Social groups in Nazi Germany 2.
The next group of people in Nazi Germany are the Landowners.
Question: did landowners lose out under the Nazis?
Base answer: no, but they were crushed at the end of the war.
The landed classes had been initially suspicious of radical social change.
They resented the political interference of the party, but above all they feared the Nazis would redistribute the large landed estates, which meant they wold lose their lands and therefore their income.
What is 'to resent'?
It means to dislike what you are told, expected to do or what someone says or does.
However, landowners soon learned to live quite comfortably with the Nazi regime and in the years before 1939 their economic interests were not really threatened.
Indeed, German victories in the early years of the war offered the chance of acquiring more cheap land.
The real blow for the landowners came in 1945 when the occupation of eastern Germany by the USSR resulted in the nationalisation of land. The traditional social and economic supremacy of the German landowners was broken.
The next group of people in Nazi Germany are the Mittelstand.
Question: did the Mittelstand benefit from Naziism?
Base answer: Not really. They lost income, business and eventually disappeared.
What was the Mittelstand?
The Mittelstand was the group of medium sized businesses.
The main Nazi ideas to support the Mittelstand were these:
1 Money from the confiscation of Jewish businesses was used to offer low interest rate loans.
What is ‘to confiscate’?
To take something away from someone, usually for a limited time but it can be permanent.
2 The Law to Protect Retail Trade (1933) banned the opening of new department stores and taxed the existing ones, many of which were owned by Jews.
3 Many new trading regulations were imposed to protect small craftsmen.
However as Germany’s re-industrialisation continued, the Mittelstand were unable to compete with even those new businesses which were allowed and their sector began to fail. By the end of the 1930s, when war began, they had almost all gone, giving way to either massive industry or small shops.
The last group of German people is ‘Big’ business. (See pictures below)
Question: did Big Business do well under the Nazis?
Base answer: Yes, in spite of heavy regulation.
Main idea: Volksgemeinschaft
Big business benefited most under the Nazis of all social groups. Profits increased very much especially in the armaments industry. Government controls increased but financial gains were large. The value of German industry steadily increased from the share price index and the improvement of salaries of management. From 1938 the annexations and the conquests of war provided great opportunities for taking over foreign property, land and companies.