Portland State University. Department of History.
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in History
1 online resource (128 p.)
Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie Aktiengesellschaft
On a massive scale, German business elites linked their professional ambitions to the affairs of the Nazi State. By 1937, the chemical giant, l.G. Farben, became completely "Nazified" and provided Hitler with materials which were essential to conduct war. With its monopoly over the manufacture of critical wartime products and global business interests, LG. Farben became one of the most powerful companies in the world during World War II, and an integral part of the Third Reich power structure. The conglomerate also provoked hostile mergers within the conquered "territories" of the German Reich, and constructed one of the largest privately-owned synthetic oil and rubber factories in the world at Auschwitz, where extensive use was made of slave labor. After World War II, companies like l.G. Farben faced the four-power occupation policies of de-Nazification and decartelization. Yet due in large part to the impending threat of Communism, key policies of the occupation governments were weakened or rendered inoperative. These same industries recovered swiftly and expanded production into foreign and domestic markets; indeed, LG. Farben's three successor companies are now each bigger than their original parent company. Company executives tried at Nuremberg for their crimes and found guilty were given sentences of eight years or less, and many business leaders were able to resurrect their careers. Like many German firms of that era, LG. Farben typifies the way in which Germany's top business leaders exploited the resources available to them and adapted their political allegiances during and after World War II to maintain their power. Many believe that political interests drive business interests, when in fact, the case of LG. Farben suggests a reciprocal influence between these sectors, and greater corporate influence during the Third Reich than is widely known. Particularly under an expansionary dictatorship, the state may be used by elites as an instrument to build and hoard capital, allowing elites to compete effectively on a global scale, and industry serves as the engine which fuels the territorial ambitions of the state.
Reinert, Robert Arthur, "The Persistence of Elites and the Legacy of I.G. Farben, A.G." (1997). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5302.