Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State
Author: Götz Aly
A "provocative" account of great "intellectual significance," illuminating the economic workings of the Third Reich—and the reasons ordinary Germans supported the Nazi state (The New York Times Book Review)
In this groundbreaking book, historian Götz Aly addresses one of modern history's greatest conundrums: How did Hitler win the allegiance of ordinary Germans? The answer is as shocking as it is persuasive: by engaging in a campaign of theft on an almost unimaginable scale—and by channeling the proceeds into generous social programs—Hitler literally "bought" his people's consent.
Drawing on secret files and financial records, Aly shows that while Jews and citizens of occupied lands suffered crippling taxation, mass looting, enslavement, and destruction, most Germans enjoyed an improved standard of living. Buoyed by millions of packages soldiers sent from the front, Germans also benefited from the systematic plunder of Jewish possessions. Any qualms were swept away by waves of tax breaks and government handouts.
Hitler's Beneficiaries has been hailed as "startling" by Richard Evans, and as "fascinating and important" by Christopher Browning. Above all, as Omer Bartov testifies, this remarkable book "irreversibly transforms our understanding of the Third Reich."