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This chapter discusses the concept of horizontal trust—the trust that works to foster trades between subordinates in a bureaucracy that are primarily inefficient in that they impede fulfillment of the superiors’ objectives. The amount of horizontal trust within an organization determines the capacity for inefficient behavior in the organization, which, in turn, negatively affects the productivity of subordinates. Indicators of horizontal trust networks are provided by associations between subordinates of more-or-less equal rank that work to benefit those in the network. Examples of horizontal trust networks provided here include the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the “Blood for Goods” plan to rescue Hungary’s Jews, and the story of “Schindler’s List,” or Oskar Schindler’s effort to save 1100 of Europe’s Jews from Auschwitz.
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The “Blood for Goods” horizontal trust network discussed in this chapter offers another good example of how vertical trust and vertical trust networks served the aims of those at the top of the Nazi Holocaust bureaucracy. In the “Blood for Goods” episode, however, the top of the vertical trust network is represented by Adolf Eichmann, who, unbeknownst to those at the top of the Nazi hierarchy, has entered into a horizontal trust relationship with Kurt Becher, as shown in Fig. 5.1. Underneath Eichmann in this episode was SS-Sturmbannführer Dieter Wisliceny, deputy to Eichmann in Subsection IV-B-4 of Reich Central Security (Snyder 1989). Wisliceny joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and, three years later in 1934, became a member of Heinrich Himmler’s SS (Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). In 1940, Wisliceny was assigned to the Slovak government as a “Jewish expert.” It was in this position that he was contacted by the Slovakian Jewish Underground Working Group, led by Rabbi Michael Dov Wiessmandel, and offered bribes to delay Jewish deportations from Slovakia. 18 This effort was part of the group’s Europa Plan, which attempted to rescue the remaining Jews in Europe at that time. Although Wisliceny showed a willingness to cooperate with the Working Group, its contact with him ended when he was posted to Greece, where he organized the deportations of Greek Jews (Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). 19 Wisliceny’s willingness to support the rescue of European Jews became of service to Eichmann in 1944, when the so-called Blood for Goods exchange, discussed earlier in this chapter, was devised. Wisliceny assisted his superior Eichmann in the negotiations, forming what is referred to in Fig. 5.4 as a combination trust network, in which trust flows horizontally and in both directions between the two integral SS officials, Becher and Eichmann, and also in which trusts flows vertically and in both directions between Eichmann and his deputy, Wisliceny, who assisted (supported) Eichmann in the negotiations to save Hungarian Jews, particularly those protected by Joel Brand, a Hungarian Jew who, along with Rezso Kasztner, co-founded the Relief and Rescue Committee of Budapest (Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). 20 Eichmann’s experiences in the Nazi Holocaust bureaucracy leading up through 1944 informed him of the efficiency gained by vertical trust networks, with their accompanying informal payments for informal services rendered. Thus, his use of Wisliceny in the “Blood for Goods” scheme would have been a natural occurrence.
Consistent with Breton and Wintrobe ( 1982, 1986), positions in the provisional government would have likely constituted the informal payments from Beck and those at the top of the Provisional Reich Government that the other conspirators would have expected in return for the informal service they provided. Unfortunately for the conspirators, the assassination attempt failed, as Hitler was wounded and not killed. Finally, even though Hitler survived the bomb blast at his headquarters in East Prussia, the coup d’état attempted by the resistance movement progressed for several hours before it was halted and its members were executed and imprisoned. Interestingly, even the process of halting the coup d’état exhibited some of the principles of the modern theory of bureaucracy developed in Breton and Wintrobe ( 1982). For example, Major Otto-Ernst Remer, a commander of a Berlin Guard Battalion, was ordered by the conspirators to arrest Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Propaganda Minister. Upon arrival at Goebbels’ office, Remer was convinced to place a phone call to the Wolfschanze prior to carrying the arrest (Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). Upon placing the call, Remer was immediately connected to Hitler, who promoted Remer to Oberst on the spot and placed him under the direct command of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler (Snyder 1989; Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). 22 Remer then moved to arrest the conspirators and quell the plot. For his role in suppressing the July 1944 plot, and in dealing with its aftermath, Remer was ultimately promoted to Generalmajor (Snyder 1989). Interestingly, Remer had exhibited his fierce loyalty to Hitler during the early years of the war when he was wounded on eight separate occasions. That loyalty had been recognized when Hitler personally rewarded him with the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves (Snyder 1989: 293). On July 20, 1944 (and thereafter), Remer’s loyalty was again rewarded with rapid promotion. As stated previously in Appendix 1 (Chap. 3), a useful option for applying the modern theory of bureaucracy of Breton and Wintrobe ( 1982, 1986) to the actual events that comprise the Nazi Holocaust is to employ a Hollywood adaptation of one of its most important episodes—the July 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler. 23 That adaptation comes by way of a 2008 movie produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists titled Valkyrie. This particular Hollywood production stars Tom Cruise as the Oberst Claus von Stauffenberg, Bill Nighy as Generaloberst Friedrich Olbricht, and Tom Wilkinson, who portrays Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm (Mixon 2010). Valkyrie received 11 total nominations for various movie awards, including six separate nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. 24 The screenplay was written by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander, and the move was directed by the critically acclaimed Bryan Singer (Mixon 2010). 25 As Mixon ( 2010) indicates, although Valkyrie is more of an action movie than is Conspiracy, which is the Hollywood adaptation of the 1942 Wannsee Conference that is the subject of Appendix 1 (Chap. 3), one critical scene in Valkyrie depicts von Stauffenberg meeting, for the first time, the plot’s original, and more senior, conspirators. At this point in the movie, von Stauffenberg has only recently recovered from wounds suffered during the German retreat in North Africa, and he is, at the time of the meeting, an officer in the German Home Army. In the depiction of events by McQuarrie and Alexander ( 2008), von Stauffenberg is urged to meet the original conspirators by Olbricht, and after being received at the meeting by Generalmajor Henning von Tresckow, he (von Stauffenbuerg) is impressed by the lofty positions the conspirators hold (or once held) in various branches of the larger Nazi (German) bureaucracy (Mixon 2010). 26 Although sympathetic to the cause, the relatively low military rank held by von Stauffenberg does not necessarily fit into the horizontal trust network that he is being introduced to in this scene (Mixon 2010). After hearing how the original conspirators appear to have all of the bases covered for building a new, post-Hitler Germany, von Stauffenberg questions his presence in the room, and attempts to exit. As McQuarrie and Alexander ( 2008) present this event, however, he is convinced that the act of tyrannicide has to be carried out, and that given his inclinations and position in the Home Army, he might have the means and opportunity to assist the higher-ranking conspirators (Mixon 2010). In giving his assistance to the plot, Appendix 1 explains that von Stauffenberg, and others at his level (or a lower) in the larger Nazi bureaucracy, contributed “vertical loyalty” (i.e., they formed a vertical trust network) to assist those in the horizontal trust network described previously in this chapter. 27 Though not as rich in the quantity of scenes and dialogue related to the modern theory of bureaucracy as Conspiracy, the particular scenes from Valkyrie that are described above and in Mixon ( 2010) work to capture, in the context of the July 1944 plot to kill Hitler, the Breton and Wintrobe ( 1982, 1986) concept of horizontal trust networks in bureaucracy.
×After the war, Wisliceny served as a witness at Nuremburg, and later his testimony was used to convict Eichmann in Jerusalem. In July 1948, Wisliceny was sentenced to death and hanged in Bratislavia (Snyder 1989). 21 Brand spent much of his post-war life tracking down suspected Nazi war criminals. He died in Bad Kissingen in 1964, three years after testifying against Eichmann in Jerusalem (Snyder 1989; Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). It is interesting that in their attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler and end the war, the resistance conspirators employed what appears to be a “shadow bureaucracy” that relied on vertical trust, as in Breton and Wintrobe ( 1982, 1986), to achieve its aims. At the top of that bureaucracy was Ludwig Beck, the former Wehrmacht Chief of Staff who had been selected to serve as Reich Regent in the provisional government that would succeed Hitler’s Nazi regime (Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). That network, with Beck as the superior, is depicted in Fig. 5.5.
×Among the conspirators included in Fig. 5.5 are Friedrich Olbricht and Claus von Stauffenberg, the Head of the German Home Army’s Supply Section and the Chief of Staff of the German Home Army (GHA), respectively. Their particular roles in the July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler are discussed in this chapter. Joining this particular vertical trust network is Oberleutnant Werner von Haeften, von Stauffenberg’s adjutant. Von Haeften accompanied von Stauffenberg to the Wolfschanze in East Prussia on July 20, 1944, and he returned to Berlin with von Stauffenberg once the bomb detonated and the second phase of the plot had begun. There, von Haeften continued to play an integral role in the plot. The particulars of the Reich Provisional Government were established prior to July 20, 1944. As indicated in Table 5.2, Carl Goerdeler, the former mayor of Leipzig, was set to serve as Reich Chancellor, while three former politicians, Wilhelm Leuschner, Julius Leber, and Urich von Hassell, were slated to take on the Reich Vice Chancellorship, the Reich Interior Ministry, and the Reich Foreign Ministry, respectively (Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). Lastly, Erwin von Witzleben was to serve as Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht under Beck’s authority (Zentner and Bedürftig 1997).
Provisional Reich government
Provisional government position
Generaloberst, Wehrmacht Chief of General Staff (retired)
Former Mayor and Police Chief of Leipzig
Reich Vice Chancellor
Former Hessian Interior Minister
Reich Interior Minister
Former member of the Reichstag
von Hassell, Ulrich
Reich Foreign Minister
Former German Ambassador to Rome
von Witzleben, Erwin
Wehrmacht Supreme Commander
Generalfeldmarschall, Supreme Commander of the Western Army (retired)
Conquest ( 1968) details the destruction of horizontal networks in a communist regime.
About 60,000 Hungarian Jews had, by this time, died either at the front or as victims of various atrocities (Deak 2010).
Many of the remaining one-third perished subsequently (Deak 2010).
Yad Vashem ( www.yadvashem.org)
Historians believe this particular plan, which seems absurd, may have simply been a game that Eichmann was playing with the RRC, or, given the large quantities of war-related items, an avenue to promote a plan by Reichsführer -SS Heinrich Himmler to offer England and the United States an alliance with Nazi Germany against Bolshevism (Bauer 1994; Braham 1994; Florence 2010).
In the spring of 1944, Becher negotiated the purchase by the SS of most of Hungary’s heavy armaments industry from its Jewish owners. For his part, Becher provided the Jewish industrialists both money and safe passage to Portugal of more than 40 Hungarian Jews (Deak 2010).
The Becher Deposit was eventually sold for only $55,000, far less than its estimated value, due to hyperinflation in Hungary (Zweig 2002). However, some Jewish organizations believe that Becher hid most of his payment before he was captured, thus accounting for much of the vast difference (Zwieg 2002).
The gold was paid in the form of gold jewelry, gold bullions, and Napoleon gold (Kadar and Vagi 2004).
Other attempts to assassinate Hitler had also been made, including a March 1943 attempt to place a bomb on Hitler’s plane as it took off on a flight from Smolensk (U.S.S.R.) to the Wolfschanze (i.e., Wolf’s Lair), Hitler’s East Prussian headquarters. A second involved a March 1943 attempt to place bombs in the pocket of Hitler’s overcoat (Snyder 1989; Mixon et al. 2004a).
See Mixon et al. ( 2004a) for partial list of the conspirators representing the diplomatic corps and political sphere.
A few were allowed to commit suicide (Mixon et al. 2004a).
A number of studies in the economics literature consider “heroic” behavior, such as that exhibited by Olbricht and von Stauffenberg, in an economic context (e.g., see Kirchgässner 2002). Frank ( 1988) points out that some people do not behave according to the usual assumptions of self-interest even in situations in which their behavior is very costly (Mixon et al. 2004a: 380). Tullock ( 1987) adds that there are some people who, especially for religious reasons, are willing to take great risk or sacrifice their lives to benefit others (see also Harberger 1993). This particular episode involving a horizontal trust network is consistent with this line of research (Mixon et al. 2004a: 380). It should also be noted, as in Mixon et al. ( 2004a: 380), that the paucity of attempts to assassinate Hitler before (and after) July 1940 was also partly the result of the public goods aspect of tyrannicide (see Tullock 1974 and 1987).
This portion of Goeth’s SS career provides a good example of how rapid promotion served as an informal payment by those at the top of the Nazi Holocaust bureaucracy to those at lower levels, who provided informal services in advancing the aims of those at the top of the bureaucracy.
Readers may be familiar with these traits of Goeth’s psyche from Hollywood’s portrayal of his SS career through the 1993 movie Schindler’s List.
Schindler was born in Moravia, Austria-Hungary, in 1908. He joined the pro-Nazi Sudeten German Party in 1935, and, four years later, in 1939, he officially joined the German Nazi Party (Pallardy 2019). Using a network of German contacts, he secured, through bribery, the lease of a formerly Jewish-owned enamelware factory, which he renamed Deutsche Emaillewaren-Fabrik Oskar Schindler (Pallardy 2019).
Yad Vashem ( www.yadvashem.org).
See also Yad Vashem ( www.yadvashem.org). Brand traveled to Turkey, and then to Syria, in order to raise money from Jewish organizations in support of the plan to save Hungarian Jews. He was arrested in Syria by the British, who suspected him of being a Nazi agent (Snyder 1989; Zentner and Bedürftig 1997). He was ultimately released in October 1944 (Snyder 1989).
See also Yad Vashem ( www.yadvashem.org)
Remer’s promotion to Oberst represented an ascendance of two ranks in the Wehrmacht (Snyder 1989).
As also stated previously, the ongoing practice of analyzing the economic content of movies and television programs was recently pioneered by Mateer ( 2004).
Cruise and Nighy received best actor and best supporting actor nominations, respectively, from this organization.
Citations to the movie appear hereafter as McQuarrie and Alexander ( 2008).
The positions fall under the military/intelligence, diplomatic, political, and civil corps of the Nazi (German) bureaucracy, as pointed previously in this chapter.
See also Mixon et al. ( 2004a).
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- Horizontal Trust Networks in the Nazi Bureaucracy
Franklin G. Mixon Jr.
- Chapter 5
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