IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Les entreprises sous le nazisme : bilan intermédiaire

Listed author(s):
  • Werner Plumpe
Registered author(s):

    [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.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

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

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

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_4_2565
    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2005.2565
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_4_2565. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Equipe PERSEE)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.