Corporations and Cooperation with the Nazis
Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:
I am one of the persons that responds to questions sent to our project. It is possible that other colleagues of mine will also respond.
Your question is very complex. Most of the large corporations in Germany assisted the Nazis in their quest for power, and many more collaborated with them once the Nazis had gained full control of Germany.
Starting with Krupp:
Visit the following pages on our web-page:
and you will obtain some of the information relevant to the Krupp influence in Nazi Germany.
A book has been published that describes their role in the Nazi regime:
Daimler-Benz in the Third Reich
The following was taken from the dust-jacket:
[...] Gregor first traces the history of the Daimler-Benz company from its formation in 1926 through the crisis years of the depression, and examines how the opportunities offered by Nazi rearmament in the 1930's led to rapid expansion and a surge in its profits. His main focus, however, is on the war itself. Here he demonstrates that the company succeeded in exploiting the demands of the war economy while at the same time situating its operations most advantageously for the resumption of commercial activity in peacetime. Indeed a central argument of the book is that , despite Allied bombing, Daimler-Benz AG emerged from the war in good shape and with a clear operating strategy, its inventory largely intact and its core production lines geared for the peacetime market.
There are several books on the role of Volkswagen in the Third Reich. I will be quoting brief excerpts from:
Volkswagen Beetle: The Rise from the Ashes of War
The Volkswagen Beetle came into being as part of the Nazi party economic policy known as *Motoriserung*, although its origin predates Hitler's rise to power in Germany: the car was the brainchild of the versatile Austrian designer Ferdinand Porsche.
Support and nurture for the embrionic Volkswagen came next, not from an industrialist but a politician. Adolf Hitler had come to power as German Chancellor on January 30th, 1933...
Porsche was instructed to come to Berlin in May 1934 to meet with Hitler and discuss the volksauto project. This now famous meeting took place at the Kaiserhof Hotel.
The new company with DAF [Deutsche Arbeits Front - a Nazi organization run by Dr. Robert Ley] support decided to build a completely new factory ... near the village of Fallersleben... On Ascension Day (May 26th) 1938 at a grand ceremony, the cornerstone of the new factory was laid by Adolf Hitler.
(During the war)...(t)he number of foreign workers of other nationalities rose steadily. These foreign workers were in three categories as follows:
1. *Auslandische Ziviarbeiter*: Foreign workers who came to work in response to advertiesments placed in occupied countries. Later, many of these workers, who came of their own free will, were forced to stay. ...
2. *Kriegsgefangene*: Prisoners of war, mostly Russians and Poles.
3. *KZ Haftlinge*: Forced labor from concentration camp inmates. There was a satellite camp from Neuengamme near Fallersleben. Some inmates were kept in the cellar of Hall No. 1 in the factory.
The foreign workers arrived at KdF Stadt in the following
The mixture of German and foreign workers changed as the war went on:
1940: 80% German/20% foreign
I hope that this information starts you off on your research project. As you were able to observe from reading the above, there is an enormous amount of information on the subject available in any good library.
Last modified: September 4, 1999