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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: January 2013

2 - Service to the Community: The Organization of the Labor Services


In 1933, both the National Socialist regime and the New Deal saw a labor service as a partial answer to the worldwide economic crisis. The Nazis therefore did not dissolve the FAD, which had been established in 1931, but rebuilt it according to their own ideas. The development was more dramatic in the United States, where with breathtaking speed the newly elected president created the Civilian Conservation Corps as one of his first measures. Although both institutions had a pedagogical mission, they were also intended to provide productive unemployment relief and thus shared essential characteristics with job-creation programs. As I will show in greater detail, in each case the service was part of a package of similar organizations devoted to combating mass unemployment.

In what follows I will examine first the organizational development of the German Labor Service, with the analysis centering on the question of its workability and its place in the institutional structure of Nazi Germany. In addition, this chapter addresses the question of the services' success as job creation measures. Finally, I will discuss the way in which Germany and the United States perceived each other and their respective labor services and, in turn, the influence of perception on the services.

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