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MerelyMortalModeling t1_iunbd7k wrote

Saw The Jacobin and hoped it was a post in /bad history.

I get having to drive engagement for a book but except for the staff at the Jacobin, this is new news to exactly no one. It was hashed out extensively back in the 1950s in news and print. Books have been written and "new" stories have popped up regularly in the decades since.

While I am looking forward to giving the book a read the article is kinda crap. Many small contextual issues and I feel that the author, David De Jong is almost criminally misrepresenting not only the American position on the trials but also the European position.

1st of all the "capitalism on trial argument" was essentially a sound bit. Politicians had little say on the actual docket. In several cases, the prosecution did not feel it had the evidence it needed. In others, the jurists argued the court had no legal standing.

2cd acting like the US somehow brushed aside UK and French opinions is frankly insulting. Both the United Kingdom and France sent world-class jurists, judges, and staff to the trials, and men like Auguste Champetier de Ribes could not have cared less about American political sensibilities. And that leaves the Soviets. Love them or hate them they immediately from 0 to OFF WITH THEIR HEADS* in every case brought to trial.

3rd the limited cases of industrialists being prosecuted were all brought to court by the Americans. Not the Allies but the American government brought Krupp, Flick, and IG Farben to trial, and pretty much everyone in Europe shit on them for it.

Most of the charges were dropped due to lack of standing and evidence or should I say lack of admissible evidence. The major charge that stuck was international plunder followed by slave labor and that's not a coincidence, those are the charges supported to the greatest degree by the European powers.

And then after the war, again in well described and greatly discussed fashion most of the criminals saw their punishments commuted, charges dropped and in general got to walk. None of this is new, non of it was secret and in fact much, if not most of it was publicity available info until relatively recently when European powers started "protecting privacy" by eliminating access to much of the history here.

  • This is hyperbole, the Soviet judges preferred a single shot through the crown down into the base of the skull which left the head quite attached to the neck.

UpperHesse t1_iuqt5c6 wrote

>None of this is new, non of it was secret and in fact much

First off, I want to say that in many cases its like, European research from the 1980s and 1990s gets rediscovered in the USA now.

But second, I would say forced labor/slave labor was a non-issue in research and german public for a long time. It was very convenient that a large majority of slave workers came from Eastern Europe and were "silenced" due to the cold war.

The trials against the likes of Krupp only scratched the tip of the iceberg. At least from 1943 onward, slave labor was in use everywhere.

One logical problem was that denazification targeted the persons, but not the companies. Many businessmen had not to face special trials, but undergo the denazification process if they were party members. Later on, they could use their assets to defy the verdicts and get more favorable ones.

It would be good if already back then a damages funds would have been created where companies had to pay in. This was only done much later, in the year 2000, by the way of negotiation between the German state and major companies.

Unlike the Holocaust or the suppression of the opposition, slave labor was also a non-issue in public debate. On a local level, I feel in Germany even the narrative of the "benevolent employer" became very widespread, that some people had a heart of gold towards their foreigners, instead of all others who had slave workers.


MerelyMortalModeling t1_iuray90 wrote

I guess my issue is in part this is being presented like it's new info by a European author in a European publication and it has an Amerikkkan slant.

That's especially erroneous to me because America and the Soviet Union were the primary drivers behind attempts to bring the industrialist to justice and several countries actively sought to undermind us. Specficly France (the Jacobist is HQed in Paris) and the Netherlands (im thinking the author is based there) had many ties with the Nazis.

That's not to say that the French werent willing to go after Nazis, they just didnt cooperate with the prosecution of industrialists. Menthon and Ribe specifically were both very effective here but contrast them against Vabres who single-handedly shot down entire categories of prosecution and specifically seemed to shield european and German civilians.

All that said I hope the author is just trying to get people jazzed up over his new book and the book itself will yield high-quality and possibly new info.


LambdaMale t1_iuqht0y wrote

I remember a different (I believe also Jacobin) article on this book a while ago. It focused less on the postwar trials, but more about "Nazi Billionaires" in general. As a title, it is poignant and all, but as a concept it annoys me, because most of these families and companies already were rich. Quite a few were Monarchist Millionaires and rich families have a good shot at staying rich. Obviously many of them arranged themselves and with the regime and exploited the opportunities the Holocaust and the war created for them, ruthlessly and immorally. And I am sure most of them found Nazi ideology very agreeable, or at least easy enough to go along with.


bigjamg t1_iupm2c2 wrote

Louis Vuitton and Chanel survived the Nazi regime by becoming their supplier.


occasional_cynic t1_iuwfn14 wrote

Jacobin is a propaganda journal and not even a biased historical source.


RavenXII13 t1_iup7p5o wrote

I remember from a Holocaust class I took that the Nazis were absolutely loaded. They sacrificed the working class like Stalin. Depressing.


LambdaMale t1_iuqgvtf wrote

I would consider that one of the least bad things the Nazis did. Every ruling clique that is not subject to oversight becomes corrupt and enriches themselves, that is almost universal.
But money was not enough in Nazi Germany, you needed power and influence. The "old guard" Nazis did often not come from wealth, they amassed it by bribes, plunder during the war and exploiting or confiscating Jewish assets. The "social" arm of the party withered after the Roehm and SA purge, but ruthless people still managed to rise in the party or SS by "merit" alone.
But of course most rich people aligned themselves with the Nazis and took up the opportunities the Holocaust and war gave them and got even richer. No one wanted to end up like Thyssen.