End and New Beginning
Four years after the start of the War, the German Reich capitulates. Peace negotiations start and, on the 11th of November 1918, the War is over. Millions of injured, traumatised and deceased are the sad result of the War. At this time, Germany is still far from ordered circumstances. And the economy also has major problems to pick up momentum again. During the War, the government introduced the savings and emergency economy. The direct impact was state-stipulated coercive management of strategically important war productions. The massive interference of the state in the businesses triggered a downward economic spiral. Skilled entrepreneurs lost decision-making powers in their own company. Now bureaucrats were the ones to decide about the companies’ destiny. With fatal consequences. Because the wartime economic policy did not intend any investments in the company, there also was no development. Much rather, production sites, resources and employees were “exploited” en masse. The result was inevitable: the German economy collapsed. Also with the end of the War, this control by the state is not over. For Crespel & Deiters, this still means that they have no possibility to resume work with the company’s cereal starch plant under their own auspices. Wheat starch production was also idle, because there were hardly any raw materials. In addition to this, the unstable political situation in the country aggravates a return to normality.
From wheat to cloth
So as to maintain operations and to allow the veterans to earn a living, Crespel & Deiters works with the agricultural estate as an interim measure. What is more, a woven goods factory is founded. Because there are no raw materials for production, the company concentrates on trading in clothing fabrics, print products, linen and decorative fabrics.