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one of the oldest groups of monopoly capital in France. A major role in the group, which emerged in the first half of the 19th century, is played by the Schneider family.
In 1836, Eugène Schneider and his brother Adolphe acquired metallurgical and metalworking plants in the city of Le Creusot; these developed into the large weapons and metallurgical concern Schneider-Creusot. After World War I the concern controlled enterprises and companies of the machine-building, shipbuilding, automobile, and power-engineering industries, as well as several large French financial institutions.
In 1936, when the nationalization of the French weapons industry went into effect, the plants of Schneider-Creusot devoted solely to arms manufacture were bought by the government. After World War II the government took similar measures with regard to the concern’s coal and power-engineering enterprises, insurance business, and several of its banks. In order to build itself up again and modernize production, the concern made extensive use of government aid and accepted approximately $2 million in American credit under the Marshall Plan. In the years after this rebuilding program, the two leading companies in the group were Schneider et Cie and the Union Europeene Industr-ielle et Financiére, which controlled the Schneider industrial and financial empire. The Schneider group is a typical example of a modern trust: a large number of companies, legally independent, are controlled by the holding company Schneider et Cie, which works in concert with the banks and other financial institutions in the group.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the competitive struggle among the financial groups within the country intensified, and American and Western European corporations increasingly were able to establish themselves in the French economy; during this period Schneider was taken over by the more powerful Empain group, within which it continues to play a major role in the areas of ferrous metallurgy, machine building, and banking. As one of the government’s military contractors, the Schneider group manufactures artillery pieces, tanks, and instruments and forms part of the military-industrial complex. The Schneider group has extensive interests in the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
REFERENCESFrantsiia i tresty. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from French.)
Chernikov, G. P. Finansovaia oligarkhiia Frantsii. Moscow, 1966.
E. F. ZHUKOV