Four year plan

Four year plan

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For a high school academic guidance plan, see 4-year plan
4-year plan
In the high school setting, a 4-year plan is typically the focal point of a student's academic guidance. A 4-year plan is a worksheet that outlines the classes a student will take during their 4 years of high school, and its creation is usually a joint effort between the student and guidance...


The Four Year Plan was a series of economic reforms created by the Nazi Party. The main aim of the four year plan was to prepare Germany for war in four years. The Four Year Plan sought to reduce unemployment; increase synthetic fibre production; undertake public works
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

 projects under the direction of Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure, the founder of Organisation Todt. He died in a plane crash during World War II.- Life :Todt was born in Pforzheim to a father who owned a small factory...

; increased automobile production; initiate numerous building and architectural projects; and further develop the Autobahn system. The plan also emphasized building up the nation's military defenses, in direct violation of the terms set by the Allies of World War I
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 at the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, which stated:

The German army was to be restricted to 100,000 men, there was to be no conscription, no tanks or heavy artillery and no general staff. The German navy was restricted to 15,000 men and no submarines while the fleet was limited to six battleships (of less than 10,000 tonnes), six cruisers and 12 destroyers. Germany was not permitted an air force. Finally, Germany was explicitly required to retain all enlisted men for 12 years and all officers for 25 years, so that only a limited number of men would have military training.

Global reaction

However, following a tour of the German countryside in 1936, former British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 had the following to say about the breach of the Treaty he had helped to formulate:

"That Germany is rearming cannot be denied. After all the victors in the Great War except England disregarded their own disarmament pledges, the Führer abrogated the agreement which bound his own country, thus following the example of the nations who were responsible for the Versailles Treaty. It is today a commonly admitted part of Hitler's policy to develop an army strong enough to resist any attack, regardless of from which side it may come. I believe that he has already reached this point of inviolability."

In a September 1936 speech before the Labour Front, Hitler explained the plan's focus, and drew a comparison between the resources at Germany's disposal and those accessible to the "incapable" Bolsheviks. The American press immediately interpreted this speech as Hitler's call for war with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and addressed it to the public as such. However, Hitler's proclamation actually suggested that, because of Germany's undersupplied position, a great task was set ahead for the country to "develop a form of life which [was] higher than that existing in [the] Bolshevist paradise of Soviet Russia."


The Four Year Plan favoured both the protection of agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and economic independence
Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient. Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic policies. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance. Autarky is not necessarily economic. For example, a military autarky...

. Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 was put in charge of the Four Year Plan on October 18, 1936 and was given extraordinary powers for an extraordinary situation. In short, Göring had complete control over the economy including the private sector, especially after the Minister of Economics, Hjalmar Schacht
Hjalmar Schacht
Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was a German economist, banker, liberal politician, and co-founder of the German Democratic Party. He served as the Currency Commissioner and President of the Reichsbank under the Weimar Republic...

, began to lose favour with Hitler because of his opposition to growing military expenditures. During the following years, Germany began building refineries
A refinery is a production facility composed of a group of chemical engineering unit processes and unit operations refining certain materials or converting raw material into products of value.-Types of refineries:Different types of refineries are as follows:...

, aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 plants, and factories for the development of synthetic-materials.

The four year plan technically expired in 1940, but the "Office of the Four Year Plan" (considered a cabinet level agency) had grown to such a power base that the Four year plan was extended indefinitely. Indeed, much of the Four Year Plan's goals relating to economic production were accomplished between 1941 and 1944.

Influence and imitation

The project’s achievements outperformed Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

’s New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 both in size and scope. The USSR
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

’s Second Five Year Plan, provided several ideas borrowed by the Nazi regime, especially in the area of militarisation. The Soviet Plan was reaching its conclusion just as the German equivalent was beginning.

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