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Averting the Nazi Seizure of Power


  • Stoegbauer, Christian
  • Komlos, John


The Great Depression in Germany led to the radicalization of the electorate, leading the country and then the world into the darkest days of Western Civilization. Could it have been otherwise? This paper explores whether the NSDAP takeover might have been averted with a fiscal policy that lowered the unemployment rate in those parts of Germany where their support rose most rapidly. A counterfactual simulation model based on estimates of the relationship between unemployment and the radical vote at the electoral district level provides a framework for considering how much lower unemployment would have to have been in those districts to prevent the NSDAP from becoming a formidable political force in Germany. Budget neutrality is maintained, so that the simulations do not depend on an expanded fiscal policy. The results indicate that such a policy could well have averted the NSDAP's seizure of power, and the catastrophe that followed in its wake.

Suggested Citation

  • Stoegbauer, Christian & Komlos, John, 2004. "Averting the Nazi Seizure of Power," Discussion Papers in Economics 305, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:305

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Komlos & Scott Eddie, 1997. "Cliometric Studies on German Economic History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 8.
    2. St Gbauer, Christian, 2001. "The radicalisation of the German electorate: Swinging to the Right and the Left in the twilight of the Weimar Republic," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 251-280, August.
    3. Fishback, Price V. & Kantor, Shawn & Wallis, John Joseph, 2003. "Can the New Deal's three Rs be rehabilitated? A program-by-program, county-by-county analysis," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 278-307, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sripad Motiram & Karthikeya Naraparaju, 2014. "Unemployment Burden and its Distribution: Theory and Evidence from India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2014-026, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    2. Gregori Galofré-Vilà & Christopher M. Meissner & Martin McKee & David Stuckler, 2017. "Austerity and the rise of the Nazi party," NBER Working Papers 24106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Great Depression; Germany; NSDAP; counterfactual simulation model;

    JEL classification:

    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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