In the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, West German industrialists faced a major crisis in their public image. With mounting revelations about the use of forced and slave labor, the "Aryanization" of Jewish property, and corporate profiteering under National Socialism, industrialists emerged from the war with their national and international reputations in tatters.
In this groundbreaking study, Jonathan Wiesen explores how West German business leaders remade and marketed their public image between 1945 and 1955. He challenges assumptions that West Germans--and industrialists in particular--were silent about the recent past during the years of denazification and reconstruction. Drawing on sources that include private correspondence, popular literature, and a wealth of unpublished materials from corporate archives, Wiesen reveals how German business leaders attempted to absolve themselves of responsibility for Nazi crimes while recasting themselves as socially and culturally engaged public figures. Through case studies of individual firms such as Siemens and Krupp, Wiesen depicts corporate publicity as a telling example of postwar selective memory.
In his introduction and conclusion, Wiesen considers the recent establishment of a multibillion dollar fund to provide financial compensation to the victims of industrial exploitation during World War II. This acknowledgment by German industry of its ongoing responsibility for its past crimes underscores the contemporary relevance of Wiesen's study.
"An important book.... [It] should be read by anyone interested in German history after 1945." - American Historical Review"
|Glossary and Abbreviations|
|A Company Encounters the Past: The Case of Siemens||p. 17|
|The Beginnings of a Collective Identity||p. 52|
|Creating the New Industrialist||p. 94|
|Selling the New Industrialist||p. 129|
|Industry, Culture, and the Decline of the West||p. 157|
|Trade Unions, Workers, and the New Social Partnership||p. 179|
|Krupp, the United States, and the Salvation of West German Industry||p. 201|
|Conclusion: The New Industrialist and West German Memory||p. 236|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 28th February 2004
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.6 x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.476