Industry under the Swastika

Peter Hayes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


The analysis of German industry’s conduct during the Nazi years has long presented historians with difficult interpretive problems. Until the 1980s, most historical writing on the subject of German industry under the swastika evaded these standard challenges to historical representation, and some of it still does. Once the Second World War began, German industry continued to do what it had done since 1933 - it abdicated in the face of events, playing a fundamentally reactive role in pursuit of its own interests, justifying its conduct as the performance of national and corporate duty, and in the process adding to the strength, and eventually the barbarity of Nazi policy. The history of industry under the swastika culminated during the war years in a history of readiness, in the German phrase, to walk over corpses. The leaders of firms simply came to accept the use and death of slave labourers as a condition of business in Nazi Germany.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnterprise in the Period of Fascism in Europe
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351939867
ISBN (Print)9781315256375
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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