Primacy of politics or of economics

A starting-point of analysis is to question whether the polarization into ‘primacy of politics’ or ‘primacy of economics’ does not amount to an extreme over­simplification of a complex structural interrelationship between the policies of the Nazi State and the interests of German capital. The reduction to alternatives of ‘politics’ and ‘economics’ both impermissibly narrows the concept of ‘politics’ and operates on a crude and misleading dichotomy between ‘state’ and ‘society’. The tenor of more recent work on the Nazi economy has been to suggest instead that the closely interwoven aims and interests of the Nazi leadership and of German capital influenced and affected each other, making it difficult to separate a specifically ‘political’ and specifically ‘economic’ sphere, and therefore to distinguish a clear ‘primacy’. In William Carr’s words, ‘ideological, strategic, and economic factors are too closely intermeshed in a country’s foreign policy to permit of a clinical separation’, while Hans-Erich Volkmann outrightly rejects the question of ‘primacy’ as now a redundant one.

—Ian Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship, (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 65.

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