Central European Business Day

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The Central European Business Day ( MWT ) was from August 1931 to 1944 an interest group of leading German corporations, banks and business associations, which initially pursued the goal of conquering the Central European market economically and indirectly dominating it politically. After the hegemony over the southern and eastern European market, the fight for the world market was to begin in a second stage. The MWT thus operated a geopolitical strategy not primarily with military means, but primarily with economic and trade policy measures .

While early research only viewed the MWT as a part of German armament and preparation for war, more recent research sees the MWT in opposition to the military imperialism of Hitler's inner cabinet . According to the MWT employee Alfred Sohn-Rethel and MWT research, the Central European Business Day represents a concentration of German business interests that was historically unique until then, as this union brought together the leading representatives of the most important institutions in business, the military and the state bureaucracy for this specific political program could unite until the end of 1935. In the course of the Nazi dictatorship , the MWT increasingly lost its influence on the formation of political strategy, but the Hitler-Stalin Pact once again temporarily reaffirmed the primacy of pre-war politics . The beginning of the attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 is both the ultimate failure and the end of this economic strategy, as the United States soon entered World War II against the “Third Reich”. Thereafter, the MWT limited itself to economic activities and subordinated itself to the military expansion implemented by Hitler.


States of the Little Entente in SE Europe

Since the economic theorist Friedrich List , there has been a continuity of European strategic considerations and efforts in Germany. Because of the industrialized states and colonial powers Great Britain and France in western Europe, which had rivaled Germany since the late 19th century, German hegemonic interests were mainly directed towards Central and Southeastern Europe . The term Central Europe has always remained vague in the political debate, it cannot be “clearly located geographically, politically or culturally”. As early as 1904, German industrialists and associations (mainly from Saxony and Silesia) founded the Central European Business Association (MEWV). The MEWV represented particularist interests and stood for the priority of economic domination of the Central European market, which, however, met with the resistance of the Reich government, which preferred free world trade and wanted to face the economic challenge of the USA. In contrast, a "Danube, Balkan and Black Sea Association" (Dubvid) was formed during the First World War under the primacy of military domination. From 1916 to 1918 , an “Economic Committee Ukraine ”, a “German- Finnish Association”, a “German- Georgian Society” and a “German- Nordic Association” published the magazine Eastern European Future , also under military premises . The Reichsdeutsche Armbrüderliche Vereinigung , which existed from 1915 to 1918, also pursued a military dominance of a Central Europe under German leadership.

After the loss of the First World War , a series of restrictions forced German industry to shift its economic activities more and more to Central Europe - primarily due to reparation claims and then from 1929 onwards due to the global economic crisis . One of the economic reasons for the compulsion to reorient in terms of trade policy was a high degree of overcapacity, especially in the highly rationalized and yet deficit iron and steel processing industry. For this reason, heavy industry promoted the reorientation of trade policy with the catchphrase “relocation of foreign trade”, which was particularly “spontaneous” and well received in the Reichswehr.

The initiative to set up the MWT came from the Rhenish heavy industry at the end of the 1920s. The industrialist Tilo von Wilmowsky names his brother-in-law Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach and Paul Reusch as the main client for the MWT , the MWT employee and Alfred Sohn-Rethel, who has remained unrecognized as a Marxist , generally cites the " Krupp -Werke". The historian Seckendorf limits the authors to a few members of the Ruhrlade . In 1928 the search for a suitable form of organization with a politically neutral reputation began, under whose roof Germany's economic expansion and political hegemony in Central Europe could be implemented in a concentrated manner. Its result was the inconspicuous institutional infiltration and economic policy realignment of the Central European Economic Conference (MEWT) in Vienna, which had existed since September 1925 . The MEWT went back to the initiative of the Viennese wholesale merchant and food industrialist Julius Meinl and the Hungarian former State Secretary and economist Elemér Hantos . The members of the MEWT consisted of representatives from several national groups, including Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Great Britain. They represented a course of free trade that was initially to be established in the successor states of the former Habsburg monarchy . In 1926 Meinl withdrew again because he could not enforce his idea of ​​restoring the austriaccentric customs union . Hantos then worked “on behalf of the Little Entente ” and “received plenty of funds from the ČSR ”.

Foundation and structure

On December 6, 1926, a German group was also founded at the Central European Economic Conference with supporters of free trade such as the politician Georg Gothein . In mid-1928 the organization was renamed Central European Economic Day (MWT), after which representatives of the leading German corporations, banks and associations joined the board of the German group . Between June 1929 and February 1930, the German Group converted the Vienna headquarters by gradually replacing the opponents of a Greater German Central European solution with German-friendly representatives. For the founding meeting of a working committee of the German group in the MWT, several representatives of the Rhenish industry, as well as other companies and associations met on February 13, 1931 in the Düsseldorf Stahlhof . Max Hahn was appointed as managing director - the trade policy advisor and the right hand of Max Schlenker , the managing director of the association for the protection of common economic interests in Rhineland and Westphalia ; von Bismarck shortened to the "Langnam Association". The first chairman of the presidium was the Krupp brother-in-law and director of the Berlin Krupp-Werke Tilo von Wilmowsky, who was intended to act as a mediator between the interests of agriculture and those of industry in terms of heavy industry. The working committee divided its activities into three areas, a trade policy committee (head: Martin Sogemeier), an agricultural committee (head: Friedrich Karl von Zitzewitz-Kottow , governor of the province of Pomerania) and a press and propaganda committee. The Hahn office , as the MWT headquarters was soon called, shared an office with the editorial team of the Deutsche Führerbriefe , which was renamed Deutsche Letters from 1933 in order to avoid any proximity to Hitler. The publisher, Franz Reuter , had been head of the MWT's press and propaganda committee together with Max Schlenker since the beginning of 1931. Reuter had access to the two-time Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht and was his confidante and biographer. The working committees were continued in some cases in the company's own staff or specially assigned employees. The MWT was not present in public, only the Southeast European negotiating partners should know about the existence of the MWT. In addition to the Langnam Association, the Reich Association of German Industry and the Foreign Office participated in the financing of the MWT from 1931 .

“The founding group of the new MWT was the» Stahlhof «in Düsseldorf, Tilo v. Wilmowsky, the head of FA Krupp AG. in Berlin, became the chairman [of the presidium]. He and Hahn soon expanded the membership to a new base that included all noteworthy corporations and groups of German finance capital , i.e. the IG Farben as well as the Stahlverein , the Mining Association , the Potash Syndicate and the Nitrogen Syndicate , the vehicle industry and the Machine and apparatus construction, the electrical industry such as Dresdner Bank , the processing industry and the large agrarians, the Essener Zweckverband , the ADAC and the German Foreign Club (DAC) , the Association of German Mechanical Engineering Organizations (VDMA) , the German Association of Cities and the Reich Association of Germans Industry (RDI) , to name a few. All in all, it was an ideal keyboard for Hahn to use to orchestrate his far-reaching plans. Close relationships were tense with the Prussian Main Chamber of Agriculture, with the Reichswehr, especially the Abwehr department, and of course with the Foreign Office. "

- Alfred Sohn-Rethel

Until 1931, the MWT only served as a propaganda organ for a customs union with Austria and for combating resistance to German expansion into south-eastern Europe. The national political monthly magazine Volk und Reich , which was taken over by the MWT, was published from 1925 to 1944, from May 1931 the magazine was expanded to include the sections Central European Review and World Political Review , the latter being written by the geopolitician Albrecht Haushofer . The MWT later lost interest in this publication. In September 1931, the Langnam Association set up a German headquarters for the MWT in Berlin, which also became the new business headquarters of all European regional groups - an office floor in a building complex on the Berlin Landwehr Canal opposite the building of the Reich Association of German Industry (Schöneberger Ufer 39, in the second World War II destroyed, from 1937 in Hildebrandtstrasse 17) and near the Bendlerblock .

With the establishment of a number of Central European Institutes, the MWT created a scientifically sound basis for solving the practical problems of its Southeast European policy. In 1928 an "Institute for Central and Southeast European Economic Research at the University of Leipzig" was founded under the direction of Kurt Wiedenfeld and Hermann Gross, the head of the Vienna branch of the economics department of IG Farben . The Institute for Transport and Currency was founded in Vienna on March 1, 1929 . On September 10, 1929, the Brno Institute followed for the investigation of the cooperation of certain branches of production (sugar, coal, textile industries). An institute for agricultural issues was set up in Budapest on May 8, 1930 , and in the winter of 1929/30 another institute was added in Dresden.

In addition to academics, industrialists and bankers sat on the board of the Vienna Institute, including Arthur Krupp , a relative from the Krupp house who acquired the majority of shares in Creditanstalt for Krupp AG . Other board members were Ludwig von Neurath, director of the Austrian Creditanstalt, Viktor Freiherr von der Lippe, director of the Wiener Bankverein , Richard von Schoeller's industrialist and Count Colloredo- Mansfeld, president of the Austrian Agricultural Society. The Brno Institute was founded by the Association of Moravian Industrialists, who followed an initiative by Friedrich Nelböck, the section head of the Pan-European Union in Brno. This institute became an institution of German industrialists in the ČSR with close connections to the Association of Wool Manufacturers of Moravia and the German Main Association of Industry in Teplitz-Schönau .


The MWT was a historically unique organization in terms of its members, the program, its structures and functioning. Historically unique was above all the association of interests of all bourgeois power elites including the army on a certain political program, namely the peaceful economic penetration of Central Europe. The rather informally linked structure of the MWT organization was completely opposed to the great economic importance of its members and the ambitious program. The headquarters of the MWT consisted of only one office floor at the Bendlerblock with a managing director and several secretaries and until 1936 with his son-Rethel as an assistant, who had been placed by Ernst Poensgen for this position. There were further offices of the affiliated regional groups in the respective European capitals. The main burden of the required range of activities had to be borne by the companies, banks, associations and institutes involved in the MWT themselves. In Germany, for example, the responsible bureaucracy organized the agricultural cartelization according to plan, while in Southeastern Europe the economic initiative was in the hands of private companies. The headquarters in Berlin only took on higher-level tasks such as the coordination and coordination of the various association, company and government representatives with regard to the general political goals of the MWT agenda. Ministry officials such as Carl Clodius , Karl Ritter and Ernst Freiherr von Weizsäcker as well as high-ranking representatives of the officer corps were not official members, but were in contact with the MWT office and took part in the MWT conferences.

The program of economic penetration of the Southeastern European states (pénétration pacifique) had been established since the start of the re-establishment and reorientation in August 1931. The leading industrial groups, big banks, large agrarians and business associations were able to agree on this agenda from August 1931. A year later, the agricultural cartelization program was added, which, according to Sohn-Rethel, included the establishment of an authoritarian regime in Germany. In the course of time, other important corporations and companies joined and thus committed themselves to the MWT agenda. While the peacefully oriented economic exchange with the Southeast European states continued until 1944, the MWT members increasingly gave up their general foreign policy peace course from the end of 1935 - in favor of a war and self-sufficiency course. From 1936 onwards, with the establishment of the four-year plan authority that was in charge of all offices, the power of the state bureaucracy was gradually lost to the representatives of the Nazi regime. In the case of the state treaties with Hungarians and Romanians, the MWT was ignored during preparation. But after the first military campaigns in Europe, the MWT agenda of peaceful penetration of Eastern Europe was again able to achieve an unexpected, great success with the help of the Foreign Ministry in the Hitler-Stalin Pact . In anticipation of a very extensive economic exchange with the Soviet Union, the organizational structure of the MWT expanded in 1940 with a board of trustees and several advisory boards, in which the board members of the large companies and banks again took a seat.

Agricultural cartelization

The first open attempt to form a customs union between Germany and Austria on March 19, 1931 was successfully reversed by Great Britain and France. The result was a serious crisis in the leading circles of large German industry. After an intense debate, which was concluded in August 1931, the MWT changed the procedure for economic penetration of Southeast Europe. The aim of the new MWT remained the formation of a duty-free, large-scale economy in Southeastern Europe, which was to serve as an economic "supplementary area" for the export of German finished products and for the import of Eastern European raw materials, industrial and oil crops and semi-finished products . However, as a prerequisite and basis for this strategy, an agreement and cooperation between industry and large-scale agrarians was first initiated, since such a concentration of interests, which was considered politically necessary, had not yet come about. Instead of an external agreement with Austria, the internal unification of the interests of large-scale industry and agrarians was pushed forward. Such a concentration of interests was first formulated in the business newspaper Rhein und Ruhr in September 1932 with cautious allusions by Max Hahn and Wilhelm von Flügge; Officially, however, the article was signed by Max Schlenker and Baron Karl-Magnus von Knebel-Döberitz from the Pomeranian Chamber of Agriculture.

The MWT initially worked to balance the fundamental conflict of interests between the export industries wishing to be free of customs duties and the protectionist large- scale agrarians who had insisted on total and high tariff protection for their agricultural products since the establishment of the Reich . Since the south-east European countries were still predominantly structured on an agricultural basis, they could only pay for German industrial exports with their inexpensive agricultural products. The solution that was found for this problem was called by the negotiators "agricultural cartelization" and, according to the information provided by MWT employee Sohn-Rethel, provided for the following measures: The products of large German farmers, namely agricultural raw products such as grain and animal feed (potatoes, maize) continued to be protected with high tariffs, the German small and medium-sized livestock and processing industries ( dairy and horticultural products), on the other hand, were left defenselessly exposed to cheaper imports from neighboring countries. In order to guarantee and stabilize a minimum agricultural supply in spite of the inevitable rural exodus, a further series of measures was used: the prohibition of free buying and selling as well as the free division of inheritance of rural property. In this way, on the one hand, the existence of the family businesses was secured against inheritance : The family members who migrated to the cities could be absorbed by the industrial production that was getting underway again. In return, the state guaranteed the small and medium-sized farms fixed prices. Furthermore, cold storage facilities were built throughout the empire in order to keep prices stable. Following the example of industrial cartel policy, each farmer should “be prescribed the type and quantity of his production and the sale of his products should be transferred to state organs or co-ops.” In other words: the small and medium-sized farms had to “be deprived of the freedom to represent their interests . ”According to Sohn-Rethel, the draft law on agricultural cartelization came from the former administrative lawyer Helmut Nicolai and was drafted by him before 1933. First of all, Minister of Economics and Agriculture, Alfred Hugenberg, carried out the policy of agricultural cartelization with corresponding binational trade agreements . After Hugenberg's resignation, the program was passed as the “ Reichserbhofgesetz ” on September 29, 1933 and, according to Sohn-Rethel, continued to be carried out unchanged by the “ Reichsnährstand ” established by the National Socialists on December 8, 1933 . However, this legislative package was only part of a series of further amendments that had been drawn up before the Nazi government came to power. The best way to understand and most succinctly was to explain the agricultural cartelization in the course book 1970:

“For central European policy, the domestic German market had to be cartelized for the main products of the peasant processing industry; d. H. The farmers should lose their market freedom, let a public body (over which the industry promised itself control!) purchase and sale, production and exploitation, size and disposal of their farm, i.e. their right of inheritance, dictate what they guaranteed sales and for Price levels for each product and debt-free (but also bad credit) property of their court received in return. The German agricultural market was to be allocated according to blood and soil in terms of production, stocks, sales, trade, and almost birth policy. "

The coercive measures in the dairy industry in the 1930s produced consequences, the restrictions of which are still in effect today. The agricultural cartelization forced the delivery of milk from all cattle farmers to dairies within a defined catchment area. Due to the compulsory delivery of milk and the tightening of hygiene regulations, the once great variety of tastes in butter and cheese has decreased. With sufficiently high fixed prices, the state subsidized low butter prices and promoted increased production with premiums in order to avoid a supply crisis such as in the First World War.

Clearing procedure due to foreign exchange freeze

A rush of savers in front of the Sparkasse der Stadt Berlin after the collapse of the Danat-Bank on July 13, 1931

The collapse of the international world credit system is considered to be another major stage in the world economic crisis. On July 6, 1931, a one-year debt moratorium on German reparations was adopted on the initiative of US President Hoover , as international confidence in the solvency of the Weimar Republic had disappeared due to the bank crash since May 1931. However, France delayed recognizing the Hoover moratorium, so that Germany became insolvent on July 13, 1931. For Germany and its European debtor countries , this meant a foreign exchange freeze ( foreign exchange management , from 1933 extended to a transfer moratorium , a unilateral cessation of the transfer of interest and capital repayments for reparations). Free international payments came to a standstill. When the British central bank director Montagu Norman uncoupled the British pound from the gold currency standard on September 21, 1931, the international world credit system also collapsed. In place of international monetary transactions, there was now trade in compensation for individual goods that were to be imported and exported. From August 1931 until the beginning of World War II , there was no longer any free movement of capital between countries. A significant consequence of the foreign exchange freeze was the formation of economic blocs in which the respective leading states enforced their currency as the key currency for their sphere of influence. UK focused on the Ottawa Conference in July / August 1932 Sterling zone (Engl. Sterling bloc ) and formed the so-called Ottawa system for the trading of preferential tariffs in the countries of the Commonwealth . The USA concentrated its foreign trade on South America and the Caribbean (dollar bloc) and in 1936 Japan followed with the formation of the so-called Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere, including occupied Manchukuos . The division of the world economy into large economic areas (“large economic area”), each with a center and a supplementary economic periphery, was then the common interim solution in economic policy to overcome the forced foreign exchange management and the global economic crisis.

As a reaction to the economic crisis, the MWT Presidium decided in October 1931 to abolish the most-favored nation principle in trade in Southeast Europe and instead advocated preferential tariffs for individual agricultural products. However, since the abandonment of the gold standard on April 19, 1933 by the USA and with it the gold currency system, no foreign exchange-based trade was possible. Germany made do with what is known as the clearing procedure, which made foreign exchange and customs duties superfluous in international trade. The imports and exports were now offset in the clearing contracts by means of import and export balances in the respective currencies, without having to use foreign currency. The German side set up the central German clearing office in Berlin .

Critics of the MWT such as the GDR historians see clearing offsetting as a means of exploitation, but the general currency lock in international trade during the 1930s is overlooked. Sohn-Rethel, on the other hand, only considers the specified quantity itself to be unilaterally disadvantageous, since Germany had more influence on it. The quantity quota (quantity agreement) was a much more finely adjustable means of regulating goods than preferential tariffs and therefore the lever for a far-reaching agricultural and industrial policy in Southeastern Europe. The new trade policy from 1933 was based on the model: "Industrial export concessions against variable quantity quotas and fixed price quotas for agricultural imports to Germany." While at the beginning of the economic expansion in Southeastern Europe the focus was on trade in the generally missing metals and agricultural products the interest since the four-year plan at the end of 1936 in products that would enable Germany to become self-sufficient in the event of war. In particular, the IG Farben Group was involved in the procurement and synthesis of armaments and war-relevant raw materials and food. In doing so, however, the MWT undermined its primarily economic strategy of geopolitics in the medium term and worked to support the proponents of a military strategy.

MWT activities in Southeast Europe

raw materials

   The German share of foreign trade in Southeastern Europe in 1933/40 (in%)
Import from Southeast Europe Export to Southeast Europe
1933 18.44 15.35
1934 19.66 22.72
1935 25.92 25.69
1936 33.77 29.62
1937 32.86 26.32
  1938 ¹ 40.07 40.73
  1939 ² 50.61 46.08
  1940 ³ 54.01 46.36
¹ including Austria, ² including » Protectorate «, ³ with Greece until September 1940
Source: Otto Schulmeister: Werdende Großraumwirtschaft. The phases of their development in Southeast Europe. Dissertation 1941, University of Vienna ; Junker & Dünnhaupt, Berlin 1943, p. 52

Southeast Europe was of particular interest to the MWT from a montaneological and agricultural point of view. Geologists and companies engaged in the exploration ( prospecting ), the development ( exploration ) and mining-related deposits of ore minerals and metals. For example, antimony was mined in Lissa and Zajace near Sarajevo , lead-zinc deposits in Srebrenica (Yugoslavia), copper near Slatina (Yugoslavia) near the France-controlled Mines de Bor , in Similti ( Bulgaria ) and near Bruxkovo ( Montenegro ) . The molybdenum mining in Bobijesto (Bulgaria) remained without sustainable exploitation. With the help of Friedrich Krupp AG , Jugochrom AG was founded, but it was not profitable under world market conditions. Furthermore, the mining company Montania AG was established with German and Swiss investors as well as Yugoslav landowners. In 1937 lead-zinc deposits were discovered in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains during prospecting ; In the same year they were founded by Pirin AG (Granitoid, Felten & Guilleaume , Otto Wolff ) and in 1941 the company went into operation. In July 1937 a steel mill was opened in Zenica near Sarajevo.

The steel industry was also interested in arms exports to southeast Europe. As Minister of Economic Affairs, Schacht often traveled to the Balkan countries together with senior Krupp employees to initiate an exchange of weapons for raw materials. For this reason alone, Krupp was not interested in war. Arms exports were seen as a means of market opening and expansion for all states that were considered economically important. Due to its financial autonomy and its extraordinarily diverse production in the civil sector, Krupp AG had only joined Hitler's war course at a late stage.

Most of the investments in Southeastern Europe that came about on the initiative of the MWT were not profit-oriented, but merely cost-covering and for the most part a subsidy. For the foreign exchange-free purchase of the raw materials, the Germans paid prices that were 20 to 30% above the world market level. They were far-reaching investments that were intended to build increasing ties to the German economy in the medium and long term. The decisive factor for the MWT was not a profit at the expense of the population and trading partners, but the displacement of British and French capital from Southeastern Europe, which there amounted to 25 billion gold francs in credits between 1924 and 1930 after the end of the war . The south-eastern European states should only be able to get out of their increasing dependence on Germany at very high costs. Although the Southeast European share of total German trade rose from four to twelve percent between 1931 and 1938, the expansion of trade with Scandinavia and South America was far more extensive.


Textile expert Hans Croon from the Aachen cloth factory GH and J. Croon founded Woll- und Tierhaar AG (Wotirag) in Turkey and successfully developed it further. Following the suggestion of Wilmowsky, he also got involved in Bulgaria, where he had a merino herd bred by crossing merino sheep with Bulgarian and Romanian sheep breeds on the state estate Clementina in order to increase the wool yield. Local shepherds were invited to Germany for training in sheep breeding methods, and German shepherd masters trained in south-eastern Europe. Wilmowsky considers this commitment, which only covers costs, to be a prime example of development aid.

   German export of agricultural machinery to Southeast Europe
in 1,000 RM
1931 1933 1935 1937
Bulgaria 22nd 5 38 778
Romania 97 20th 100 1728
Yugoslavia 16 15th 44 1141

A survey of the degree of mechanization in agriculture in Yugoslavia showed that there was hardly any mechanization in the 1930s: there were only two iron plows for every 100 hectares. Therefore, the German medium-sized agricultural machinery industry got involved with the MWT to provide more agricultural machinery. Southeast European young farmers were trained as "agronomists" in four months at the Deulakraft agricultural vehicle driving school in Warendorf, after which MWT set up a technical school in Gorna-Banja, Bulgaria, and in Croatia . This commitment also did not generate any profits for the German medium-sized agricultural machinery industry and was therefore only a long-term investment for a future upswing in agriculture. In Romania, a school for mechanics of agricultural machinery was not established until 1941. The "second, far more important step" in modernizing Southeast European agriculture was the establishment of repair shops. However, this plan got stuck in the beginning because of the Second World War. Only in Romania and Bulgaria was it possible to set up a village model workshop as well as 30 motor vehicle repair trains of three cars each, which covered the entire Romanian area in mobile use.

Since the MWT preferred a cooperative approach and wanted to accommodate the farmers' distrust of machine use in agriculture, the Germans developed a rural advisory system that was only to be used on site to give a practical view of technical and machine tools. Two Bulgarian “sample villages” were set up for demonstration purposes - Mramor, 15 km west of Sofia and Dolny Lukowic in the northern Bulgarian lowlands. Wilmowsky also calls this type of village “electrical test village”, as electrification with the appropriate infrastructure such as sprinkling and irrigation systems, dairy, cheese dairy, poultry farming, fruit and vegetable cultivation or a health station with a pharmacy was attached. In addition, a long-term consultation at selected farms in 300 villages by means of structural improvements and the use of machines demonstrated how production and income could be increased without government subsidies and loans. New slaughterhouses, warehouses and cold stores as well as a canning industry for the export of refined products to Germany were also built.

To train young academics, Krupp, other industrialists and IG Farben set up a Germany Foundation for Southeastern European students in 1935 . At the beginning of 1936 it started its work and distributed 150 scholarships in the first year. A total of around 900 graduates had been trained in economics, agriculture and forestry, mining, technology, chemistry and medicine by 1942. Individual companies took on sponsorships for students. A commercial training was supplemented in the spring of 1940 by the Südoststiftung with the Vienna University for World Trade , which trained merchants for south- east business in four semesters.

Soybean field

The concrete investments that were made with the cooperation of the MWT were not disadvantageous or overreaching, as they were intended to serve the industrialization of the local infrastructure to a certain extent. In the area of ​​power politics, on the other hand, there was no consideration of equality and reciprocity. The MWT members largely agreed to support the Southeast European states only until simple industry was established. Opponents of these "exploitation tendencies " were the Deutsche Bank board and the MWT board member Hermann Josef Abs and the MWT board member Ulrich von Hassell . Left-wing MWT critics therefore orient their criticism more towards trade policy and, above all, towards the ambitious draft strategies, concepts and demands of conference participants. In the intergovernmental trade agreements and later in the 1939 state agreements with Hungary and Romania, in which the MWT was no longer involved, the Germans pushed through large-scale changes to the cultivation structures in the countries concerned. This involved the cultivation of industrial crops such as flax , oilseeds such as flax and, above all, protein-rich plants such as soy , which had previously only been imported from Manchuria . In addition, there was an obligation to buy from the south-east European states in Germany, which had a growing deficit in foreign trade with the Balkan states due to a lack of foreign currency and the priority of arms production. In the German-Romanian State Treaty of 1939 (“Wohlthat Agreement”) the first intergovernmental planning committee was established, which was primarily responsible for managing investment in Romania.

Power politics

The MWT always reserved a policy with the German minorities in south-eastern Europe as the “ fifth column ”. A Southeastern Europe memorandum of the MWT from 1932 proposed a division of Southeastern Europe with Italy into areas of interest, with the intention of displacing Italy from it again later. But this plan could be robbed of its effectiveness by publications by Édouard Herriot and Wickham Steed . In addition, Sohn-Rethel made public intelligence operations in which the MWT was involved or at least had knowledge of it. The assassination attempt on the dictatorial ruling King Alexander I of Yugoslavia on October 9, 1934 was carried out by Pavelić terrorists with the support of the counterintelligence service of the Reichswehr. Since 1934, under the guidance of the Gestapo and the Abwehr, a spy ring was built in the Soviet Union with the help of Jesuits , who were trained to become Orthodox priests and who were supposed to spread counter-revolutionary and religious propaganda in the Soviet Union. Via the routes created by the Catholic Action , they were smuggled into the Ukraine on Poland's eastern border, and former White Guards from Yugoslavia and Romania were trained as agents in Berlin and smuggled into the Soviet Union.

Preliminary form of the Franco-German coal and steel union

Prime Minister Édouard Daladier signs the Munich Agreement

During the displacement of French influence from the states of the Little Entente , the German steel and coal cartels developed an increasingly intensive cooperation with the French iron and steel industry. Of particular importance was the Franco-German Treaty of July 10, 1937, through which German coke coal became the main coal for the French steel industry. In return, the steel companies of the Comité des Forges supplied French iron ore to the German steel companies. The Lorraine steel cartel Comité des Forges was controlled by the de Wendel and Laurent families and formed the core of a growing German-friendly industrial group in France, so that this corresponded to a preliminary form of the coal and steel union . Bilateral cartel agreements between the German and French steel and chemical companies should help to get over the economic depression together. At the end of the 1930s, a German-friendly cordon (area) had developed from around Lyon in the south to Lille in the north. Four Parisian daily newspapers and ten other French papers, which controlled the steel companies, influenced public opinion in the sense of a German-friendly foreign policy.

From September 1931 to October 1938, the French ambassador André François-Poncet represented the interests of this industrial group in Berlin. It was these economic interests that made the Munich Agreement possible. François-Poncet therefore enjoyed Hitler's greatest sympathy from all the ambassadors in Berlin. His successor Georges Bonnet and politicians like Laval and Pétain campaigned for a policy of appeasement with Germany even after the Munich Agreement until its war against France in May 1940. After the German occupation of France, they continued their pro-German policy in the Vichy regime .

IG Farben has a special role

Leuna-Werke, distillation systems in fuel production

The IG Farbenindustrie AG was since its major merger on 2 December 1925, the largest group in Europe. Important economic and political decisions could no longer be enforced against the interests of this group of companies. It was only when the IG Farben General Council approved the agricultural cartelization program that this strategy was implemented with all the political prerequisites and consequences; the IG Farben's ambitious soybean project also formed the center of the MWT's agricultural activities in Southeastern Europe. However, the complexity of this company structure was the cause of a fundamental internal conflict of interests between the war and the peace course or between the self-sufficiency economy and international competition (export industry). Because the Leuna plant for gasoline synthesis was in deficit and also inoperable and the IG Farben was burdened with the then enormous sum of RM 500 million in debt, according to Sohn-Rethel this emergency was the decisive factor in the approval of the IG Farben General Council at the beginning of December 1932 Hitler dictatorship. “The experience with the Leunawerk prompted IG Farben to take part in the formation of the Hitler dictatorship: in the first days of December 1932, it accepted the agricultural cartelization . This fact was expressed in a speech by Carl Bosch to the general council of his company. ”At the same time, IG Farben withdrew its support for the Schleicher cabinet that had just been formed . But not only Hitler's commitment to state subsidies for the Leunawerk (including high gasoline taxes), but also the financial support from Standard Oil steered IG Farben's course more and more in the direction of a war-making self-sufficiency economy and armament. After the secret agreement with the Americans in November 1929 (see below), IG Farben, with Hitler's support, went into another dependency in early November 1932.

In the first years of the Hitler dictatorship, IG Farben proceeded in two ways, for example, the company established partnerships and cartels with French chemical companies. After IG Farben was forced to give up its important overseas branches in 1935/36 due to a shortage of foreign exchange, IG Farben was willingly committed to the self-sufficiency and armament required by Göring's four-year plan authority . At the beginning of the four-year plan, IG Farben was awarded 72.7% of the funds from the chemicals sector, which comprised 90% of the total budget, which provoked the unsuccessful protests of the other chemical companies and von Schacht. The four-year plan was therefore also referred to as the IG Farben Plan in German business . In addition to the synthesis of oil and rubber, it also took on the production of "thousands" of other so-called "war-essential" substances and continued to be supported by US companies.

After it was succeeded in the Haber-Bosch process for the synthesis of ammonia to apply on an industrial scale, Carl Bosch operating as CEO a second large-scale project in the high pressure chemistry above - the fuel recovery by liquefaction of coal (or hydrogenation of coal) to the Bergius process . The prestige project caused more and more manufacturing costs , so that resistance was formed even at the director's level. Bosch's first trip to the USA in 1927 to encourage Standard Oil to invest was unsuccessful. After further mutual visits, a secret agreement on the global allocation of markets was concluded in November 1929. The Rockefeller Trust received the global rights of use for natural products such as crude oil and rubber and IG Farben the world market rights for all artificial products such as gasoline and bunasynthesis . For this, IG Farben received financing of RM 35 million in the form of Standard Oil shares. But this lasted only a short time; large-scale synthesis presented continued difficulties and drove the cost further to RM 500 million.

In 1935 a contract was added to supply a production facility for tetraethyl lead, an anti-knock agent for gasoline, the patents of which were held by a joint venture between Standard Oil , General Motors and DuPont . DuPont invested and cooperated with the German armaments industry from the 1920s until the end of 1941, when on December 11, 1941 - four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - the German Reich also declared war on the USA. The then second-largest US chemical company granted two IG Farben subsidiaries the right to use new processes and products in explosives technology. In order to limit the influence of IG Farben , Reichsbank President Schacht tried to form a union of independent chemical companies in 1933. But even with the support of Schacht, the companies did not dare to challenge the power of IG Farben . The increase in power of IG Farben was also documented in the increase in its representatives on the MWT board from 1933/34 and especially in the MWT board of trustees, which was founded in September 1940.

   Balance of German imports of Bulgarian and Romanian soybeans
in million RM
1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 total
Purchase price of soy imports 2.5 6.1 14.1 11.1 21.9 55.7
Equivalent to the world market price 1.3 2.7 6.3 4.9 8.6 23.8
loss 1.3 3.4 7.9 6.3 13.2 32.0

IG Farben's commitment to the MWT goals was based centrally on the breeding and large-scale cultivation of soybeans in the Southeast European countries. It plays an important role for Germany in the series of measures to build up a supplementary economy in south-eastern Europe. Above all, however, in the scientific literature from 1934 onwards, soybean cultivation by IG Farben is rated as a prime example of a self-sufficiency economy in preparation for war, since soy protein was to be used as food for the Wehrmacht during the war. However, because of the war, soy exports continued to decline. But here too there was a subsidy transaction, as it could only be started and maintained through subsidies from the German state. On the other hand, the soy imports from Southeast Europe served as barter goods for chemical products (paints, chemicals, pharmaceuticals) for IG Farben , since in this era of currency management only compensation transactions were possible. At the height of soy cultivation, up to 100,000 hectares were cultivated in Romania, up to 35,000 hectares in Bulgaria and up to 12,000 hectares in Yugoslavia. On October 21, 1938, three weeks after the Munich Agreement , IG Farben founded its own Southeast Europe Committee (SOA) in order to better coordinate and plan its activities in this region. From 1936 onwards, Max Ilgner, the IG Farben board member, was particularly active in matters relating to Southeast Europe.

In the left-wing MWT discussion, IG Farben is often cited as an exemplary company of the Third Reich in order to prove an alleged unity of the German economy for armament and war. The special role of IG Farben in Germany's militarization process is equated pars pro toto with the entire German economy. An exception to this is Sohn-Rethel, who shows in detail the contrast between export and self-sufficiency interests within IG Farben up to 1936.

Defeats for MWT interests

Between March 1938 and March 1939 Austria and the so-called " Sudeten areas " of Czechoslovakia were annexed militarily . The two appropriations met with criticism from the generals and industry in advance, because the general staff and the MWT preferred an economic and political form of exercise of power in both industrialized countries. A group of conspirators around General Franz Halder , including Major General Hans Oster , the Gestapo -Beamte Gisevius and Admiral Wilhelm Canaris , was planning a coup in the event of a military annexation of Czechoslovakia, then left but due to the Munich agreement on it.
According to the statutes and membership, there were no active civil servants in the MWT, but according to Sohn-Rethel, the army leadership had to be assigned to the MWT as a supporter in the first years of the Nazi dictatorship. The rest of the information in this section is also based on the contemporary witness of Sohn-Rethel, who wrote these reports in 1938 in British exile for the Times editor-in-chief Wickham Steed and for Winston Churchill . His friend Adorno and Horkheimer and the emigrated economist Carl Landauer also received a summary of these events.

Hitler's fireplace room in the Reich Chancellery
Meeting point of the "Inner Reich Cabinet"

This defeat of economic interests was already gradually being announced in the political center of power, the so-called Hitler's Inner Cabinet ("Inner Reich Cabinet") with eight members. It met for the first time on October 10, 1935 in weekly succession in Hitler's Reich Chancellery by the fireplace and initially served discussions to accelerate the armament . Industry representatives gave the circle the sarcastic euphemism "Conversations by the fireplace". The participants in the internal leadership circle were Hitler as chairman, "who hardly ever intervened in the negotiations", Hess as NSDAP representative, Raeder for the Navy, von Blomberg as deputy for the army and the general staff, Göring for the air force and as authorized representative for rearmament, von Neurath as foreign minister, Schwerin von Krosigk as finance minister and Schacht as economics minister and Reichsbank president. Schacht acted as the only representative of economic interests there, and he increasingly lost influence in this group. Sometimes the Prussian finance minister Popitz was invited so that Schacht would not consider himself irreplaceable.

The founding of this inner leadership circle in October 1935 was the cause of great concern in the boardrooms of business, its associations and the Reichswehr. Many memoranda and memoranda were written that wanted to revise the war course with economic arguments (e.g. return to accounting rules , excessively high armament costs). As a mediator, Schacht had the task of presenting these memoranda to the internal cabinet. The previous “fatalistic devotion to the course of events” was once again thoroughly questioned by the “ruling classes of the German upper middle class”. “Suddenly all floodgates seemed to be open to criticism and discussion.” In conspiratorial meetings, industrialists discussed the disarmament of the SA and SS by the Reichswehr, and a coup d'état was also considered. But the war decision of late November 1935 against the Soviet Union in the spring of 1939 only resulted in an increase in the participation of companies that had previously remained aloof in the rearmament; any planned coups were abandoned. The opinion prevailed that in the end it was only with the help of the NSDAP as a mass base that wage pressure could be maintained at the lowest wages and that many financially weak companies were saved from bankruptcy. Schacht commented on this surrender of the upper-class camp with the words: "We are all in the same boat."

Hitler at a meeting with Schacht (center) on the economic situation, 1936

However, in consultation with the leading financial groups in the economy (Krupp, IG Farben, Stahlverein ), the General Staff of the Wehrmacht made four conditions for the war faction to make planning war against the Soviet Union more difficult. The first condition was the at least indirect power of disposal over the Central European "raw materials, harvests, energy sources, means of transport, the post office and the administrative facilities". The General Staff also included the economically strong states of Czechoslovakia and Austria in Central Europe, where economic hegemony was already ensured by controlling their banks and steel industries. The second condition for war was a defensive alliance with Poland. The reorganization and armament of the Polish army should become the responsibility of Germany. In 1934 an attempt was made to conclude an arms agreement with Poland, but this was rejected by the Polish side. This meant that a war against the Soviet Union could only be waged without or against Poland. The third condition stipulated in the event of war was an invasion of Japanese troops in the Siberian east of the Soviet Union. Fourth, British neutrality should be guaranteed in order to avoid another two-front war like the one in the First World War. The personal connection between large-scale industry as well as the large merchants on the one hand and the Hitler government on the other hand took place through two representatives and liaison officers of the industry, namely the head of the military economic staff Georg Thomas (1890-1946) and the head of the Heeresverpflegungsamt (HVA) Friedrich Karmann (1885 –1939), both of whom were anti-Nazi.

With the establishment of a four-year planning authority at the end of 1936 under the direction of Göring, the armament was accelerated again, all resources essential to the war effort were recorded centrally by this authority and their procurement organized. As early as May 1936, Hitler transferred responsibility for raw material imports and foreign exchange to Göring, whereupon Schacht submitted his resignation. Hitler left Schacht in office, but with considerably fewer powers. The steel industry also rejected a policy of self-sufficiency, as Göring was now enforcing because it considered it too expensive and far too inefficient, like the Reichswerke Hermann Göring at Salzgitter. Instead, the rivals Great Britain and the USA should be competed in lower levels through improved exports on the world market, for which Southeast Europe should first be built up as a long-term basis. Since Göring's four-year plan authority had received from Hitler the right to manage authorities, Göring increasingly incidentally conceded the power base of industry in the War Ministry , namely the military economic staff and the army catering office. At the beginning of 1937, Goering demanded from Schacht to give up currency stability in favor of an inflationary inflated money supply in order to finance the increase in armaments. Schacht refused to give up the anti-inflation policy, it was his last resort against the war course. In November 1937 there was a final rift, Schacht finally resigned on November 26, 1937 from his office as Reich Economics Minister.

In 1938, the MWT changed its statutes from an association to a society that only allowed companies and individuals to become members. After Schacht's resignation, this was a differentiation from possible influences from representatives from Nazi-dominated authorities. State treaties were concluded with Hungary on February 7, 1939 and with Romania on March 23, 1939, which gave the Germans more opportunities in agricultural and industrial planning there. Göring's four-year plan authority and the central business organizations passed over the MWT and transferred the preparations and negotiations with the two states to the Reichsgruppe Industrie (RGI).

Return of the MWT to power politics

Stalin and Ribbentrop after the signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact on August 23, 1939

An unexpected turn in the foreign policy power play gave the MWT's economic strategy a new chance. Due to the continued lack of willingness to cooperate on the Polish side, Hitler decided in August 1939 to accept Stalin's proposal to partition Poland. On August 23, 1939, Foreign Ministers Ribbentrop and Molotov signed a non-aggression pact , the Hitler-Stalin Pact , which, in addition to the occupation of Poland, contained an extensive and long-term trade and credit agreement. The Soviet Union was granted a loan of RM 200 million by the Deutsche Golddiskontbank (Dego) to purchase German industrial goods. With the help of Wilmowsky's friend, the Moscow ambassador Friedrich-Werner Graf von der Schulenburg , the contract enabled “the construction of factories, the delivery of all kinds of machines and machine tools, equipment for building a naphtha industry, a Soviet chemical industry, and equipment for an electrotechnical industry, ships, vehicles, transport equipment, measuring instruments, laboratory equipment ... "

This laid the foundation for far-reaching economic penetration of the USSR. In a memorandum for Hitler and his cabinet, the Foreign Ministry, under the leadership of State Secretary and MWT supporter Ernst Freiherr von Weizsäcker, explained the possibilities of the new trade agreement:

“Both countries will enrich each other in a natural way: The Soviet Union, the land of unlimited raw material sources and great long-term economic planning, will need German finished goods of the highest quality in the foreseeable future. Germany, which, due to its tremendously specialized industry, supplies the highest quality, to the now only partially industrialized Soviet Union, the factories and equipment it needs to develop its industrial sector. And Germany is also unlimited in the position to supply the Soviet production ... "

In the political diction of the two European rivals, this unexpectedly enabled the Germans to have a “pénétration pacifique” of an “informal empire” (control of an area without official state possession) from the Atlantic to the Bering Strait . The US geopolitician Zbigniew Brzeziński emphasizes the uniqueness of this Eurasian unity in the foreword in one of his main works ( The Grand Chessboard , 1997). At the same time, with this new unit, the British strategy of “ divide and rule ” (in English usage: balance of power ) was about to fail. British geopoliticians of the Round Table and the State Department was making political division of continental Europe is always the topmost maxim been their actions. A uniformly ruled Europe should be prevented at all costs. Therefore, the British industrialists tried in the " Anglo-German Fellowship " to attract the NSDAP elite so that they could declare war on the Soviet Union as a common enemy. Ribbentrop favored from 1939 the option of a continental bloc against Great Britain because of the British declaration of war and not least because of the disappointment of his hope for a British coalition, which had been made him in the Anglo-German Fellowship .

At the height of its power in September 1940, the MWT expanded its internal structure on a large scale in anticipation of the upcoming tasks with advisory boards and a board of trustees made up of 21 representatives from major banks, major industry, trade and the transport sector. To the existing Advisory Board for Science and Administration (40 members), an agricultural advisory board (18 members), an industrial advisory board ( 17 members), a banking advisory board (15 members), an economics committee (20 members) and a transport advisory board were added. After Hahn's death in 1939, Bernhard Dietrich succeeded him as MWT managing director. The current state of research does not yet allow a reliable assessment of the extent of the influence of the MWT and its supporters in the ministerial bureaucracy in the conclusion of the economic agreement.

Another efficient means of indirect control of a state was the German model of big banks, which owned key industries and pursued industrial policy . After the takeover of Austrian and Czechoslovak banks, the private Deutsche Bank and the state-owned Dresdner Bank controlled the most important agricultural operations and industrial companies in Southeast Europe.


Ribbentrop bid farewell to Molotov (center). Berlin, November 14, 1940

After the visit of the Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov to Berlin from November 12th to 14th, 1940, the economy-oriented geopolitics was at stake again. Molotov accused Hitler of breach of contract because the Wehrmacht, with the permission of the Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu , had occupied the oil wells in Ploiesti in October 1940 and Germany was digging for nickel in Finland, which was to be attacked two weeks later ( winter war ). Stalin made claims to both areas and others around the Soviet Union, including the strategically important strait of the Dardanelles ; this was directed against the axis power Italy. In November 1940, the Soviet Union was excluded from the planned four-power agreement with Italy and Japan. On December 18, 1940, Hitler gave the Wehrmacht High Command to prepare for the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. The old plan from late November 1935 to attack the Soviet Union was reactivated. With that the MWT had finally failed and its political disempowerment followed quickly. In a contract with the Reichsgruppe Industrie (RGI) in July 1941, the MWT agreed to discontinue its entire industrial planning in Southeast Europe. In November 1941, the MWT had to submit most of its advisory boards to the new Southeast Committee of the RGI. From then on, the activities of the MWT were limited to purely agricultural matters and the training of south-east European merchants.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, these activities stagnated and declined because, in addition to Germany's increasing trade debts, due to the priority of arms production, inflation in south-eastern Europe came to the fore and trade with Germany was less and less profitable. Inflation arose in Southeastern Europe because the German Reichsmark was the key currency compared to the other national currencies, the value of which was redefined in negotiations that usually took place annually. The currency relations remained constant and the European central banks were not allowed to adjust them to the market fluctuations. Due to the involuntary increase in the German trade deficit from 5.2 billion RM in July 1942 to 23.4 billion RM two years later, currency devaluation took place at the expense of the respective states. Engdahl compares this constellation with the US dollar after it was detached from the gold link in August 1971.

The Südosteuropagesellschaft (SOEG), founded in Vienna in 1940, took over the role of political conception from the end of 1941. The SOEG was founded in competition with the National Socialist bureaucracy, which, with rival organizations at all levels and areas, wanted to displace the bourgeois institutions. In a joint committee with the RGI, the SOEG was assigned the economic planning of the MWT, but the RGI prevailed over the decisions. At the same time, the RGI formed its own Southeast Committee . At the beginning of the “ total war ” in early 1943, industrial planning work was stopped. During the wave of arrests following the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 , a number of MWT representatives were arrested, including MWT President Wilmowsky and members Hassell , Reuter and Zitzewitz , so that the MWT ceased to exist as an organization.


There is no uniform or predominantly scientific opinion on the subject of the Central European Business Day and its Central European policy . This heterogeneity and the research gaps are indications that the MWT research is not yet completed. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the MWT has so far been largely ignored or mentioned en passant by the historians' schools. Sohn-Rethel offers a partial explanation for this “unknown of the MWT in the post-war period”: According to this, the MWT was only mentioned once during the interrogation of IG Farben director Heinrich Gattineau at the Nuremberg trials . However, the judge ignored this advice, interrupted Gattineau and said that this did not belong here. This would have escaped the MWT from the attention of the military jurisdiction. However, at least the British had previously known of the existence of the MWT, as a British founding group had belonged to the Central European Business Conference of the Viennese wholesale merchant Meinl until it was ousted from the organization by the Germans.

The straightforward scientific reception of the MWT can be divided into four groups, which up to now have hardly or not at all noticed one another. All parliamentary groups claim that their descriptions of the MWT are essential and correct, but their point of view is always limited to a more or less large section. Engdahl's geopolitical reception, on the other hand, is most comprehensively formulated, but is limited to examples of the individual aspects of trade and industrial policy. A synopsis and comparison of the various aspects of the complex history of the MWT is therefore most likely to do justice to reality. Through Sohn-Rethel's publication (1973; 1992) of his critical MWT analyzes from the years 1936–1938, further internal information and details became known to the public that had not yet been found in the archives' files.

Official representation

The representatives of the Central European Economic Day and from its surroundings as well as its successor organizations such as the Southeast Europe Society expressed their view of the functioning and the official self-image of the MWT as an organization for development aid and for "catching up modernization". Practical and concrete projects are listed, the benefits of which for the respective countries and the unselfishness of the Germans are highlighted. In stark contrast to this, all activities and attempts at influence on the part of the Nazi organizations are portrayed as superfluous and harmful.

Economic perspective

The economic reception focuses its analysis on economic data and initiatives. Although the political dimension of the MWT activities is seen, the political significance of the Central European plans of the MWT is rated as low because of the only moderate economic success. This view is mainly represented in Austrian literature. The historian Peter Krüger criticizes the Central European plans as fundamentally politically damaging, since "Central Europe [...] could only play a role for the German economy in exceptional situations and major emergencies".

Left reception

Collapse of German foreign trade in the global economic crisis

The reception of leftist historians in the GDR (Barche, Berndt, Schumann, Schwarzenau, Seckendorf) and the Federal Republic of Germany (Drews, Opitz , Stegmann, Thörner) can be focused on the leitmotif of injustice and inequality at the Central European Business Day. The arguments of the left-wing authors are therefore primarily based on a moral attitude and ignore everything that does not correspond to their morally negative image of the MWT. Only Sohn-Rethel analyzes the MWT from a Marxist perspective and thus in a primarily economic way; he describes in detail the contradiction between peaceful expansion and the need to arm the MWT companies. He uses the Marxist theory of relative (capitalism) and absolute surplus value production (fascism) to explain the emergence and increase of the general lack of capital . If the “ accumulation process of capital” no longer functions according to the rules of the production of relative surplus value, then only a lowering of the general wage level, ie a “lowering of the consumption rate”, would maintain profitable production. This made it necessary for capital to revert to the brutal methods of original accumulation . Because it was not the “strongest, but the financially weakest groups of finance capital ” who wanted to help Hitler to power, he rejects the prevailing Dimitrov thesis of Nazism as the agent of finance capital. Furthermore, Sohn-Rethel attributes the general lack of liquidity in the German economy mainly to a “dilemma of rationalization ” and an increase in economic contradictions. In the rest of the literature, on the other hand, the lack of capital is mainly explained by the reparations burdens and the increasing loan debts due to the taking out of high-interest short-term loans from London and New York banks.

The representations of the MWT show two further things in common with the representatives of left-wing positions. For the liberal historian Wolfgang Mommsen, on the other hand, the idea of Central Europe after the First World War always meant a primacy of economy and politics; only the "National Socialist policy led [...] to the final discrediting [...] of the Central European idea". Since the middle of the 19th century, left-wing historians have accused German economics and politics of a continuity of "expansion" in the sense of aggression, so that no distinction is made between military and economic imperialism. Rather, an identity of both strategies is assumed from the outset, openly or implicitly. In their presentations, therefore, left-wing authors often interpret statements and demands made by Nazi organizations and ministries ruled by National Socialists that call for armaments and war as the general consensus of the entire elite, including the MWT.

On the other hand, the authors overestimate the freedom of choice and autonomy of the MWT. Germany operated in a field of forces of great powers, whose direct influence on German politics is in some cases considerably underestimated. The concentration on the Southeast European market was a reaction to the various restrictions imposed by the victorious powers. In addition, before 1933 Great Britain hindered and fought every major German attempt to exert influence in south-eastern Europe, but after 1933 the German hegemony was not only tolerated, but also openly and continuously encouraged to do so. Fritz Hesse, the first managing director of the German Orient Association , an offshoot of the MWT, accused the Germans of being blind to British strategy in his political memoirs.

Geopolitical reception

The American economic journalist and historian F. William Engdahl orients himself largely to Sohn-Rethel's description of the power struggle between the MWT and the Nazi elite, but does not take his Marxist determinism as an explanation. According to Engdahl, the MWT's peaceful strategy of economic penetration failed not because of the arms debt, but rather because of the Soviet power and expansion policy at the end of 1940. Furthermore, Engdahl has developed a geopolitical approach to the analysis of the MWT as the only author to date. This is in contrast to the other authors' Europe-centered or purely regional approach, although the Germans, with Friedrich Ratzel and Karl Haushofer, have had leading representatives of geopolitics from the beginning of the academic institutionalization of the subject.

Engdahl defines the political framework for his presentation of the MWT as follows: Germany's development in the 1930s towards dictatorship and the war against the Soviet Union was in the interests of the Rockefeller finance group and the British elite in business and politics, represented by the editorial group of the geopolitical Round Table magazine . The Eurasian continent was to be divided and weakened by a war between Germany and the Soviet Union so that Great Britain could assert itself as a world power or the USA could succeed the British Empire as a world power . To this end, Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank , other Wall Street banks and US corporations invested in the arms industry in Germany. The US investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. held shares amounting to $ 70 million in the steel company Vereinigte Stahlwerke, which merged in 1926 . Because of the continued business relations with the United Steel Works and the August-Thyssen-Bank , charges were brought against the Union Banking Corporation (UBC) in October 1942 on the basis of the Trading with the Enemy Act . During the 1930s until the United States entered the war in 1941, General Motors had trucks and aircraft engines manufactured by Adam Opel AG , which was taken over in 1929 . Sutton proves that a bombing in World War II did not take place at those German electrical companies and armaments suppliers in which the two US companies General Electric and International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) had high shares, namely AEG , Lorenz AG , Telefunken and Felten & Guilleaume . Standard Oil leased its oil fields in Ploieşti to IG Farben and supplied crude oil from its oil fields in Venezuela and Brazil as well as tungsten via Spain to Germany until the American declaration of war in late 1941 and beyond.

Location of the "heartland" ( pivot area ) according to Mackinder

Some of the authors (Sutton, Higham, Borkin) on the business relationships between US banks, US companies and German companies in the Third Reich regard this as a purely business matter, even if they condemn it morally. In contrast, Engdahl relates these business interests and contracts to the geopolitical goals of the leading US financial groups and later the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Engdahl's assessment of the MWT is based on the central maxim of the British geopolitician Halford Mackinder : rule over Eurasia , what he calls the heartland , also includes world domination. Consequently, a fragmentation, or at least a dichotomy, of political rule over Eurasia is necessary for the continued hegemony of the British Empire . A unified political rule over Eurasia should therefore be prevented at all costs. According to Engdahl, the USA and Great Britain have based their respective geopolitics on this maxim to this day. Therefore, from 1939 onwards , the Rockefeller Foundation financed a series of long-term studies ("War & Peace Studies"), which the New York Council on Foreign Relations prepared in collaboration with the understaffed State Department. The aim of the studies was to establish a Pax Americana as the successor to the Pax Britannica . As with the MWT, the American goal of world domination should be achieved primarily with economic and only secondarily with military means. The CFR project envisaged working in the name of democracy, freedom and human rights for the liberation of “oppressed colonial peoples” and supporting “free enterprise” and “open markets” for the benefit of US industry ( Grand Area ).

state of research

The assessments of the importance of the Central European Business Day before and during the German Reich 1933 to 1945 fluctuate extremely strongly. In contrast to the individual thematic treatises, the MWT has so far not been taken into account in most of the overall presentations on the subject of economy and National Socialism, or has received little attention. In the individual treatises of the conservative and liberal tradition published so far, the MWT is considered by the majority to be one of the most successful German business associations, which, however, did not occupy a hegemonic position during the Nazi dictatorship. A minority of the liberal and conservative authors, on the other hand, see the MWT as a politically insignificant development aid organization or as a business association with great but futile ambitions.

The majority of the reception as a whole is currently made by historians with leftist orientation and they see the MWT as the hidden power center of the German economy shortly before the "Third Reich" and during its first years. Only the alliance of all major ruling elites in the MWT paved the way for Hitler's dictatorship and created Southeast Europe as a new “large economic area”. According to Sohn-Rethel, Borkin, Roth and other, mostly left-wing historians, the Nazi leadership saw their salvation and continued existence only secured through a continually driven escalation of violence and armament up to and including predatory wars. While for the bourgeois power centers (industry, big banks, army, state bureaucracy) the armament of the Wehrmacht was initially only one of several measures to regain power before the Treaty of Versailles , the militarization of the NSDAP leadership would have guaranteed its existence. The more the non-reproductive industrial production expanded to the detriment of the productive sector, the more imperative the compensation and legitimation of the growing national debt through a predatory war would have become. The continuous shift in power in favor of the Nazi elite due to increasing pressure to rearmament can be seen in the development of the MWT as an example.


  • Heinz Barche: The “Central European Economic Day .” On the East and Southeast European policy of German imperialism in preparation for the Munich Agreement . in: Zs. German Foreign Policy . Edited by the Institute for International Relations, Potsdam. Rütten & Loening, Berlin ISSN  0011-9881 5th year, 1960, issue 11, pp. 1294-1302.
  • Roswitha Berndt: Economic Central European Plans of German Imperialism (1926–1931). On the role of the Central European Economic Day and the Central European Institutes in the imperialist German expansion plans . in: Scientific journal of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg , XIV. Vol. 4, 1965, pp. 227-236, ISSN  0438-4385 .
  • Joseph Borkin : The unholy alliance of IG Farben. A community of interests in the Third Reich. Campus, Frankfurt 1986, ISBN 3-593-34251-0 .
  • Joachim Drews: The "Nazi Bean". Cultivation, use and effects of the soybean in the German Reich and Southeast Europe (1933–1945). University of Münster , dissertation, 2002, LIT Verlag, Münster 2004, ISBN 978-3-8258-7513-8
  • Harun Farocki : Not only time, also memory stands still , in: Filmkritik 22 (263), 1978, 562–606; in it: "My existence was pretty much in the back room." A conversation with Alfred Sohn-Rethel, 1974, about the sources of anti-capitalist research, pp. 580-582
  • Carl Freytag: Germany's “Southeast urge”. The Central European Business Day and the “Supplementary Area Southeastern Europe” 1931–1945. Göttingen 2012 available in google books . Standard work
  • Friedbert Glück: The Central European Business Day. Example of organic development work. In: Theodor Zotschew (ed.), Economic Research on Southeast Europe. Basics and knowledge. Südosteuropa-Verlagsgesellschaft, Munich 1963, 109–116.
  • Peter Krüger : Economic Central European Plans in Germany between the World Wars. Comments on their evaluation , in: Central Europe Conceptions in the First Half of the 20th Century. Richard Georg Plaschka , Horst Haselsteiner, Arnold Suppan, Anna Drabek, Birgitta Zaar (eds.), Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-7001-2138-5 , pp. 283-303.
  • Reinhard Opitz : European strategies of German capital 1900-1945. Pahl-Rugenstein, Cologne 1977; therein documents of the MWT: Lecture Wilmowsky v. September 20, 1940, pp. 760f .; complete org-schema from spring 1942, pp. 859–868 (with approx. 200 personal names)
  • Carola Sachse (Ed.): "Central Europe" and "Southeast Europe" as a planning area. Economic and cultural policy expertise in the age of the world wars. Wallstein, Göttingen 2010 ISBN 978-3-8353-0490-1 .
    • therein: Carl Freytag, "The door between Germany and the Danube region is open". Southeastern Europe concepts and positioning of the Central European Business Day after the “Anschluss” of Austria in 1938, pp. 141–166
  • Wolfgang Schumann (Ed.): Reach for Southeast Europe. New documents on the policy of German imperialism and militarism towards Southeast Europe in World War II . German Science Publishing House, Berlin 1973.
  • Kurt Schwarzenau: The Central European Business Day. History and conception of a monopoly organization from its beginnings to 1945. University of Leipzig , 1974, dissertation. Vol. 1: 256 p .; Vol. 2: 191 pp.
  • Martin Seckendorf: Discussion of "Alfred Sohn-Rethel, Industry and National Socialism" . in: 1999. Journal for Social History of the 20th and 21st Century Vol. 8, Issue 2, 1993a ISSN  0930-9977 pp. 102-105
    • dsb .: Development aid organization or general staff of German capital? Meaning and limits of the Central European Business Day . In: 1999. Journal for Social History of the 20th and 21st Century, Vol. 8, No. 3, 1993, pp. 10–33.
    • dsb .: The Central European Business Day . Central office of the large economy for penetration of Southeast Europe . In: Werner Röhr, Brigitte Berlekamp, Karl Heinz Roth (eds.): The war before the war. Politics and economics of the "peaceful" aggressions of Germany 1938/39. VSA, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 978-3-87975-837-1 , pp. 118-140.
  • Roland Schönfeld: German-Southeast European Economic Relations in the Interwar Period. The Central European Business Day . In: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen , 28, 1988, pp. 128–140. ISSN  0340-174X
  • Alfred Sohn-Rethel: The political offices of large German industry . In: Look into the world. Illustrated monthly magazine. Published by ISC Branch Control Commission for Germany . H. 15, 1948, pp. 20-22
    • dsb .: "Some interruptions were really unnecessary." Conversation with Alfred Sohn-Rethel , in: Mathias Greffrath : The Destruction of a Future, Conversations with emigrated social scientists . Campus, Frankfurt 1989, ISBN 3-593-34076-3 , 213-262.
    • dsb .: Industry and National Socialism. Notes from the "Central European Business Day". Edited and introduced by Carl Freytag. Wagenbach Verlag, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-8031-2204-X
      First published without annotations as: Alfred Sohn-Rethel: Economy and Class Structure of German Fascism. Records and Analysis. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1973, pp. 41-210. Foreword by Johannes Agnoli , Bernhard Blanke, Niels Kadritzke, pp. 7–38.
  • Dirk Stegmann: "Central Europe" 1925–1934: On the problem of the continuity of German foreign trade policy from Stresemann to Hitler , in: dsb., Bernd-Jürgen Wendt, Peter Christian Witt (eds.): Industrial society and political system. Festschrift for Fritz Fischer on his seventieth birthday. Verlag Neue Gesellschaft, Bonn 1978, ISBN 3-87831-269-5 , pp. 203-224.
  • Klaus Thörner: "The whole south-east is our hinterland". German south-east European plans from 1840 to 1945. University of Oldenburg , dissertation, 2000 uni-oldenburg.de
  • Markus Wien: Market and modernization. German-Bulgarian economic relations 1918–1944 in their conceptual bases. European University Institute Florence, dissertation, Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-58044-0 GoogleBooks
  • Tilo von Wilmowsky: "Looking back, I would like to say ...". On the threshold of the 150th Krupp anniversary. Stalling-Verlag , Oldenburg 1961
    • dsb .: Annual report of the MWT on the MV on November 22, 1938. Excerpt in: Dietrich Eichholtz & Wolfgang Schumann, ed .: Anatomie des Krieges. New documents on the role of German monopoly capital in the implementation of the Second World War. VEB German publishing house of the sciences. Berlin 1969. (With register of persons, companies, institutions, geographical names, as well as some illustrations) p. 86f.

Web links

References and comments

  1. ^ A b Alfred Sohn-Rethel : “Yes. Not that this [the creation of a large German internal market] was the goal of expansion, but it was the creation of a glacis from which German capital wanted to fight for the world market with the necessary scope for sales and expansion in Europe. The fight was always against America. ”“ Was that also discussed? ”“ Yes. Hahn made this clear to me and to others. For there many attacks against him and the MWT were made very, what that would be nonsense that you gave up the important overseas markets, the only reason to these little botch states to conquer this Danube countries. That was a complete misunderstanding, he said. That is only the hinterland that we needed to really advance. ”
    In: “ Some interruptions were really unnecessary. ” Conversation with Alfred Sohn-Rethel . In: Mathias Greffrath : The Destruction of a Future . Campus, Frankfurt a. M. 1989, 221f.
  2. a b c Sohn-Rethel 1992, 68; 155; Seckendorf 2001, 121; Drews 2002, 204f., GoogleBooks .
  3. Seckendorf 1993, 31: “The conceptual work also ended at the low point of the influence. This point was reached in July 1941. "
    Engdahl 2009, 221:" At this juncture in June 1941 the entire strategy of Wilmowsky's MWT collapsed; the MWT lost all influence on German politics. ”
    Drews 2002, 210;
  4. Reinhard Opitz : European strategies of German capital 1900-1945. Pahl-Rugenstein, Cologne 1977, p. 28f.
  5. cf. Seckendorf 1993, 14.
  6. Wolfgang Mommsen : The Central Europe Idea and Central European Planning in the German Empire before and during the First World War . In: Richard G. Plaschka , Horst Haselsteiner, Arnold Suppan , Anna Drabek, Birgitta Zaar (eds.): Central Europe conceptions in the first half of the 20th century . Verlag der Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften , Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-7001-2138-5 , 3–24, p. 4
  7. Mitteleuropäischer Wirtschaftsverein , Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon , Volume 13. Leipzig 1908, p. 917.
  8. Hans-Peter Ullmann : The union of industrialists. Organization, influence and politics of small and medium-sized industrialists in the German Empire 1895–1915. University of Cologne , dissertation, 1975; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1976, ISBN 978-3-525-35972-3 , pp. 205f.
  9. Eastern European Future. Journal for Germany's tasks in the east and south-east. Subtitle: Official organ of ... , followed by the associations involved, published by a publication agency for the allied Eastern European and Oriental associations in Berlin. The publishers were Julius Friedrich Lehmann (until 1917) and Callwey .
  10. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 77.
  11. ^ Tilo von Wilmowsky: Looking back, I would like to say ... on the threshold of the 150th Krupp anniversary. Stalling, Oldenburg 1961, p. 188; 190.
  12. ^ Alfred Sohn-Rethel: Industry and National Socialism. Notes from the "Central European Business Day". Wagenbach , Berlin 1992, p. 83.
  13. Martin Seckendorf: Development Aid Organization or General Staff of German Capital? In: 1999. Journal for Social History of the 20th and 21st Century 8 (3), 1993a, p. 17, fn. 35.
  14. ^ Drews 2002, 204.
  15. Schwarzenau 1974, I, 45.
  16. Schwarzenau 1974, I, 73.
  17. Seckendorf 1993, 12; 17th
  18. Seckendorf 1993, 18.
  19. A selection of the participants is listed in Sohn-Rethel 1992, 66 and Schwarzenau 1974, I, 122f.
  20. ↑ In addition to Wilmowsky, other presidium members were in March 1931: Brennecke (chairman of the eastern group of the Association of German Iron and Steel Industries ), Carl Duisberg (IG Farben chairman of the supervisory board), Georg Gothein, Bernhard Grund, Eduard Hamm ( DIHT presidium member), Ernst Poensgen , Max Schlenker, Fritz Springorum , Alfred Toepfer , Ludwig von Winterfeld (board member of Siemens & Halske AG ), Friedrich Karl von Zitzewitz-Kottow , in: Drews 2002, 205, fn. 48; GoogleBooks ; supplemented with information from Schwarzenau 1974, I, 122f .; further elections with industrialists and association chairmen took place on May 19, 1932, in: Schwarzenau, I, 133f.
  21. Berndt 1965, 233.
  22. Carl Freytag: Observer in the Middle Kingdom. In: Industry and National Socialism. Notes from the "Central European Business Day". Edited and introduced by C. Freytag. Wagenbach, Berlin 1992, p. 31, fn. 30.
  23. ^ A b Franz Reuter . In: Die Zeit , No. 10/1967, obituary
  24. Schwarzenau 1974, I, 123.
  25. ^ Seckendorf 1993, 23, fn. 60.
  26. ^ Reinhard Frommelt: Paneuropa or Central Europe. Efforts to reach agreement in the calculation of German economics and politics 1925–1933. Dissertation, University of Konstanz ; Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1977, p. 105.
  27. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 66; Lists of persons and functions of the MWT near Schwarzenau 1974, I, 122f. ( Board of Directors ); 133f. ( Presidium ); Schumann 1973, 52f .; List of members of the Board of Trustees and Advisory Boards
  28. see Ulrich Prehn in: “Central Europe and Southeast Europe as a planning area. German and Austrian Expertise in the Age of World Wars ”, H-Soz-u-Kult, June 27, 2008, conference report
  29. Carl Freytag: Observer in the Middle Kingdom. In: Industry and National Socialism. Notes from the "Central European Business Day". Edited and introduced by C. Freytag. Wagenbach, Berlin 1992, p. 9.
  30. Glück 1963, 110f.
  31. Berndt 1965, 230.
  32. ↑ The liaison officer for all inquiries to the Austrian section was the Anglist Kurt Knoll (October 29, 1889 - July 28, 1959) at the University of World Trade in 1942 ; his obituary with curriculum vitae online . Source: Reinhard Opitz: European strategies of German capital 1900–1945. Pahl-Rugenstein, Cologne 1977, p. 859, org scheme of the MWT
  33. Wilmowsky 1961, 186; Berndt 1965, 231.
  34. a b Berndt 1965, 231.
  35. Seckendorf 2001, 125; 127
  36. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 73f .; 87f.
  37. a b Schumann 1973, 52.
  38. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 66f.
  39. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 77; 80; Seckendorf 2001, 119f.
  40. Wilhelm von Flügge was an employee of the economic policy department of IG Farben and the leading expert on oilseed policy, especially soy, see: Sohn-Rethel 1992, 105.
  41. On commercial policy of the present , part I and part II, Rhein und Ruhr , 13th year, 39th week, 23 September 1932, 629 - 631, quoted in: Sohn-Rethel 1992, 174, fn. 57.
  42. a b Sohn-Rethel 1992, 79.
  43. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 78.
  44. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 92.
    Although Sohn-Rethel erroneously assigned Nicolai politically to the steel helmet and made him a victim in a traffic accident in 1933, this is only one of the few erroneous biographical information in his MWT book, which he wrote from 1936 to 1938 had written from memory and with the help of notes he had taken with him in exile.
  45. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 73.
  46. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 87f .; Sohn-Rethel 1978, 581, in Farocki 1978: “They thought that they were in control of Hitler. That they can simply use Hitler as their instrument of power. Use to mass base. And they had prepared everything, everything had been worked out, all these reforms, the Reich reform , the administrative reform, the municipal reform, the financial reform. The economy, what is called the economy, had prepared all these things and the Nazis didn't know anything about it. And also the agricultural cartelization. And they only needed the necessary power apparatus to carry out things with terror and violence. And they did not understand the whole actual dialectic of the whole thing and it passed over their heads. "
  47. ^ Alfred Sohn-Rethel: The social reconsolidation of capitalism. First published anonymously in: Deutsche Führerbriefe , No. 72 and 73, Berlin September 16 and 20, 1932, studien-von-zeitfragen.net . A comment after 38 years. In: Kursbuch , No. 21, October 1970, pp. 17–35, 32.
    In the scientific literature, the agricultural cartelization was received by Drews, 2002, 125; Thörner 2000, 440ff. uni-oldenburg.de ( Memento from January 31, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) Engdahl 2009, 210.
  48. Ursula Heinzelmann: Experience food. From the scent of the strawberry and the flavor of the Teltower turnip. Scherz Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-502-15013-8 , p. 29; Extract the Tagesspiegel , March 27th 2006
  49. Heinzelmann 2006, 29; 44: “As already mentioned in the previous chapter, the German cheese culture was at first stunted by the forced delivery of all milk to dairies, which was imposed in the 1930s, and then reduced to almost unrecognizable and insignificant by the increasing industrialization in the second half of the 20th century been. Mass production in giant companies, pasteurization, the use of standard bacterial cultures, the downright paranoid fear of germs - it's the same sad story as with butter. "
  50. Konversionskasse for German External Debts (1933-1975) , nonvaleurs.de
  51. For more information on the gold currency standard, see Engdahl 2009, 118-140.
    The gold currency standard went back in 1925 on the initiative of Churchill and Normans to prevent a US gold standard. From then on, only the US central bank held gold reserves for currency coverage and the UK central bank, on the other hand, covered its currency with US dollars. The rest of Europe had to use sterling as currency cover, the balances of which were deposited with the Bank of England. With this regulation and the control of the finance committee of the League of
    Nations , the European countries could be put under pressure by Great Britain in lending. The stability of the paper currency inserted by the central banks was ultimately based only on the gold backing of the US dollar.
  52. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 50.
  53. Seckendorf 1993, 24
  54. Joachim Drews: The "Nazi Bean" , LIT Verlag , Münster 2002, ISBN 978-3-8258-7513-8 , p. 219. GoogleBooks excerpt
  55. a b Sohn-Rethel 1992, 81.
  56. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 88.
  57. ^ Table of German foreign trade with Southeastern Europe quoted in: Hans Erich Volkmann, Bernhard Chiari: Ökonomie und Expansion. Basic features of the Nazi economic policy. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 2003, ISBN 978-3-486-56714-4 , p. 162, GoogleBooks
  58. ^ Roland Schönfeld: German raw material security policy in Yugoslavia 1934-1944 , in: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 24, issue 3, pp. 215-258. ifz-muenchen.de (PDF; 5.6 MB)
  59. Wilmowsky 1961, 201.
  60. Wilmowsky 1961, 201f.
  61. Wilmowsky 1961, 202.
  62. a b c d Engdahl 2009, 215.
  63. ^ Karl Heinz Roth : From the armaments economy to the predatory war: The causes of the German policy of aggression 1938/39 , in: Werner Röhr, Brigitte Berlekamp, ​​Karl Heinz Roth (ed.), The war before the war. Politics and economics of the "peaceful" aggressions of Germany 1938/39. VSA, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 978-3-87975-837-1 , 29 - 97, p. 81.
  64. Drews 2002, 233; 284.
  65. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 82; 174, fn. 59.
  66. Roth 2001, 81 with reference to a tabular overview in René Erbe: The National Socialist Economic Policy . P. 76.
  67. Wilmowsky 1961, 205f.
  68. Glück 1963, 113
  69. a b c Wilmowsky 1961, 207.
  70. ^ Robert-Werner Krugmann: Greater Germany - Southeast Europe. Development and future possibilities of economic relations. University of Breslau , legal and political dissertation dated May 30, 1939. Table Annex XXI, quoted from Thörner 2000, 483.
  71. History , deula-warendorf.de, Stand: August 2009
  72. a b Wilmowsky 1961, 208.
  73. Wilmowsky 1961, 209.
  74. Wilmowsky 1961, 210.
  75. ibid .; Luck 1963, 113.
  76. a b Glück 1963, 114.
  77. Wilmowsky 1961, 212.
  78. Manfred Asendorf: Ulrich von Hassell's conception of Europe and the Central European Business Day . In: Yearbook of the Institute for German History , Tel Aviv, 7, 1978, pp. 387-419. ISSN  0334-4606 , pp. 409f.
  79. ^ Seckendorf 2001, 125.
  80. ^ Seckendorf 2001, 127.
  81. Jürgen Elvert: Central Europe! German plans for a European reorganization (1918–1945) . Steiner Verlag, 1999, ISBN 3-515-07641-7 , p. 269, GoogleBooks
  82. For example in Croatia, see: Markus Hische: The role of the German ethnic group in the economic relations between the Third Reich and the Independent State of Croatia 1941–45. Thesis, 2001, 70 pages, hausarbeiten.de
  83. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 68-71.
  84. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 68-71.
  85. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 108f.
  86. ^ John R. Gillingham: Industry & Politics in the Third Reich. Ruhr Coal, Hitler and Europe. Steiner Verlag , Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 978-3-515-04555-1 , pp. 103f.
  87. John Gillingham: On the prehistory of the Montan Union. Western Europe coal and steel in Depression and War , in: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , Volume 34, 1986, Issue 3, 381–405, p. 381; 388f., Ifz-muenchen.de (PDF; 7.5 MB)
  88. Engdahl 2009, 212.
  89. ^ Gillingham 1985, 101f.
  90. ^ Gillingham 1985, 102.
  91. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 87.
  92. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 175, fn. 69.
  93. Borkin 1986, 57f.
  94. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 85.
  95. a b c Borkin 1986, 71.
  96. Borkin 1986, 74.
  97. Borkin 1986, 54.
  98. Borkin 1986, 76; Engdahl 2009, 184f.
  99. a b Engdahl 2009, 185.
  100. Seckendorf 1993, 18; Schumann 1973, 52f.
  101. The figures are taken from: List of RWM, Sojaanbau in the years 1935–1937, undated, BA, R 3101, 19161 and the balance sheet audit reports carried out at Ölsaat by the Chemie Revisions- und Treuhand-Gesellschaft mbH der Soyakampagnen 1939-1941, BAL 013-017, MF 103, quoted in Drews 2002, 235.
  102. ^ Drews 2002, 289.
  103. Wilmowsky 1961, 203f.
  104. Wilmowsky 1961, 192.
  105. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 51; 85f.
  106. Christoph Gnau: The German Elites and the Second World War. PapyRossa, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-89438-368-8 , p. 96.
  107. ^ Statutes according to Schwarzenau 1974, I, 121f .; expressly no officials as members from 1938: Schwarzenau 1974, I, 179.
  108. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 102-107.
  109. Carl Freytag: Observer in the Middle Kingdom. In: Industry and National Socialism. Notes from the "Central European Business Day". Edited and introduced by C. Freytag. Wagenbach, Berlin 1992, p. 23f.
  110. Freytag 1992, 24; Son-Rethel's letter in the Max Horkheimer Archive I 23; Letter from Sohn-Rethel to Adorno in: Christoph Gödde (ed.), Theodor W. Adorno and Alfred Sohn-Rethel. Correspondence 1936–1969. edition text + kritik , Munich 1991, ISBN 3-88377-403-0 , 79ff.
  111. a b c d e Sohn-Rethel 1992, 102.
  112. a b c d e Sohn-Rethel 1992, 101.
  113. a b Sohn-Rethel 1992, 103.
  114. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 55f.
  115. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 104-107.
  116. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 104
  117. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 105.
  118. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 111.
  119. Schwarzenau 1974, I, 179.
  120. Seckendorf 1993, 30.
  121. Quoted in: Engdahl 2009, 217.
  122. Wilmowsky 1961, 193.
  123. Quoted in: Engdahl 2009, 218.
  124. pénétration pacifique : “This motto was formulated by Paul Tirard when he was French general resident in Morocco . As High Commissioner for the Rhineland after 1918, he used this formulation in connection with the French goals on the Rhine. ”In: Dieter Marc Schneider: French occupation policy in Germany: Le rêve d'une“ liberation ”des pays rhénans , in: Hartmut Mehringer, Michael Schwartz , Hermann Wentker: Conquered or Liberated? Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag , Munich 1999, ISBN 978-3-486-64504-0 , p. 33. GoogleBooks .
    Correction: Paul Tirard was not General Resident in Morocco, but “Chief of Civil Administration at the staff of the French General Resident in Morocco, General Hubert Lyautey ”. Source: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria
  125. ^ Zbigniew Brzeziński : The only world power. America's strategy of supremacy. From the American by Angelika Beck. Beltz , Quadriga, Weinheim, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-88679-303-6 , p. 16; The Grand Chessboard in the English language Wikipedia
    “Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global supremacy will continue in the future. It was not until 1940 that two aspirants for world power, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, had expressly agreed (during the secret negotiations in November of that year) that America should be kept away from Eurasia. It was clear to both of them that their world power plans would be thwarted if America were to gain a foothold on the Eurasian continent. Both agreed that Eurasia was the center of the world and that he who rules Eurasia rules the world. "
  126. William Engdahl: With the oil weapon to world power. The way to the new world order. edition steinherz, Wiesbaden 2002, ISBN 3-9807378-2-9 , S; 50; 52; 56.
    cf. Literature search for “Divide and Rule” England with Google Books
  127. ^ For the list of members of the MWT Board of Trustees see: Schumann 1973, 53.
  128. Glück 1963, 122.
  129. Engdahl 2009, 220.
  130. a b Seckendorf 1993, 31.
  131. ^ Drews 2002, 219f.
  132. Engdahl 2009, 219.
  133. Schumann 1973, pp. 54-58; see p. 56 with a detailed list of the institutes, departments, groups and working groups affiliated with the SOEG.
  134. Schumann 1973, 58.
  135. Schwarzenau 1974, I, 244.
  136. "Southeast Europe: Integration or Exploitation?" Online newspaper of the University of Vienna, January 23, 2007
  137. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 67, fn. 38; 1978, 580.
  138. Drews 2002, 204, GoogleBooks ; Schwarzenau 1974, I, 40
  139. cf. Wilmowsky 1961; Luck 1963; Schönfeld 1988.
  140. Peter Krüger (1995) and a three-year research project at the University of Vienna : “Supplementary Area Southeast Europe”  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Institute for Contemporary History, 2006–2009@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.univie.ac.at  
  141. ^ Krüger 1995, 298.
  142. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 129.
  143. Sohn-Rethel 1989, 226f.
  144. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 38ff.
  145. ^ For example, Henry Turner : The Big Entrepreneurs and the Rise of Hitler. Siedler Verlag, Berlin 1985, pp. 207f.
  146. Wolfgang Mommsen : The Central European Idea and Central European Planning in the German Empire before and during the First World War , in: Central Europe Conceptions in the First Half of the 20th Century, Richard G. Plaschka, Horst Haselsteiner, Arnold Suppan, Anna Drabek, Birgitta Zaar ( Ed.), Verlag der Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-7001-2138-5 , 3–24, pp. 23f.
  147. Bernd-Jürgen Wendt: England and the German urge to the southeast. Capital relations and the movement of goods in Southeastern Europe between the world wars. In: Imanuel Geiss, Bernd Jürgen Wendt (eds.), Germany in the world politics of the 19th and 20th centuries , Bertelsmann Universitätsverlag, Düsseldorf 1973, Festschrift for Fritz Fischer , ISBN 3-571-09198-1 , 483-512, p 484ff.
    Dirk Stegmann: "Central Europe" 1925–1934: On the problem of the continuity of German foreign trade policy from Stresemann to Hitler , in: Dirk Stegmann, Bernd-Jürgen Wendt, Peter Christian Witt (eds.): Industrial society and political system. Festschrift for Fritz Fischer on his seventieth birthday. Verlag Neue Gesellschaft, Bonn 1978, ISBN 3-87831-269-5 , 203-224, pp. 207ff.
  148. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 81:
    "One could proceed much more effectively than with the attempt to introduce tariff preferences for the Danube country's agricultural surpluses, which had failed because of the stubborn objections of England."
  149. For example: Lord Lothian ( Philip Kerr ) suggested in 1937 that Germany in Central and Eastern Europe should form an association of states and German ethnic groups similar to the Commonwealth . In: Lord Lothian, England and Germany, in: Europäische Revue XIII, Heft 5, 1937, 339-350, p. 349:
    “If Germany and its eastern neighbors could establish a union on the British or American model, the greatest economic problem would be have come very much closer to his solution. Germany would have an economic zone that would not be dissimilar to that of the other great powers. ”
    The Royal Institute of International Affairs in collaboration with The London and Cambridge Economic Service: South-Eastern Europe. A Political and Economical Survey , London 1939, p. 201: “Since British exports to the 5 countries [Southeastern Europe] are only 1½% of total British exports and German exports to almost all other parts of the world have recently fallen, so It seems to me to be advisable not to put any obstacles in the way of German trade expansion in this area. ”[…]“ That is why it becomes clear, in any case by spring 1939, that on balance the Southeast European countries have won materially and initially through the increase in German purchases. Germany has helped them achieve higher export prices to increase their national income, but so far has not exploited its position in negotiations to shape the terms of trade in its favor, so that their “real” incomes have also increased. ”Quoted after and translated von Friedbert Glück: The Central European Economic Day , 1963, p. 115.
    Many examples and quotations for an open British support of the German Southeast European expansion can be found in: Karlheinz Schädlich : “Appeaser” in action. Hitler's British friends in the Anglo-German Fellowship . In: Jahrbuch für Geschichte 3, 1969, pp. 197-234. ISSN  0448-1526
  150. "70 years of the Near and Middle East Association e. V. - Background and Development " , Festschrift 2004, (66 p., PDF file, 831 kB)
  151. ^ Fritz Hesse: The game for Germany . List, Munich 1953, p. 240: “For the Anglo-Saxons it was completely indifferent who ruled Germany. The simple fact that Germany had become the greatest continental power was enough for the Anglo-Saxons and the French to go to war. "Quoted in Engdahl 2009, p. 143, footnote 43.
    " I find the preconceived conception of the British and Americans represented in particular in the book by Sir Halford Mackinder , Democratic Ideals and Reality, London 1919 . His doctrine of the heartland, as well as that of Admiral Mahan , has led to a complete misunderstanding of the politics of the continental powers, without which one cannot understand English and American politics in this century. It was these thoughts in particular, on the basis of which [the] Anglo-Saxons believed they had to smash Germany in the interests of their security. "Hesse 1953, 240, footnote, quoted in Engdahl 2009, p. 223f., Footnote 5.
  152. Engdahl 2009, 192.
  153. ^ "Dillon Read & & Co. and the Aristocracy of Stock Profits," Catherine Austin Fitts, 2006
  154. ^ Antony C. Sutton : Chapter One. Wall Street Paves the Way for Hitler , in: Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler , Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York 1976.
  155. ^ Antony C. Sutton: Chapter Seven. Who Financed Adolf Hitler? In: Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler , Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York 1976.
  156. Engdahl 2009, 191.
  157. ^ Antony C. Sutton: Chapter Three. General Electric Funds Hitler , in: Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler , Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York 1976.
  158. Higham 1983, chap. 3: Chapter 3: The Secrets of Standard Oil
  159. ^ Antony C. Sutton: Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York 1976, reformation.org
  160. ^ Charles Higham : Trading with the Enemy. An exposé of the Nazi-American money plot 1933–1949. Delacorte, New York 1983.
  161. As current evidence, Engdahl cites the US geopolitician Zbigniew Brzeziński , who was the official security advisor for US President Jimmy Carter and then unofficially advised all other US presidents up to Barack Obama . Brzezinski refers in his major work "The grand chessboard" ( The Grand Chessboard , 1997, p 63f.) His main thesis explicitly to Mackinder's maxim:    "Who rules East Europe, dominates the heartland:     Who rules the heartland commands the world island.     Who rules the world island, rules the world. ” Quoted from Brzeziński 1997, 63. A number of fellow campaigners such as Brent Scowcroft and Richard Holbrooke are now acting in his spirit for American foreign policy, see Alex Callinicos : The new mandarins of American power: the Bush administration's plans for the world. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2004, p. 159. ISBN 0-7456-3274-2 , p. 119f.

  162. ^ War and Peace Studies in the English language Wikipedia
  163. Engdahl 2009, 165
  164. Engdahl 2009, 167.
  165. Engdahl 2009, chap. 6, ("Planning for the American Century - War & Peace Studies "), refers to Neil Smith , American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization , University of California Press, Berkeley 2003, ISBN 0-520 -23027-2 , GoogleBooks , creation of the CFR's War & Peace Studies
  166. For example, there is no mention of the MWT in the latest overview work on this subject in James Adam Tooze : Economics of Destruction. The history of the economy under National Socialism. Series of publications by the Federal Agency for Political Education , Bonn 2007, 926 pages, ISBN 978-3-89331-822-3 ; The MWT receives a relatively large amount of attention from Christoph Gnau: The German Elites and the Second World War. PapyRossa Hochschulschriften, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-89438-368-8 , p. 22; 62f .; 87; 91. Gnau describes the MWT as “representative” of the German economy; he cannot see any fundamental difference to the NSDAP goals (p. 63).
  167. Drews 2002, 203f., Fn. 38, GoogleBooks
  168. Krüger 1995, 291;
    Andreas Hillgruber sums up the German south-east European policy of the 1930s without naming the MWT: “If one draws a conclusion of the German south-east European policy from 1930 to the beginning of the Second World War, then it can be stated that the conception of a German-led Central Europe with emphasis on the Danube and Balkan regions, despite all efforts, only partially became reality, that what was strived for remained a fragment. ”In: German Foreign Policy in the Danube Region. 1930 to 1939, p. 145, in: Andreas Hillgruber, The Destruction of Europe. Contributions to the World War I from 1914 to 1945. Ullstein, Propylaen, Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-549-05770-9 , pp. 137–146.
  169. Sohn-Rethel 1992, 90; 102f .; 160f .; 166f.
  170. Borkin 1986, 68.
  171. Karl Heinz Roth : From the armaments economy to the predatory war: The causes of the German aggression policy 1938/39 , in: Werner Röhr, Brigitte Berlekamp, ​​Karl Heinz Roth (ed.): The war before the war. Politics and economics of the "peaceful" aggressions of Germany 1938/39. VSA, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 978-3-87975-837-1 , 29 - 97, p. 71; 96f.
  172. For example David Abraham: The Collapse of the Weimar Republic: Political Economy and Crisis. Princeton, New Jersey 1981; 2nd ed. Holmes & Meier, 1986, ISBN 978-0-8419-1084-3 ; Preface and pp. 224-228; Abraham's dissertation thesis that big industry was helping the NSDAP to suppress the labor movement met with staunch opposition from Henry Turner , see William Grimes: Henry Turner, 76, Historian and Author, Is Dead . In: New York Times , January 19, 2009
  173. The SS men Wilhelm Spengler , Hans Ernst Schneider and Hans Rößner were active at this publisher around 1960, Spengler even full-time as an editor who brought the relevant material to the publisher and also acted as a board member of the " Silent Help " for convicted war criminals.
  174. From the archive of Dt. Wirtschaftsinstituts, (East) Berlin, Register Deutsche Bank No. 6443, Vol. 1. Abridged in the book. Wilmowsky mentions here that the MWT also operated "war material deals" (e.g. with Romania). One of the editors' notes again mentions members: Hermann Abs , Philipp F. Reemtsma , Wilhelm Zangen and Karl Blessing .