Historians are currently faced with the challenge of incorporating the history of East Central and Eastern Europe into a transnational "European contemporary history". Given the obvious force of the economy, it would seem increasingly appropriate to examine contemporary history through the prism of economic history.
Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the project "State, Companies, and Workers in State-Controlled Economies" does just this. It focuses on the Bohemian-Moravian economic area which experienced a series of fundamental changes to its economic and employment structure in different international contexts from 1938 to 1950: from forced incorporation into the "greater German economic area" (Großdeutscher Wirtschaftsraum) to the economic experiment of the people’s economy up to its inclusion in the Eastern Bloc.
The project covers the transition from market to planned economy in Bohemia and Moravia. Both National Socialism and the People’s Democracy professed the subordination of the economy to political and ideological goals, with governments intervening to a massive extent in the economy. Yet under both systems of rule, companies remained autonomous actors in a highly regulated market. This project seeks to investigate the specific blend of state control and managerial autonomy that existed within companies in both political contexts. More...