Business as usual

“In February 1933, soon after being named Chancellor, Adolph Hitler convened a meeting with German business leaders. The three business leaders most vital to the war industry and rearmament of the Wehrmacht were present: Baron Gustav Krupp von Bohlen, who made armaments; Karl Bosch and Georg von Schnitzler from I.G. Farben, the chemical maker; and Albert Voegler, head of the United Steel Works. They were predisposed to support the new leader because, in their minds, he stood for order. Business leaders also believed, wrongly, that they could manipulate Hitler. Hitler explained to them that he planned to stay in power indefinitely, even if he did not win future elections. Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring, also present, explained how certain ‘financial sacrifices’ were necessary and that these ‘surely would be much easier for industry to bear if it realized that the election of March 5 would surely be the last one for the next ten years, probably even for the next hundred years.’ Krupp was particularly impressed by the speech. On the spot, the Nazi inner circle was able to get promises of three million marks from the guests. Thus, from the very beginning of his regime, Hitler had enlisted the financial and political support of the major German industrialists.” – The World War II Desk Reference, Douglas Brinkley and Michael E. Haskew, eds.

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