Nazi context

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In considering attitudes to Nazi Germany in the 1930s it should be borne in mind that this was the era of the Great Depression when economies in general were functioning badly and there was widespread hardship throughout what we now call the developed world.

Visiting an area of high unemployment the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) was moved to remark: “Something must be done.”

For this he was roundly criticised, especially by those who believed, following the economic orthodoxy of the day, that not only could nothing be done but that it would be dangerous and wrong to try to interfere with the automatic operations of the market.

In contrast, the fascist regimes in Italy and Germany could be seen to be doing something to improve the situation in their countries, principally by programmes of public works, ie applying to some extent Keynesian theories.

Naturally, this attracted the attention of those in other countries interested in finding solutions.

More generally, the concept of mobilising the people to lead them from the slough of despond towards, allegedly, a better life for all no doubt had its attractions for some.

S Beck

Craigleith Drive

Edinburgh