'The German octopus': The British Metal Corporation and the next war, 1914-1939

Ball, S.J. (2004) 'The German octopus': The British Metal Corporation and the next war, 1914-1939. Enterprise and Society, 5(3), pp. 451-489. (doi:10.1093/es/khh059)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/es/khh059


After World War I, the nonferrous metals trade played a critical role in Britain's preparations for a future European war. Yet it has attracted little attention. The British Metal Corporation (BMC) was formed at the end of the Great War as a state-sponsored corporation to conduct the development of the nonferrous metals industry on behalf of the British state. This article uses the papers of the BMC to explore the politics of a strategically vital trade, the functioning of the British state's institutional memory, and the role of business in appeasement and rearmament. It concludes that the state-sponsored corporation was, on balance, an effective strategic instrument. Although politics, trade, and strategy proved difficult to reconcile with one another, the pursuit of profit did not dictate business attitudes toward Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ball, Professor Simon
Authors: Ball, S.J.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Enterprise and Society

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