chapter  8
19 Pages

The Afterlife of a Multinational Enterprise

The Case of Siemens’ Subsidiary in Hungary After the Second World War
ByJudit Klement

The Second World War and immediate aftermath were periods which were particularly marked by non-market forces in the history of multinational enterprises. A dramatic change took place in the history of the Hungarian Siemens subsidiary after the war. In accordance with the Potsdam agreement, because the company was in German ownership, in 1946 it became the property of the Soviet Union. However, as the afterlife of the company illustrates, an enterprise is not simply a legal entity. It is also knowledge of production and management, which are embodied by individuals. It was not the firm, but the (mostly former) Siemens employees who tried to restart the production on the Siemens plant after one factory had been bombed during the siege of Budapest and another two had been dismantled by the Soviet army. Their attempt to establish a bottom-up enterprise harmonised with the government’s aim to restore the country’s economic productivity, and they were ultimately successful in their efforts. Nevertheless, in an occupied country like Hungary, and in the Soviet bloc which was gradually coming into existence, the survival of a business was not merely and not even mostly a question of market forces.