Third Reich Day by Day: October 1936

The Olympic Games gave Nazi Germany a chance to show the world that the Third Reich was a well-ordered, powerful society. For propaganda purposes measures against Jews were relaxed, and Berlin became the home of fraternal international friendship, albeit temporarily. However, away from the Olympics the Germans re-occupied the demilitarized Rhineland and began to channel military aid to the Franco’s Nationalists fighting a civil war in Spain. As they did so, Great Britain and France, the major powers of Europe, did nothing but watch idly.


Germany, Economics

Hans Frank, Reich Leader of the NSDAP.
Hans Frank, Reich Leader of the NSDAP.

Göring initiates the Four-Year Plan, which is designed to make Germany industrially independent.

Despite the grand promises, there was no coherent national programme to ensure Germany’s military spending was pegged to economic capacity. Göring was a hopeless administrator, with the result that each of the services pursued its own rapid expansion, setting ludicrous targets and then competing for the necessary allocations of capital investment and raw materials. The truth was that Germany did not have the money or raw materials to meet the demands of the armed services. The Luftwaffe, for example, had plans to build 19,000 frontline and reserve aircraft by 1942. To make matters worse, Germany required vast amounts of iron ore, copper, bauxite, nickel, petrol and rubber, and these had to be imported as Germany was rich only in coal. Though the Four-Year Plan encouraged the development and production of synthetic substitutes, none of these products could balance the demands made by the arms buildup. In fact, the armaments industry was constantly in crisis, with stocks of raw materials being exhausted and no money for fresh supplies.

1 October

SS, Waffen-SS

A special Inspectorate of the SS-Verfügungstruppe has been created to supervise administration and military training. The new inspectorate has the objective of moulding the mainly ill-trained and far flung units of the SS-Verfügungstruppe into an efficient fighting force. SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS Paul Hausser, who was to become known affectionately as “Papa” Hausser to his men, is chosen as inspector of the SS-Verfügungstruppe, although he has only just been appointed inspector of the SS-Junkerschule (Officer Schools) at Bad Tölz and Brunswick.

3 October

Armed Forces, Navy

The battlecruiser Scharnhorst is launched.

Based on a World War I design, she is a fast battlecruiser that is designed to be faster than any enemy she will encounter on the seas. She will need this speed because she is terribly undergunned for her size, being armed with 11in guns. Part of Raeder’s Plan-Z, she is designed to be a stopgap. She will eventually compliment the larger Bismarck and Tirpitz in the new German fleet.