Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Who won the bloody war, anyway?"

You Can’t Do Business with Hitler was the title of a radio series produced circa 1942 by the Radio Section of the Office of War Information of the United States government. Single episodes may be downloaded free here. The series took its title from a book by Douglas Miller, who was commercial attaché to the American embassy in Germany for 15 years, the last six of which were spent dealing with the Nazi regime. The content of the radio series is slightly different from that of the book; the radio programs are slightly more current, and cover a broader range of subject matter.

Mr. Miller finished writing in May 1941, shortly before Germany invaded Russia, and seven months before the United States entered World War II. Mr. Miller’s book was mainly a warning to American businessmen of the dangers of trying to conduct business with the Nazis.

I recently finished reading the book (the University of Alberta library has a copy), and I thought the most interesting part was the section titled "The New Order in Europe," where Mr. Miller was predicting what business would be like if the Nazis were to win the war (and at the time he was writing, it seemed as though they might win). What Mr. Miller predicted in the event of a Nazi victory--overwhelming centralized bureaucratic control--seems amazingly similar to what is actually the case today under the European Union; just substitute Brussels for Berlin. I haven’t space to provide quotes here, but the reader is invited to look for the book to check it out.

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