Industry and Ideology: I. G. Farben in the Nazi Era / Edition 2by Peter Hayes
Pub. Date: 11/28/2000
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The power of big business in the Third Reich economy remains one of the most important issues of that disastrous era. Drawing on prodigious research in German corporate and government archives, Peter Hayes argues that the IG Farben chemicals combine, Nazi Germany's largest corporation, proved unable to influence national policy outside the firm's sphere of
The power of big business in the Third Reich economy remains one of the most important issues of that disastrous era. Drawing on prodigious research in German corporate and government archives, Peter Hayes argues that the IG Farben chemicals combine, Nazi Germany's largest corporation, proved unable to influence national policy outside the firm's sphere of expertise. Indeed, the most infamous aspects of Nazi policy occurred despite IG Farben's advocacy of alternative courses of action. Nonetheless, Farben grew rich under the Nazi regime and was directly involved in some of its greatest crimes. This edition has a new preface that incorporates new developments and research in the field.
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Table of Contents
Part I. The Nascent Concern, 1860–1933: 1. Origins and organization; 2. The search for stability; Part II. The National Revival, 1933–6: 3. Revolution and reflation; 4. From Schacht to Göring; Part III. The Nervous Years, 1936–9: 5. Autarky and atomization; Part IV. The Nazi Empire, 1938–44: 6. Greater Germany; 7. The New Order; Part V. The Nature of War, 1939–45: 8. Commerce and complicity; Epilogue.
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This book paints the portrait of an improbable protagonist, a huge chemical cartel which is held up as the last bastion of liberalism and free trade in the early years in the Reich. As if that were not enough, Hayes implies that IG Farben could not risk their corporate profits to temper the Reich's worst abuses, and even if they had been bound by some corporate ethics, it wouldn't have done any good anyway since they were powerless. This ridiculous thesis seeks to portray IG Farben as the last victim of Nazi aggression. Don't be fooled by the extensive, but one dimensional sources used. Try instead Crime and Punishment of IG Farben by Borkin.
It seems Peter Hayes has failed to exploit the documentation available on I.G. Farben or present the appropriate context for the reader to grasp the enormity of Farben's commercial and genocidal crime. Unfortunately, this book is often superficial, somtimes skips essential information, and clearly has not exploited some of the key archival sources in the US and UK, in my view. For instance, I would have wanted to see greater depth on Farben's involvement in the USA. So much more could have been done with book, I can only recommend that the Hayes volume be by-passed. We will need to wait for the better work to come along. Hopefully, that will be soon.
Poorly written and even more poorly researched, Hayes does not improve upon earlier efforts to understand this powerful company. At times, while reading Hayes' book, I kept asking myself why he seems to dance around the facts. Indeed, Hayes seems to be constructing a lawyer's defense brief for Farben. Hayes' weak grasp of German's nearly bankrupt position and its precarious economic standing internationally shows throughout Part II, The National Revival. To argue that Farben was unable to influence the course of Germany's actions seems to disregard the respected works of Schweitzer in Big Business and the Third Reich and Poole's Who Financed Hitler. Nor does Hayes improve upon the excellent Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben by Borkin and indeed that book remains the preferable authority as I far as I'm concerned.