The goal of this thesis is to examine cartels in the World War II era: how and why they operated, why they existed, and any assistance they may or may not have received from their respective governments. This thesis, in particular, will focus on three countries, the United States, Germany, and Britain. Cartels are typically defined through the lens of monopolized business activity that can deal with anything from petroleum and steel to pharmaceuticals, and take actions to restrict output and raise prices to eliminate their competition. The research finds that cartels that operated in Europe during this era were able to take advantage of the disorganization during World War II to expand their business and raise their profits at the expense of the general public.
The thesis includes three case studies, including the United States, Germany, and Britain. These cases will explore policies before, during, and after World War II to compare them across time and place and see how cartel formation and behavior changed, if at all. Focusing on the same main themes, such as social and political outlook and the level of government support for each country will enable analysis comparing cartels and policy response to cartels. The case study approach will lead to answers of the main question of how the disruption caused by World War II affected cartels in Europe and also the economic and historical basis for cartel formation. Cartel evolution during the era under study is related to the reasons that cartels formed in the first place and their original goals. These issues will be discussed, along with their respective countries and the economic repercussions, both positive and negative.