Nazi economic, social and racial policy

Nazi economic, social and racial policy

Nazi Economic Policy

  • Autarky: The Nazis aimed for self-sufficiency in order to prepare Germany for war and to be independent from foreign influence.
  • Four Year Plan: Initiated in 1936 to speed up rearmament and achieve autarky.
  • Rearmament: Large scale reinvestment in military infrastructure and industry to bolster Germany’s war capability.
  • Labour Service: Mandatory labour service introduced, decreasing unemployment.
  • Strength Through Joy: A programme intended to reward the hard work of Germans, while also showcasing Nazi achievements (for example, Kraft durch Freude cruises).

Nazi Social Policy

  • Lebensborn Programme: Aimed at increasing the Aryan population, it provided support for racially pure women to bear Aryan children.
  • Motherhood: Mothers were celebrated and encouraged to have many children, to increase the population.
  • Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls: Mandatory membership promoted Nazi ideals, physical fitness and loyalty to Hitler amongst German youth.
  • Redefinition of Women’s Roles: Women were pushed out of the workforce and encouraged to stay at home and raise children; their role was defined as Kinder (children), Küche (kitchen), and Kirche (church).

Nazi Racial Policy

  • Aryan Ideal: The Nazis promoted the idea of the Aryan master race, seen as the purest and superior race.
  • Anti-Semitic Laws and Propaganda: Jews were systematically marginalised, persecuted, and ultimately murdered in the Holocaust. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 stripped Jews of their rights.
  • Euthanasia Programme: The Nazis implemented a programme to kill those deemed “unworthy of life” (people with severe physical and mental disabilities), known as Aktion T4.
  • Racial Purity: Marriage between Jews and non-Jews was banned, and racial hygiene was promoted to uphold the ideal of racial purity.