The Relationship between Fascism and Economic Crisis in Twentieth Century Germany
Germany has twice in the face of serious economic crises seen a dramatic rise in fascism, specifically National Socialism. Is this only a matter of coincidence, or is there a relationship between fascist movements in Germany and economic crises in that country? In this work, there will be a description and analysis of the economic conditions in Germany during the two major economic crises in question. It is these conditions that are suspected to lie behind the growth of the fascist movement. The first crisis, following World War I, was characterized by dramatic swings in the business cycle, from extremely low output levels to full production. The problem was especially acute during a period of hyperinflation in the years between 1922 and 1924, and in the first years of the 1930's, as a world wide depression began to affect Germany. The second major economic crisis that I am considering of importance is the period beginning with the collapse of the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic in 1989 and continuing into the present. Despite massive amounts of private and government aid, the reunification of the two Germanies has left the economy of the former East Germany in chaos as a planned economy is changed to market economy essentially overnight. Wages, prices, and productivity levels were vastly different, and the loss of government subsidies left many east Germans in far worse condition. West Germans are bitter about higher taxes and the enormity of the bail-out. A brief summary of the development and state of both German economies before reunification makes the problems of reunification easier to understand.