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General Motors and the Nazis: The Struggle for Control of Opel, Europes Biggest Carmaker
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I agree with the above statement. That this is no liberal screed, out to pillory GM, does not excuse how it has underplayed how GM deliberately spent its money to curry favor with the Nazis.
GM purchased 80% of Opel, Germany's largest carmaker, in March, 1929, before the Great Depression, and complete purchasing the 20% remainder in 1931. GM bought Opel's existing plants and properties, which were amongst the most modern in Europe. What GM bought in hopes of making great profits went directly into the doldrums with the Depression. GM bought Opel before the Nazis came to power, before they were anything but a bit player in German politics (3% in the 1928 elections), and when Germany was a legal and respected country, living up to its treaty obligations.
Hitler and the Nazis came to power through a series of foolish errors by their political opponents, who consistently underrated and underestimated them, in 1933.
The German economy took off upwards. Simultaneously it became harder to move money (profits) out of Germany, and became impossible before WWII.
General Motors, unfortunately, thought only about business. This would be fine, of course, if there was no evil in the world.Read more ›