Why did the Nazis control employment?

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The work-shy

Anyone who refused to work was branded ‘work-shy’ and sent to a concentration camp for correction.

The police rounded up beggars, Roma and those deemed criminals. In 1933 alone, 500,000 people were sent to concentration camps for work training.


Why did the Nazis control employment?

Produce a table with three columns.

In the left hand column list the potential policy reasons. You might include:

  • Rebuilding the economy (money and finances)
  • Reducing unemployment
  • Controlling the population
  • Rearmament

In the second column add examples for each of the reasons.

In the third column provide a possible result of each example.

Use your information to answer the key question.

Many people had voted for Hitler because he had promised to end unemployment. Once the Nazi Party came to power everyone had to work. Between 1933 and 1939, unemployment fell from six million in 1933 to 100,000.

Trade unions

Trade unions were banned. The Nazi Party established its own trade union, the DAF, which all workers had to join. Wages were fixed and not negotiated.

Reducing unemployment 

As part of a new plan led by Hjalmar Schacht, the economic genius of Germany, , the Nazis began a huge construction programme. The government funded schemes to build motorways, schools and hospitals.

In defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, the Nazis began a huge re-armament programme aimed at supplying tanks, aeroplanes, guns and ships for the military. Not only did it lead to a boom in steel and manufacturing industries, it was very popular with people who felt that the treaty had humiliated Germany. The size of the armed forces was increased, with all males between 18 and 25 years having to complete two years of military service.

In addition, men between 18 and 25 years of age had to undertake six months of compulsory duty in the National Labour Service. In return for pocket money, food and accommodation, they had to carry out heavy outdoor work and take part in military drill and instruction.


Many women were removed from the employment register as the Nazis believed that their role was to be in the home.

Once they were in power the Nazis fulfilled their promise of excluding the Jews from the professions and other employment including the cultural life of Germany. This gave work to ‘Aryan Germans.