I. G. Farbenindustrie

I. G. Farbenindustrie


(I. G. Farbenindustrie Aktien-gesellschaft), the largest German military-chemical concern. It was created in 1925 as the result of an amalgamation of enterprises, some of which had concluded an agreement on a “community of interests” (Interessengemeinschaft, abbreviated I. G.) as early as 1904. It participated directly in the creation of the military machinery of German imperialism.

I. G. Farbenindustrie aided in the establishment of the fascist regime in Germany. It took an active part in German fascism’s preparation of World War II. During the war, the enterprises of the concern supplied Hitler’s army with vital strategic materials. The concern’s laboratories developed gases for the destruction of people in gas chambers and did criminal experiments on the prisoners of concentration camps. Many of the leaders of I. G. Farbenindustrie were convicted as war criminals. After the defeat of fascist Germany, in accordance with the Potsdam Agreements of 1945, the concern was reorganized and broken up into several legally independent companies; its formal existence came to an end.

The largest successor companies of I. G. Farbenindustrie, Bayer, Hochst, and B.A.S.F. (the “big three”), have assumed a leading position in the chemical industry of the Federal Republic of Germany and the capitalist world. Despite the fact that the successor companies inherited only 36 percent of the assets of I. G. Farbenindustrie (50 percent being located on the territory of the German Democratic Republic, where the enterprises of I. G. Farbenindustrie became public property, and 14 percent of its assets having been confiscated abroad), in the 1970’s these assets considerably exceeded those of the entire prewar concern. In 1970 the share of the big three in the chemical production of the capitalist countries amounted to 5.5 percent; their share in West Germany’s chemical industry was 66.9 percent. In 1938 the corresponding figures for I. G. Farbenindustrie were 3.8 percent and 25 percent respectively. In 1970, 306,000 people were employed in the enterprises of the successor companies of I. G. Farbenindustrie.

The factories of the big three produce a broad range of modern chemical products: plastics, synthetic fibers and rubber, photographic materials, toxic chemicals, dyes, medicines, products of basic chemistry, and fertilizers, as well as explosives, atomic materials, and jet fuel. The ties that took shape when I. G. Farbenindustrie operated as a single concern continue to exist among its successors. More than half of the share capital of each of the three companies belongs to the same banks: the Deutsche Bank, the Dresdner Bank, and the Commerz Bank.