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In bad straits even in fair weather, the German Republic collapsed under the weight of the 1929-34 depression in which German unemployment soared to 7,000,000 above a nationwide wind drift of bankruptcies and failures. Called to power as Chancellor of the Third Reich on January 30, 1933 by aged, senile President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Hitler began to turn the Reich inside out. Unemployment was solved by: 1) a far-reaching program of public works; 2) an intense rearmament program, including a huge standing army; 3) enforced labor in the service of the State (the German Labor Corps); 4) putting political enemies and Jewish, Communist and Socialist jobholders in concentration camps.
What Adolf Hitler & Co. did to Germany in less than six years was applauded wildly and ecstatically by most Germans. He lifted the nation from post-War defeatism. Under the swastika Germany was unified. His was no ordinary dictatorship, but rather one of great energy and magnificent planning. The "socialist" part of National Socialism might be scoffed at by hard-&-fast Marxists, but the Nazi movement nevertheless had a mass basis. The 1,500 miles of magnificent highways built, schemes for cheap cars and simple workers' benefits, grandiose plans for rebuilding German cities made Germans burst with pride. Germans might eat many substitute foods or wear ersatz clothes but they did eat. What Adolf Hitler & Co. did to the German people in that time left civilized men and women aghast. Civil rights and liberties have disappeared. Opposition to the Nazi regime has become tantamount to suicide or worse. Free speech and free assembly are anachronisms. The reputations of the once-vaunted German centres of learning have vanished. Education has been reduced to a National Socialist catechism.