Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2022
Germany’s Sparkassen (public savings banks) were vital to the national economy during the Second World War. They also held a special place in the cultural fabric, as particularly representative of perceived German virtues – hard work, thrift, community – the appraisal of which was heightened during the Third Reich. However, we don’t know much about this sector. How did these “most völkisch” institutions operate during the Nazi era? In particular, how were National Socialism and capitalism intertwined in Sparkassen decision-making and self-representation? This chapter demonstrates that the logics of capitalism remained paramount in the minds of savings bank managers. However, their faith in capitalist principles did not make them any less useful to (or supportive of) the regime. Instead, it allowed bank leaders to rationalize their own behavior and legitimize their support for the dictatorship as good for business.