|Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1|
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Although the Nazi government officials provided the leadership in preparing Germany for war, they received also the enthusiastic and invaluable cooperation of the German industrialists.
On the invitation of Goering, approximately 25 of the leading industrialists of Germany, together with Schacht, attended a meeting in Berlin on 20 February 1933. This was shortly before the German election of 5 March 1933. At this meeting Hitler announced the conspirators' aim to seize totalitarian control over Germany, to destroy the parliamentary system, to crush all opposition by force, and to restore the power of the Wehrmacht. Among those present at that meeting were Gustav Krupp, head of the munitions firm, Alfried Krupp, A.G.; four leading officials of the I. G. Farben Works, one of the world's largest chemical concerns; Albert Vogler, head of United Steel Works of Germany; and other leading industrialists. This meeting is described in the following affidavit of George von Schnitzler:
"I, George von Schnitzler, a member of the Vorstand of I. G. Farben, make the following deposition under oath:
"At the end of February 1933, four members of the Vorstand of I. G. Farben, including Dr. Bosch, the head of the Vorstand, and myself were asked by the office of the President of the Reichstag to attend a meeting in his house, the purpose of which was not given. I do not remember the two other colleagues of mine who were also invited. I believe the invitation reached me during one of my business trips to Berlin. I went to the meeting which was attended by about 20 persons, who I believe were mostly leading industrialists from the Ruhr.
"Among those present I remember:
"Dr. Schacht, who at that time was not yet head of the Reichsbank again and not yet minister of Economics.
"Krupp von Bohlen, who in the beginning of 1933 presided over the Reichsverband der Deutschen Industrie, which later on was changed into the semi-official organization 'Reichsgruppe Industrie.'
"Dr. Albert Vogler, the leading man of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke.
"Von Lowenfeld from an industrial work in Essen.
"Dr. Stein, head of the Geworkschaft Auguste Victoria, a mine which belongs to the I. G. Dr. Stein was an active member of the Deutsche Volkspartei.
"I remember that Dr. Schacht acted as a kind of host.
"While I had expected the appearance of Goering, Hitler entered the room, shook hands with everybody and took a seat at the top of the table. In a long speech he talked mainly about the danger of communism over which he pretended that he just had won a decisive victory.
"He then talked about the Bundnis-alliance-into which his party and the Deutsch national Volkspartei had entered. This latter party, in the meantime, had been reorganized by Herr von Papen. At the end he came to the point which seemed to me the purpose of the meeting. Hitler stressed the importance that the two aforementioned parties should gain the majority in the coming Reichstag election. Krupp von Bohlen thanked Hitler for his speech. After Hitler had left the room, Dr. Schacht proposed to the meeting the raising of an election fund of, as far as I remember, RM 3,000,000. The fund should be distributed between the two 'allies' according to their relative strength at the time being. Dr. Stein suggested that the Deutsche Volkspartei should be included * * *." (EC-439)
In a speech delivered to the industrialists in Berlin on 20 February 1933, Hitler stated:
"Private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy; it is conceivable only if the people have a sound idea of authority and personality. * * * I recognized even while in the hospital that one had to search for new ideas conducive to reconstruction. I found them in nationalism, in the value of strength and power of individual personality. * * * If one rejects pacifism, one must put a new idea in its place immediately. Everything must be pushed aside, must be replaced by something better. * * * We must not forget that all the benefits of culture must be introduced more or less with an iron fist, just as once upon a time the farmers were forced to plant potatoes.
"With the very same courage with which we go to work to make up for what had been sinned during the last 14 years, we have withstood all attempts to move us off the right way."
"* * * We must first gain complete power if we want to crush the other side completely. While still gaining power, one should not start the struggle against the opponent. Only when one knows that one has reached the pinnacle of power, that there is no further possible development, shall one strike. * * *
"* * * Now we stand before the last election. Regardless of the outcome there will be no retreat, even if the coming election does not bring about a decision. * * *
"The question of restoration of the Wehrmacht will not be decided at Geneva but in Germany, when we have gained internal strength through internal peace." (D-203)
In reply to these statements Goering, who was present at that same meeting, declared:
"That the sacrifice asked for surely would be much easier for industry to bear if it realized that the election of March 5th will surely be the last one for the next ten years, probably even for the next hundred years." (D-203)
In a memorandum dated 22 February 1933, found in the personal files of Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, Krupp briefly described this same meeting, and recalled that he had expressed to Hitler the gratitude of the 25 industrialists present. (D-204)
In April 1933, after Hitler had entrenched himself in power, Gustav Krupp, as Chairman of the Reich Association of German Industry, which was the largest association of German industrialists, submitted to Hitler the plan of that association for the reorganization of German industry. In connection therewith Krupp undertook to bring the association into line with the aims of the conspirators, and to make it an effective instrument for the execution of their policies. In a letter of transmittal (D-157), Krupp stated that the plan of reorganization which he submitted on behalf of the association of industrialists, was characterized by the desire to coordinate economic measures and political necessity, adopting the Fuehrer conception of the new German state. In the plan of reorganization itself, Krupp stated:
"The turn of political events in line with the wished which I myself and the board of directors have cherished for a long time. In reorganizing the Reich Association of German industry, I shall be guided by the idea of bringing the new organization into agreement with the political aims of the Reich Government." (D-157)
The ideas of Krupp were subsequently adopted.
Under the decree introducing the leadership principle into industry, each group of industry was required to have a leader who was to serve without compensation. The leaders were to be appointed and could be removed at the discretion of the Minister of Economics. The charter of each group was to be created by the leader, who was obligated to lead his group on accordance with the principles of the national Socialist State (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1934, Part I, 1194, Sec. 11, 12, 16). The introduction for the leadership principle into the organizations of business centralized authority and guaranteed the efficient execution of orders, which the government issued to business, in the effort to promote a war economy.
The overwhelming support given by the German industrialists to the Nazi war program is described in a speech prepared by Gustav Krupp in January 1944, for delivery at the university of Berlin:
"War material is life-saving for one's own people, and whoever works and performs in those spheres can be proud of it. Here, enterprise as a whole, finds its highest justification of existence. This justification, I may inject this here, crystallized especially during the time of interregnum between 1919 and 1933, when Germany was lying down disarmed. * * *
"It is the one great merit of the entire German war economy that it did not remain idle during those bad years, even though its activity could not be brought to light for obvious reasons. Through years of secret work, scientific and basic groundwork was laid in order to be ready again to work for the German armed forces at the appointed hour without loss of time or experience.
"Only through the secret activity of German enterprise, together with the experience gained meanwhile through production of peacetime goods, was it possible, after 1933, to fall into step with the new tasks arrived at, restoring Germany's military power. Only through all that could the entirely new and various problems, brought up by the Fuehrer's Four-Year Plan for German enterprise, be mastered. It was necessary to supply the new raw materials, to explore and experiment, to invest capital in order to make German economy independent and strong-in short, to make it warworthy.
"I think I may state here that the German enterprises followed the new ways enthusiastically, that they made the great intentions of the Fuehrer their own by fair competition and conscious gratitude, and became his faithful followers. How else could the tasks between 1933 and 1939, and especially those after 1939, have been overcome?" (D-317)