chapter  3
12 Pages

The Third Reich and the Business World

The relationship between German industry and commerce on the one hand and the Nazi regime on the other is a subject which has received, relatively speaking, the most intensive study in recent years. This is partly connected with the general tendency of historians to concern themselves more than previously with economic and social problems. Another aspect is that, not least owing to the revival of Marxist thinking in the Western world, the subject has been, and still is, largely confined to a study of relations between ‘capitalism and fascism’. The course and intensity of the economic debate are unmistakably affected by the feeling that insight into this problem will furnish a verdict as to the legitimacy of the liberalistic political and social order of the West. As Turner concisely puts it: ‘If there is truth in the widespread view that fascism is a product of modern capitalism, then that system can hardly be defended. But if this view is false, then so is the presumption on which many people in the East and West base their attitude towards the capitalist system’ (Turner, 1972, p. 7).