Hjalmar Schacht

Hjalmar Schacht

German financier who supported Hitler
Date of Birth: 02.01.1877
Country: Germany

Biography of Hjalmar Schacht

Hjalmar Schacht was a German financier, state official, and organizer of the German economy. He received his education at the universities of Kiel, Berlin, and Munich. After completing his studies, he worked at the Dresden Bank before establishing his own bank.

During World War I, Schacht served as a member of the economic administration of the occupying forces in Belgium. In 1916, he became the director of the National Bank of Germany, earning a reputation as an outstanding financial professional.

In 1919, Schacht participated in the creation of the German Democratic Party, despite his own monarchist views. In 1923, he implemented the Schacht Plan, which successfully halted massive inflation and stabilized the German mark. From December 1923, he served as the president of the Reichsbank.

In March 1930, Schacht resigned in protest against the Young Plan, which involved repatriation payments and increased interest rates on foreign loans. He then became the chief German representative of J.P. Morgan's financial corporation.

Starting in 1930, Schacht began supporting the Nazi movement, facilitating the alignment of Adolf Hitler with major monopolists and providing financial support to the Nazi Party. In February 1933, he organized a meeting between Hitler and leaders of the German industry, reportedly gathering 3 million marks in support of the Nazi Party.

In March 1933, Schacht replaced Hjalmar Luther as the president of the Reichsbank. He gained full control over Germany's credit system in 1934. In June 1936, he also assumed the position of Minister of Economics. Schacht played a crucial role in laying the foundations of the German war industry, allowing Germany to conduct World War II.

Despite publicly supporting Hitler, Schacht criticized the punitive policies of the Nazi Party and the removal of army elite and financial aristocracy from power. In September 1936, he had to relinquish some of his responsibilities regarding the management of the war economy following the appointment of Hermann Göring as the leader of the Four Year Plan.

After Hitler ignored his advice, Schacht requested to be replaced by Göring and asked to retire. However, Hitler insisted that Schacht remain within the government as an imperial minister without a portfolio and retain his position as the president of the Reichsbank. In 1938, Schacht oversaw the confiscation of funds from the Austrian National Bank and the incorporation of the Austrian banking system into the Greater German Reich.

In January 1939, Schacht sent a letter to Hitler warning that the government's policies would lead to the collapse of Germany's financial system and hyperinflation. In September 1939, he strongly opposed plans for war with Poland, even attempting to pressure the army command. As his criticism of the regime intensified after the start of the war with the Soviet Union, Schacht sent a sharp letter to Hitler in November 1942, stating that Germany was losing the war. As a result, he was dismissed as the Minister of Economics on January 22, 1942.

Schacht's position attracted the attention of conspirators, and although he was not a member of the plot, his candidacy was considered for leading positions in the economy and banking within the future German government. After the failed July Plot in 1944, Schacht was arrested on July 21, 1944. He was held in concentration camps at Ravensbrück, Flossenbürg, and Dachau. In May 1945, he was arrested by American forces in Austria.

As a major war criminal, Schacht was brought before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg but was acquitted and released on September 2, 1948. After his release, he worked in the banking sector and became the owner of the banking house "Schacht GmbH" in Düsseldorf.