Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht (1877-1970) was an influential German banker who helped fund the Nazi Party. He was born in Tinglev, Germany on January 22nd, 1877. His father named him after the radical journalist [Horace Greeley, a major campaigner against slavery in the United States. He studied medicine, philology, and political science before receiving a degree in economics in 1899. He joined the Dresdner Bank, and was financial consultant for the German occupation government in Belgium. He became a director of the German National Bank in 1916.
He became Reich currency commissioner in 1923 and brought Germany's inflation under control. After this he was appointed president of the Reichsbank. In 1929, he headed the German delegation responsible for negotiating the Young Plan. He developed right-wing ideas, and after reading Mein Kampf, became a follower of fascism. Schacht persuaded many of Germany's major industrialists and bankers to provide money for the Nazi Party. In November 1932, he organized the letter signed by Germany's major industrialists that got Hitler appointed as chancellor. He also arranged a meeting of the Association of German Industrialists with Fritz Thyssen, which raised 3 million marks for the Nazi Party. In August, 1934 he was appointed by Hitler as Minister of Economics.
Schacht was influenced by the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and the New Deal. He introduced the New Plan which strictly controlled all goods imported into Germany. In 1934 he arranged a deal with the World Zionist Organization, where jews could pay 15,000 reichmarks to emigrate to Palestine. He warned Hitler that too much money was being spent on armaments, and found difficulty working under Hermann Goering who supported the military spending. In 1937, Schacht resigned as Minister of Economics, but remained President of the Reichsbank. Hitler removed him from power in 1939. During World War II he had a chance to be involved in plots against Hitler, but refused. However, in 1944 he was arrested for being involved in the July Plot. He was sent to the Dachau concentration camp.
He was arrested by the Allies after the war, and accused of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. He was found not guilty, but was later charged with other offences, and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He was freed in September, 1948. After his release, he started his own bank in Dusseldorf, and advised a number of foreign governments. He died in Munich on June 4th, 1970.