Study Notes

Weimar and Nazi Germany (1918-1939): Hiding the Level of Unemployment

AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 15 Jul 2024

The economic crash of 1929 to 1933, caused huge rises in unemployment, and the Nazis were popular throughout the crash by promising that there would be large amounts of jobs for people.

When the Nazis were in power, they provided jobs for the people. However, the Nazis did hide levels of unemployment in Germany.

One such way in which the Nazis hid unemployment was through the armed forces and the war economy. The war economy meant that factories needed to have large numbers of staff to produce the huge numbers of weapons which were required.

In addition to this the Nazis recruited many in the armed forces. In normal economic circumstances, these roles would not have existed. The Nazis also recruited many into Nazi paramilitary organisations such as the SS and Gestapo, had the totalitarian state not been in existence, thee role would not be needed.

Another way in which the Nazis hid the levels of unemployment was through exclusions and arrests. Women and Jews were excluded from the unemployment figures, which reduced the figures significantly, and the thousands of people in concentration camps did not count in the figures either.

The Nazis also used the public works programme to lower unemployment statistics, but many of these roles were only temporary. Linked to this was membership of the Labour Service. Anyone who was in the Labour Service did not count in the unemployment figures either.

Finally, the Nazis also changed the calculation method for unemployment and included those who were not employed full time.

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