German economic power in Southeastern Europe: The case of Reemtsma and the Greek tobacco merchants (1923-1939)

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Abstract

This article explains how the firms involved in tobacco trade between the largest producer and consumer of Oriental-type tobacco (Greece and Germany) adapted their strategies in response to the economic environment of the interwar period, which was characterised by increased economic étatism, high barriers to trade, and generalised economic depression. The leading firm of Germany’s cigarette industry Reemtsma adopted innovative strategies for sourcing its raw material, while Greek leaf merchants turned to collective action and political advocacy in response to international competition and labour activism. The history of these strategies exemplify the interplay between politics and business decisions. It also provides a concrete example of how German economic power over southeastern Europe in the interwar period manifested itself in a specific industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-557
Number of pages21
JournalBusiness History
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Tobacco
  • business interest associations
  • business strategy
  • cartels
  • international trade
  • interwar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History

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