The Hitler cabinet’s spending priorities (1933)

Adolf Hitler’s first cabinet met in February 1933. During this meeting government ministers discussed and summarised spending policies:

“The Reich Minister of Transport proposed that 2.5 million Reichsmarks be appropriated in the budget of the Ministry of Transport for 1933 as a first installment for the construction of a reservoir on the Malapane [River] near Turawa. The Reich Minister of Finance replied that it would be very difficult for the Reich Cabinet to decide at this time whether the approval of these funds would be justified from the point of view of the total budget.

The Reich Chancellor stated that in judging the request by the Minister of Transport, another decisive consideration had to be taken into account. Germany was now negotiating with foreign countries about her military equality of rights.

The recognition of a theoretical equality of rights was sure to follow in the very near future. But Germany could not content herself with that.

This theoretical recognition must be followed by practical equality of rights, i.e, German rearmament. The world, especially France, was entirely prepared for German rearmament and regarded it as a matter of course. The next five years in Germany had to be devoted to rendering the German people capable of bearing arms once again. Every publicly sponsored measure to create employment had to be considered from the point of view of whether it was necessary with respect to rendering the German people capable of bearing arms for military service. This had to be the dominant thought, always and everywhere.

The Reich Minister of Labour supported these statements of the Reich Chancellor but said that besides the purely military tasks there was also other economically valuable work that ought not to be neglected.

The Reich Minister of Transport pointed out that the development of German waterways was also a military necessity. In case of an emergency, the entire German traffic system had to be in order, and this included the operation of the waterways.

The Reich Commissioner for Air felt he had to emphasise on the other hand that the improvement of the German highway system was even more important. The Reichswehr Minister expressed the point of view that in the first place the immediate needs of the Army had to be considered. The German Army was disarmed to such an extent that the foremost necessary was to provide the material foundation for armaments. Only after the emergency armament had been completed would it be possible to tackle larger tasks.

The Reich Chancellor again stressed that for the next 4-5 years the main principle must be: everything for the armed forces. Germany’s position in the world was decisively dependent upon the position of the German armed forces. The position of the German economy in the world was also dependent on that.

The Reich Cabinet decided to have the total budget for 1933 submitted first, then to examine what could be done especially for the armed forces, and finally to see what funds were left for the development of the waterways, especially for the building of a reservoir in Upper Silesia, now under discussion.”