The impact of the Nazis' actions on the lives of workers

There were some positive results for a number of groups in society.

The number of unemployed dropped from six million in 1933 to an actual labour shortage by 1939.

Wages for most workers eventually improved slightly. Some employers got around the wage controls introduced by the Nazis by giving Christmas bonuses.

Big businesses were the main winners.

By 1937 they controlled over 70 per cent of production. Rearmament boosted profits of big weapons companies, and managers of the major industrial companies saw their incomes rise by 50 per cent between 1933 and 1939.

Some farmers benefitted.

By 1937, agricultural prices had increased by 20 per cent. Agricultural wages rose more quickly than those in industry. The Hereditary Farm Law of 1933 prevented farms in debt from being repossessed by banks.

However, there were also problems. Nazi policies had different effects on different groups.

Initially less women were employed and it tended to be mainly in manual jobs or low paid agricultural work. Women were not allowed in the professions. Single women were expected to confine themselves to jobs in caring, e.g. nursing.

There was also a lot of hidden unemployment, for example among the Jews.

Workers lost their right to negotiate their wages and improvements in their working conditions.

They could not change their job without permission. The maximum working hours per week increased from 60 to 72.

Workers could be in danger of being unfairly treated by employers for questioning their working conditions. The number of serious industrial accidents increased. Industrial-related illnesses went up 150%.

Living conditions in National Labour Service (RAD) camps were poor.

Massive cuts in welfare spending affected lots of people.

Many farmers left their land due to poverty (in spite of subsidies, guaranteed prices and tax cuts).

Small businesses suffered a lot. Rules on opening and running small businesses were tightened, which resulted in 20 per cent of them closing. They could not compete with the monopolies and cartels formed by big businesses.