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Hitler's Banker: Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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From Library Journal
Schacht, as the Weimar Republic's finance minister, saved Germany from hyperinflation. He later gave his support to Hitler, and his financial manipulations hastened Germany's rearmament. Nevertheless, Schacht did not approve of war and spent the last years of the Third Reich in concentration camps. His ambivalence toward National Socialism is interesting, although his anti-Semitism was not remarkable for the time. Weitz (Hitler's Diplomat, LJ 7/92) is not a historian but a fashion designer, and it shows. He relies heavily on secondary sources, including a bizarre summation of Schacht's postwar years with newspaper headlines. Weitz also makes silly mistakes, like attributing a quotation by Stalin to Hitler. He does enlighten the reader with an intimate knowledge of the Third Reich as a refugee and OSS intelligence officer. Though flawed, his work is the only available English-language biography in print about a fascinating man.?Randall L. Schroeder, Wartburg Coll. Lib., Waverly, Iowa
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Weitz has written half a dozen successful books, most recently Hitler's Diplomat (1992), a popular biography of Joachim von Ribbentrop. Weitz's family had to flee the Nazis in 1938, and Weitz seems fascinated by the much-asked question of why "ordinary" people cooperated or collaborated with the Nazis. He pursues that issue again with this biography. Schacht was appointed president of the Reichsbank in 1923 and is acknowledged as one of the two most responsible for bringing Germany's hyperinflation under control. He resigned in a dispute over the plan for German reparations that had been crafted at the Hague in 1930. Hitler reappointed Schacht president of the Reichsbank in 1933 and also made him his minister of economics. Schacht is credited with again turning around the German economy, this time relying on armaments buildup. When he realized Hitler planned on using his new weapons to carry out a policy of aggression, Schacht protested, was arrested, and put into a concentration camp until 1944. Until now no popularly accessible material had been written about him. David Rouse
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Smart fellow, but his success was due more than anything to his demeanor and will.
He didn't back down when he thought he was right and he didn't give up.
Schacht was opposed to devaluating the mark, which was increasingly seen as a solution based on Britain's devaluation of the pound in 1931 and their comparatively successful subsequent coping with the Great Depression in Great Britain. Instead, Schacht and his cohorts came up with .the Mefo bonds which were used to deficit finance the construction of the famous Autobahns. Schacht went along with the 4-Year plan only after being assured that the Mefo bonds, which he regarded as a stop-gap measure, would be paid off or retired in 1938. Presumably the inflationary impact of rising military expenditures would be offset by the deflationary retirement of the bonds.
The increasing reluctance of Schacht to go along with the Military Keynesianism of his successor, Walther Funk, who, like Schacht , was an economic journalist, showed up in Schacht's increasing criticism of Hitler and personally in his souring relationship with his first wife, Luise, who was a convinced Nazi. By the time of the serious attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, Schacht was a candidate for involvement in this conspiracy and was subsequently imprisoned.by the Nazis.
Thus, it becomes more understandable why Funk received a long sentence while Schacht was acquitted following the Nuremberg Trials. Schacht's opposition to the autarky and additional military spending to support Hitler's aggressive plans saved his neck , although he was harrassed by the West German courts long after his Nuremberg acquittal.
Schacht never joined the Nazi Party and was clearly used by Hitler since his intellectual talents were too great to ignore. After the war his services were in high demand
in the Third World, particularly in Indonesia, India, Egypt, and Iran. He organized his own export company and regained some of his earlier wealth before dying in his nineties..
Professor Emeritus of Economics.
After reading this book, one can detect how arrogant Schacht was. He was probably not a pleasant person to be around. He was one of those people who think they know everything, and seek to tell you how intelligent they are. Hitler probably rolled his eyes when this guy talked to him. I don't think it was unjustified to prosecute him after the war, because he was responsible for funding the Third Reich. His actions didn't immediately cause the deaths of millions, but his policies led to the Third Reich being financially solvent during rearmament.
I thought this was a better than average book about a little known figure of World War Two.
John Weitz the author of this book, is the same John Weitz that was a popular US clothing desinger in the second half of the 20th century. He was also an intelligence agent for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA during and immediately after WWII. Ian Fleming mentioned Weitz as the prototype of his character, James Bond.
Weitz is also the father of Paul and Chris Weitz, the directors of "American Pie", and "About A Boy", and admirably not "American Pie II".