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Forging Global FordismNazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order$
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Stefan J. Link

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177540

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177540.001.0001

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Nazi Fordismus

Nazi Fordismus

(p.131) 4 Nazi Fordismus
Forging Global Fordism

Stefan J. Link

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates Nazi Germany's efforts to acquire American mass production technology in order to create their own version of Fordism in the Thirties. Unlike the Soviet Union, Germany boasted a highly developed industrial base in its own right, centered around classic producer goods, such as coal, steel, machine tools, and instruments. Though Germany's machine tool builders were a proud and venerable branch with considerable export clout, they were unequipped to supply mass production factories. Acquiring automotive mass production was of neuralgic significance: it not only harbored the potential of a growth-generating consumer and export sector, but it was also — more immediately urgent to the Nazi regime — of primary military-strategic significance. Accordingly, the Nazi regime did not purchase bulk machinery and entire technological systems wholesale, Soviet-style. Instead, it resorted to targeted industrial reconnaissance and the recruitment of American specialists — that is, to Detroit missions such as those of Ferdinand Porsche, Otto Dyckhoff, and William Werner. The Nazi regime ensnared the American multinationals operating in Germany in a web of political pressure and economic incentives, and in doing so found ways to appropriate the Americans' technology without spending significant amounts of US dollars.

Keywords:   Nazi Germany, American mass production, Fordism, automotive mass production, Nazi regime, industrial reconnaissance, American multinationals, Ferdinand Porsche, Otto Dyckhoff, William Werner

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