The Impact of War on Welfare State Development in Germany

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Abstract

The world wars were important ‘pacemakers’ of welfare state development in Germany—first and foremost via special wartime or post-war benefit regimes. Veterans’ pensions and reinsertion after World War I and compensation of various war victims after World War II massively increased social spending for decades. Whenever war did have a significant impact on the core welfare state programmes (i.e. the big social insurance schemes), it was through indirect and long-term rather than direct, short-term dynamics. Labour mobilization via the involvement of trade unions and the significant expansion of wartime social assistance and social services during World War I, for example, paved the way for the expansion of the welfare state in the Weimar Republic (such as unemployment insurance in 1927). Social policy during World War II targeted benefits towards soldiers’ families and ethnic German victims, but it was far from the ‘dictatorship of favours’ Götz Aly describes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWarfare and Welfare : Military Conflict and Welfare State Development in Western Countries
EditorsHerbert Obinger, Klaus Petersen, Peter Starke
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2018
Pages36-66
Chapter2
ISBN (Print)9780198779599
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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