How Hitler Tackled Unemployment
And Revived Germany’s Economy
By Mark Weber
To deal with the massive unemployment and economic paralysis of the Great Depression, both the US and German governments launched innovative and ambitious programs. Although President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” measures helped only marginally, the Third Reich’s much more focused and comprehensive policies proved remarkably effective. Within three years unemployment was banished and Germany’s economy was flourishing. And while Roosevelt’s record in dealing with the Depression is pretty well known, the remarkable story of how Hitler tackled the crisis is not widely understood or appreciated.
Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. A few weeks later, on March 4, Franklin Roosevelt took office as President of the United States. Each man remained his country’s chief executive for the next twelve years -- until April 1945, shortly before the end of World War II in Europe. In early 1933 industrial production in each country had fallen to about half of what it had been in 1929. Each leader quickly launched bold new initiatives to tackle the terrible economic crisis, above all the scourge of mass unemployment. And although there are some striking similarities between the efforts of the two governments, the results were very different.