Standard of living can be defined as the quantity and quality of goods available to the public. It could also be measured on how the standards affect people mentally and physically. In Nazi Germany between the years 1933 and 1939 the economy suffered horrendously and this meant that money was worth less and less goods were available to the public. Rearmament was the priority for the government from 1936 and Germany suffered as a result of this through lack of goods.The three main social classes in Nazi Germany were the workers, the Mittelstand and big businesses.
The workers out of the three groups probably benefited from the Nazi’s policies the most. There was a huge raise in the number of jobs available to the workers. This meant that more people were being taken off of the unemployment register and more people were in employment. This would have been a huge benefit for this social class because although consumer goods were not being produced as they used to, more jobs in factories regarding rearmament were available.As this amount of people had been taken off of the unemployment register this meant that less people were ‘on the dole’. The average wage that people were receiving while working in the factories was ten times better than that of the dole money. This would mean that a rise in living standards would be achieved.
I strongly believe that the workers benefited the most and the policies made the biggest difference on their lives than the other classes. The workers even received special bonuses for their hard work. They received Christmas bonuses and they were even given free motorbikes.
Workers were needed greatly in order for the government to meet army’s demands for arms.As rearmament was the priority for Nazi Germany workers who were working in factories regarding armament were a lot better off than somebody working in consumer factories. The wages were a lot better simply because the demand was higher in terms of bullets, guns and tanks than it was for consumer goods. The arms were worth more and more people were needed to make this equipment and therefore they needed to be lured to the jobs. People would have been working with consumer goods for most of their life and it would have given them a living but the opportunity to earn more money was too high for them to turn down. I don’t believe that the Nazis should have gone ahead and decided to only concentrate on armament as it had too much of an impact on the country as it was lacking in consumer goods.The country needed these goods and the goods that were available were now worth so much more than they were before. In some cases the price of something could change from the time you pick it up in shop to the time when you pay for it.
Although there was only a slight raise in living standards for the workers the Germans thought that their life was so much better because it was different to what they were used to. The workers thought that they owed a lot to the Nazis for the change in living and you can’t blame them. Although other social classes may have suffered from the Nazis policies the workers benefited hugely.There wages had risen and they were ten times better off than they were on the dole. From the workers point of view I would definitely say that the statement does not fall into the workers life. Their living standards had improved significantly and they had much better incomes than before.
They did lose some freedom but that was made up for in facilities. The main loss for them though was the loss of any political power. They had suffered from their own benefits in a way. They were now receiving bonuses such as free motorbikes but they had lost their right to their own opinion politically.The Mittelstand were probably the biggest losers out of the three groups. A large portion of the Mittelstand lost their jobs, and living, through debt and reduction in specialised craftsmen.
As the priority for the Nazis was rearmament the Mittelstand suffered from a reduction in imports and generally farm life was a thing of the past and people were now suffering from this. Farmers were losing their facilities and life was become very poor on farms. I don’t think that the future of Germany was in rural areas because the Nazis had started a new era in Germany and war was the long term situation in Germany.The rural population fell by 3% and this was probably mostly because farmers knew that their businesses wouldn’t sell like it used to and they had to get new jobs in factories that were in the city. They had to move on. The businesses that did stay on had to compete with larger firms as well and this simply wasn’t possible. I believe that the Nazis made huge mistakes in their actions and anyone who didn’t work in the city was going to lose out with the new policies.
Rural life had been put to the side and it was simply worse off.Although it was mostly bad news for the Mittelstand it did have some positives from the Nazis policies. The value of trade almost doubled in Germany and this was simply because there was a lack of things to actually trade. The amount of consumer goods had dropped significantly and there was mass demand for goods. Any goods that were produced in rural Germany were now worth more because that was less of it to buy. Larger firms had little businesses in their back pocket because there were price freezes so the smaller firms couldn’t make any more money than the larger ones.
The smaller businesses would struggle to make anything like what larger firms made before the new policies but afterwards they had no chance and this contributed to the commuting to the cities.One of the new laws introduced was ‘The Reich Entailed Farm Law’. The law was supposed to help smaller businesses, which was roughly around 33% of all farms. The law meant that farms couldn’t just be sold and they had to be ‘passed on’. Although the law was designed to help the smaller businesses it failed to do this. The Nazis had tried to help all areas of Germany but it was always destined to fail. I believe that rearmament was the main priority and they had worked on this in great detail and then they thought they’d better help other areas.
I don’t think that they put enough effort in to help other areas of Germany and it suffered.The Mittelstand were huge losers in the whole. They simply had no real benefits and the minor ones that they did have weren’t ones that they could take advantage of. They couldn’t take advantage of the fact that the value of trade doubled because there was no goods top sell and smaller businesses were simply not big enough to compete with larger firms. Although people such as Otto Wagner and Gottfried Feder had expressed an interest in helping the Mittelstand they never really did help them and they therefore suffered from this as well.The big businesses are the final group and had a mixed bag in terms of gains and losses. They had an equal share and they would have benefited little but lost little.
As there was a growing demand for food due to the lack of consumer goods the major landowners benefited greatly as they would sell their goods for more due to the growing demand. Most incomes varied for different firms. It depended on what goods they specialised in.
Different goods were worth more than other. Businesses specialising in aeroplanes benefited the most simply because there was such a high demand for them. Armament was so vital for the preparation for the war that the production of Daimler-Benz aeroplanes rose by 800%.Some businesses were able to expand because of rearmament and this meant that they could produce more goods. Due to expansion more money was made and more goods could be produced. One of the main losses for the big businesses was that they could not have any imports. Although it would mean that there was a good balance of trade it meant that materials that could be required were not available. Another disadvantage was that the state controlled the trade of businesses.
I imagine that businesses would have liked to control their own trade and to have somebody else doing it instead would have been a disadvantage as they wouldn’t have a great idea of how their trade was bearing.In conclusion I agree that ‘on balance, the impact of Nazi policies on living standards in Germany in the years 1933-39 was unfavourable’. The majority of people suffered more than they benefited. I just don’t think that the Nazis had considered everyone in their policies and it shows.
They only seemed to care about rearmament and I think that this was the whole point of the Nazi party. As long as it was achieving what it wished it didn’t really care about what else happened. In the whole the Mittelstand didn’t benefit at all, the workers briefly benefited and the businesses benefited momentarily. There weren’t enough benefits to call the policies a success for the whole of Germany. Only certain areas actually benefited and this meant that Germany didn’t really receive any favours from the Nazi policies.