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The “Small I.G.” – Consolidation of the Dreibund and the Dreierverband

The demands of military production during World War I served to prompt consolidation among German aniline dyestuff producers, a course long advocated by Bayer’s Carl Duisberg. The Dreibund or “Combine of Three” originally formed in 1904 by Bayer, BASF and Agfa entered into a 50-year partnership on August 18, 1916, with the Dreierverband or “Alliance of Three” that had formed in 1904–1907 among the dyestuff plants of Hoechst, Cassella Farbwerke Mainkur and Kalle AG. The Fabrik Weiler ter Meer chemicals plant also joined as the seventh partner in the Interessengemeinschaft (“Community of Interest” or I.G.) of the German Coal-Tar Dyestuff Industries. The Griesheim Elektron chemicals plant joined the so-called “Large I.G.” in 1917.


Cognizant of the rise of competing dyestuff industries abroad, the partners expected that after the war the German dyestuff industries would likely prove unable to recapture the preeminent global position they had enjoyed before the war. It was also clear that the heavy investments in wartime production plant required to satisfy their main buyer, the German state, would result in substantial overcapacities in chemicals production after the war.


In practice, the initial I.G. partnership set common guidelines for the companies, but each retained its own production plant, management and sales organization. The “Small I.G.” was primarily a means of distributing shares in the profits, with otherwise very few business decisions made in common. Despite the 50-year period of the partnership, the agreement allowed any member to exit at any time. This caused uncertainty in planning, and made it very difficult to adopt common rationalization measures. Such difficulties caused Carl Duisberg and Carl Bosch of BASF to lead an effort in the 1920s to form a closer consolidation of the entire German chemicals industry in a single I.G. Farbenindustrie AG.

(DOP; transl. NL; based on: Karl Heinz Roth: Die Geschichte der I.G. Farbenindustrie AG von der Gründung bis zum Ende der Weimarer Republik)


[pdf] Karl Heinz Roth_The History of IG Farbenindustrie AG from Its Founding to the End of the Weimar Republic



Borkin, Joseph: The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben. New York: Free Press, 1978.

Hayes, Peter: Industry and Ideology: IG Farben in the Nazi Era. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge UP, 1987.

Lindner, Stephan H.: Inside IG Farben: Hoechst during the Third Reich. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge UP, 2008.

Plumpe, Gottfried: Die I.G. Farbenindustrie AG. Wirtschaft, Technik und Politik 1904–1945. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1990.

Radandt, Hans, ed.: Fall 6. Ausgewählte Dokumente und Urteil des IG-Farben-Prozesses. Berlin: VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1970.