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The Wages of Destruction

The Wages of Destruction is a non-fiction book detailing the economic history of Nazi Germany. Written by Adam Tooze, it was first published by Allen Lane in 2006.

The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy
Author Adam Tooze
Country England
Language English
Subject Nazi economy
Genre Economic history
Publisher Allan Lane
Publication date
Pages 799 pp
ISBN 978-0-7139-9566-4
OCLC 64313370
320.94309043 22
LC Class HC286.3 .T66 2006
Preceded by Statistics and the German State 1900–1945: The Making of Modern Economic Knowledge
Followed by The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931

The Wages of Destruction won the Wolfson History Prize and the 2007 Longman/History Today Book of the Year Prize. It was published to critical praise from such authors as Michael Burleigh, Richard Overy and Niall Ferguson.

In the book Tooze writes that having failed to defeat Britain in 1940, the economic logic of the war drove the Nazis to invade the Soviet Union. Hitler was constrained to invade the Soviet Union in 1941 to obtain the natural resources necessary to challenge the economic superpowers of the United States and the British Empire. Operation Barbarossa sealed the fate of the third Reich because it was lack of resources that made victory against the Soviet Union impossible, because the Soviet Union was supplied by Britain and the US to supplement its resources.

The book makes the case for the economic impact of the British and then Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign (though argues that the wrong targets were often selected), challenges the idea of an economic miracle under Albert Speer and rejects the idea that the German economy could have mobilised significantly more women into the war economy.


The book has been positively reviewed by History Today, which calls the work "an extraordinary achievement" and notes: "By thinking afresh about what Hitler’s war aims really were and how the Nazi leadership attempted first to win and then prolong a war for which they knew they never possessed sufficient resources, Tooze has produced the most striking history of German strategy in the Second World War that we possess".[1]


  1. ^ The Wages of Destruction, Review, History Today Volume 56 Issue 12 December 2006

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