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June 09, 2007
Thyssen Fritz (1873–1951)
Thyssen Fritz (1873-1951).
Thyssen was a multimillionaire industrialist controlling the United Steel Trust. Joined the Nazi Party in 1923 who helped fund the Nazi Party. This financial support was particularly important in these early years. Was one of the group of industrialists who petitioned Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor but demanded that Otto Strasser and the SA should be repudiated for their continuous attacks on industry and their demands for nationalisation. In 1933 became head of the national employers association a powerful industry pressure group which enthusisatically embraced the corporatism of the Nazis. Quite a different position to that held by Gustav Krupp for example. In the Spring of 1933 Thyssen was extremely critical of Krupp and his leadership of the German Employers Federation (RDI) and Krupp’s tactic of trying to find a business/labour compromise in talks with the trade unions. But in 1938 he became rapidly disillusioned by the way in which autarky and the 4 Year Plan were overturning conventional economics and appeared to be dead set on a course to war. As a result he fled to Switzerland. Subsequently Goring’s Reichswerke took over slices of Thyssen’s empire which - somewhat ironically! - were confiscated under the law of 1934 which gave the Nazi state the power to expropriate the property of communists. Thyssen eventually went to France and was turned over to the Nazis by the Vichy government there, and was incarcerated in a concentration camp. He went to Argentina in 1948.
This entry is linked to a posting on Visconti's representation of Nazism in The Damned. This posting supplements that article.