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The industrialists may not have exactly hired Hitler even if Herr Krupp claimed just that.

I'm not sure what quote you refer to, but maybe you mean rival Franz Thyssen who wrote a book titled "I paid Hitler".

I also believed a simple picture of industrialist support until reading a historian's article presenting a more complicated picture, pointing out ignored or misinterpreted evidence.

For example, there was the secret 20 February 1933 meeting when 25 industrialists donated 3 million. But this was after Hitler became chancellor, and the meeting was organised by the Nazis, with much wit. Göring issued the invitations as speaker of the Reichstag, for a 'presentation of the new economic programme'. Then Hitler gave a talk about the menance of communism, hinted that democracy will soon be over, then pro-Nazti bankier Hjalmar Schacht said the famous words ("Und nun, meine Herren, an die Kasse!" = 'And now, dear Sirs, to the cashier!'). Peer pressure was also employed. So the relationship was the opposite as commonly suggested on the left: the (majority of) industrialists bowing to pressure to go along, rather than directing events from the background.

Another much-quoted evidence is the Industrielleneingabe of 19 November 1932, a letter demanding Hitler as chancellor signed by 16 (+4 later) industry leaders & financiers, but it is forgotten that  more industrialists signed a contrary petition, one titled Mit Hindenburg für Volk und Reich!, calling for support of rival parties earlier the same month.

I'd educative to compare the route of Krupp and Thyssen, the two big companies that were merged much later.

During the Weimar Republic, it was Fritz Thyssen who was pro-Nazi, while Gustav Krupp was a post-pro-Kaiser conservative who opposed Hitler and wasn't happy about his chancellorship. But then he gave funding when requested to, got a business upturn, and Hitler chose Krupp, the main WWI provider of armory, as propagandistic leader of the military industry, while after the Night of The Long Knives (the slaying of the leadership of the party militia SA, which Hitler feared as rival power base), Fritz Thyssen turned into an opponent of the Nazis, who took revenge by nationalising his firm, and even put him in a concentration camp. Meanwhile, Alfried Krupp, a son unlike father who was even in the SS before Hitler's takeover (but not the NSDAP), inherited the rival company, and it mutated into a major slave labourer under him.

Alfried Krupp would later explain his amoral opportunism with:

"Die Wirtschaft brauchte eine ruhige oder aufwärts steigende Entwicklung. Wir hatten den Eindruck, dass Hitler nie solch eine gesunde Entwicklung bescheren würde. Tatsächlich hat er das getan.""The economy needed a steady or upwards rising development. We had the impression that Hitler could never bring such a healthy development. But he did so in actuality."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 08:53:20 AM EST
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