Stoking the Furnace of the War Machine
The industries that equipped Germany for world war are back in business.
“We don’t understand German thoroughness,” Herbert Armstrong said to an audience of World Tomorrow listeners in 1945. “From the very start of World War ii, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii!”
Mr. Armstrong explained that the primary tool Germany was using to revive the nation’s empire was its cutting edge, world-class industry.
In 1953, Mr. Armstrong even identified one company that he believed would one day be resurrected to work in cahoots with the German empire. At the end of World War ii, the factories and facilities of German industrial giant Friedrich Krupp AG lay in ruins. After the war, its owner, a staunch Nazi supporter named Alfried Krupp, was convicted at Nuremburg. He was imprisoned for war crimes.
But here is what Mr. Armstrong forecast: “Alfried Krupp, who once provided Germany with most of her munitions that plunged the world into the holocaust of the last war, can no longer manufacture crude steel or own coal mines in Germany. But Alfried Krupp is not giving up on his plans! No indeed. Latest reports reveal that Krupp has made contracts with foreign governments to build up his vast empire abroad” (Plain Truth, November 1953).
History has proven these forecasts startlingly accurate. Today, Germany’s military industry, including that of the Krupp company, is thriving.
Plans to Rebuild the Nazi Empire
In 1996, the U.S. government declassified a top-secret World War ii document (printed in full in our free booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans) that exposed agreements made between several German industrial giants and top German political officials—nine months before the war’s end in Europe. The document shows that on August 10, 1944, German corporate leaders representing several of the nation’s most powerful companies at the time met with German military and political personnel in Strasbourg, France. The purpose of this meeting, and a follow-up meeting the same year, was to launch the industrialists into “a postwar commercial campaign.”
This campaign was to “finance the Nazi Party, which would be forced to go underground” and to ensure that “a strong German empire [could] be created after the defeat.” These industrialists were specifically told to “make contacts and alliances with foreign firms” and to strengthen Germany “through their exports.”
Among the men attending this covert meeting was “Dr. Kaspar,” a representative of Friedrich Krupp AG.
Despite his undeniable connection to Nazi Germany, Alfried Krupp was released from prison in 1951. He reassumed control of Friedrich Krupp AG in 1953. Krupp died in 1967 with his personal copy of Mein Kampf still on his nightstand, but his company continued to flourish on the path he had set for it. The following year, Friedrich Krupp AG was converted into a corporation, with shares being held by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation in Essen. Krupp’s protégé, Berthold Beitz, became head of the foundation and chairman of the corporation’s Board of Trustees.
In 1999, the corporation merged its steel operation with Thyssen AG, which was formerly a rival firm. Today, Essen remains the headquarters for ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG. With 180,050 employees and annual revenue of over $66.4 billion, it is considered a global industrial giant. It produces steel, automotive technologies, heavy machinery, transportation equipment, marine systems and industrial plants.
In 2008, ThyssenKrupp began a dramatic shift in its operations. Early in the year, its aerospace branch acquired Apollo Metals and Aviation Metals. In 2009, it sold stakes and entire production sites of its civil shipbuilding operations in Germany. It also struck an agreement to jointly produce naval surface ships with the Abu Dhabi mar Group. Essentially, the company took strides in the direction of military production, moving back toward its historic focus: manufacturing military equipment. By 2011, just a few years after ThyssenKrupp’s shift toward building military equipment, it already ranked number 49 on Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (sipri) list of the world’s largest weapons-producing companies. In the time since, its output has multiplied.
The secret document released in 1996 clearly shows that several German industrial giants, including Krupp, had a specific plan to support the resurgence of Germany and its domineering ideologies. Krupp representatives were told that they must “through their exports increase the strength of Germany” and “prepare themselves to finance the Nazi Party which would be forced to go underground.”
Under Beitz’s leadership, the corporation shed much of its public association with Nazism. What it has not lost is its unswerving devotion to the goal of establishing a globally dominant postwar Germany. Everything is going just as Alfried Krupp and Dr. Kaspar planned some 70 years ago.
Though the Krupp name is above reproach in Germany today, the indisputable facts of history show that Mr. Armstrong’s forecasts about this powerful company were well founded and uncannily accurate.
On January 18, 2010, MarketWatch columnist David Marsh wrote an article titled “German Defense Giant in the Making.” Marsh was referring to the announcement in January 2010 by two of Germany’s top military manufacturers—Rheinmetall and man Group—of their intention to merge their military vehicle production. The resulting combine has produced a new national champion and leading supplier for wheeled military vehicles in Europe.
According to Marsh, the amalgamation, which was in the works for a year, was pushed by Germany’s political class. The German government is a big supporter of bulking up German military industry, and “has been providing behind-the-scenes assistance to make sure industry goes in the right direction,” reported Marsh. The new combine “meets the long-held German desire to build industrial companies with world scale in the defense field.”
It appears some are finally waking to the transformation occurring within Germany’s military industry. But Herbert Armstrong warned about this “long-held German desire” to rebuild the nation’s military industry for decades!
Rheinmetall has been at the forefront of German military manufacturing for over 100 years, so it isn’t too surprising that it again became a weapons builder after the World War ii loss. In fact, despite the Allies’ initial ban on arms production, Rheinmetall was again mass-producing machine guns by 1956. By 1972, Rheinmetall had developed and begun selling the Leopard 2 battle tank. Not much later, and after a series of corporate acquisitions, Rheinmetall became Europe’s leading military supplier of systems and equipment for ground forces, providing everything from artillery and munitions to communications, surveillance technology and guided missile systems. Rheinmetall subsidiaries, which also include significant automotive component manufacturers, are located throughout Europe, the Americas and China.
Man’s over 250 years of history is even more impressive. man (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg) is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles, engines and mechanical engineering equipment. man builds trucks, buses, diesel engines and turbo-machinery; it also provides industrial services. During World War ii, and in conjunction with Rheinmetall, man produced the hugely successful Panther tank. Following the war, man took over notorious World War ii light vehicle manufacturer Büssing.
Here is the real reason the Rheinmetall-man alliance should be thoroughly scrutinized.
Plans to Rebuild the Nazi Empire
According to that August 10, 1944, document, representatives from Volkswagenwerk, Messerschmitt, Rheinmetall, Rochling and Büssing were among those who met with top Nazi leaders to prepare to rebound after the eventual German defeat.
German industrialists must, the document said, “through their exports increase the strength of Germany.” These companies were instructed to place existing financial reserves at the disposal of the Nazi Party “so that a strong German empire can be created after the defeat.” Notice, in addition to Krupp, Rheinmetall and Büssing (now owned by man) also had representatives at this critical Nazi conference.
Today all three are leaders in the global military armaments industry! Rheinmetall, for example, ranks number 26 on sipri’s list.
These are not the only “success” stories for World War ii-era German companies.
Volkswagen, another German corporation documented for its collusion with the World War ii Nazis, has become a globally dominant automotive power. Although its core market is the European Union, Volkswagen sales make it the world’s third-largest automotive company by revenue. Volkswagen owns the Bentley brand, international vehicle manufacturer Audi, Seat and Skoda, which manufacture and sell cars in Spain and in Southern and Eastern Europe, and Lamborghini, which makes sports cars in Italy.
Messerschmitt, Germany’s famous World War ii manufacturer that built much of the fighting aircraft in the Luftwaffe, is also prospering today, though under a different name. Like Krupp, much of Messerschmitt’s infrastructure was destroyed in the war; the company was even forbidden to produce aircraft. Yet it too has risen from the rubble of World War ii to become part of a world-leading corporation. Messerschmitt was eventually allowed to build aircraft again under the name Airbus. In 1989, after several postwar mergers, it became part of Daimler-Benz Aerospace (another German industrial giant). Daimler-Benz Aerospace then later helped found the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (eads), becoming a 30 percent owner. In January 2014, eads renamed itself as Airbus Group, taking the name of its commercial aircraft-building subsidiary, which became its largest revenue generator.
Airbus Group today is one of the world’s lead players in aerospace and defense technology. The multinational group includes the world’s largest helicopter supplier, and is also a major shareholder in mbda, which is the international leader in missile systems. Airbus Group produces the Eurofighter and other military aircraft, and generates about $76 billion a year. Galileo, the European satellite navigation system being constructed to rival the U.S.’s gps, is also being built in large part by Airbus Group. The company employs over 143,000 people at more than 70 production sites, primarily in France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain. It ranks number seven on sipri’s list of the world’s largest weapons-producing companies!
Stunning, isn’t it? Peaceably, through corporate mergers and acquisitions, German corporations are reaching out beyond their nation’s borders to gain control of vital strategic industry. Even Germany’s most notorious World War ii companies, which were systematically disassembled and banned from future arms production by the Allies, have emerged as European and global powerhouses.
Few people see it, but Germany’s industrial war machines have been revamped and rebuilt, and they are back in fighting order—exactly as Herbert Armstrong predicted would happen!