizations. Under Ley himself, the after-work organization Kraft durch Freude developed in a grandiose form, which among other things formed its own fleet for sea cruises. An eminently social character, aimed at eliminating the differences of class and caste, had the institution of the “labor service”, made obligatory by a law of June 1935 for both sexes, but first applied only to males, for the duration of six months,

The entire youth training was entrusted to organizations dependent on the party: children aged 4 to 9 were assigned to the Deutsche Kindschaft, children aged 10 to 14 to Deutsches Jungvolk, youngsters aged 14 to 18 to Hitlerjugend. On January 24, 1934, Rosenberg, a theorist of racism, was appointed trustee for the doctrinal formation of the party.

Relations with the Christian Churches, already strained as a consequence of the racist conception of life officially professed by the party, became acute, in the field of youth education, with the Catholic Church and, on the institutional level, with the Protestant Churches. While the party organs accused “political Catholicism” of preserving nostalgia for the old party of the Center and of disguising the regime, the Church complained of the violation of the Concordat, the dissolution of Catholic associations, the suppression of Catholic schools, the support given to openly pagan doctrines and groups. The struggle also continued in the following years, with protests by Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich and the Bishops’ Conference of Fulda, with the arrest of high ecclesiastics and leaders of Catholic youth. There was wide coverage of the trials of clergymen guilty of smuggling of uniforms and of the trials against malpractice.

Germany History - The Third Reich 3