An Economy Geared to War

Richard Overy argues that the lesson Hitler Drew from 1914-18 was not that a major war should be avoided, but that Germany should prepare more systematically so that, next time, she would win.

In June 1937 the American military attaché in Berlin wrote back to Washington: ‘The entire economic life of the German nation is being organised on a war economy basis’. The character of German preparations was, in his view, determined by the idea of ‘total war’. Germany had learned the lessons of defeat in 1918: only ‘complete control of national economy’ could ensure victory in the wars of the future.

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