My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT
Rearmament

REARMAMENT played a not inconsiderable part in the creation of employment, though it is entirely untrue to say that the creation of employment consisted solely of armaments. The first programme--the so-called Reinhardt Programme--provided only for repairs and restoration to houses, factories and machinery, but its expenditure amounted nevertheless to one milliard marks. This was followed by the great Autobahnen Programme which in the course of years absorbed many milliards. Further, in all provincial districts, road improvements, new buildings, hydraulic works, embankments, etc., were put in hand.

But the reason why armaments were very soon given priority was not merely their political objective but the fact that orders could be distributed among the large number of existing factories spread over the whole country, and could therefore be executed in equal proportions in every part of the Reich. For road construction, Autobahnen, embankments and the like the workmen had to be transferred from their homes to their places of employment, necessitating unwelcome family separations and considerable expense for accommodation. Orders for armaments which were despatched to factories throughout the country gave employment to the working man in his own neighbourhood and enabled him to remain with his family.

Among the ineradicable idiocies spread abroad nowadays by those who were unable to prevent Hitler's rise to power is the one which persists in affirming that I financed the war deliberately engineered by Hitler, and the armaments necessary thereto. The entire armaments programme, in so far as I helped to finance it, was in accordance with the political desire of all Parties in the Reichstag. After his rise to power, Hitler repeatedly demanded the limitation of armaments in all countries and agreed to it for Germany also if the others would do the same. Again and again he pointed out that the Versailles Treaty had agreed to the disarmament of the victorious Powers after Germany--as actually happened--had disarmed. At the League of Nations sessions in Geneva the question of disarmament of all those taking part came

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