End and New Beginning
During the 1st World War, battles were waged at too many fronts, and this ended with Germany’s capitulation.
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.
New opportunities underneath the surface
Work at Crespel & Deiters coal mine “Mieke”
In 1921, Hugo Deiter, who has meanwhile returned from the War, leases a coal mine from the Prussian mountain revenue office. The mine was called “Mieke”, after his wife. This is how he starts working in the mining sector. The limited partnership mines black coals. Deiters doesn’t earn any money with this endeavour, because he pays out all the profits to the limited partners. This way, he supports friends and relatives of the family who had very limited means during this time. Because: keeping together in times of need; assuming responsibility for ones loved ones – be it family, friends, the milieu or employees – this is a fundamental principle of the Crespel & Deiters family company, to this very day.
Back to the roots
Meanwhile, inflation keeps on increasing. The desolate economic circumstances culminate in the currency reform in 1923. Once again, everything has to start from scratch and this also applies for the family company, as for all Germans. With the Rentenmark, a stable currency is finally in place again, by means of which Crespel & Deiters can once again resume wheat starch fabrication as of 1924. In so doing, they pave the way for the company’s development toward becoming one of the leading specialists for wheat-based products and solutions in Europe.