Hjalmar Schacht

Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht ( Tinglev , January 22, 1877 – Munich , June 3, 1970) was a political and financial German , Minister of Economy of the Third Reich between 1934 and 1937 .


He was born on January 22, 1877 in Tinglev , 2 German Empire – a place that today belongs to Denmark -. He was the son of William Leonhard Ludwig Maximillian Schacht and the Danish Baroness Constanze Justine Sophie von Eggers. His name was a tribute to Horace Greeley , founder of the Tribune newspaper , which later became the New York Herald Tribune .

He studied Medicine, Philology and Political Sciences before obtaining his doctorate in Economics in 1899 by the University of Kiel . In 1903 he joined the Dresdner Bank .

During World War I ( 1914 – 1918 ) was named in charge of the economic administration of the territories occupied in Belgium . However, he was dismissed shortly afterwards by the military authorities, accused of contacting his former employer, Dresdner Bank, to receive funds from the Belgian government seized by German forces.

Although this incident caused problems in the German public administration, Schacht maintained his professional standing, and actually helped to reduce inflation and stabilize the frame when he became president of the Reichsbank the 22 of December of 1923 . Schacht remained as President of the Reichsbank until 1930 and from that position contributed to the development of the Young Plan , designed to reduce the war reparations to which Germany was bound after the First World War .

Even without being a member of the Nazi Party , Schacht helped Adolf Hitler raise funds for his political campaigns. Even in 1932 Schacht organized a petition of industrialists to claim to President Hindenburg the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. Once in power, Hitler appointed Schacht president of the Reichsbank , and then Minister of Economy in 1934 .

In this role, Schacht developed a policy of public investment, especially by promoting major works, such as the construction of highways , and reduced the State budget deficit to find funds, revolutionary policies, bearing in mind that Keynesianism would emerge years later. It also developed a policy to combat inflation embodied in the so-called “MEFO Bonds”. These were a sort of pseudomonetary circulation that reduced inflation visibly. In 1935 Schacht was appointed “General Plenipotentiary” for the war economy.

In January 1937 , Schacht was appointed an honorary member of the Nazi Party and decorated as such. He resigned in November 1937 on account of differences, especially on the importance of military spending, generators of inflation , and his conflicting relations with Hermann Göring , whom he considered incompetent in matters of economy and finance. He retained his position at the head of the Reichsbank until 1939 , when his criticism of the regime’s anti-Semitism caused Nazi leaders to doubt his political allegiance to the regime. Nevertheless, Schacht’s intellectual capacity allowed him to remain Minister without Portfolio until January 1943 , when Hitler dismissed him.

Accused of being implicated in the July 20, 1944 bombing of Hitler, Schacht was interned in the Dachau concentration camp until the end of the war. Liberated by the Allies , Schacht was among the defendants in the Nuremberg trials , where he was accused of conspiracy and crimes against peace , especially for their contribution in preparing the German economy for war. Among the accused, he obtained the best results in the intelligence tests (143) prepared by the prison psychiatrist .

Schacht was acquitted and released in 1946 , but was again tried by a German denazification court which sentenced him to eight years of forced labor. Released in 1948, he became a financial adviser to developing countries and returned to the banking business as an advisor until his death. This death occurred in June 1970 in Munich , West Germany . 2


  • 1927: The Stabilization of the Mark. London, Allen & Unwin.
  • 1931: Das Ende der reparationen. Stalling, Oldenburg.
  • 1932: Grundsätze deutscher Wirtschaftspolitik.
  • 1948: Abrechnung mit Hitler.
  • 1949: Mehr Geld, mehr Kapital, mehr Arbeit.
  • 1953: 76 Jahre meines Lebens.
  • 1956: Kreditpolitik und Exportfinanzierung von morgen.
  • 1957: Kapitalmarkt-Politik.
  • 1966: Magie des Geldes.
  • 1968: 1933. Wie eine Demokratie stirbt


  1. Back to top↑ Hoffmann , Peter (2011). Carl Goerdeler and the Jewish Question, 1933-1942 (in English) . Cambridge University Press . P. 13. ISBN  978-1-107-00798-7 .
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b «Hjalmar Schacht» . Encyclopædia Britannica (in English) .