Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy

First Published in
Inconvenient History

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy

by Adam Tooze, Viking Press, New York, 2006. 799pp.

Ezra MacVie

It is a well-worn truism that hunger is a weapon in war, and starvation may claim more victims in war than disease, cold, and the stupendous efforts of each side to kill members of the other side. But in mortal struggles between nations and their respective peoples, hunger and allied deprivations are also an “enemy within”—a consequence of the logic that he who fights cannot farm, nor bring fuel, nor administer medicine. The unforgiving logistics of life on earth become cruel and wrenching when masses seek to avoid—or impose—subjugation by or upon other masses.

But in the late 1930s, Hitler, for whose perspicacity Author Tooze allows considerable respect to shine through his text, saw that his Germany might face annihilation between the jaws of a vise formed on the west by the victorious Allies of World War I and by the nascent Soviet Union on the east. He details vividly how Hitler saw Germany’s salvation in that very land mass lying to the east of Germany that was occupied chiefly by the same golom of communism that formed the belligerent jaw, so to speak, of the vise. What he saw as the covert motivator of both jaws of this vise was International Jewry, as Tooze makes abundantly clear in his narrative.

Tooze never comments on the effective truth of Hitler’s concerns regarding International Jewry as the enemy of Germany’s “Aryan” civilization, nor does he explore any history bearing on its validity. He is a historian chronicling what amounts, at least in one view, to a titanic industrial contest between Germany and its occupied and allied countries on the one hand and Britain, the US, and the USSR and their allied countries on the other.

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