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The Nazi War Economy: 1939-1945

            In a speech given by Hitler in 1936, he outlined the need to prepare the economy for war, yet in the wake of the second world war, the German economy was inefficient due to lack of central planning. Whilst Speer made some improvements to the economy, the allied bombing further impeded production and ensured that the economy would remain unsuccessful. .
             Between the years 1939-42 there was a clear vacillation of policies over the economy, which had never fully mobilized solely towards the war effort, indicating that it was unsuccessful. This was primarily caused by the chaotic nature of the third Reich, which was made up of competing forces. For example, there were 4 different departments that controlled the war economy. With so many overlapping ministries, it's no surprise that confusion prevailed as they competed rather than coordinated activities and decisions. It was this lack of central planning and standardization of products that inevitably led to an inefficient economy. For example, despite doubling military expenditure, aircraft production only slightly increased, whilst in the UK, which was renowned for having low productivity rates, production trebled. This exemplifies how the economy was unsuccessful in putting its plans to create a total war economy into action and failing to produce the necessary arms. Moreover, the interference of the army in war productions further damaged the economy as they lacked the experience that heads of industry would have. For example, they would not modernize factories or properly train the workforce, choosing to prioritize quality over quantity. This slowed production and led to a waste of resources. However, the early victories of the Third Reich could suggest that actually the economy was not a total failure. For instance, they were able to invade Holland in just 4 days and France in just 43. The economy therefore must have experienced sufficient success in order to sustain the army and cement their victory.

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