Britain Suffers Another German Takeover

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Britain Suffers Another German Takeover

The United Kingdom is being bought out by its former enemy.

What a paradox! As if to rub it right in to ailing old Britain, the German rail company Deutsche Bahn that once ran the death trains to the Nazi gas ovens under its former title, Deutsche Reichsbahn, is taking over a major portion of Britain’s mass transit system.

In a deal announced last month, Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s state-owned rail enterprise, is taking over British firm Arriva, a major rail and bus transport operator in the UK.

This is the latest in a series of progressive inroads that Germany has made into Britain’s railways. It already owns the firm that operates the Royal Train and operates services between major cities in Britain.

Since the reunification of Germany in 1989, the German state and various of the nation’s corporations have moved aggressively into the business of buying up British corporate entities including a number of the old British firms which are household names. Rolls Royce, Bentley, Rover and the Mini group are all now German-owned. Major energy corporations Eon and Npower have also been seized by German moguls. Even local government services in some major British counties have been taken over by German interests. reported that “Europe’s largest media company, the German firm Bertelsmann AG, is taking over official tasks normally performed by public authority in Great Britain. From July 2005 a Bertelsmann subsidiary will undertake the majority of public administration in a British local authority. The plan is regarded by the German firm as a ‘pilot project of strategic importance’ …. Across Europe, Bertelsmann aims to expand within the framework of the so-called ‘Public/Private Partnership’ into areas which are presently under the control of nation-states and to carry out activities … normally reserved [for] publicly responsible local authorities” (April 5, 2005).

British political economist Rodney Atkinson commented that this very same Bertelsmann was “both a loyal propagandist for the Nazis in their rampage across Europe in the 1940s and [is] a loyal propagandist for the European Union, the European constitution and the euro today. In the 1940s they published propaganda for the German armed services.” Now, they have taken over “administration of 350,000 Britons in Yorkshire” (Free Nations, April 14, 2005).

If we extend the view of foreign ownership to Germany’s proxy, the European Union, we note that France operates British energy services through edf Energy and controls the cross-Channel transit system Eurostar. When we add to this the Spanish ownership of energy producer Scottish Power and baa, operator of six major British airports, it becomes apparent that much of the old country’s prime assets are owned and controlled by interests that historically have not proven friendly to Britain in times of international tension.

But it is the prospect of British passengers having to be transported by trains and buses sporting the colors and logo of a German state-owned enterprise that once ferried millions to their death in Nazi gas chambers that will be of concern to some Britons. This will most especially tend to upset the remaining generation who fought to cleanse the world of that very Nazi spirit which today is showing just too many signs of influencing the elites that move politics, banking and business in today’s Germany.

Only four years ago, during the very year that Germany gained powerfully positive PR in the wake of its hosting of the World Cup soccer competition, the elites who control the German state (and hence control state-owned Deutsche Bahn) powerfully resisted a private effort to mount a national exhibition displaying historic photographs of those death trains at its rail stations.

A public campaign to allow the exhibition to proceed eventually succeeded, but only after the company had received negative publicity which threatened to tarnish its business image.

If Britain’s new government does not resist this latest Teutonic takeover, it will be but another nail in the coffin of not only British industry, but of the rapidly failing pride of the British in their once great, and once greatly respected, heritage.