George S. Vascik

German Sugar


Liebermann, Workers in a Beet Field

The German Sugar Industry

Between 1880 and 1910, Germany was the world's leading producer of sugar, regularly accounting for more than one-fifth of the total world supply. A complex web of production incentives nurtured sugar beet cultivation, sugar milling and sugar refining, export subsidies and scientific-technical research. Sugar produced from cane in the eighteenth century reflected the worst aspects of the plantation system. Contemporaries spoke of sugar being milled with blood.  Sugar derived from beet cultiva­tion-pioneered in Germany - had none of these evil connotations and was above all else a "progressive" rural industry because of its heavy reliance upon the integration of advanced agricultural methods and rationalized, highly capitalized processing.  No less an authority than Werner Sombart equated the role of the sugar industry in the economic development of Germany to that of the textile industry in Great Britain. The importance of the sugar industry was not lost on foreign observers.  Henry Diederich, the U. S. consul in Magdeburg, wrote to his superiors that Germany's sugar mills, "in a large measure form the financial backbone of the Empire, supply­ing investments for millions of capital, furnishing employment and food to a multitude of people, returning large resources to the public coffers, and at the same time stimulating the export trade of the nation." 

Publications

"State Policy and Differential Development in the German Sugar Industry, 1800-1871," Competing for the Sugar Bowl, Eds. Roger Munting and Tomas Szmrecsanyi, (St. Katherinen: Scripta Mercaturae Verlag, 2000).

"Sugar Barons and Bureaucrats: Unraveling the Relationship between Economic Interest and Government in Modern Germany, 1799-1945," Business and Economic History, 22(1992):336-342.

"What Was the German Sugar Cartel? An Analysis of Interest Group Representation and Industrial Organization," Essays in Economic and Business History, 8(1990):355-367.

"The Brussels Convention of 1902: Reevaluating the Roles of State and Industry in Wilhelmine Germany," Essays in Economic and Business History, 7(1989): 90-101.


Papers and Presentations

"The Role of Sugar Production in the 'Agrarian Crisis' of the 1890s."  Paper delivered at the First Conference on German Cliometrics in Fall 1999 in Toronto, Ontario.

"State Policy and Differential Development in the German Sugar Industry, 1800-1871."  Paper delivered at the 1998 congress of the International Economic History Association in Madrid, Spain.

"An End to Comity: Sugar and the Worsening of German-American Relations, 1880-1910."  Delivered at the 1993 meeting of the Ohio Academy of History in Springfield, Ohio.

"Was Germany Blockaded Into Submission?  Reexamining the Nutritional Aspects of the Allied Blockade of Germany, 1914-1918."  Paper delivered at the 1992 meeting of the Ohio Academy of History in Dayton, Ohio.

"Sugar Barons and Bureaucrats: Unraveling the Relationship between Economic Interest and Government in Modern Germany, 1799-1945."  Paper delivered at the 1992 Business History Conference in Pasadena, California.

"Nutrition and Nationhood: Control of German Sugar Policy under the Reparations Regime."  Paper delivered at the 1991 meeting of the Southern Historical Association in Fort Worth, Texas.

"Modernizers or Mystics? Nazi Food Policy and Administration in the Second World War."  Paper delivered at the 1991 Duquesne History Forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Nutritional Policy during World War II in Light of National Socialist Agrarian Ideology."  Paper delivered at the 1991 meeting of the Ohio Academy of History in Columbus, Ohio.

"Liberals and Sugar. A Study in Interest Group Representation."  Paper delivered at the 1989 meeting of the German Studies Association conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"What was the German Sugar Cartel? An Analysis of Interest Group Representation and Industrial Organization.  Paper delivered at the 1989 meeting of the Economic and Business Historical Society meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

"Economic Interest Groups and the Parameters of Trade Diplomacy in Wilhelmine Germany: the Brussels Sugar Convention of 1902.  Paper delivered at the 1988 meeting of the Economic and Business Historical Society meeting in Toronto, Ontario.


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