The Nazis had many solutions for the six million unemployed in Germany in the 1930’s, including spending millions of government marks on construction and re-armament of the German forces, both of which created plenty of jobs.
To begin with Hitler stopped paying reparations; money that had been going to France and Belgium could now be invested in the German economy. Men were provided by the Reich Labour Service and were involved in projects such as draining marshes to produce farmland and constructing sea walls to protect coastal areas from flooding. Jobs were created through government spending on construction; huge public buildings were erected. The 1936 Olympics were held in Berlin at the newly built Olympic stadium. Germany also built a web of motorways, known as autobahns. Once built, they helped increase the speed at which goods could be transported across the country. These structures not only created jobs, but also greatly impressed people.
These autobahns also created jobs in the car manufacturing business; many people now needed a car to take advantage of these new motorways. This produced the Volkswagen or “people’s car”. Cutting the import of foreign cars, such as the Ford Model T, expanded the German car industry, so creating even more jobs.
Car factories were also useful for rearmament as they could quickly switch production to military needs. Hitler took Germany out of “The League of Nations” on the 14th of October 1933. It was clear that the limits of no air force or navy and an army of only 100,000 men, placed on Germany by the “Treaty of Versailles”, was going to be ignored. Still more jobs were going to be created by the drive for rearmament, from 1936 onwards far more men were recruited into the army. After the “Hitler Youth” it was compulsory for young men to do six months service in a labour service corps, then another two years national service in the German army, in these organizations they were taught that the shovel is as important as the gun, and they were the generation that was going to rebuild Germany. They did up to 15 hours of work a day in the fields and were mentally as well as physically tested to their limits.
By 1939 the German army had over half a million men. An air force was also created and by 1939 the Luftwaffe, as it was called, contained over 8000 aircraft. All of the above mentioned also created many jobs in German industry.
The brain behind the whole rearmament plan was that of Herman Goring. He was appointed as Economics minister in 1937 and set much higher targets for rearmament than his predecessor Hjalmar Schacht, he drew up a four year plan for the economy to make sure that Germany was much closer to achieving one of Hitler’s biggest aims. Autarky.
Additional jobs were created by Hitler’s desire to make Germany self-sufficient and stop being dependent on imports and so establish autarky. Attempts were made to replace vital raw materials that could only be obtained abroad, such as extracting oil from coal and developing an artificial rubber. Although these experiments created jobs they did not reduce the amount of goods imported.
By 1940 these solutions led to only quarter of a million unemployed in Germany, this figure was considerably smaller than Great Britain’s figure of just under two million.