American Big Business in Britain and Germany: A Comparative History of Two "Special Relationships" in the 20th Century

American Big Business in Britain and Germany: A Comparative History of Two "Special Relationships" in the 20th Century

Volker R. Berghahn

Language: English

Pages: 482


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

While America’s relationship with Britain has often been deemed unique, especially during the two world wars when Germany was a common enemy, the American business sector actually had a greater affinity with Germany for most of the twentieth century. American Big Business in Britain and Germany examines the triangular relationship between the American, British, and German business communities and how the special relationship that Britain believed it had with the United States was supplanted by one between America and Germany.

Volker Berghahn begins with the pre-1914 period and moves through the 1920s, when American investments supported German reconstruction rather than British industry. The Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to a reversal in German-American relations, forcing American corporations to consider cutting their losses or collaborating with a regime that was inexorably moving toward war. Although Britain hoped that the wartime economic alliance with the United States would continue after World War II, the American business community reconnected with West Germany to rebuild Europe’s economy. And while Britain thought they had established their special relationship with America once again in the 1980s and 90s, in actuality it was the Germans who, with American help, had acquired an informal economic empire on the European continent.

American Big Business in Britain and Germany uncovers the surprising and differing relationships of the American business community with two major European trading partners from 1900 through the twentieth century.

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1929 was not the massiveness of the participation. Rather it was the way it became central to the culture.” Accordingly, to quote Joan Wilson once more,187 “Business leaders felt little necessity, at least until 1929, to temper their public statements on foreign policy to any significant degree.” There are remarkable cultural continuities extending forward to the 1990s and the bubble that finally burst in 2008, but also back to the pre-1914 period. Thus the British Banker’s Magazine wrote as.

American strategizing about what to do with Hitler in the 1930s and why it proved so difficult for London and Washington, even under the new circumstances of the 1930s, to overcome their post-1918 disagreements. A final section will then discuss the increasingly closer cooperation between the two powers from 1939 to 1941. It is only after this analysis that the ground will have been cleared to delve into how American big business operated within this complex and confusing force field. There is a.

Where this policy was particularly noticeable was in Washington’s attempts to disrupt the bilateralism that Germany, in search of raw materials, pursued in Latin America. To be sure, the appearance of a competitor in that part of the world was also to be fought as a matter of principle, being a violation of the time-honored Monroe Doctrine. But when German efforts in Brazil, for example, blatantly undermined American multilateralism in the Hemisphere and on top of it strengthened anti-American.

And to establish production facilities there. Even more gingerly, the Germans began to venture into the American market and a few companies, such as Stollwerck, built up a manufacturing base in the United States. Above all, the three countries engaged in an exchange of information on their industries and infrastructures. German entrepreneurs and engineers visited the industrial centers of the East Coast and the Midwest to study Taylorism and Fordism. American businessmen traveled to Germany to.

And prosperity had been found with the help of mathematical modeling and rational macroeconomic analysis and that the risks that capitalism had hitherto posed had disappeared. The crisis that followed bore many of the hallmarks of the 1930s. As far as Anglo-American economic relations were concerned the crisis proved even more fatal to Britain because this time it also caused havoc to the financial system. While Britain no longer had a manufacturing industry to speak of, the outsourcing policies.

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