Recovery as Idol

My present reading (for novel research) of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reichhas revealed a surprising, though very disturbing truth–mainly this:

Under Hitler’s hyperactive dictatorial leadership, Germany achieved, during the mid-1930s, what appeared to be a miraculous economic recovery. By 1933 Hitler had deceived his way into being elected as Chancellor of Germany. From that year 1933, to 1937, unemployment in Germany plummeted downward–from six million unemployed to one million unemployed.

In only four years!

How did Hitler and the Nazis pull off this amazing turnaround? They put people to work building up their war economy. But it was a bellicose accomplishment that would later prove to be their tragic undoing.

Furthermore, on page 262 of the Simon & Schuster edition, Shirer includes this statistic: “The heavy industries, chief beneficiaries of rearmament, increased their (profits) from 2 percent in the boom year of 1926 to 6 1/2 percent in 1938, the last full year of peace” (before Hitler launched his mad plan to enslave Europe, ed.).

And this: “. . .most firms reinvested in their own businesses the undistributed profits, which rose from 175 million marks in 1932 to five billion marks in 1938. . .”

But then consider where that impressive recovery eventually took them–to an agonizing, ill-fated national destruction a few years later.

This history lesson, courtesy of Mr. Shirer’s prodigious research–and his first-hand witnessing of life in Nazi Germany during that pivotal time– should serve as a warning to us.

Do not make of economic recovery an idol. Much more important is the retention– among a free and inquisitive nation of people such as we are– the retention of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all of us. To that list I would add: the general preservation among us of a decent respect for the rights of all persons and people groups.

Do not make of economic recovery an idol. Freedom and dignity is much more valuable.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

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One Response to “Recovery as Idol”

  1. Ariel Says:

    A thoroughly thought-provoking historic tidbit — and something I needed to hear, given the flood of arguments coming from the other side right now. Thanks for sharing.

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