Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State
by Götz Aly
A stunning account of the economic workings of the Third Reich—and the reasons ordinary Germans supported the Nazi state
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 conquered territory and the transfer of Jewish possessions into their homes and pockets. Any qualms were swept away by waves of government handouts, tax breaks, and preferential legislation.
Gripping and important, Hitler's Beneficiaries makes a radically new contribution to our understanding of Nazi aggression, the Holocaust, and the complicity of a people.
- Henry Holt and Co., January 2008
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