How companies were rebuilt


New beginning despite catastrophic war damage: the Bosch plant in Stuttgart 1945
Picture: Getty

Germany’s capitulation in 1945 ended the Second World War. Many companies started the difficult reconstruction only days later, as the examples of Daimler-Benz, BASF and Bosch show.

AUntil 1945, Hitler’s criminal war had left large parts of Europe in ruins. Germany was also a field of rubble. Nevertheless, many company heads tried to start again in May 1945. 75 years ago, the piecework meant no master plan or sophisticated network concept. Daimler-Benz in Mannheim, BASF in Ludwigshafen and Bosch in Stuttgart show the huge challenges, but also the first successes of the restart. Similar things could be described for other parts of West Germany.

The political picture soon brightened. In his famous speech in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946, the American Secretary of State James F. Byrnes was to make it clear that the United States was supporting reconstruction because “not only Germany’s well-being but also Europe’s depend on it,” said Byrnes literally. It was the rejection of the infamous “Morgenthau Plan” that would have reduced the country in the middle of the continent to an agricultural state. Germany got a new chance.

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