The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy by Adam Tooze
available in hardcover and paperback.
This book explains exactly how Germany financed its war, and the inevitable military problems brought on by its relative poverty compared to the USA and the difference in financing approaches due to Hitler's greater control over the economy. I consider it a "must read" for any WWII historian as it explains the reasons for what appear to be quixotic decisions and policy changes and also explains Hitler's long range planning and its defects.
*Starred Review* Tooze's economic history of the Third Reich is, in a word, monumental. Lately, social and ideological analyses of Hitler's strategic choices have prevailed; in part because of the volume and complexity of available data, even the most economically savvy historians of World War II have generally provided only fragmentary glimpses of the myriad ways in which economics influenced German rearmament and aggression. As Tooze argues, however, the choices made by the Nazi war machine were as economically driven as they were Hitler driven. The author challenges a number of commonly held assumptions, among them the notion that successful rearmament was caused by the Nazi state's job-creation efforts and the idea that Hitler did not intend to start a continental war in attacking Czechoslovakia. Tooze also addresses the relationship between economics and ideology at Auschwitz. The net result, emerging from more than 800 pages of genuinely readable macroeconomic analysis, is an original and comprehensive thesis that couches the strategic choices of the Third Reich firmly within an increasingly American twentieth century. Originally released to broad acclaim in the UK in 2006, Tooze's tome sets a high bar for the historians of the twenty-first century. Brendan Driscoll
“One of the most important and original books to be published about the Third Reich in the past twenty years. A tour de force.”
"Tooze has produced the most striking history of German strategy in the Second World War that we possess. This is an extraordinary achievement, and it places Adam Tooze in a very select company of historians indeed ... Tooze has given us a masterpiece which will be read, and admired; and it will stimulate others for a long time to come."
—Nicholas Stargardt, History Today
“It is among Adam Tooze's many virtues, in "The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy," that he can write about such matters with authority, explaining the technicalities of bombers and battleships. Hovering over his chronicle are two extraordinary questions: how Germany managed to last as long as it did before the collapse of 1945 and why, under Hitler, it thought it could achieve supremacy at all.”
—Norman Stone, The Wall Street Journal
"Virtually every page of his book contains something new and thought-provoking, making the whole an impressive achievement, in which original research has been combined with critical scrutiny of a vast literature that seems ripe for such a re-examination."
—Michael Burleigh, The Sunday Times (London)
“A magnificent demonstration of the explanatory power of economic history.”
—The Times (London)
“Masterful . . . Tooze has added his name to the roll call of top-class scholars of Nazism.”
—Financial Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.