General Motors Used To Survive The Third Reich

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Since 1945, many historians have questioned General Motors’ participation to the Nazi regime’s war effort. In fact, recent documentation shows that General Motors (GM) and Opel were “eager, willing and indispensable cogs in the Third Reich’s rearmament juggernaut,” and consequently, their path to World War Two. This study by Henry Ashby Turner, which he began in 1999 and was published in 2005, attempts to put these uncertainties to rest. The account of GMs business in the Third Reich from 1933 until America’s entrance to the war in 1941 is based on unrestricted access to GM’s internal records and documents. Although claims have been made about the validity of all of Turner’s findings, the study is very successful in capturing the historiographical…show more content…
By Turner’s account, Nazi officials tried to take control over the Russelsheim factory early on in their relationship. As Nazi influence was growing at a rapid pace, officials were implemented as corporate directors and board members. Opel’s publication, “The Opel Spirit” became an outlet for Nazi propaganda and advertisements. Instead of this being an indication of a growing relationship between GM and the Nazis, Turner claims this was an attempt from GM to masquerade as a German company and camouflage the fact that they were an American…show more content…
Firstly, he emphasizes the economic suffering that GM (and the German population) had to endure during the few years after the 1929 stock market crash. He describes Germany as completely desolate, with unemployment staggeringly high. GM does do its part as a business to strengthen the German economy, and some, although not Turner directly, see GM as aiding the Nazis in their rise to power. He states in an earlier study that “The auto industry spearheaded the remarkable recovery of the German economy that boosted the popularity of the Nazi Regime by virtually eliminating within a few years the mass unemployment that had idled a quarter of the workforce and contributed so importantly to Hitler’s rise.” After GM suffered through those economically strife years, they eventually overcame the depression and went on to make an absurd amount of profits. However, the profits that they did make were locked into Germany, as Hitler would not release them for
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