Cross Border Business in Occupied Europe : Rethinking Continuity and Change

17 11 2014

AS: The University of Toronto recently hosted a workshop on the theme of cross-border business in Occupied Europe during the Second World War. I’m posting information about this event below.

Cross Border Business in Occupied Europe : Rethinking Continuity and Change
A working international meeting, University of Toronto, November 6-8, 2014 

In the past two decades, drawing on a range of previously untapped sources, historians have produced a rich body of work on the challenges, the risks, and the modalities of doing business in a variety of European countries under German occupation.  They have told national stories, comparative stories and more recently, multi-national stories.  In the course of doing so, scholars have engaged some of the trenchant debates about life under Occupation- collaboration, resistance and the space between; the meaning of “freedom of maneouvre” in dealing with a dictatorial regime, the tangled relations of enterprises to their own states and to Germany—to name but a few.
In following the stories of national and multi-national business, historians have increasingly expanded the temporal book-ends of their accounts, beginning in the early 1930s if not before and continuing well past 1945.  Both implicitly and explicitly, their work problematizes conventional wisdom about continuities and discontinuities in the history of cross-border business in Europe.

“Cross Border Business in Occupied Europe” is animated by two sets of questions designed to further the re-thinking.:

First, what is the impact of expanding the temporal book-ends on the questions we pose about the period 1940-1944?   In what ways does the expansion of the time frame privilege a type of path dependent analysis? To what extent has the study of the post-Liberation era affected what historians have “noticed” during the Occupation?

Secondly, what is the impact of broadening our analyses to include multi-national businesses under Occupation? To what extent has study of the multi-national enterprises under Occupation provoked the identification of new tipping points and the rethinking of accepted continuities and changes?

Cross Border Business in Occupied Europe : Rethinking Continuity and Change
Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Room 208, North Wing


November 7, 2014

10:15 -10:30 Welcome: Susan Gross Solomon

Session I:  National Stories and Moving Bookends

Chair :

10: 30-12:00

Hervé Joly (Universite de Lyon)
The chemical and artificial textile industries
Stephan Lindner (University of the Bundeswehr, Munich)
Re-Thinking IG Farben


12:00- 1:30  Lunch

1:30 -4:15

Marc Perrenoud (Switzerland)
Re-thinking the Terms of Reference and Findings of the ICE

Martin Horn (McMaster University, Hamilton)
Economic Warfare, American Business and Occupied France, 1940-1942

Dawn Berry ( Oxford)
The German occupation of Denmark and The Danish Cryolite Company

3:00 -3:30 Coffee

3:30 -4:15: Discussion :

Discussant/Animator: Peter Hayes

November 8, 2014

10:00 – 12:30:  Session II: From National to Multi-National Stories and (perhaps) Back Again

Ben Wubs (Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University, Rotterdam) ABUP in the post-war period
Talbot Imlay (Université Laval, Quebec)
Ford and Ford SAF

Susan Gross Solomon (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto),
Philips NL and its French tentacles, 1936-1950

Discussant/Animator: Chris Kobrak, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)
12:30- 2:00 lunch



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