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Les entreprises sous le nazisme : bilan intermédiaire

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  • Werner Plumpe
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    Abstract

    [eng] Abstract . The history of enterprises in the Nazi period has been a central topic of German economic historiography in the last fifteen years. Meanwhile, monographs and journal articles have been published aplenty, providing us with a nuanced description of numerous German companies' involvement in the armament and war economy of the Third Reich and portraying in considerable detail the persons acting during that time. These studies show that opportunistic adaptation to the changed political and economic conditions was the rule, whereas there is little evidence for reluctance or even resistance on part of entrepreneurs. This opportunistic adaptation, however, was the predominant characteristic of the greater part of German society, and no specific of enterprises and entrepreneurs. This article resumes the exisiting research and further asks for the reasons of that opportunistic adaptation. In contrast to most studies, which presume that mercenary motivations incited the management to opportunistic behaviour, the assumption appears more plausible that National Socialism successively altered the formation of expectations within the enterprises. Expectations seem to have shifted away from the market and towards politically motivated allocation processes. The survival of companies became a function of their capability to adapt — regardless of the motives of individually acting persons. Only by placing entrepreneurial behaviour within this conceptual frame, such forms of behaviour take distinct shape which canot be called anything else but criminal. [fre] Résumé . L'histoire des entreprises pendant la période nazie a été un sujet central de l'historiographie économique allemande des 15 dernières années. Dans l'intervalle, de nombreux articles ou études monographiques ont été publiés, nous donnant une description nuancée de l'engagement de nombreuses entreprises allemandes dans l'armement et l'économie de guerre du Troisième Reich et faisant avec de nombreux détails le portrait des acteurs de cette époque. Ces études montrent que l'adaptation opportuniste à un contexte économique et social transformé a été de règle, avec peu de traces de réticence et a fortiori de résistance de la part des entrepreneurs. Cette adaptation opportuniste a toutefois été caractéristique de la majeure partie de la société allemande, et n'a pas été propre aux entreprises et aux entrepreneurs. Cet article présente d'abord une synthèse de la recherche disponible et s'interroge ensuite sur les raisons de cette adaptation opportuniste. En contradiction avec la plupart des études qui supposent que les motivations mercantiles incitaient les dirigeants à un comportement opportuniste, la thèse selon laquelle le national-socialisme serait parvenu à modifier la formation des attentes dans les entreprises apparaît plausible. Les attentes semblent s'être éloignées du marché pour s'orienter vers des logiques aux motivations plus politiques. La survie des entreprises dépendait de leur capacité à s'adapter, indépendamment des motivations des acteurs individuels. Ce n'est qu'en insérant le comportement patronal dans ce cadre conceptuel que de tels comportements s'inscrivent dans un cadre différent qui ne peut pas être appelé autrement que criminel.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3406/hes.2005.2565
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    File URL: http://www.persee.fr/articleAsPDF/hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_4_2565/hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_4_2565.pdf?mode=light
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Histoire, économie et société.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 453-472

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_4_2565

    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2005.2565
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    Web page: http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/revue/hes

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