This history of the internationally prominent insurance corporation Allianz AG in the Nazi era is based largely on new or previously unavailable archival sources. Feldman takes the reader through varied cases of collaboration and conflict with the Nazi regime with fairness and a commitment to informed analysis. He touches on issues of damages in the Pogrom of 1938, insuring facilities used in forced labour camps, and the problems of de-Nazification and restitution. The broader issues examined in this study - cooperation with Nazi policies, the way in which profit, ideology, and opportunism played a role in corporate decision-making, and the question of how Jewish insurance assets were expropriated - are particularly relevant today given the ongoing international debate about restitution for Holocaust survivors. This book joins a growing body of scholarship based on free access to the records of German corporations in the Nazi era.
Gerald Feldman's history of the internationally prominent insurance corporation Allianz AG in the Nazi era is based largely on new or previously unavailable archival sources, making this a more accurate account of Allianz and the men who directed its business than was ever before possible. Feldman takes the reader through varied cases of collaboration and conflict with the Nazi regime with fairness and a commitment to informed analysis, touching on issues of damages in the Pogrom of 1938, insuring facilities used in forced labor camps, and the problems of denazification and restitution. The broader issues examined in this study--when cooperation with Nazi policies was compulsory and when it was complicit, the way in which profit, ideology, and opportunism played a role in corporate decision making, and the question of how Jewish insurance assets were expropriated--are particularly relevant today given the ongoing international debate about restitution for Holocaust survivors. This book joins a growing body of scholarship based on open access to the records of German corporations in the Nazi era. Gerald D. Feldman is Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley. His book, The Great Disorder (Oxford, 1993) received the DAAD Book Prize of the German Historical Association and the Book Prize for Central European History from the American Historical Association. He was an invited expert at the London Gold Conference in December 1997 and at the U.S. Conference on Holocaust Assets in Washington, D.C. in December 1998 and served as an advisor to the Presidential Commision on Holocaust Assets in the United States.
For much of the twentieth century, the prevalence of dictatorial regimes has left business, especially multinational firms, with a series of complex and for the most part unwelcome choices. This volume, which includes essays by noted American and European scholars such as Mira Wilkins, Gerald Feldman, Peter Hayes, and Wilfried Feldenkirchen, sets business activity in its political and social context and describes some of the strategic and tactical responses of firms investing from or into Europe to a myriad of opportunities and risks posed by host or home country authoritarian governments during the interwar period. Although principally a work of history, it puts into perspective some commercial dilemmas with which practitioners and business theorists must still unfortunately grapple.
Globalization is not an external force but a result of concrete business decisions made by millions of entrepreneurs and managers across the world. As such, the modern corporation has completely altered the economic landscape; business and finance have shaped the international order of the modern world. History of Financial Institutions contributes to the analysis of how the modern corporation, business and finance have shaped and keep on shaping our world. In a collection of nine succinct essays, this volume looks at the role of finance in European history from the beginning of the 19th century to the period after the Second World War. Archivists and financial historians, who are also leading scholars of banking and financial history, investigate the ways in which the international post-war order developed. They draw on often hitherto unused archival sources from central banks and other institutions to reveal the unique histories of a variety of European countries and the paths that have led to the contemporary economic and financial system. The collection includes reflections on (monetary) stabilization, inflation, hyperinflation, globalization and public relations in banking and commerce. This book is essential reading for banking and finance executives, as well as policy makers with a historical interest. It will also be of importance to academics with a particular interest in economic history, financial or banking history, and European history.
During the past decade, the role of Germany's economic elites under Hitler has once again moved into the limelight of historical research and public debate. This volume offers a brief but focused introduction to the role of German businesses and industries in the crimes of Hitler's Third Reich.
This book deals with the activities of the Anglo-Dutch multinational during the war. Given the various threats faced by Unilever during the Nazi period, Ben Wubs argues that it was not self evident that the company would survive the war. Based on research into company sources which were hitherto unavailable, he shows the effect of the war on Unilever as well as the changing conditions in the European food, oil and fats and soap industries. Wubs makes an analysis of the company’s strategy, structure and performance in this period. Simultaneously, it explores the external conditions, which helped the company to survive the war. The author argues that Unilever survived World War II because the group had prepared itself legally well in advance. As a consequence, the company could easily be split in two autonomous parts. Unilever’s highly decentralized operating structure helped the company to survive the ambitious of the Nazi State. The deteriorating war conditions for Nazi Germany eventually worked to the advantage of the company. Besides, Unilever’s innovative attitude helped the company to adapt to completely new conditions of resource allocation.
Opportunism combined with anti-Semitism led non-Nazi businessmen to acquire the largest German-Jewish companies in the period 1933–1935. These hostile takeovers were made possible by the Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank, which recalled loans previously extended to Jewish firms. Thereby Germany's largest banks obtained new loan fees, new supervisory board seats and became the house banks for the new Gentile-owned firms. The German judiciary did not defend Jewish property rights, because judges shared the same conservative mindset. Scholarship has previously not discovered this 1933–1935 paradigm because of a focus on Berlin government or Nazi Party actions, instead of the Jewish companies. In addition, a failure to distinguish between multi-million dollar enterprises and tiny shops caused scholars to emphasize the year 1938, when thousands of mom-and-pop shops became bankrupt.
This collection of essays explores the impact that nationalism, capitalism, and socialism had on economics during the first half of the twentieth century. Focusing on Central Europe, contributors examine the role that businesspeople and enterprises played in Germany's and Austria's paths to the catastrophe of Nazism. Based on new archival research, the essays gathered here ask how the business community became involved in the political process and describes the consequences arising from that involvement. Particular attention is given to the responses of individual businesspeople to changing political circumstances and their efforts to balance the demands of their consciences with the pursuit for profit.
Since the mid-1990s, political, legal, and historical debates about Nazi theft and confiscation of property, the use of slave labor during World War II, and restitution and compensation have reemerged. Revisiting the National Socialist Legacy presents completely new historical research on these issues conducted worldwide.This volume responds to concern about Holocaust era assets in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. It focuses on both reexamination of the history of National Socialist property theft and employment of forced labor in the wartime economy, and the compensation and restitution solutions advanced in various European and Latin American countries since 1945.
Although we associate the Third Reich above all with suffering, pain and fear, pleasure played a central role in its social and cultural dynamics. This book explores the relationship between the rationing of pleasures as a means of political stabilization and the pressure on the Nazi regime to cater to popular cultural expectations.
This book reflects an increased interest in establishing connections between the political history and the business history of Europe in the twentieth century. The book includes research on the interactions of politicians, businessmen and their institutions in eight countries, with particular focus on the highly charged inter-war period. Fourteen essays cover subjects under four main headings: the business - politics paradigm; banking finance; business and politics in the National Socialist period; and the business community and the state. Together they form a fitting tribute to the academic scholarship and inspiration offered by Alice Teichova. In her distinguished career, and in particular after the publication of her path-breaking book An Economic Background to Munich in 1974, she did much to stimulate a collaborative approach to international comparative work in the field of economic, political and business history. The case studies presented here demonstrate her considerable legacy to the subject.
This balanced history offers a concise, readable introduction to Nazi Germany. Combining compelling narrative storytelling with analysis, Joseph W. Bendersky offers an authoritative survey of the major political, economic, and social factors that powered the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Now in its fourth edition, the book incorporates significant research of recent years, analysis of the politics of memory, postwar German controversies about World War II and the Nazi era, and more on non-Jewish victims. Delving into the complexity of social life within the Nazi state, it also reemphasizes the crucial role played by racial ideology in determining the policies and practices of the Third Reich. Bendersky paints a fascinating picture of how average citizens negotiated their way through both the threatening power behind certain Nazi policies and the strong enticements to acquiesce or collaborate. His classic treatment provides an invaluable overview of a subject that retains its historical significance and contemporary importance.