Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-x24gv Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-18T08:25:01.951Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Visions of Utopia: Social Emancipation, Technological Progress, and Anticapitalism in Nazi Inventor Policy, 1933–1945

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 December 2008

Kees Gispen
Affiliation:
University of Mississippi

Extract

In this paper I would like to relate some of the results of my specialized research on Nazi inventor policy to themes and interpretations with which many students of the Third Reich already are familiar. One of those themes is the relationship between big business and the Nazi state. An influential hypothesis in this area centers on the notion of a “power cartel,” based on the insight that Nazi Germany was not a dictatorship in which all sectors of society were suppressed with equal force. According to the “power-cartel” interpretation, which incorporates elements of the Marxist perspective on the relationship between capitalism and National Socialism, the Third Reich was governed by an informal coalition of the Nazis, the military, and big business. This fundamental idea is then qualified by two additional observations. First, the Nazi movement is broken down into factions comprising the party, Labor Front, and SA on the one hand, and the Gestapo and SS on the other hand. The former are seen to lose power as time went by while that latter gained it, which helps explain the regime's increasing brutality and its accelerating descent into barbarism. Second, the idea of a changing balance of power is also applied to the power cartel as a whole. The point here is to account for the gradual loss of power by the military and big business. Their relatively advantageous positions in the regime’s early years steadily eroded, producing a very different weighting among the cartel’s members by the time World War II ended, without, however, ever completely destroying it.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association 1999

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1. See, e.g.; Kershaw, Ian, The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation, 3d ed. (London, 1993), 5979,Google Scholar and the literature cited there.

2. See, e.g., Hayes, Peter, Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era (Cambridge, 1987),Google Scholar and Overy, R. J., War and Economy in the Third Reich (Oxford, 1994), esp. 119–43;CrossRefGoogle ScholarGillingham, John, Industry and Politics in the Third Reich: Ruhr Coal, Hitler, and Europe (New York, 1985).Google Scholar

3. Dahrendorf, Ralf, Society and Democracy in Germany (Garden City, 1969);Google ScholarSchoenbaum, David, Hitler’s Social Revolution (Garden City, 1967).Google Scholar The notion of the “dual revaluation” stems from Hobsbawm, Eric, The Age of Revolution (New York, 1962).Google Scholar

4. See, e.g., Prinz, Michael and Zitelmann, Rainer, eds., Nationalsozialismus und Modernisierung, 2d. ed. (Darmstadt, 1994), esp. Prinz’s postscript, 335–62.Google Scholar

5. Unless noted otherwise, the following remarks are based on the author’s current research. A concise overview of the development of the German patent system can be found in Nirk, Rudolf, “100 Jahre Patentschutz in Deutschland,” in Hundert Jahre Patentamt, ed. Patentamt, Deutsches (Cologne, 1977), 345402.Google Scholar See also the author’s National Socialism and the Technological Culture of the Weimar Republic,” Central European History 25, no. 4 (12, 1992): 387406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6. on Manfred von Ardenne, see the inventor’s autobiography, Mein Leben für Fortschritt und Forschung (Munich, 1984).Google Scholar

7. See, e.g., Hughes, Thomas Parke, American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm 1870–1970 (New York, 1989), 5354, 139, 180–83.Google Scholar

8. See Fischer, Ludwig, Betriebserfindungen: Ihr Wesen und Werden, die wirtschaftliche und rechtliche Bedeutung ihres Schutzes, dessen Gestaltung und Handhabung im Betrieb und das Rechtsverhältnis des Betriebserfinders (Berlin, 1921);Google ScholarGispen, Kees, New Profession, Old Order: Engineers and German Society, 1815–1914 (Cambridge, 1989), chap. 10.Google Scholar

9. See, e.g., Jebens, Heinrich, Die Philosophic des Fortschritts: Contra Spengler, Contra Hitler (Hamburg, 1931);Google ScholarCorrell, Friedrich, Von Erfindern und Erfindungen: Vorschläge zur Betreuung der Erfinder—Das neue Deutsche Patent-Gesetz, 2d ed. (Berlin, 1936).Google Scholar

10. Cf. Ernst Heymann, “Der Erfinder im neuen deutschen Patentrecht,” and Gürtner, Franz, “Geleitwort,” both in Das Recht des schöpferischen Menschen. ed. Recht, Akademie für Deutsches (Berlin, 1936), 1317, 19–127.Google Scholar

11. Frank, Hans, “Geleitwort,” in Das Recht des schöpferischen Menschen, 712.Google Scholar

12. See, e.g., Gordon, Thomas and Cookfair, Arthur S., Patent Fundamentals for Scientists and Engineers (Boca Raton, New York, London, Tokyo, 1995).Google Scholar Nations that have modeled their inventor protection legislation on the example that Germany introduced during the Third Reich include Sweden (1949), France (1968), and the United Kingdom (1978). See Neumeyer, Fredrik, The Law on Employed Inventors in Europe (Washington, DC, 1963);Google ScholarPhillips, Jeremy, ed., Employees’ Inventions: A Comparative Study (Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, 1981).Google Scholar

13. See, e.g., Riemschneider, Karl August, Die wirtschaftliche Ausnutzung von Erfindungen (Berlin, 1936).Google Scholar

14. Some of the organizational changes pertaining to the (Haupt) Amt für Technik and the infighting between the NSDAP and the Labor Front are discussed by Ludwig, Karl Heinz, Technik und Ingenieure im Dritten Reich (Düsseldorf, 1974), 132–34.Google Scholar

15. On the Reich Working Group for Inventing, see, e.g., NSDAP Hauptamt für Technik, ed., Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft, Tagung derErfindungswesen im Hauptamt für Technik der Reichsleitung der NSDAP. Amt für technische Wissenschaften am 11.1.44 im Haus des Deutschen Rechts in München, (Munich: NSDAP, 1944),Google Scholar Bundesarchiv Koblenz, R22/630, Bl. 73a-b.

16. Kirschoff, Heinrich, Das deutsche Patentwesen: Rückschau und Ausblick (Beriln, 1947), 123.Google Scholar See also, Walter, Robert Hans, Der Erfinderbetreuer im Betrieb (Berlin, 1943).Google Scholar

17. On Speer’s “production miracle,” see Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich, 343–75. The various activities and regulations promulgated by the Amt für technische Wissenschaften are documented in that agency’s intermittent Nachrichten über die Erfinderbetreuung (Munich: NSDAP, Hauptampt für Technik, 19421944).Google Scholar

18. On inventor policy in the GDR, see Hemmerling, Joachim et al. , Handbuch Erfindertätigkeit (Berlin [East], 1988);Google ScholarNathan, Hans et al. , Erfinder- und Neuererrecht der Deutsclien Demokratischen Republik, 2 vols. (Berlin [East], 1968).Google Scholar

19. Cf. relevant discussions in the files of the Reich Ministry Justice, Neuregelung des gewerblichen Rechtsschutzes, Bundesarchiv, Abt. Potsdam, nos. 10129–10130.

20. Speer, Albert, “Preface,” in Die Gefolgschaftserfindung: Erläuterungen zur Verordnung über die Behandlung von Erfindungen von Gefolgschaftsmitgliedern, ed. Riemschneider, Karl August and Barth, Heinrich, 2d ed. (Berlin, 1944), 910.Google Scholar

21. Karl August Riemschneider, “Empfiehlt sich die Einrichtung von Treuhandstellen zur Förderung von Erfindungen und Patenten? Wie können solche Treuhandstellen wirksam eingerichtet und ausgebaut werden?” memorandum of 23 August 1937, in Deutsches Museum, Bayerischer Polytechnischer Verein/Deutsche Arbeitsfront VIII 290 (1) 2.

22. “Patentgesetz und Wirtschaft,” Völkischer Beobachier (Berlin edition) 26 03 1935, p. 15.Google Scholar

23. Minutes of meeting of Ausschuss für gewerblichen Rechtsschutz der Akademie für Deutsches Recht,” Saturday, 20 October 1934, Bayer Archive, 28/6.2 (Akademie für Deutsches Recht).

24. German Labor Front, Zentralbüro, Amt für technische Wissenschaften, Unterabt. Erfinderbetreuung, Arbeitsanweisung an die Gauabteilungen für technische Wissenschaften, 22 August 1940, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Patentamt, R131/22 (Erfinderbetreuung).

25. Cf. Gispen, New Profession, Old Order, part III. Also, Meyer-Thurow, Georg, “The Industrialization of Invention: A Case Study from the German Chemical Industry,” Isis 73, no. 268 (09, 1982): 363–81.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

26. Neufeld, Michael J., “Weimar Culture and Futuristic Technology: The Rocketry and Spaceflight Fad in Germany, 1923–1933,” Technology and Culture 31 (10 1990): 725–52;CrossRefGoogle ScholarFritzsche, Peter, A Nation of Flyers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination (Cambridge, 1992).Google Scholar

27. Eyth, Max, “Zur Philosophie des Erfindens” (orig. pub. 1903), in his Lebendige Kräfte, Sieben Vorträge aus dem Gebiete der Technik, 4th ed. (Berlin, 1924), 240, 262–63.Google Scholar

28. Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf, trans. Manheim, Ralph (Boston, 1971), 290.Google Scholar

29. Ibid., 446.

30. Ibid.

31. Barth, Heinrich, “Persönlichkeit und Volksgemeinschaft im Rechte der Erfinder und Erfindungen,” Zeitschrift der Akademie für Deutsches Recht (1935): 823–26.Google Scholar The relevant language by Hitler can be found in Mein Kampf, 443.

32. Mansfeld, Werner, quoted in Berliner-Börsen-Zeitung 374 (10 08 1942),Google Scholar Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Neue Reichskanzlei, R43, II, 1559, Bl. 115.

33. See note 20.

34. On trends in inventing, see, for example, Staudt, Erich et al. , Der Arbeitnehmer im betrieblichen Innovationsprozess: Ergebnisse einer empirischen Untersuchung (Berichte aus der angewandten Innovationsforschung, study no. 78) (Bochum, 1990);Google Scholar Commission of the European Communities, Directorate-General: Telecommunications, Information Industries and Innovation, ed., One Century of Technical Progress: Based on an Analysis of German Patent Statistics, by Slama, J. (Luxemburg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1987).Google Scholar

35. Ludwig, Technik und Ingenieure, 149, 179.

36. Harald Mediger, “Gedanken zur Gestaltung des Rechts des nicht-selbständigen Erfinders im Lichte der Betriebsverknüpftheit seiner Erfindung,” 6 June 1949, Bundesarchiv, Zwischenarchiv St. Augustin, B141/2793.

37. Suggestions to this effect in Staudt, Der Arbeitnehmer; König, Wolfgang and Weber, Wolfhard, Netzwerke Stahl und Strom 1840 bis 1914 (Berlin, 1990);Google ScholarKönig, Wolfgang, Ingenieurausbildung, Ingenieurberuf, und Konstruktionstechnik in Grossbritannien, den USA, Frankreich, und Deutschland seit der Industrialisierung: Ein vergleichender Essay (Berlin, 1990);Google ScholarStokes, Raymond, “Technology and the West German Wirtschaftswunder,Technology and Culture 32 (01 1991): 122;CrossRefGoogle ScholarNeumeyer, Fredrik, The Law of Employed Inventors and Culture in Europe, study no. 30 of the Subcommittee on Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights of the Committee on the Judiciary, 87th Congr., 2nd sess. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963);Google ScholarOrkin, Neal, “The Legal Rights of the Employed Inventor: New Approaches to Old Problems,Journal of the Patent Office Society 56, no. 10 (10 1974): 648–62,Google Scholar and no. 11 (November 1974): 719–45; idem, “Innovation: Motivation: and Orkinomics,” Patent World (May 1987): 34: Orkin, Neal and Strohfeldt, Mathis, “Arbn Erf G—the Answer or the Anathema?” Managing Intellectual Property (10 1992): 2832;Google ScholarGrefermann, Klaus, “Patentwesen und technischer Fortschritt,” in Hundert Jahre Patentamt, 3764;Google ScholarPrahl, Klaus, Patentschuntz und Wettbewerg (Göttingen, 1969).Google Scholar

38. Phillips, Employees’ Inventions: Gordon and Cookfair, Patent Fundamentals; the articles by Orkin and Orkin and Strohfeldt mentioned in note 37; Steele, J. Rodman Jr, Is This My Reward? An Employee’s Struggle for Fairness in the Corporate Exploitation of His Inventions (West Palm Beach, 1968).Google Scholar See also Noble, David, America By Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism (New York, 1977), chap. 6.Google Scholar