Nazi social and economic policies

Nazi social and economic policies

Social Policies

  • Nazi Ideology: The Nazis believed in a racially-pure Aryan race. Policies were developed to achieve this, through both encouraging racially pure families and the persecuting of those considered racially inferior.

  • Education: Schools were used as tools to disseminate Nazi ideology. Textbooks were edited to promote Nazi ideas, and teachers needed to be party members. Pupil organisations like the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls were also used to instil Nazi ideals.

  • Women and Family: Women were seen in traditional roles, mainly mothers and homemakers. The aim was to breed and raise racially pure Aryan families. Financial incentives were given to encourage Aryan families to have more children.

  • Persecution: Groups deemed as racially inferior (primarily Jews, but also the disabled, Roma people, and homosexuals among others) faced severe persecution, including the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws which deprived Jews of their rights.

Economic Policies

  • Autarky: The Nazi government pursued an economic policy known as autarky, the aim of which was to make Germany self-sufficient and not reliant on international trade.

  • Public Works Projects: To combat unemployment, public work schemes were initiated, the most famous of which was the autobahn network. The government also sponsored industrial projects, notably in motor and aircraft production.

  • Rearmament: Huge resources were redirected towards rearmament, preparing Germany for future war. This helped reduce unemployment and stimulant economic growth.

  • Labour Policies: Trade unions were banned and replaced by the German Labour Front, which eliminated the ability for workers to strike. Focus was put on productivity and supporting the war effort.

The Impact of Nazi Policies

  • Despite severe moral and human rights violations, Nazi policies did lead to economic recovery following the Great Depression.
  • However, these successes relied heavily on aggressive spending on defence, similar to a war economy, which was not sustainable in the long term.
  • Socially, the Nazi’s reign had a profound impact on Germany. Their discriminatory laws deepened existing prejudices, leading to the Holocaust, and their focus on pure German lineage shaped family structures and roles.