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Reichswerke Hermann Göring

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Source: Finavon

Copyright: CC 3.0

Reichswerke Hermann Göring was an industrial conglomerate of Nazi Germany. It was established in July 1937 to extract and process domestic iron ores from Salzgitter that were deemed uneconomical by the privately held steel mills. The state-owned Reichswerke was seen as a vehicle of hastening growth in ore mining and steel output regardless of private capitalists' plans and opinions, which ran contrary to Adolf Hitler's strategic vision. In November 1937 Hermann Göring obtained unchecked access to state financing and launched a chain of mergers, diversifying into military industries with the absorption of Rheinmetall. Göring himself supervised the Reichswerke but did not own it in any sense and did not make personal profit from it directly, although at times he withdrew cash for personal expenses.
After the Anschluss the Reichswerke absorbed Austrian heavy industries, including those owned by private German investors. The cluster of steel mills and supporting companies in Linz became its most important asset. Nazi leadership regarded captured assets as the property of the state and were not willing to share the spoils with German businesses. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia the Reichswerke absorbed between 50 and 60 per cent of Czech heavy industries. The pattern was repeated in occupied Poland, France and the Soviet Union. The Reichswerke operated captured assets as far from its base as Liepāja in Latvia and Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine. It provided one-eighth of German steel output during World War II and created a Nazi-controlled military complex that was independent of private interests. By the end of 1941 the Reichswerke became the largest company in Europe and probably in the whole world, with a capital of 2.4 billion reichsmarks and about half a million workers.


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