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Behind the “Merkozy” Phenomenon: German Domination of Corporate France

Sarkozy: Would he do this to Angela Merkel?

COMMENT: Dur­ing the euro­zone debt cri­sis, France and Ger­many have joint­ly announced/proposed var­i­ous ele­ments of solu­tion, with state­ments care­ful­ly craft­ed to shape the actions as best for all par­ties involved and deriv­ing from mutu­al inter­ests.

Yet, the media have rec­og­nized that the solu­tion will be a “Europa Ger­man­i­ca,” with Ger­man polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic will pre­vail­ing through­out the Euro­zone.

This dual­i­ty derives from an ongo­ing real­i­ty of Euro­pean cor­po­rate life. Long inter­twined with its dom­i­nant part­ner in the inter­na­tion­al car­tel sys­tem, cor­po­rate France is effec­tive­ly con­trolled by cor­po­rate Ger­many.

Many lis­ten­ers may well roll their eyes at dis­cus­sion of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work and the role it plays in the world. The “Merkozy” dynam­ic is a salient exam­ple of that net­work’s influence–an influ­ence which,  in turn, flows  from the inter­na­tion­al car­tel sys­tem which birthed fas­cism in in the first place.

We have already looked at Fran­cois Mit­terand’s role in intro­duc­ing the euro, a move he sup­pos­ed­ly made because of his wari­ness of Ger­many, but very pos­si­bly stem­ming from his role as a fas­cist col­lab­o­ra­tor.

The ques­tion remains con­cern­ing Mit­terand’s pos­si­ble role as a cat’s paw for the Bor­mann polit­i­cal net­work.

Con­tem­plat­ing the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion in the con­text of the “Merkozy” solu­tions to the euro­zone cri­sis, it is also worth not­ing that the reac­tions on the part of mar­kets can also be seri­ous­ly affect­ed by the net­work’s hold­ing of stocks in cor­po­ra­tions around the world. To a cer­tain extent, at least, the “reac­tions” by mar­kets can be pre-deter­mined.

As  dis­cussed in Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile, the Bor­mann net­work and Under­ground Reich remain in con­trol of cor­po­rate France.

Before D‑day four Paris banks, Worms et Cie., Banque de Paris et de Pays-Bas, Banque de l’Indochine (now with ‘et de Suez’ added to its name), and Banque Nationale pour le Com­merce et l’Industrie (now Banque Nationale de Paris), were used by Bor­mann to siphon NSDAP and oth­er Ger­man mon­ey in France to their bank branch­es in the colonies, where it was safe­guard­ed and invest­ed for its Ger­man own­er­ship.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; p. 140.

In the years before the war, the Ger­man busi­ness­men, indus­tri­al­ists, and bankers had estab­lished close ties with their coun­ter­parts in France. After the blitzkrieg and inva­sion, the same French­men in many cas­es went on work­ing with their Ger­man peers. They didn’t have much choice, to be sure, and the occu­pa­tion being insti­tut­ed, very few in the high ech­e­lons of com­merce and finance failed to col­lab­o­rate. The Third Republic’s busi­ness elite was vir­tu­al­ly unchanged after 1940 . . . They regard­ed the war and Hitler as an unfor­tu­nate diver­sion from their chief mis­sion of pre­vent­ing a com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion in France. Anti­bol­she­vism was a com­mon denom­i­na­tor link­ing these French­men to Ger­mans, and it account­ed for a vol­un­teer French divi­sion on the East­ern Front. . .The upper-class men who had been superbly trained in finance and admin­is­tra­tion at one of the two grand corps schools were referred to as France’s per­ma­nent ‘wall of mon­ey,’ and as pro­fes­sion­als they came into their own in 1940. They agreed to the estab­lish­ment of Ger­man sub­sidiary firms in France and per­mit­ted a gen­er­al buy-in to French com­pa­nies.

(Ibid.; 70–71.)

COMMENT: The Ger­man eco­nom­ic con­trol of the French econ­o­my pro­ceed­ed smooth­ly into the post­war peri­od.

Society’s nat­ur­al sur­vivors, French ver­sion, who had served the Third Reich as an exten­sion of Ger­man indus­try, would con­tin­ue to do so in the peri­od of post­war tri­als, just as they had sur­vived the war, occu­pa­tion, and lib­er­a­tion. These were many of the French elite, the well-born, the prop­er­tied, the titled, the experts, indus­tri­al­ists, busi­ness­men, bureau­crats, bankers. . . .Eco­nom­ic col­lab­o­ra­tion in France with the Ger­mans had been so wide­spread (on all lev­els of soci­ety) that there had to be a real­iza­tion that an entire nation could not be brought to tri­al. Only a few years before, there had been many a sin­cere and well-mean­ing Frenchman—as in Bel­gium, Eng­land, and through­out Europe — who believed Nation­al Social­ism to be the wave of the future, indeed, the only hope for cur­ing the many des­per­ate social, polit­i­cal, and eco­nom­ic ills of the time. France, along with oth­er occu­pied coun­tries, did con­tribute vol­un­teers for the fight against Rus­sia. Then there were many oth­er French­men, the major­i­ty, who resigned­ly felt there was no way the Ger­mans could be pushed back across the Rhine.

Ibid.; p. 30.

COMMENT: Long after the war, the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ued to wield effec­tive con­trol of the French econ­o­my, uti­liz­ing the cor­po­rate rela­tion­ships devel­oped before and dur­ing the occu­pa­tion.

The char­ac­ter­is­tic secre­cy sur­round­ing the actions of Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists and bankers dur­ing the final nine months of the war, when Bormann’s flight cap­i­tal pro­gram held their com­plete atten­tion, was also car­ried over into the post­war years, when they began pulling back the skeins of eco­nom­ic wealth and pow­er that stretched out to neu­tral nations of the world and to for­mer­ly occu­pied lands. There was a sug­ges­tion of this in France. Flo­ra Lewis, writ­ing from Paris in the New York Times of August 28, 1972, told of her con­ver­sa­tion with a French pub­lish­er: ‘It would not be pos­si­ble to trace own­er­ship of cor­po­ra­tions and the pow­er struc­ture as in the Unit­ed States. ‘They’ would not per­mit it. ‘They’ would find a way to hound and tor­ture any­one who tried,’ com­ment­ed the pub­lish­er. ‘They’ seem to be a fair­ly small group of peo­ple who know each oth­er, but many are not at all known to the pub­lic. ‘They’ move in and out of gov­ern­ment jobs, but pub­lic ser­vice appar­ent­ly serves to win pri­vate pro­mo­tion rather than the oth­er way around. The Gov­ern­ment ‘con­trol’ that prac­ti­cal­ly every­one men­tions can­not be traced through stock hold­ings, reg­u­la­to­ry agen­cies, pub­lic deci­sions. It seems to func­tion through a maze of per­son­al con­tacts and tac­it under­stand­ings.’ The under­stand­ings arrived at in the pow­er struc­ture of France reach back to pre­war days, were con­tin­ued dur­ing the occu­pa­tion, and have car­ried over to the present time. Lewis, in her report from Paris, com­ment­ed fur­ther: ‘This hid­den con­trol of gov­ern­ment and cor­po­ra­tions has pro­duced a gen­er­al unease in Paris.’ Along with the unease, the fact that France has lin­ger­ing and seri­ous social and polit­i­cal ail­ments is a residue of World War II and of an eco­nom­ic occu­pa­tion that was nev­er real­ly ter­mi­nat­ed with the with­draw­al of Ger­man troops beyond the Rhine. It was this spe­cial eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ship between Ger­man and French indus­tri­al­ists that made it pos­si­ble for Friedrich Flick to arrange with the De-Wen­del steel firm in France for pur­chase of his shares in his Ruhr coal com­bine for $45 mil­lion, which was to start him once more on the road back to wealth and pow­er, after years in prison fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion at Nurem­berg. West Germany’s eco­nom­ic pow­er struc­ture is fueled by a two-tier sys­tem: the cor­po­ra­tions and indi­vid­u­als who pub­licly rep­re­sent the prod­ucts that are com­mon house­hold names around the world, and the secre­tive groups oper­at­ing in the back­ground as hold­ing com­pa­nies and who pull the threads of pow­er in over­seas cor­po­ra­tions estab­lished dur­ing the Bor­mann tenure in the Third Reich. As explained to me, ‘These threads are like the strands of a spider’s web and no one knows where they lead — except the inner cir­cle of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion in South Amer­i­ca.’

Ibid.; pp. 271–272.

COMMENT: The Under­ground Reich/Bormann con­trol of the French econ­o­my, in turn, grew from transna­tion­al cor­po­rate struc­ture. For decades pri­or to the out­break of World War II, the French and Ger­man heavy indus­tri­al rela­tion­ship was exem­pli­fied by the steel indus­try.

James Stew­art Mar­tin details that rela­tion­ship in All Hon­or­able Men. Note that the De Wendel/Rochling rela­tion­ship (high­light­ed by Paul Man­ning above) was one of long stand­ing.

The hor­i­zon­tal sep­a­ra­tion of pri­vate inter­ests from gov­ern­ment poli­cies went even fur­ther. The strug­gle of the inter­war peri­od was not sim­ply a clash between French inter­ests on the one side and Ger­man inter­ests on the oth­er. Dur­ing the devel­op­ment of the Ruhr-Lor­raine indus­tri­al com­plex, like-mind­ed indus­tri­al­ists in France and Ger­many had become direc­tors of joint­ly owned and joint­ly con­trolled finan­cial, indus­tri­al, and dis­trib­ut­ing enter­pris­es. In many cas­es com­mon views on ques­tions of eco­nom­ic orga­ni­za­tion, labor pol­i­cy, social leg­is­la­tion, and atti­tude toward gov­ern­ment had been far more impor­tant to the indus­tri­al­ists than dif­fer­ences of nation­al­i­ty or cit­i­zen­ship. After 1870 the inter­de­pen­dence of the French and Ger­man iron and steel indus­tries led the own­ers to work togeth­er despite nation­al dif­fer­ences, although the pri­vate activ­i­ties of the French own­ers were, in many instances, in direct oppo­si­tion to French pub­lic pol­i­cy. It is curi­ous to note that only the French appeared to have this con­flict between pub­lic pol­i­cy and pri­vate activ­i­ties. On the Ger­man side, com­plete co-ordi­na­tion seems to have been pre­served between nation­al and pri­vate inter­ests; between offi­cials of the Ger­man Repub­lic and the lead­ers of Ger­man indus­try and finance.

Dur­ing World War I the de Wen­dels, the influ­en­tial French-Ger­man bank­ing and indus­tri­al fam­i­ly which head­ed the French wing of the Inter­na­tion­al Steel Car­tel through their Comite des Forges and whose mem­bers had sat in the par­lia­ments of both France and Ger­many, were able to keep the French army from destroy­ing indus­tri­al plants belong­ing to the Ger­man enter­pris­es of the Rochling fam­i­ly. These plants were locat­ed in the Briey Basin, a Lor­raine ore field then in Ger­man con­trol.

The Rochling fam­i­ly, with their pow­er­ful com­plex of coal, iron, steel and bank­ing enter­pris­es in Ger­many, has for gen­er­a­tions played in close har­mo­ny with the de Wen­del fam­i­ly. For a cen­tu­ry, the descen­dants of Chris­t­ian Rochling have dom­i­nat­ed the indus­try and com­merce of the Saar Basin. It was Her­mann Rochling who arranged the return of the Saar to Ger­many in the plebiscite of Jan­u­ary 1935 by orga­niz­ing the Deutsche Front, which deliv­ered 90 per­cent of the votes to the Nazis. Though sev­en­ty-two mem­bers of the Rochling fam­i­ly have sur­vived two world wars and are still active in the busi­ness of the Saar today, two oth­er mem­bers of the fam­i­ly, Her­mann and his broth­er Robert, a major, had been put in charge of pro­duc­tion in the Briey Basin. After the war, when the broth­ers Rochling moved out of the areas which had to be ced­ed to France under the Treaty, the two of them car­ried away bod­i­ly a cou­ple of large steel plants.

Con­ceiv­ing this grand lar­ce­ny to be some­thing in the nature of a war crime, the French gov­ern­ment tried the broth­ers Rochling in absen­tia and sen­tenced them to forty years in prison. But the Ger­man gov­ern­ment nev­er would give up the Rochlings to the French. For the next twen­ty-two years the broth­ers were under this cloud as far as the French gov­ern­ment was con­cerned. On the oth­er hand, as far as the French steel mak­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, the Comite des Forges, and in par­tic­u­lar the de Wen­dels who head­ed the Comite, were con­cerned, it was busi­ness as usu­al-or in this case, busi­ness as unusu­al-that pre­vailed. In the end even the French gov­ern­ment weak­ened for busi­ness pur­pos­es, though the war-crime sen­tence remained. When it came time for France to build its impreg­nable Mag­inot Line, who should be called in to sup­ply steel and tech­ni­cal assis­tance but the Ger­man firm of the broth­ers Rochling. If the French behaved in this as did the Amer­i­cans dur­ing World War II in the case of insur­ance cov­er­age on war plants, they doubt­less placed plen­ty of guards to pro­tect the secu­ri­ty and secre­cy of the Mag­inot Line con­struc­tion from the pry­ing eyes of the gen­er­al pub­lic while the blue­prints rest­ed safe­ly in the hands of the only peo­ple to whom they mat­tered: to wit, the ene­my.

Now comes the out­break of World War II. The French army march­ing into the Saar dur­ing the ‘pho­ny war’ peri­od in 1939, received orders not to fire on or dam­age the plants of the ‘war crim­i­nals,’ the broth­ers Rochling. In 1940 came the blitz and the fall of France. The Vichy gov­ern­ment passed a decree exon­er­at­ing the Rochlings and can­cel­ing their forty-year prison sen­tences.

All Hon­or­able Men; James Stew­art Mar­tin; pp.34–36.



Discussion

4 comments for “Behind the “Merkozy” Phenomenon: German Domination of Corporate France”

  1. I total­ly agree with your analy­sis. The sad part is that the French pop­u­la­tion and vot­ers are com­plete­ly duped about and by these machi­na­tions. François Mit­terand is cer­tain­ly not the only one to have been an agent for the Under­ground Reich or car­tel sys­tem. I sus­pect that a lot of France’s polit­i­cal elite after WWII was com­posed of these pre­vi­ous fascist/nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers, who found refuge under the cloak of being then reborn “social­ist” or “lib­er­al”. Both UMP (Union pour un Mou­ve­ment Pop­u­laire) and PS (Par­ti Socialiste)present a puri­fied image to the pub­lic but who are they in the end? The Front Nation­al, cre­at­ed by Jean-Marie Le Pen, takes all the heat for being anti-semit­ic and extreme-right wing. As far as I now, the UMP and PS rep­re­sent the same polit­i­cal elite that made the per­se­cu­tion of the Jews and the takeover of French indus­try by Ger­many pos­si­ble in the first place. And yet they get away with it, while they don’t miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to put the blame on the Front Nation­al, which has a bad rep­u­ta­tion that is dif­fi­cult to over­come.

    The sit­u­a­tion in France is extreme­ly wor­ry­ing and I am not sure the coun­try can sur­vive anoth­er install­ment of a so-called “social­ist” or “lib­er­al” gov­ern­ment. Like you illus­trat­ed it here Dave, it will only mean more con­trol on France from Ger­many. If these so-called born again social­ists or lib­er­als are re-elect­ed next May, we can say good­bye to the sov­er­eign­ty of France.

    Posted by Claude | December 20, 2011, 1:11 pm
  2. It will be inter­est­ing to see how many euro­zone coun­tries end up with a sig­nif­i­cant for­eign cor­po­rate pres­ence in strate­gic indus­tries in anoth­er decade since the IMF appears to be forc­ing that solu­tion on the euro­zone (and the UK is doing it because, well...the UK’s lead­ers hate their people...shhhh, don’t tell any­one...). Sell­ing off state assets to for­eign sov­er­eign wealth funds will no doubt do won­ders for future via­bil­i­ty of these economies:

    Chi­na makes record pur­chase as euro­zone puts assets up for sale

    Chi­na’s $3.5 bil­lion invest­ment in Por­tu­gal pow­er pro­duc­er is its largest yet in Europe, and sig­nals will­ing­ness to buy assets even as it balks at pur­chas­ing bonds from indebt­ed euro­zone coun­tries.

    By Peter Ford, Staff Writer / Decem­ber 23, 2011

    Bei­jing

    China’s Three Gorges Corp. has bought a 21 per­cent share in Portugal’s largest pow­er pro­duc­er from the country’s debt-bur­dened gov­ern­ment, in a clear sign that Bei­jing may help bail out cash-strapped Euro­pean nations, but only if it gets some­thing worth­while in return.

    The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has respond­ed cool­ly to pleas that it use some of its $3.2 tril­lion in for­eign reserves to buy bonds from strug­gling gov­ern­ments in Greece, Italy, and Spain. But offi­cials here have said they are inter­est­ed in pick­ing up Euro­pean assets.

    This week’s $3.5 bil­lion deal by Three Gorges, which oper­ates the world’s largest hydro­elec­tric project, is the largest-ever Chi­nese invest­ment in Europe. It comes only weeks after Trade Min­is­ter Chen Dem­ing told Chi­nese busi­ness­men that “some Euro­pean coun­tries are fac­ing a debt cri­sis and hope to con­vert their assets into cash and would like for­eign cap­i­tal to acquire their enter­pris­es. We will be watch­ing close­ly and push­ing for­ward progress.”

    The Por­tuguese gov­ern­ment had been forced to sell off its share in Ener­gias de Por­tu­gal as part of a €78 bil­lion bailout pack­age from the Euro­pean Union and the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund. Lis­bon is also sell­ing a 40 per­cent share in its nation­al pow­er grid oper­a­tor, and anoth­er state-owned Chi­nese com­pa­ny, Chi­na State Grid Corp., is bid­ding for it.

    “The Euro­pean econ­o­my needs blood, but not in the form of a trans­fu­sion ask­ing for us to buy their bonds,” said Wang Yim­ing, a senior eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy­mak­er, at a meet­ing in Brus­sels last month. “We need to cre­ate new blood by pro­mot­ing invest­ment.”

    Not always wel­come

    Such invest­ment is not always wel­come. Last month the Ice­landic gov­ern­ment nixed a $200 mil­lion plan by a Chi­nese busi­ness­man to buy 115 square miles of land to build a tourist resort.

    Chi­nese Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Fu Ying lashed out ear­li­er this month at such ret­i­cence, say­ing she hoped that “our eco­nom­ic activ­i­ties are not inter­pret­ed from a polit­i­cal per­spec­tive and are not imbued with polit­i­cal inter­ests.”

    Bei­jing is encour­ag­ing its state-owned enter­pris­es, many of which are flush with cash, to seek oppor­tu­ni­ties abroad, and Europe is a promis­ing des­ti­na­tion.

    Britain, for exam­ple, is seek­ing for­eign investors to fund the lion’s share of a $310 bil­lion plan to upgrade the nation’s roads, rail­ways, util­i­ties, and Inter­net sys­tems, and is look­ing to Chi­na, among oth­ers.

    ...

    And once again, Ice­land shows the world what self-gov­ern­ment is all about. I rechris­ten thee “Nice­land”!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 24, 2011, 4:04 pm
  3. In these dif­fi­cult times, I thought a lit­tle humour could do us some good. I found this in Spiegel:

    http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-76474.html

    There are a lot of peo­ple in Amer­i­ca and Europe who think the same way.

    Have a good night.

    Posted by Claude | February 13, 2012, 7:18 pm
  4. @Pterrafractyl: Yep. Hope­ful­ly Amer­i­ca will start get­ting some balls, too. (One good start would be pre­vent­ing the sale of some of the noto­ri­ous­ly sh***y Chi­nese cars in the U.S.)

    @Dave: Yeah, I heard about her death myself. It’s a real shame, as Mrs. Hous­ton was a very tal­ent­ed lady even if she did have a few prob­lems to deal with.

    R.I.P. Whit­ney, 1963–2012. You will be missed.

    Posted by Steven L. | February 14, 2012, 10:55 am

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