Note: This article is sourced from Richard Tedor’s book, “Hitler’s Revolution”. Noble has edited & condensed sections from Chapter 2. Tedor’s book has 270 pages of text, supplemented by over 1000 footnotes and a bibliography of over 200 authors, mostly German. This book is still available on Amazon. Secure a copy now before Jewry has it “canceled”. https://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-revolution-Richard-Tedor/dp/0988368226
Recap… The ongoing & constant vilification & demonization of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in the Jewish-controlled media is to prevent & discourage the disclosure of Hitler’s (German) Economic & Social miracle, which, during his reign, kicked out the parasitic influence of International Jewry.
The paradigm, which Hitler’s NSDAP ushered in, was so ahead of its time that it boggles the mind. The NSDAP, if not stopped, could of eventually brought in free-energy technologies and encouraged many nations of the world to eliminate the practice of usury, avoid the global central banking system and rid their country from the reins of Jewish Supremacy.
The potential of National Socialism was demonstrated on the ground, and not just in theory. No matter if mistakes were made, no matter if Germany’s National Socialist government experienced some internal & external issues, the economic & social power of National Socialism cannot be denied. It is based on Natural Law! Long live National Socialism!
Note: Hitler’s economic & social miracle was actually not a “miracle”, it was simply the logical result of what happens when National Socialists run their nation without the parasitic influence of International Jewry. National Socialism operates in accord with the Laws of Nature, the natural order of things. National Socialism is holistic & practical in its approach.
We wished to make a revolution, and a revolution was in fact made. But it is only the meanest spirit which can regard the essence of a revolution as consisting merely in destruction. We, on the contrary, regarded it as consisting in a gigantic work of re-construction.” -Hitler
Two days after becoming chancellor, Hitler outlined his economic program in a national radio address. “Within four years, the German farmer must be rescued from poverty. Within four years, unemployment must be finally overcome.”
The NSDAP government enacted laws based on the strategy conceived by Fritz Reinhardt, a state secretary in the Reich’s Ministry of Finance. This unassuming, pragmatic economist introduced a national program to create jobs on the premise that it is better to pay people to work than to award them jobless benefits.
The Labor Procurement Law of June 1, 1933, allotted RM 1 billion to finance construction projects nationwide. It focused on repair or remodeling of public buildings, business structures, residential housing and farms, construction of subdivisions and farming communities, regulating waterways, and building gas and electrical works. Men who had been out of work the longest, or who were fathers of large families, received preference in hiring. The law stipulated that German construction materials be used.
Also passed that summer, the Building Repair Law provided an additional RM 500 million for smaller individual projects.
The Labor Procurement Law provided newlyweds loans of RM 1,000 at one percent monthly interest. The loans came in the form of coupons to buy furniture, household appliances and clothing. To be eligible, the bride had to have been employed for at least six months during the previous two years, and had to agree to leave her job. Returning women to the home vacated positions in commerce and industry, creating openings for unemployed men.
The marriage law released approximately 20,000 women per month from the work force after September 1933. The increase in newlyweds created a corresponding need for additional housing. More tradesmen found work in new home construction.
When Hitler took power, labor represented 46 percent of German working people, and 82 percent of the nation’s unemployed. The government initiated massive public works projects to expand the job market for labor. It especially concentrated on upgrading the national railway. Also, construction of a modern superhighway began in September 1933, which found work for an additional 100,000 men each year. The production and delivery of building materials for pavement, bridges and rest stops simultaneously employed another 100,000.
The Reich’s Autobahn project, originally planned for over 3,700 miles of new highway construction, relied primarily on manual labor. Limiting the use of modern paving machinery enabled the Autobahn commission not only to keep more men on the job, but devote 79 percent of the budget to workers’ salaries. The Autobahn was a toll road; however, reduced wear on vehicles using this efficient highway system, and savings in travel time were worthwhile compensation to motorists for the fee.
The Reich also focused on relieving the distressed circumstances facing the German farmer. The depression had left many farms in debt. Younger family members often left their homes to seek opportunities in the cities. A September 1933 law established the Reich’s Food Producers, an organization to promote the interests of people in the agrarian economy, fishermen and gardeners. With 17 million members, the Reich’s Food Producers’ principle objectives were to curtail the gradual dying-out of farms in Germany, and prevent migration of rural folk to concentrated population centers or industry. Controlling the market value of foodstuffs, the organization gradually raised the purchase price of groceries by over ten percent by 1938. This measure was not popular among the public, but greatly assisted planters.
Hitler had a particular interest in preserving Germany’s farming stratum. During World War 1, his country had suffered acutely from Britain’s naval blockade of food imports. He considered a thriving agrarian economy vital to making Germany self-sufficient in this realm. By reducing the effectiveness of a potential nautical blockade in the event of future hostilities, growers indirectly contributed to national defense.
On the ideological plain, Hitler regarded a robust agrarian class to be essential for a healthy general population. In the turbulence of the modern age, industrialization & progress removed man further and further from his natural surroundings. Bound to the soil and the family homestead for generations, the farming community was an anchor rooted in traditional German customs & values. It drew sustenance from the land and passed it on to the nation. While labor represented a dynamic political force, the farming stratum remained the cornerstone of ethnic life.
Hitler not only maintained Germany’s agrarian class, but augmented it; housing planners sited many new settlements of single family homes in rural areas where residents took up farming. The government provided interest-free loans & grants for the purchase of farm implements along with special marriage loans for newlyweds. The debts were to be forgiven after the family had worked the farm ten years.
Germany’s economic reforms would never have been so successful without overhauling the tax structure, leftover from the Weimar Republic era.
Tax reform was a major element of Reinhardt’s recovery program. The first to benefit from tax relief was Germany’s automotive industry. The government recovered the revenue lost from repealed automotive taxes through reduced payments of jobless benefits, income tax from newly employed auto workers, highway tolls and corporate tax.
Reinhardt demanded the creation of a simplified, centrally supervised tax structure. New tax laws & instructions used every-day German, easily understandable to taxpayers. Under the Reinhardt system, the government gradually supplanted the plethora of municipal, provincial and state taxes and fees with a single national tax. It also simplified the accounting of private corporations no longer required to determine withholding taxes on employees’ salaries. In the long run, Germany’s policy of reducing taxes to promote commerce increased public revenues.
Germany is already beginning to operate more on the concept of labor than on the concept of money.” -The British General, J.F.C. Fuller
No program to restore German prosperity could omit international trade. Deprived of its colonies, the Reich had to develop foreign markets to acquire raw materials for industry, and a portion of the food supply. With gold reserves exhausted, the National Socialist administration had to create an alternative source of purchasing power.
Despite “objections” from Hjalmar Schacht, president of the Reichsbank, Hitler withdrew Germany’s money system from the gold standard. Gold was the recognized medium of exchange for international commerce. Over centuries, it had become a commodity as well. Financiers (Jewry) bought & sold gold, speculated on its fluctuations in price, and loaned it abroad at high interest (usury). Hitler substituted a direct barter system in foreign dealings. German currency became defined as measuring units of human productivity. This was a revolutionary concept!
Soviet diplomat, Kristyan Rakovsk, in January 1938, was astonished. “Hitler, this uneducated ordinary man, has out of natural intuition and even despite the opposition of the technician Schacht, created an especially dangerous economic system. An illiterate in every theory of economics driven only by necessity; he has cut out international as well as private high finance. Hitler possesses almost no gold, and so he can’t endeavor to make it a basis for currency. Since the only available collateral for his money is the technical aptitude and great industriousness of the German people, technology & labor became his ‘gold’… Like magic, it’s eliminated all unemployment for more than six million skilled employees & laborers.”
Germany’s unforgivable crime before the Second World war was her attempt to extricate her economic power from the world’s trading system, and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.” -Winston Churchill
Germany’s withdrawal from the gold-based, internationally-linked monetary system in favor of a medium of exchange founded on domestic productivity corresponded to Hitler’s belief in maintaining the sovereignty of nations. This was an unwelcome development in London, Paris and New York, where cosmopolitan investment & banking institutions profited from loaning money to foreign countries. Germany no longer had to borrow in order to trade on the world market. Foreign demand for German goods correspondingly created more jobs within the Reich.
Upon taking office, Hitler had assigned the elimination of unemployment as his first priority. During the first twelve months of his administration, unemployment declined by nearly 2.3 million. In 1934, 2,973,544 persons were still out of work, but by November 1935, 1,750,000 more Germans had found full time jobs.
In November 1938, the German government officially recorded 461,244 citizens as unemployed. The statistic included individuals who were physically or mentally disabled, mostly homebound and hence unemployable. It also incorporated the populations of Austria and the Sudetenland. Germany had annexed these economically depressed lands the same year. Both had suffered massive unemployment, which Hitler had not yet had time to fully alleviate.
From 1934 to 1937, the number of women in the work force increased from 4.5 million to 5.7 million. Despite programs to encourage women to return to traditional family roles, the government did not restrict those choosing a career. They were equally eligible for tax incentives offered for starting small businesses.
The campaign to stabilize Germany’s economy witnessed measures that were only possible in an authoritarian state. The National Socialist maxim, “community interest before self-interest”, guided a policy that was efficient & uncompromising.
Among the first to feel its weight were Germany’s trade unions. By 1932, they had far less influence than during the previous decade. Few workers were prepared to risk their jobs by striking. Union representatives voiced no protest when Hitler, five weeks after taking power, banned the Marxist organizations, Iron Front & Reichsbanner. In April 1933, the German trade unions issued a public statement declaring their desire to cooperate with the new government.
Hitler had no interest in collaborating with trade unions. On May 2, the police and deputized SA men occupied union offices throughout the Reich. National Socialist labor commissioners replaced the union leaders. The government confiscated union funds. It banned strikes & lock-outs. Hitler acknowledged the necessity for an organization to advocate labor’s interests. He believed however, that it should be a state agency.
Considering trade union leaders to be Marxist-oriented, Hitler viewed them as little more than instruments of Soviet Russia’s Comintern. Moscow had established this organization to promote Communist movements abroad. To allow the continued existence of non-government regulated trade unions, Hitler reasoned, placed German labor under the influence of a foreign power that was a commercial rival on the world market.
After Hitler nullified the unions, workers came under the newly established Reich’s Institute for Labor Mediation & Unemployment Insurance, the RAA. A common procedure of the RAA was to redistribute manpower where it could better serve national interests. The institute not only possessed the authority to transfer workers to critically distressed areas, but to prevent others from relocating. Directing people to specific occupations where their skills were better utilized developed out of Bismarck’s perception of labor as “soldiers of work”.
National Socialism capitalized on this martial approach by defining vocational endeavor as an achievement for the nation or, in Hitler’s words, a “willingly given offering to the community.” As a sacrifice for Germany, toil elevated “the working person to the first citizen of the nation.”
No longer, as in the traditional sense, would material possessions determine social status, but service to the common good through labor. Imposing a “duty to work” on his people, Hitler accordingly honored their achievements in the spirit that a country pays homage to the sacrifices of its soldiers. Still, the overall goal of his comparatively strict policy was not to militarize the national psyche, but first & foremost to combat unemployment in his country.
Pursuant to his maxim that controls are fair & just when enforced uniformly without exempting any particular group, Hitler resorted to equally undemocratic methods to protect the working population from exploitation. He forbade speculation on nationally vital commodities, such as agricultural harvest & energy. The stock exchange, which Reinhardt dismissed as a “gangster society,” suffered increasing limitations to its freedom of operation. Only rarely, and then with difficulty, could novice applicants obtain a broker’s license. The government also protected smaller and newer businesses by banning the practice by established enterprises of ruining retail competitors by underselling their products.
Perhaps, nowhere was Hitler more restrictive than with regard to regulations governing the conduct of public officials. Sponsoring massive construction programs to improve the economy required civil servants to solicit bids & award contracts, issue building permits, conduct inspections, re-zone districts, recruit manpower and so on. The opportunity for them to favor certain private commercial interests in exchange for gratuities was particularly troublesome to Hitler. He enacted laws making it illegal for public servants to possess stock portfolios, or to serve as consultants to private corporations. The law also affected members of the armed forces and the National Socialist party in positions of procurement. It was a violation for anyone leaving public sector to accept a job with a private concern that he had previously contracted with in an official capacity. Even as private citizens, former civil servants were forbidden by Hitler from investing their personal wealth in stock shares.
By 1937, Germany’s work force was fully employed. The former American President Herbert Hoover, whose own country’s unemployment rate then stood at 11.2 percent, praised the Reich’s labor procurement program for both efficiency & frugality. The parallel New Deal program in the United States was more costly and making less headway. The U.S. national debt was $37.2 billion in June 1938. This was three times that of Germany. Even America’s Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, confided in his diary the Germans’ success at creating jobs. The German parliament gave Hitler a free hand by ratifying the Empowering Act on March 21, 1933. This authorized him to write all laws, automatically approved by the Reichstag whether constitutional or not, for the next four years. The measure allowed the “Fuhrer” (leader) to proceed aggressively against unemployment & national bankruptcy.
THE SOCIAL RENAISSANCE
Germany’s triumph over unemployment, without foreign help and during worldwide economic depression, was in itself an accomplishment any government could be satisfied with. For Hitler, it was a step toward far-reaching social programs intended to elevate & unify the population. Like other elements of National Socialist rule, subsequent reforms realized ideas that long had been developing in German society.
The social programs Hitler introduced had two objectives. One was to improve the standard of living of the average citizen. The other was to create a classless society in which the bourgeois, labor, agrarian folk and nobility enjoyed equal status as “ethnic national comrades”. Hitler believed that removing traditional class barriers would create social mobility for talented individuals to advance.
An important organization for promoting National Socialist community values was the Volunteer Labor Service (FAD). Founded in August 1931, the FAD recruited the unemployed for public works. Paying volunteers two reichsmarks a day, a primary purpose of the FAD was to improve the physical & mental well-being of unemployed & unoccupied young Germans. Upon assuming power, Hitler expanded the organization and raised the pay scale. It numbered 263,000 members by mid-1933. The Fuhrer considered it “superbly suited for conscious instruction in the concept of a national community.
Membership in the FAD declined as more jobs became available. In June 1935, Hitler enacted a law making six months’ labor service compulsory for teenagers upon high school graduation. No longer voluntary, the FAD became the RAD, Reich’s Labor Service. Members assisted in Autobahn construction, drained swamps, planted trees, upgraded poorer farms and improved waterways.
To us National Socialists, the idea of sending all Germans through a single school of labor is among the means of making this national community a reality. In this way, Germans will get to know one another. The prejudices common among different occupations will then be so thoroughly wiped away as to never again resurface.” -Hitler
In May 1933, the first congress of the German Labor Front (DAF) took place in Berlin. It replaced the disbanded trade unions & managers’ associations.
DAF contributed to Hitler’s goal of welding the Germans into a national community. He stated, “The head and the hand are one. The eternal petty differences (between labor & management) will of course still exist. But there must be a common foundation, the national interests of all, that grows beyond the ridiculous, trivial personal squabbles, occupational rivalries, economic conflicts and so forth.”
Hitler’s blueprint for eliminating class division was largely an equalization process. Through useful work, everyone could earn the respect of the community. “No one has the right to elevate himself socially above another because some outward circumstance makes him appear better… The loftiest individual is not the one who has the most, but the one who does the most for everyone else. The honest man, even if he is poor, is worth more than a wealthy one possessing fewer virtues.”
One revolutionary measure, regarding the DAF, was the government’s regulation of salaries & managerial privileges. The Law for Regulation of Wages introduced guidelines for calculating salaries.
Based on the principle of comparable pay for equal demands on an individual’s time & energy, its goal was to guarantee a decent standard of living for everyone who worked hard. The regulation further called for an adjustment in salary for employees with unavoidable financial hardships, in order to guarantee their standard of living.
Even time lost from work due to weather conditions became a factor. It also required that every citizen receive pay for overtime.
The wage law acknowledged the value of honest labor, and the need to adequately compensate all who perform it. A guiding principle of the wage grading program was not to reduce the standard of living of previously higher paid associates, but to elevate that of those who earned less.
Hitler himself wrote that bringing a particular class of people into the community “does not succeed by dragging down the upper classes, but by elevating the lower. This process can never be carried out by the higher class, but by the lower one fighting for its equal rights.”
Corrections in salary, benefits and accommodations not only raised the standard of living for labor, but helped integrate it socially. Advantages previously associated with middle class prestige became universal. This diminished one more status symbol dividing the complacent, privileged caste from those seeking acceptance. Hitler had no faith in the good will of the bourgeois and in fact blamed it for Germany’s class barriers. He passed laws making exploitation of labor a punishable offense.
In January 1934, the government enacted the Law for Regulation of National Labor. The law’s vocabulary replaced the terms “employer & employee” with “leader & follower.” It designated respective roles in this way, “The leader of the facility makes decisions for the followers in all matters of production in so far as they fall under the law’s regulation. He is responsible for the welfare of the followers. They are to be dutiful to him, in accordance with the mutual trust expected in a cooperative working environment.” The law imposed moral obligations on both.
Though according management autonomy in decision-making, the law included serious restrictions as well. Business owners & directors were responsible not only for sound fiscal management of the company, but for the protection of employees from abuse.
In October 1934, Hitler published a decree defining the nature and the tasks of the DAF. He wrote, “The German Labor Front is to insure harmony in the work place by creating an understanding among facility leaders for the justifiable requirements of their followers, and balancing this with an appreciation among the followers for the circumstances of and for what is feasible for their factory.” In this sense, Hitler assigned the DAF an educational mission as well for their industry leaders & followers. It was but a single element of an extensive, lengthy process of “total inward re-education of people as a prerequisite” to achieve “genuine socialism.”
Hitler strove to achieve acceptance of the party’s socialist program among the German people with voluntary obedience, rather than compliance based on law enforcement. “With police, machine guns and rubber clubs, no regimen can be maintained in the long run,” he warned. In 1939, he called for drastic reduction of the national police force to release manpower to relieve the industrial labor shortage.
New legislation, public instruction and the DAF worked together to upgrade on-the-job conditions for labor. Hitler simultaneously devoted equal attention to improving housing for the working class. Revitalizing the construction industry, which was the crux of Reinhardt’s program to reduce unemployment, played a crucial role in the government’s social agenda as well. Without decent homes, labor could not obtain self-respect, and the respect of the German community to fully integrate into national life.
A study by the DAF concluded, “In the interior of the Reich, most families are concentrated into cramped & insufficient lodgings. Because of this not only are morals, cultural awareness, health and social tranquility jeopardized, but especially the future offspring.”
Hitler became personally involved in designing four-room homes. Each was to have central heating, a combined coal & electric kitchen range, and a shower with a hot water heater; with an area outside to garden.
The government ordered development of a basic, affordable refrigerator to replace the commercial models that were still a luxury for most families. Hitler himself decided on installing showers instead of baths in each new home. He stipulated that the stall must include a low wall to enable parents to bathe small children. Buyers had the option of ordering a bathtub as an upgrade.
Liberal use of space was designated to residential areas. It included landscaped corridors to block vehicle routes, plus parks, walking trails, sidewalks and bicycle paths.
When Hitler became chancellor, most working class people had no medical insurance. Labor relied on plant physicians, while ailing family members cared for one another at home. Bad lighting, factory noise, excessive toil and similar circumstances contributed to illness in the work place, so that an average of three percent of employees were absent from their jobs each day nationwide.
Poor housing and lack of recreation were also detrimental to workers’ health. Most people could not afford doctors, likening the profession to a fire brigade only summoned during dire emergencies. Physicians often set up shop in districts where clientele could pay more for their services. This led to a scarcity of healthcare professionals in rural communities. Remote & less populated areas lacked not only doctors but clinics. The death rate among infants & small children in one poorer district polled was six percent.
A national healthcare agreement was signed on January 1941. It authorized the founding of free local clinics, annual physicals for all citizens, and state-financed coverage for medical treatment of sick & injured persons. This negated the need for people to purchase medical insurance. To offset expenditures, the plan called for far-reaching “preventative medicine” measures. The DAF allotted funds to build more health spas, resorts, and other recreational facilities to serve as local weekend retreats for workers and their families. This was to improve public health through rest & relaxation.
The annual Winter Help Work charity drive brought relief to the poor and promoted solidarity. Launched in the fall of 1933, the program solicited financial contributions from the population to aid the unemployed. Associates used the donations to purchase groceries, heating materials and vouchers for the needy, or to fund affiliated charitable institutions. During the winter of 1935-36, the drive assisted nearly 13 million Germans. As the Reich’s employment situation improved, Winter Help Work became less necessary.
Hitler considered education of the young the key to the nation’s progressive development beyond his lifetime. During a speech to leaders of the party’s fighting organizations in 1933, Hitler stated, “With very few exceptions, practically all revolutions failed because their supporters did not recognize that the most essential part of a revolution is not taking power, but educating the people.”
As far as the NSDAP was concerned, universities were graduating young adults who were unfit to assume leadership positions in Germany. Hitler himself wrote, “Every year, hundreds of thousands of completely untalented persons are blessed with a higher education, while hundreds of thousands of others with superior ability remain without any advanced schooling. The loss to the nation cannot be overestimated.” The Fuhrer argued that it was not the function of the state “to preserve the controlling influence of an existing class of society. Instead, it is the state’s duty to draw the most capable minds from the sum of all the citizens and bring them to public office & rank.”
By National Socialist perception, a primary task of education was to train every young adult in an occupation. The class of unskilled labor was to disappear because members of the younger generation without a trade or profession lack character.
The German Labor Front launched the annual Reich’s Career Competition in 1934. Half a million boys & girls, 80 percent of whom possessed but a rudimentary education, displayed their skills in trades & crafts. The best-scoring contestants received financial grants to pursue higher learning. Local & regional competitions broadened the percentage of winners, and further publicized the program. The number of children taking part grew annually.
To further develop the trade knowledge of the younger generation, the government sponsored Langemarck Schools, which were institutions that recruited youngsters from labor & rural backgrounds. The academies initially suffered a shortage of qualified instructors. They were nonetheless another step toward Hitler’s ambition, that in this realm, “we are paving the way for every single able mind toward the loftiest station in life he wants to aim for, just so long as he is capable, energetic and determined.”
In October 1936, Dr. Robert Ley signed an agreement with the minister of education, Dr. Bernhard Rust, authorizing the party’s direct involvement in the national school system. The contract allowed the NSDAP to establish boarding schools, the Reich’s Ministry of Education, reserving the right to select faculty.
Ley enjoyed sufficient influence, and the DAF ample funds, to fashion a collateral school system that became virtually autonomous. It developed an independent curriculum & graduation requirements not conforming to state standards, and it established its own academy for training faculty. With the Fuhrer’s permission, Ley named the ten institutions planned for Germany the Adolf Hitler Schools (AHS). Supplemental funding from the Reich’s treasury eventually allowed the addition of two more schools. The AHS boarding schools tested twelve year-olds nominated by the NSDAP district leadership. Candidates passing the entrance exam entered a six-year course. The operation of the Adolf Hitler Schools offers insight into the personal qualities National Socialism sought to cultivate in Germany’s future leaders.
In designing the AHS entrance exam, the faculty hoped to assess independence of judgment, ingenuity, rapid comprehension, retention, improvisation, ability to concentrate, and imagination rather than pure knowledge. They sought the most talented youngsters from throughout Germany without Hitler’s usual preference for working class families. Teachers were aware however, that the quality of education among poorer sections of the population left some young talent undiscovered. Grading of the entrance exam took this into account. It permitted a relatively greater proportion of sons of artisans, laborers and farmers in the boarding schools than was the case in other institutions. Instructors seldom allowed political considerations to compromise the selection of students.
Most AHS instructors identified National Socialism’s “one people, one leader” concept with the person of Hitler himself. Germany’s future political structure, in the opinion of the AHS faculty, should therefore be an oligarchy; a select stratum where membership would be determined not by social, economic or intellectual standing, but by personal leadership qualities and devotion to country. The schools did not want to graduate automatons that blindly conformed to the party line, they had to think for themselves.
One period newspaper article stated, “At the Adolf Hitler Schools, those character-forming forces are at work which we need for our times. They do not however, suppress the particular nature of the individual, but nurture & strengthen it, in this way enabling the boys to mature into independent thinking & decisive personalities.”
The Adolf Hitler Schools sought not to master Germany’s most promising young adults, but to teach them to master themselves. This method of education represented a significant departure from liberalism’s practice. In order to provide equal opportunities for advancement for underachievers, the democratic state often devotes greater resources to their schooling than to that of those exhibiting superior ability. The leveling off process corresponds to the liberal principle that rejects natural ranking among individuals based on talent and personal initiative. In Germany, by contrast, certain academic institutions assigned priority to developing the potential of more gifted students. Parallel instruction in communal responsibility was supposed to insure that training such personalities for leadership roles would be of service to all.
Strength through Joy Program
One of the most popular organizations to advance socialism & harmony in Germany was the DAF’s recreational division, “Strength through Joy” (KdF). Its role was to provide diversion for the working population. Upon its founding, Dr. Robert Ley announced, “We should not just ask what the person does on the job, but we also have the responsibility to be concerned about what the person does when off work. We have to be aware that boredom does not rejuvenate someone, but amusement in varied forms does. To organize this entertainment, this relaxation, will become our most important task.”
Hitler considered travel an excellent activity for regenerating mind, body and spirit. Ley continued, “The Fuhrer wants every laborer and every employee to be able to take a good-value KdF trip at least once a year. In so doing, the person should not only visit the loveliest German vacation spots, but also go on sea voyages abroad.”
Few Germans could afford to travel prior to Hitler’s chancellorship. In 1933, just 18 percent of employed persons did so. All were people with above-average salaries. The KdF began sponsoring low-cost excursions the following year, partly subsidized by the DAF, that were affordable for lower income families. Package deals covered the cost of transportation, lodging, meals and tours. Options included outings to swimming or mountain resorts, health retreats, popular attractions in cities and provinces, hiking and camping trips.
In 1934, 2,120,751 people took short vacation tours. The number grew annually, with 7,080,934 participating in 1938. KdF “Wanderings” backpacking excursions in scenic areas drew 60,000 the first year. In 1938, there were 1,223,362 Germans on the trails. The influx of visitors boosted commerce in economically depressed resort towns.
These activities were only possible because Hitler, upon founding the “Strength through Joy” agency in November 1933, ordered all German businesses & industry to grant sufficient paid time off for employees. Prior to that year, nearly a third of the country’s labor force had no union contract, and hence worked without vacations. In 1931, just 30 percent of laborers with wage agreements received 4-6 days off per year. The majority, 61 percent, received three days.
The National Socialist government required that all working people be guaranteed a minimum of six days off after six months’ tenure with a company. As seniority increased, the employee was to earn twelve paid vacation days per annum. The state extended the same benefits to Germany’s roughly half a million people who held small contracts with industry who manufactured components at home. Contracting corporations financed their holidays as well.
Ley fought the labor ministry for years before finally extending the work force’s paid annual leave to four weeks. Many choosing to travel during their vacation took advantage of inexpensive cruises sponsored by the KdF. The agency initially charted two passenger ships early in 1934. On May 3, the Dresden left Bremerhafen with 969 vacationers for a five-day voyage. The Monte Olivia, carrying 1,800 passengers, put out from Hamburg the same day. Both vessels steamed to the Isle of Wight off the English coast and back. Few aboard had ever experienced a cruise, and they returned to port exhilarated.
In well-publicized interviews, travelers enthusiastically described the new KdF fleet as “dream ships for workers.” News coverage enhanced interest in the program. With applications for bookings flooding the KdF, the vessels began a continuous shuttle of five-day cruises to and from Norway, offering passengers a tour of the coastline’s majestic fjords.
The voyages became enormously popular, leading Ley to charter five more ships that summer. By the end of 1934, the KdF fleet had provided five-day cruises, mostly to Norway, for 80,000 German workers and their families. The KdF introduced Mediterranean cruises the following season.
The sports office of the DAF sponsored labor’s involvement in other “exclusive” activities such as tennis, skiing, horseback riding and sailing. It offered inexpensive courses in these sports, and built new facilities. Interest in the programs became so widespread that the DAF had to train a large number of additional instructors. In 1934 alone, 470,928 Germans took part in DAF sports courses. In 1938, the number had swollen to 22,474,906. The agency also promoted sports clubs in factories & businesses. Within two years, there were over 11,000 company clubs competing in team events against those from other firms or departments.
In its endeavors to fully integrate labor into German society, the KdF introduced cultural activities as well. Its 70 music schools offered basic instruction in playing musical instruments for members of working class families. The KdF arranged theater productions & classical concerts for labor throughout the country. The KdF also established travelling theaters & concert tours to visit rural towns in Germany where cultural events seldom took place.
The “Strength through Joy” agency’s recreational programs had many positive benefits for labor. As Ley stated, it offered the working man the opportunity “to satisfy his urge to learn more about life in all areas of endeavor, and release the forces of creativity & industriousness resting within him.” The goal was not just to improve the material circumstances of this stratum, but to help the workers develop an inner harmony through the balance of useful work for the nation and playful diversion during leisure time. It supported Hitler’s ambition to craft a genuinely socialist state, to which he himself contributed with various policies.
Few in Germany could afford an automobile prior to the Fuhrer’s order to design and mass-produce the “KdF Car,” known later as the Volkswagen. Sales of this robust, inexpensive vehicle to average-income households eliminated the status previously connected with car ownership. Generous improvements in Germany’s highway system made automobile travel practical & popular.
Hitler’s practice of instituting uniforms for the labor service, youth and women’s organizations, state and party functionaries, veterans’ clubs and so forth also advanced the socialist agenda. The uniform equalized Germans, rich or poor. It identified them only as belonging to a particular group contributing to national life.
The goal of Hitler’s policies was to realize a cooperative, harmonious society, a fair & reasonable distribution of national assets, and a life for the working population as free from anxiety & want as possible.
In 1942, German General, Walther Scherff, summarized the popular impression of his Fuhrer during the times. “Hitler’s principle of life was the same as that of his role model, Friedrich the Great; that it is not war, but civilized, creative activity such as works of art, social institutions, and travel routes that will bring the German people a practical, carefree and secure future existence.”
Hitler once described himself as living for the future of his German nation, for “these countless millions of people who work hard, and possess so little of life.”
Note: The “Strength through Joy” organization had by 1938 enabled over 490,000 to take sea cruises, and 19 million to be given land excursions, 21 million to participate in sporting events, 22 million to visit theaters, over 18 million to attend film performances, over 6 million to attend concerts, over 3 million to attend factory exhibitions, and no less than 50 million to take part in cultural events. The organization had 230 establishments for popular education, and through it 62,000 educational events were arranged, being attended by 10 million people.