Courtesy Reuters

German Economic Tension: Causes and Results

FOR six years the Third Reich has been an economist's laboratory. The experiments were neither decided by economists nor conducted under their control; but it was possible for economists all over the world to observe their unfolding at a breakneck pace. Now these experiments have ended in an economic reverse, from which the only way out apparently leads straight into a Bolshevik economic system.

In their essence, none of the economic measures initiated by the Nazi Party-State was exactly original or epoch-making. Most of them were adopted or advocated by the first Napoleon, Fichte, List, Louis Blanc, and the economic architects of the Russian Soviet system -- that is, fairly continuously throughout the last century and a half. Indeed, in many remarkable particulars they resemble the economic expedients accompanying every social and political upheaval, from revolution to war itself. For example, the Reich's shortage of liquid capital since Munich has led to an expropriation of Jews' property, and to the scheduling of corporate Catholic property for disposal; and there has been talk of new bond issues to good Nazis to enable them to buy up former Jewish or Catholic property -- to buy it up or to ransom it. This is almost an exact parallel to the origin of the notorious assignats of the French Revolution, issued to enable citoyens to buy up clerical property. And just as the assignats heralded and eventually stimulated an inflation of the currency, so we today may justifiably link the removal of Dr. Hjalmar Schacht from the Reichsbank, within four months of Munich, to a long list of expropriations, successive new public loans, violent increases in the note circulation of the Reichsbank, and arbitrary impressment or intensification of human labor, and ask: Is inflation on the way? Is the Nazis' economic system breaking down?

As soon as these questions are posed we ought to become very cold-blooded and analytical. Many eminent economists in non-totalitarian states predicted six years ago that the Nazi economy would collapse

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