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.”