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IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation. Expanded Edition (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 16. März 2012

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Was IBM, "The Solutions Company," partly responsible for the Final Solution? That's the question raised by Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust, the most controversial book on the subject since Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. Black, a son of Holocaust survivors, is less tendentiously simplistic than Goldhagen, but his thesis is no less provocative: he argues that IBM founder Thomas Watson deserved the Merit Cross (Germany's second-highest honor) awarded him by Hitler, his second-biggest customer on earth. "IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success," writes Black. "IBM had almost single-handedly brought modern warfare into the information age [and] virtually put the 'blitz' in the krieg."

The crucial technology was a precursor to the computer, the IBM Hollerith punch card machine, which Black glimpsed on exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, inspiring his five-year, top-secret book project. The Hollerith was used to tabulate and alphabetize census data. Black says the Hollerith and its punch card data ("hole 3 signified homosexual ... hole 8 designated a Jew") was indispensable in rounding up prisoners, keeping the trains fully packed and on time, tallying the deaths, and organizing the entire war effort. Hitler's regime was fantastically, suicidally chaotic; could IBM have been the cause of its sole competence: mass-murdering civilians? Better scholars than I must sift through and appraise Black's mountainous evidence, but clearly the assessment is overdue.

The moral argument turns on one question: How much did IBM New York know about IBM Germany's work, and when? Black documents a scary game of brinksmanship orchestrated by IBM chief Watson, who walked a fine line between enraging U.S. officials and infuriating Hitler. He shamefully delayed returning the Nazi medal until forced to--and when he did return it, the Nazis almost kicked IBM and its crucial machines out of Germany. (Hitler was prone to self-defeating decisions, as demonstrated in How Hitler Could Have Won World War II.)

Black has created a must-read work of history. But it's also a fascinating business book examining the colliding influences of personality, morality, and cold strategic calculation. --Tim Appelo -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Pressestimmen

“An explosive book... Backed by exhaustive research, Black's case is simple and stunning: that IBM facilitated the identification and roundup of millions of Jews during the 12 years of the Third Reich ... Black's evidence may be the most damning to appear yet against a corporate accomplice.” - Michael Hirsh, Newsweek.



“Black clearly demonstrates that Nazi Germany employed IBM Hollerith punch-card machines to perform critical tasks in carrying out the Holocaust and the German war effort. He goes on to document that IBM managed to profit from Hitler's state throughout its existence. ... Black establishes beyond dispute that IBM Hollerith machines significantly advanced Nazi efforts to exterminate Jewry. . . IBM and the Holocaust is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust.” -- Christopher Simpson, Washington Post Book World.



“Black's meticulous documentation constructs an undeniable fact: after the outbreak of WWII, the IBM corporation knew where each of its leased (not sold) machines was in Europe, and what revenues it could expect from them. Each machine was insured and serviced monthly. Even though Watson, under public pressure, returned his medal to Hitler, he continued to "micromanage" the German and European operations. Further, he fought to keep control of his German subsidiary, knowing full well the profits that would accrue to IBM as a result. He did this with the knowledge, fuller than most, of the purposes for which his machines were deployed. . . . Remarkably, instead of indicting IBM, the Allies saw in these machines and their data a great opportunity to conduct a more efficient occupation of Germany and a rebuilding of Europe. Instead of evidence of crimes against humanity, the machines became an essential tool in the implementation of the Marshall Plan. In this way, IBM evaded any hint of complicity in the Holocaust. At least, until the publication of Edwin Black's book.” -- Harvard International Review



“An ugly story, hidden for years, told by a master craftsman . . . compelling . . . it’s a chilling lesson.” -- Richard Pachter, Miami Herald


”IBM is haunted by its past. Edwin Black's book reveals the company's involvement in the Holocaust … Previously the Nazi past of "Big Blue" was hardly ever a topic … But now IBM is in the dock. Black's meticulous research documents just how precisely IBM managers were kept informed about the whereabouts of their machines.” -- Christian Habbe, Der Spiegel, Germany

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