What if the rules of modern management were written during the Third Reich?
“Chapoutot is one of the most gifted European historians of his generation.”
—Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny
“A brilliant, stereotype defying study.”
“Johann Chapoutot is one of the great historians of Nazism. Time and again, his work has shown that the Third Reich was not an accidental aberration of history.”
“A fascinating essay about the second life of Reinhard Höhn—from one of the Third Reich’s most brilliant legal minds to the founder of Germany’s leading post-war business school.”
—Le Figaro Magazine
SS Commander Reinhard Höhn was one of Nazi Germany’s most brilliant legal minds, an archetype of the fervid technocrats that built the Third Reich. Gone into hiding after 1945, he survived unscathed and re-emerged in the 1950s as the founder of a management school.
His story wouldn’t be too different from that of other prominent Nazis, if not for the fact that the great majority of Germany’s post-war business leaders were educated at his school. Is this a coincidence? Or is there a link between the forms of organization of Nazism and the principles of corporate management?
At the core of Höhn’s vision was the concept of freedom, as freedom to obey orders from above—to carry out one’s mission no matter the cost.
Johann Chapoutot was born in Martigues in 1978. He is currently a professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he researches political and cultural history, with a focus on Germany and European modernity. His previous work, The Law of Blood (Harvard University Press, 2018) won the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Studies.