Yeah right. What a bunch of crap that is. That’s why Big Business fell all over themselves to support the Nazis, because they were pro-worker socialists. Get real. The Nazis assured business that labor would be under the firm control of the state, and business was free to manage their enterprises as they saw fit. The first to go the concentration camps were Communists, then socialists, then trade unions. Jews were fourth! Those first three groups were sent because Nazis were pro-worker socialists! C’mon. From William Shirer’s, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:
Goebbels was jubilant. “Now it will be easy,” he wrote in his diary on February 3, “to carry on the fight, for we can call on all the resources of the State. Radio and press are at our disposal. We shall stage a masterpiece of propaganda. And this time, naturally, there is no lack of money.”
The big businessmen, pleased with the new government that was going to put the organized workers in their place and leave management to run its business as it wished, were asked to cough up.
This they agreed to do at a meeting on February 20 at Goering’s Reichstag President’s Palace, at which Dr. Schacht acted as host and Goering and Hitler laid down the line to a couple of dozen of Germany’s leading magnates, including Krupp von Bohlen, who had become an enthusiastic Nazi overnight, Bosch and Schnitzler of I. G. Farben, and Voegler, head of the United Steel Works. The record of this secret meeting has been preserved.
Hitler began a long speech with a sop to the industrialists. “Private enterprise,” he said, “cannot be maintained in the age of democracy; it is conceivable only if the people have a sound idea of authority and personality . . . All the worldly goods we possess we owe to the struggle of the chosen . . . We must not forget that all the benefits of culture must be introduced more or less with an iron fist.”
He promised the businessmen that he would “eliminate” the Marxists and restore the Wehrmacht (the latter was of special interest to such industries as Krupp, United Steel and I. G. Farben, which stood to gain the most from rearmament). “Now we stand before the last election,” Hitler concluded, and he promised his listeners that “regardless of the outcome, there will be no retreat.”
If he did not win, he would stay in power “by other means . . . with other weapons.” Goering, talking more to the immediate point, stressed the necessity of “financial sacrifices” which “surely would be much easier for industry to bear if it realized that the election of March fifth will surely be the last one for the next ten years, probably even for the next hundred years.”
All this was made clear enough to the assembled industrialists and they responded with enthusiasm to the promise of the end of the infernal elections, of democracy and disarmament. Krupp, the munitions king, who, according to Thyssen, had urged Hindenburg on January 29 not to appoint Hitler, jumped up and expressed to the Chancellor the “gratitude” of the businessmen “for having given us such a clear picture.” Dr. Schacht then passed the hat. “I collected three million marks,” he recalled at Nuremberg.
As long as businesses produced what the state told them to, they were assured of good profits and a compliant workforce. Strikes and unions were outlawed.
Workers had to obey management. Management threatened disobedient workers with being sent to concentration camps. At first, the Nazis forced businesses to build gyms for their overworked workers to work out in when they were not slaving away. Later, the Nazis got rid of this when business complained that it was costing them too much money.
True, the Nazis built the Autobahn, and that was a public transportation improvement, but improved driving conditions for the masses was secondary. Mostly, those big highways were built to drive tanks and other military vehicles on. To the Nazis, war was everything. Everything was sublimated to the war machine.
When the war really got going, workers were horribly exploited, often forced to work 18 hours a day under miserable conditions all for the Fatherland. Many died of overwork during this period. This is why slave labor was imported from the conquered areas. That was the dominant theme of Nazism: slave labor. Some pro-worker socialists!
- Shirer, William. 1960. The Nazification of Germany: 1933–34. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon and Shuster.