As Tooze sees it, the Nazi’s tried to develop and mass produce a number of important new technological breakthroughs — synthetic fibers, oil, rubber, improved combat aviation — and advanced national autarky, all to produce a world-class, state of the art, military machine. And they undertook this great national socialist effort for the bizarre purpose of grabbing a chunk of the Soviet Union, out to the Urals, and converting the region to 19th century pastoral peasant holdings.
Yeah, peasants. This quite the most bizarre project I can possibly imagine — even beyond the genocide and shit. Why would you harness the power of capital to expand feudal individual peasant property?
I can’t vouch for Tooze’s conclusions, but consider: the Nazis were using capitals like IG Farben to synthesize, not fertilizers to raise the agricultural output they desperately needed, but fibers for military uniforms for soldiers to grab pieces of Russia to divide land among an excess farm population.
Fucking incredible, right?
Tooze’s objection to the dominant narrative is rather touching: he takes issue with the idea the Nazi’s were trying to ‘create jobs’ during the Great Depression; instead, he argues, they were trying to ‘create peasants’ — as if this was, somehow, worse and more illogical; as if ‘creating wage-slaves’ is somehow more rational than ‘creating peasants’.