[Here is a short article someone sent me describing Hitler’s family program. I managed to find a photo or two of what the houses were like that Hitler had built for the families. Some survived to after WW2. Jan]
Hitler’s plan to build thousands of low-cost homes also demanded a vast mobilisation of manpower. He had envisioned housing that would be attractive, cozy, and affordable for millions of ordinary German working class families. He had no intention of continuing to tolerate, as his predecessors had, cramped, ugly “rabbit warren” housing for the German people. The great barrack-like housing projects on the outskirts of factory towns, packed with cramped families, disgusted him.
The greater parts of the houses he would build were single storey, detached dwellings, with small yards where children could romp, wives would grow vegetable and flower gardens, while the breadwinners could read their newspapers in peace after the day’s work. These single-family homes were built to conform to the architectural styles of the various German regions, retaining as much as possible the charming local variants.
Wherever there was no practical alternative to building large apartment complexes, Hitler saw to it the individual apartments were spacious, airy and enhanced by surrounding lawns and gardens where the children could play safely.
The new housing was, of course, built in conformity with the highest standards of public health, a consideration notoriously neglected in previous working-class projects.
Generous loans, amortizable in ten years, were granted to newly married couples so they could buy their own homes. At the birth of each child, a fourth of the debt was cancelled. Four children, at the normal rate of new arrival every two and half years, sufficed to cancel the entire loan debt.
Once, during a conversation with Hitler, I expressed my astonishment at this policy. “But then, you never get back the total amount of your loans? “ , I asked. “How so”” he replied, smiling.
“Over a period of ten years, a family with four children brings in much more than our loans, through the taxes levied on a hundred different items of consumption.”
As it happened, tax revenues increased every year, in proportion to the rise in expenditures for Hitler’s social programs. In just a few years, revenue from taxes tripled. Hitler’s Germany never experienced a financial crisis.
To stimulate the moribund economy demanded the nerve, which Hitler had, to invest money that the government did not have, rather than passively waiting –in accordance with “sound” financial principles- for the economy to revive by itself.
Today, our whole era is dying economically because we have succumbed to fearful hesitation. Enrichment follows investment, not the other way around.
[Below is an excerpt from another website where they discuss and show what NAZI houses were like. I must say, the idea of a family paying off their house in 10 years by having 4 children, is quite incredible. What an achievement on the part of Hitler! Jan]
Sources for the NS housing aesthetic
One can speculate a bit on where the Nazis were getting their style from. Could it be as simple as the generic German half timbered house. These used to be whitewash and black paint on the wood, so a very stark minimal style…
…take away the timbering, and perhaps rationalizing the window arrangements, and one has a good start at a modern version of a vernacular German houseform.
Another source is the high-design architecture of the era prior to the NS takeover, going as far back as the Arts and Crafts movement. In the US this led to the bungalow. In England there was CR Macintosh and especially CFA Voysey, who employed a very simplified trad style based on cottages and old manor houses.
In Germany there was Heinrich Tessenow, who designed in a stripped classical manner, but combined it with a sort of cottage aesthetic. Perhaps Tessenow was a big influence on NS housing designer.
Heres an example. On the left, two Tessenow designs. On the right an NS housing development in the Saarland.
Another example of NS housing in the Saarland. This could almost be mis-dated for postwar German suburbia…
…white stucco , normal windows, gable roof. The difference in modern German suburbia is the houses are bigger and somewhat more elaborate in detail, as in this example from north of Frankfurt…
As we know the postwar FRG developed into an exemplary social democratic welfare state. Though they rejected the racist nationalism and militarist expansionism of the NS era, the Germans retained a fondness for trad-derivied housing styles in suburbia. Yet suburban house style never did move into literal revival architecture the way American house construction did.