General Motors And The Nazis

The Struggle for Control of Opel, Europe’s Biggest Carmaker
Turner, Henry Ashby
Date published: 
August 2005

This book, the first ever based on unrestricted access to General Motor’s internal records, documents the giant American corporation’s dealings with the Third Reich. GM purchased Opel, Europe’s largest automaker, in the 1920s and continued to hold it through the Second World War. Historian Henry Turner uncovers the fascinating story of how the American carmaker conducted business in Germany under the Nazi regime and explores larger issues concerning the relations between international corporations and the Third Reich.

The book presents new and detailed information about General Motor’s interactions with Hitler and other Nazi officials, including the carmaker’s attempt to capture the Volkswagen project. It also reveals how American GM executives thwarted a sustained Nazi effort to gain control of Opel. The author concludes with an assessment of the extent of the company’s implication, through Opel, in the Nazi war effort and in the exploitation of forced labour.

Also available by Henry Ashby Turner: Germany from Partition to Reunification, (paperback ISBN 0 300 05347 9, £13.95)

Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., is Stillé Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University. His previous books include German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler.