German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Standard wisdom and many history textbooks state that Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in large part because of the influence of big business. The captains of industry, disliking the democratic social welfare state of the Weimar Republic and fearing the rise of Communism, one is generally told, put their money and their political influence behind Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), the Nazis. Specific instances are sometimes cited. Hjalmar Schacht, the banker who was once a major figure in the German Democratic Party, turned to the Nazis and eventually became Hitler’s appointee as head of the Reich bank. Fritz Thyssen, the steel magnate, was a firm advocate of the Nazis until the late 1930’s, when he defected and wrote a book entitled I Paid Hitler. Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach backed the Nazis because of his generally antiunion authoritarianism and his hopes for big armament contracts. “Everybody knows” that big business donated heavily to the Nazi coffers. All one has to do is read the newspapers of the Weimar years to learn the details or read the books exposing the connections.
These are myths, according to Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., a professor of history at Yale University. They are myths based on fragmentary evidence, unsubstantiated allegations, unreliable sources, ideological bias, and sloppy scholarship. The fact that the left-wing press during the Nazi rise to power charged that big...
(The entire section is 2029 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
American Historical Review. XC, June, 1985, p. 717.
Business Week. February 18, 1985, p. 12.
Choice. XXII, May, 1985, p. 1394.
Foreign Affairs. LXIV, Fall, 1985, p. 185.
Library Journal. CX, February 1, 1985, p. 97.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. June 16, 1985, p. 8.
The New York Review of Books. XXXII, September 26, 1985, p. 5.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, January 27, 1985, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVI, December 14, 1984, p. 42.
The Wall Street Journal. CCV, January 25, 1985, p. 19.
(The entire section is 61 words.)