International Business and National War Interests: Unilever Between Reich and Empire, 1939-45

International Business and National War Interests: Unilever Between Reich and Empire, 1939-45

By Ben Wubs

This book ties together business history, the history of the Nazi economic administration and European history. It is relevant to several disciplines, including international relations, economic and business history, European history and political science.


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Book Information

Publisher: Routledge
Publish Date: 03/04/2015
Pages: 272
ISBN-13: 9781138864047
ISBN-10: 1138864048
Language: English

Full Description

This book deals with the activities of the Anglo-Dutch multinational during the war. Given the various threats faced by Unilever during the Nazi period, Ben Wubs argues that it was not self evident that the company would survive the war. Based on research into company sources which were hitherto unavailable, he shows the effect of the war on Unilever as well as the changing conditions in the European food, oil and fats and soap industries.

Wubs makes an analysis of the company's strategy, structure and performance in this period. Simultaneously, it explores the external conditions, which helped the company to survive the war. The author argues that Unilever survived World War II because the group had prepared itself legally well in advance. As a consequence, the company could easily be split in two autonomous parts. Unilever's highly decentralized operating structure helped the company to survive the ambitious of the Nazi State. The deteriorating war conditions for Nazi Germany eventually worked to the advantage of the company. Besides, Unilever's innovative attitude helped the company to adapt to completely new conditions of resource allocation.

About the Author

Neil Forbes is Professor of International History and Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Coventry University, UK. His research interests focus on the interaction of foreign policy formulation with the practices of multinational enterprise during the interwar years, Anglo-American relations and the rise of the Third Reich, and cultural heritage (especially in relation to conflict, contested landscapes and the memorialisation of war).

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