(1877 - 1970)
Hjalmar Schach was a German financial
expert and politician. After receiving his
doctorate in economics, Schacht was employed
by the Dresdner Bank, where he became deputy
director in 1908. From 1916 to 1923 he served
as director of the private National Bank for
Germany. In November 1923 he was appointed
national currency commissioner and one month
later, president of the Reichsbank. In these
posts he helped to stabilize the German currency.
After 1924 he played a leading role in negotiations
on German war reparations, but resigned in
1930 due to differences with the Weimar government.
His alienation from the financial policies
of the Weimar government pushed Schacht increasingly
to the political right. He helped to introduce Hitler to industrial and financial leaders and played
a key role in persuading President Paul von
Hindenburg to appoint Hitler Reich chancellor in 1933.
As a reward for his assistance, Schacht was reappointed
head of the Reichsbank (1933-1939), named Minister of Economic Affairs
(1935-1937), and Plenipotentiary for the War Economy (1935-1937). Schacht
became the central figure in National socialist rearmament. Jurisdictional
quarrels with Hermann Goering and disagreements over economic policy led to Schacht's gradual withdrawal.
He remained Reich minister without portfolio until 1943. Schacht was
implicated in the July 1944
plot to kill Hitler and was imprisoned for the remainder of the
war. After the International
Military Tribunal in Nuremberg acquitted Schacht of all charges,
he was tried and sentenced by a denazification court to eight years
in a work camp. He was released in 1948. Absolved of all accusations
Sources: Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (Zentner
& Beduerftig eds. USHMM