Adolf Hitler's Role in Rebuilding Germany

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Historically, it seems that both World War I and II hit Germany, yet in both cases, the country seemed to have revitalized fast and become a powerhouse again. During the wars, Germany suffered from severe economic damage including being forced to make horrendous war reparations, suffering impacts of hyperinflation, and social chaos. The deplorable conditions were also facilitated world economic conditions that occurred in the 1930s: the period of the Great Depression. However, there many misconceptions associated with roles played by Hitler in rebuilding Germany. The hyperinflation that hit the country ended in 1924, the time when Hitler was awaiting trial for engaging in the Beer Hall Putsch. Therefore, Hitler had neither won the elections nor appointed the Chancellor. Studies have revealed that it is undeniable that from 1924 to 1929, Germany witnessed significant growth in its economic performance with the findings showing that the fundamentals of the country’s economy were strong. The First World War ravaged the French industry, but Germany’s mines and factories remained untouched. Even though reparation payments crippled the country in the 1920s, Germany underwent through restructuring in 1924 which again plunged it into the appropriate supply chain enabling it to pay for reparations and stabilize the country (David & Spielvogel, 2014). Such changed rendered Germany an industrial powerhouse. The world economic recession had hit the country rendering most people out of work. In addition, Germany underwent through humiliation that was fresh in their minds for fifteen years earlier during WWI. The paper aims to analyze the roles of Hitler in the German recovery before WWII and the part in rebuilding fast the country.

Problem Statement and Rationale

            The Germans suffered from the WWI and associated Depression. The Nazi’s appeal was to focus on making Germany strong again through Hitler who aimed to ensure full employment in the country. Statistics reveal that in 1939, there was virtually no official unemployment in Germany (BBC, 2018). The focus was also to make the country self-sufficient, although some attempts were unsuccessful due to the challenges experienced in the country. However, the studies have failed to prove the role of Hitler in the development of Germany. The premise of most findings is incorrect. Hitler took power in 1933, which is 15 years after the WWI (Jaskot, 2014b). The WWII started six years later. The rationale of the paper is to highlight Hitler’s central role in rebuilding Germany.

Research Question

Hitler saved the German economy before, how was he able to rebuild Germany so quickly?


            Studies have established that the economic catastrophe in Germany before the WWII started with the ratifying the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 (McDonough, 2012). During the World War I, the conquerors deprived the state parts of its essential regions, and three-quarters of iron ore assets with Germany expected to reimbursement $33 billion of reparation. Consequently, the country plunged into challenges due to inflation which resulted in people queuing for food and money. During such time, Adolf Hitler advised the Germans to consider dictatorship to salvage the economy of the country (Tubach, 2011). From the analysis, it can be hypothesized that Adolf Hitler managed to fast rebuild Germany’s economy due to the dictatorship leadership style. In addition, the hypothesis can be that Hitler was a powerful and a spellbinding speaker who brought together all the Germans desperate for change, especially by promising them disenchanted better and prosperous life.

Literature Review

The German Economic Miracle

            At the end of the WWII, much of country was in ruins since the Allied Forces attacked large parts of the infrastructure. Some of the cities were destroyed including Dresden with the population of Cologne reduced from 750,000 to 32,000. Reduction in population resulted in the decline of housing stock by 20% (Blunt, 2015). In addition, food production reduced by half as the number of the population who could rebuild the country killed or killed. In a bid to stabilize the economy during the world war, Hitler introduced food rationing, which limited the citizen population to consume a maximum of 2,000 calories in a day. Nevertheless, after the war, the Allies sustained their food rationing strategy (Everts, 2013). The price control in the country for the products and services led to the shortages and massive blanket market. Studies have opined that Germany’s currency became completely worthless, which forced people to resort to barter trade. In a nutshell, the war ruined Germany as a state, and it incredibly faced a bleak future. The challenges further projected since it was occupied by four other nations that were yet to divide it into halves

            Germany was hurt the most from the Great Depression that occurred in the US in 1929. The associated economic hindrance deprived the country of its source of finance, thus rendering the state into turmoil (Kershaw, 2008). The frequent shift in the government in Germany also exacerbated the problem. Most people thought that Adolph Hitler, as the Chancellor, would take few months in leadership. The main concern for Hitler to redeem Germany’s economy was doing away with the crisis, communists, Treaty of Versailles, trade unions, and creation of a strong army to defend the country. Scholars have noted that Hitler succeeded due to great support received from the oligarchs (Blunt, 2015). On the other hand, Everts (2013) cited that with the help from Schacht and the German Nazis, it was easy for Hitler to destroy the arising political rivals. Nonetheless, on retrieving the paralyzed economy of the country, it was a bit harder considering that Germany had more than 68,000 bankrupt institutions and a vast army that was unemployed.

            The Reichstag passed the law aimed to liquidate the disastrous state through reducing unemployment that saw more than two million Germans building autobahns, channels, and railways. In addition, the government cut taxes for the factories that were expanding their investment operations while contributing to the growth of employment opportunities. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was at the center of the country success and revitalization through funding the defense industry using MEFO bills, a parallel currency, in covering the expenses used in rearming the German army. Recent studies have shown that Hitler concealed revanchist plans while looking back at the global community. Nonetheless, the West experienced the crisis that made Germany bid farewell to the Treaty of Versailles (Schwabe, 2014). Consequently, Hitler assisted Germany to pull out from the League of Nations and concentrated entirely on the defense industry. Such activities saw enhanced the economic performance of the country.

The German Economy Under Hitler

            Researchers have revealed that had it not been for the economic collapse that started with the Wall Street stock market crash, Hitler would not have risen to power (Hauner, 2013). Germany experienced the Great Depression harder than other countries because its economy relied heavily on the short-term loans from the US. In other studies, researchers noted that when the US recalled the loans, Germany experienced devastation and challenges associated with unemployment. Hitler’s rise to power was spearheaded directly by Depression-related difficulties encountered in Germany, which had worse industrial unemployment than the US. Heinrich Brüning (Chancellor 1930-1932), existed during the conservative regime, focused on international financial agreements while pursuing budget-balancing at all costs, the strategy used failed to provide even a small relief for the unemployed. On the other hand, Hitler’s success was embedded on the mass unemployment witnessed in Germany from 1929 onwards. With the unemployment, the able-bodied men had nothing to do, thus most of them became delinquents and gangsters. Since the behavior of the young generation frightened the elderly, it was easy for Hitler to raise the bogey of communism while harnessing the delinquents to join the Nazi.

            Recent studies on Germany’s success did not only come from reverting the German’s to the regimentation of Prussian militarism but also economic and diplomatic undertakings (Hauner, 2013). Hitler revived Germany’s economy with the unemployment challenges experienced across the country being pivotal. Studies have shown that between 1933 and 1937, unemployment declined from six million to less than a million. Unfortunately, when Hitler improved the employment rate in Germany, the US remained wallowing in Depression and associated challenges. During a similar period, the country experienced double national income and production, which some findings have associated with Hitler’s rearmament policy. With Hitler, Germany started to experience the emergence of highway systems and production of cheap and standardized cars such as Volkswagen (Jaskot, 2014a). Germany also began developing autobahns. The Nazism culture began to take root in Germany with scientific breakthrough witnessed in the country. Hitler made the state the land of scholars and poets with the world envying it science and medicine. In 1927, the state introduced the national unemployment insurance program although the Great Depression threatened the associated advancements in social insurance and assistance programs. During Hitler’s regime, significant changes were introduced on various programs and administration that witnessed the dismantlement of self-governance structure of social programs.

            In research by Blunt (2015), the scholar noted that Adolph Hitler’s regime managed to develop hothouse prosperity with great support from the state subsidies to the sectors favored by Hitler since they gave the country great military powers and economic autarchy, which means being independent of the global economy. When Germany achieved full employment in 1939, there were still five million US citizens unemployment in 1941. The achievements, especially economic development, and reduced unemployment levels, has been attributed to continued building of arms and infrastructure. Hitler managed to initiate several programs including overseeing the unilateral revoking of the Versailles Treaty and remilitarization of the Saar Valley with the Rhineland that was required by France. The success was a huge gamble for Germany considering that the French did nothing. Consequently, the improvement saw a considerable increment in the country’s budget while virtually trying to eliminate challenges of financial hemorrhaging associated with repatriation.

Research Design

            Research design refers to a framework of methods and techniques used to combine different components of research logically to enable efficient handling of the research problem. The study used qualitative research design to examine the relationship between variable with the primary goal of analyzing and representing the findings statistically. The study involved analyzing the results from different secondary sources including books, articles, and online sources to establish the role of Adolf Hitler in saving the Germany economy before the WWII and how Hitler managed to rebuild Germany quickly. Several empirical studies were studied and coded to assist in identifying the factors that fast-assisted Hitler to rebuild Germany. The study also involved developing a structured coding sheet for extracting, quantifying, and summarizing the findings from the reviews. To help the research questions, Internet search was conducted using “the role of Hitler in the economic development of Germany” which further guided the establishment of the main articles to use in the research. Using the keywords to search various articles and books, the research predicted the findings. The qualitative method was appropriate for research since it enabled elimination of errors and reduction of research complexity since it simplifies study activities.

Findings and Discussion

Rapid Rebuilding of Germany

            The global wars led to the destruction of Germany’s infrastructure that it could not support the needs of its citizens (Hauner, 2013). However, there was time to rebuild the economy under Hitler’s tenure. The problem with deflation was that it led to the contraction of the money supply, which from the economic point of view, the country witnessed reduced loans, bonds, and financial instruments that could be used as collateral, leverage, or loans to fund various developmental projects (BBC, 2018). Businesses in Germany required short-term loans to settle utility bills and for long-term development such as maintaining financial expressions, expansion of factories, and renovations. To change the existing situation, the government adopted policies of direct interventions. With the Autobahn projects, the Nazis decided to embrace it considering that they initially rejected it as an instrument of Jewish Capitalism, as most people to afford cars (Griech-Polelle, 2014). In addition, the Nazis desired the project since it created jobs for the unemployed and indirectly alleviated the prevailing wage depression among those in the employment. The project also assisted to the skilled laborers to enhance their skills to facilitate the development of infrastructure. These plans laid the foundation for the success and easy rebuilding of Germany.

            From the onset, Hitler planned to conceal power, rebuild the military, and prepare for wars. Therefore, all the main economic reforms practiced in the country were geared towards the autobahn project considering that was to assist Germany’s logistical network. The primary internal schism of the Nazi emerged from improving Germany (Jaskot, 2014a). In the pre-war years, Hjalmar Schacht decided to implement the policy that saw printing of the MEFO bonds for funding rearmament of the country. However, recent studies have revealed that the MEFO bonds became the special currency type that existed in large denominations that could only be approved by German industries but still considered as legal tender (Shirer, 2011). The strategy aimed to assist Hitler to rebuild the country in two ways: controlling inflation rates and preventing the allies from noting their huge deficit spending for rebuilding their military. Hjalmar Schacht curiously predicted and advised Hitler that without market reforms, Germany’s economy function improperly, which could make it default other obligations including austerity, increasing taxes, findings new sources of the real currency for confiscating or injecting development projects into the economy (Pike, 2011).

            Recent scholars have revealed that there were two ways Hitler was able to conquer much in Europe quickly with the assistance of the German army (Kershaw, 2008). Firstly, Hitler invested many resources on military development and was prepared to war than the other European states (David & Spielvogel, 2014). Considering that Hitler’s main aim was to conceal power, Germany was focused for years on rebuilding its military with a clear purpose to go to war. On the contrary, the other European countries were unprepared and did not expect that conflicts would rise again (McDonough, 2012). For example, the French and Britain neither built nor trained their armies for battles. Most of the states assumed that the Treaty of Versailles and the Maginot Line would stop the fights. Secondly, studies have cited that Hitler had better tactics than other countries (Spielvogel & Redles, 2009). Besides, the significant rivals such the French and British had not updated their military tactical thinking after the WWI. The economy of these countries had not developed things such as motor vehicles and airplanes to create “lighting war” style that Germany had planned for many years (Griech-Polelle, 2014). These two factors mean that Hitler prepared Germany to wage active war on the enemies.


            During the WWII, Germany brought significant immeasurable impacts and destruction in Europe. In 1929, Germany experienced severe economic depression and created other problems including widespread unemployment, poor infrastructural development, and inflation. Consequently, in a bid to survive, Germany took short-term and long-term loans from the US to maintain some of its factories. The study revealed that Hitler and the Nazis capitalized on the situation by criticizing the government. Appointment of Adolf Hitler brought hope to rebuild Germany. However, the findings have revealed that from the onset, Hitler intended to conceal power and to militarize the nation to prepare it for control. Results suggest that in the 1930s, Hitler withdrew from the League of Nations to focus on rebuilding the German armies above the privileged status enshrined by the Treaty of Versailles, which saw reoccupying of Rhineland. While other states focused on developing their economies citing that there would no fights, Hitler was training the army and developing modern weapons to be ready for wars. At the beginning of the war, the Nazis and Hitler focused on fighting to dominate Europe, but after five years, the reason for battling changed: the need to exist. The paper revealed that humiliation was still fresh in the minds of most Germans due to defeat that lasted for fifteen years earlier during WWI. Consequently, Germany lacked confidence, which further weakened their government. Such conditions provided Hitler and the Nazi party the opportunity rise.


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Everts, S. (2013). Chemistry in Nazi Germany. Chemical and Engineering News, 91(37), 30-33.

Griech-Polelle, B. A. (2014). Europe's dark journey: The rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Prince Frederick.

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Tubach, F. C. (2011). German Voices: Memories of Life during Hitler's Third Reich. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

November 13, 2023

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