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The Wages of Destruction: The Making and…

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (2006)

by Adam Tooze

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I only read the first 30 pages or so... didn't really have the time for it. But well written, and hope I can read more of it in the future. I'm fascinated with the the idea of how economics were such a big motivation for the Nazis and the war. ( )
  keithostertag | Jan 3, 2017 |
Adam Tooze's "The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy" provides a groundbreaking new account of how Hitler established himself in power, mobilized for war - and led his country to annihilation. Was the tragedy of the Second World War determined by Nazi Germany's terrifying power, or by its fatal weakness? This gripping and universally-acclaimed new history tells the real story of the cost of Hitler's plans for world domination - and will overturn everything you thought you knew about the Third Reich.
  HitherGreen | Jan 24, 2016 |
In terms of originality and the sheer volume of information, this is one of the best history books I have read in the last 10 years. Tooze looks at Nazi Germany, not from a judgmental or moralistic standpoint (though his views on the morality of the regime are made clear), but from the objective standpoint of Germany's economic status in the world of the 1920s and 1930s.

The author produces dozens of startling conclusions that fly in the face of conventional wisdom about the period, and Tooze documents all these with masses of data.

Tooze's signal achievement is to marshal all this information and at the same time present an extremely interesting and readable story. I must admit to coming back to work late from lunch on more than one occasion as I got hooked on passages in the book.

Well worth a read for anyone interested in the economic origins of the Second World War, or in the economic underpinnings of the Nazi regime that was loosed upon Europe. ( )
  oparaxenos | Nov 27, 2015 |
A brilliant recasting of the oh-so-dull-third-reich-tale. Our Niall Ferguson's Niall Ferguson in how he shows how the economic realities drove political exigencies. Perhaps intentionalists will argue its all a bit to structural, but this is both readable and revelatory. ( )
  jontseng | Jan 5, 2011 |
Germany lost the Second World War was because the allies out-produced them. I've known that for a long time -- but until I read The Wages of Destruction I never really understood what that statement meant, and all that it entailed. The Wages of Destruction explains, in gripping, readable detail, how the Nazi war machine worked, how it failed, and how it shaped the strategy and some of the worst crimes of the Third Reich.

So let me add to the chorus of five-star reviews. I consider The Wages of Destruction required reading if you want to understand Nazi Germany, particularly if you have an interest in economics or business. Also, if you have read Albert Speer's Inside the Third Reich, you'll be interested in this book for the counterpoint it provides. ( )
  dwieringa | May 28, 2010 |
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From the Preface:
"The first aim of this book, therefore, is to reposition economics at the centre of our understanding of Hitler's regime, by providing an economic narrative that helps to make sense of and underpin the political histories produced over the last generation. No less urgent, however, is the neet to bring oru understanding of the economic history of the Third Reich into line with the subtle but profound rewriting of the history of the European economy that has been ongoing since the late 1980s buta has gone largely unnoticed in the mainstream historiography."
"In 1939, as the war started, the combined GDP of the British and French empires exceeded that of Germany and Italy by 60 per cent. Of course the idea of inherent German economic superiority was not simply a figment of the historical imagination. Germany from the late nineteenth century onwards was the home for a cluster of world-beating industrial companies. Brand names like Krupp, Siemens and IG Farben gave substance to the myth of German industrial invincibility. Viewed in wider terms, however, the German economy differed little from the European average: its national per capita income in the 1930s was middling; in the present-day terms it was comparable to that of Iran or South Africa... Germany under Hitler was still only a partially modernized society, in which upwards of 15 million people depended for their living either on traditional handicrafts or on peasant agriculture."
"The basic and possibly most racial contention of this books is that these interrelated shifts in our historical perception require a reframing of the history of the Third Reich, a reframing which has the disturbing effect both of rendering the history of Naziasm more intelligible, indeed eerily conemporary, and the the same time bringing into even sharper relief its fundamental ideological irrationality. Economic history throws new light both on the motives for Hitler's aggression and on the reasons why it failed, why indeed it was bound to fail."

"In both respects, America should provide the pivot for our understanding of the Third Reich. In seeking to explain the urgency of Hitler's aggression, historians have underestimated his acute awareness of the threat posed to Germany, along with the rest of the European powers, by the emergence of the United States as the dominant global superpower.... As in many semi-peripheral economies today, the German population in the 1930s was already thoroughly immersed in the commodity world of Hollywood, but at the same time many millions of people lived three or four to a room, without indoor bathrooms or electricity. The originality of National Socialism was that, rather than meekly accepting a place for Germany within a global economic order dominated by the affluent English-speaking countries, Hitler sought to mobilized the pent-up frustrations of his population to mount an epic challenge to this order. Repeating what Europeans had done across the globe over the previous three centuries, Germany would carve out its own imperial hinterland; by one last land grab in the East it would create the self-sufficient basis both for domestic affluence and the platform necessary to prevail in the coming superpower competition with the United States."

"The aggression of Hitler’s regime can thus be rationalized as an intelligible response to the tensions stirred up by the uneven development of global capitalism, tensions that are of course still with us today.”
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143113208, Paperback)

An extraordinary mythology has grown up around the Third Reich that hovers over political and moral debate even today. Adam Tooze's controversial new book challenges the conventional economic interpretations of that period to explore how Hitler's surprisingly prescient vision- ultimately hindered by Germany's limited resources and his own racial ideology-was to create a German super-state to dominate Europe and compete with what he saw as America's overwhelming power in a soon-to- be globalized world. The Wages of Destruction is a chilling work of originality and tremendous scholarship that is already setting off debate in Germany and will fundamentally change the way in which history views the Second World War.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:44 -0400)

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In this groundbreaking history, Tooze provides the clearest picture to date of the Nazi war machine and its undoing. There was no aspect of Nazi power untouched by economics--it was Hitler's obsession and the reason the Nazis came to power in the first place. The Second World War was fought, in Hitler's view, to create a European empire strong enough to take on the United States. But as this book makes clear, Hitler's armies were never powerful enough to beat either Britain or the Soviet Union--and Hitler never had a serious plan as to how he might defeat the United States. An eye-opening and controversial account that will challenge conventional interpretations of the period.--From publisher description.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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