Posts Tagged ‘Friends of the Reichsfuhrer SS’

‘Commission Managment’: The Nazi Term for Public-Private Partnership and the Use of Special Advisors from Industry

August 3, 2013

I’ve already discussed the use of personnel from big business and industry in government, and the establishment of government organs as private corporations in the Third Reich in my post on Spamfish’s post on Wolin’s idea that America is now an ‘Illiberal Democracy’. Another example of this was the appointment of the industrialist Carl Krauch as general plenipotentiary for chemicals and director of the Reich Office for Economic Consolidation , a subordinate body to the Reich Ministry of Economics. The Reich Ministry of Economics was itself in practice the ‘executive organ of the Commissioner for the Four Year Plan’. Under Goring’s management the Organisation for the Four Year Plan appointment a number of business leaders, like Krauch, as general plenipotentiaries.

Krauch had been on the board of I.G. Farben from 1926. From 1933 onwards he was an adviser to the Aviation Ministry, and to Brabag, which was responsible for producing artificial fuel. Krauch initially headed the research division of the Office for Raw Materials and Stock in the Organisation of the Four Year Plan. IN this role he had the full support of I.G. Farben’s board, and could use the company’s planning staff. He also took some of the staff from I.G. Farben to work with him in the Office of the Four year Plan. He was made general plenipotentiary for chemicals in 1938. The Reich Ministry for Aviation and Economics urged him to resign from I.G. Farben and become a state official, and was willing to appoint him state secretary. Krauch turned the offer down after consulting Bosch. he retained his seat on the I.G. Farben’s board, and in 1940 was appointed head as chairman of the company’s supervisory board. Krauch’s position in the Reich ministry was honorary, and he was not officially employed by them, nor was he included in the organisation’s budget. He was regarded with suspicion by other firms because of his continued links with I.G. Farben, and by the state economic bureaucracy, which was used to the strict separation of public and private organisations. The use of expert technicians like Krauch was expanded and became increasingly typical. While Goring and the General Council of the Four Year Plan were responsible for the ministry’s decisions, these were strongly influenced by the suggestions of their plenipotentiaries and by members of staff from the private armaments industry. These were ultimately responsible to the Armaments Ministry, but the ministry’s central administration rarely rejected their suggestions. Krauch described this adoption of managers from private industry in government as the assumption of state duties by the independent sector of the economy. It was described by other political theorists as a new form of ‘Commission Management’. In addition to using advisors and personnel from the Nazi party bureaucracy, the management apparatus of official from private industry was also used at the expense of a uniform state administration. The parallels here between the Nazi use of managers and technicians from private industry, and their use, along with Special Advisors, by contemporary British administrations since Margaret Thatcher as part of an ideology of Public-Private Partnerships are very strong indeed.

The Friends of the Reichsfuhrrer SS

Private industry also sponsored the SS. The Friends of the Reichsfuhrer SS was a group of heads of industry and bankers in Berlin. They donated money and even equipped whole SS units. AS a reward, the group became honorary members of the SS and influential personal contact with its leader, Himmler. One of the advantages this gave the group’s members was access to cheap labour from the concentration camps. To use this slave labour, the SS demanded a price of 6 marks per man per day.

Clearly there is no real comparison between Cameron’s policies and the Friends of the Reichsfuhrer SS, except in the most general sense of private industry donating money to the Conservatives, and other political parties, such as New labour, in return for governmental favours. There might be some if, the DWP adopts the recommendation of independent policy advisors to expand the use of residential centres for the disabled and long-term unemployed, to be employed on workfare, run by private contractors. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the ultimate extent to which the Nazis attracted and exploited contacts with private industry.

Sources

Martin Broszat, The Hitler State (London: Longman 1981)

Friends of the Reichsfuhrer SS, in James Taylor and Warren Shaw, A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton 1987) p. 132.