The Global Impact of the Great Depression, 1929-1939

By Dietmar Rothermund | Go to book overview

15

FROM DEPRESSION TO WAR

Rearmament and economic growth

The depression was not the direct cause of the war, but there was at least one obvious link between it and the war: the rise of Hitler. The millions who voted for Hitler were deeply affected by the depression and believed in his promise to overcome it within a short time. Actually the depression receded very quickly under his rule, but this was only partly due to him—although he got the credit for it. But he was not satisfied with this achievement: his ambition was to start a war so as to conquer Europe and rule the world. There were enough hints at that in his published work, but it seems that nobody cared to read it. Moreover, in his first years in power he appeared to be rather cautious. His drive for rapid rearmament started only in 1936. This finally led to a rupture of his relations with Hjalmar Schacht whose brilliant economic policy had enabled Hitler to consolidate his power. Schacht was a conservative nationalist who worked for the revision of the conditions imposed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. He supported Hitler to the extent that he fought for this aim, but he did not share his vision of global hegemony and opposed further expansionism once German power was restored within what he considered to be its legitimate limits. Thus the clash with Hitler was inevitable. In 1937 Schacht resigned from his post as minister of economic affairs and withdrew to the position of president of the Reichsbank. But in trying to protect Germany from inflation he was bound to clash with Hitler once more. Like Takahashi in Japan he had to be eliminated as he obstructed the drive for rearmament, but whereas Takahashi was murdered, Schacht only fell from grace and spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity.

-149-

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The Global Impact of the Great Depression, 1929-1939
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Tragedy of the International Gold Standard 19
  • 3 - The Dilemma of War Debts and Reparations 32
  • 4 - World Production of Agricultural Produce 38
  • 5 - The Origin of the Depression in America 48
  • 6 - The Transmission of the Crisis to Europe 59
  • 3 - Turkey and Egypt 74
  • 8 - Australia’s Reaction 82
  • 9 - Colonial Crisis Management 87
  • 10 - The New Role of the State in Latin America 98
  • 11 - Contrasts in East Asia 110
  • 12 - Reactions to the Depression in Southeast Asia 120
  • 13 - The Fate of Africa 126
  • 14 - The Political Consequences of the Depression 136
  • 15 - From Depression to War 149
  • 16 - The Aftermath 156
  • Bibliographical Notes 164
  • Index 176
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