Fuel for the Nazi War Machine: Paper Money and Plunder

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There’s lots to not like in this Der Spiegel article on the book Hitler’s People’s State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism: New Holocaust Book, New Theory: How Germans Fell for the ‘Feel-Good’ Fuehrer. (I look forward to Paul Gottfried’s response to the book). But the author’s thesis seems plausible, especially his emphasis on the role of government credit and plunder: “half the war was financed by government credit and… close to 70 percent of the rest came from plunder.” In particular, the story of domestic intervention in the market leading to military intervention abroad leading in turn to more war sounds similar to the thesis of The New Dealer’s War:

Once the robberies had begun, a sort of “snowball effect” ensued and in order to stay afloat, he says Germany had to conquer and pilfer from more territory and victims. “That’s why Hitler couldn’t stop and glory comfortably in his role as victor after France’s 1940 surrender.” Peace would have meant the end of his predatory practices and would have spelled “certain bankruptcy for the Reich.”

Thanks to David T. Beito at L&P.

5:31 pm on March 22, 2005