People throughout the world are now commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War. For historians of international business and finance, it is an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the war on global business activity. The world economy was highly integrated in the early twentieth century thanks to nearly a century of globalisation. In 1913, the economies of the countries that were about to go war seemed inextricably linked. The Impact of the First World War on International Business explores what happened to international business organisations when this integrated global economy was shattered by the outbreak of a major war.
Studying how companies responded to the economic catastrophe of the First World War offers important lessons to policymakers and businesspeople in the present, concerning for instance the impact of great power politics on international business or the thesis that globalization reduces the likelihood of inter-state warfare. This is the first book to focus on the impact of the First World War on international business. It explores the experiences of firms in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, China, and the United States as well as those in neutral countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, and Argentina, covering a wide range of industries including financial services, mining, manufacturing, foodstuffs, and shipping. Studying how firms responded to sudden and dramatic change in the geopolitical environment in 1914 offers lessons to the managers of today’s MNEs, since the world economy on the eve of the First World War has many striking parallels with the present.
Aimed at researchers, academics and advanced students in the fields of Business History, International Management and Accounting History; this book goes beyond the extant literature on this topic namely due to the broad range of industries and countries covered. The Impact of the First World War on International Business covers a broad range of geographical areas and topics examining how private firms responded to government policy and have based their contributions mainly on primary sources created by business people.