General Motors and the Nazis

The Struggle for Control of Opel, Europe’s Biggest Carmaker

Henry Ashby Turner, Jr.

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This book, the first ever based on unrestricted access to General Motors’ internal records, documents the giant American corporation’s dealings with the Third Reich. GM purchased Opel, Europe’s largest automaker, in the 1920s and continued to hold it through the Second World War. Historian Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., uncovers the fascinating story of how the American carmaker conducted business in Germany under the Nazi regime and explores larger issues concerning the relations between international corporations and the Third Reich.
The book presents new and detailed information about General Motors’ interactions with Hitler and other Nazi officials, including the carmaker’s attempt to capture the Volkswagen project. It also reveals how American GM executives thwarted a sustained Nazi effort to gain control of Opel. The author concludes with an assessment of the extent of the company’s implication, through Opel, in the Nazi war effort and in the exploitation of forced labor.

Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., is Stillé Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University. His previous books include German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler.

“Based on excellent and deep research, this book provides a clear, contextualized, and convincing account of General Motors's efforts to run its German subsidiary Opel from 1933 to the American entry into the war in 1941.”—Gerald D. Feldman, University of California, Berkeley

"Henry Ashby Turner . . . had unrestricted access to GM's records for his fascinating portrait of the company's relationship with the regime."—Steve Powers, Dallas Morning News

"A fascinating look at a very complicated tangle of international business and ethics in the mid-20th century."—Dave Wood, River Falls Journal

 

 

"Turner's authoritative and . . . innovative analysis shows that GM management did not have any realistic alternative to the strategy of adapting to the pressures of the [Nazi] regime. . . . His interpretation relies on extensive documentary evidence and provides an impressive picture of the internal rivalries and restricted efficiency of the Nazi regime in the armament sector."—Hans Mommsen, American Historical Review

"This story is clearly told by Turner. Moreover, it is based upon impeccable archival research in the General Motors archives held at Yale University and in relevant German archive holdings."—Andrew J. Crozier, The International History Review

"Impeccably researched and written with the pace—and plotting—of a novel."—Raymond Stokes, Journal of Modern History
ISBN: 9780300106343
Publication Date: July 11, 2005
208 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
21 b/w illus.
Germany from Partition to Reunification

A Revised Edition of The Two Germanies Since 1945

Henry Ashby Turner

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