Hidden History: How the Gladio Assassinations of Alfred Herrhausen and Detlev Rohwedder Turned Eastern Europe into a Wall Street Sweatshop
Late Pentagon and intelligence inside Col Fletcher Prouty was the first to raise the alarm that the 1989 assassination of Deutche Bank president Alfred Herrhausen was intelligence-related. This was two decades before the CIA/NATO’s secret Operation Gladio* assassination program became common public knowledge. Although officials on both sides of the Atlantic blamed the so-called Red Army Faction, the extremely sophisticated bomb that killed Herrhausen was well beyond the expertise of amateur extremists.
In a 1992 interview with the Italian Newspaper Unita Prouty states “Some great power center wanted for some reason to get rid of the board spokesman of Deutsche Bank on that day and in that manner, in order to teach others a lesson. So there is a message in the way he was killed.” He adds,“When you consider the great importance of events in the Soviet Union, in Eastern Europe, and especially in Germany . . . then the Herrhausen assassination is tremendously significant. We must not allow it to be swept under the rug.”
In Prouty’s view, the key to the Herrhausen assassination, occurring three months after the fall of the Berlin wall, was his revolutionary proposal to found a Polish development bank, modeled on the German Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau, which played a crucial role in the postwar economic reconstruction of Germany.
What Went Wrong with East Germany?
Economist and historian William Engdahl would explore the Herrhausen assassination in more depth in a 1992 article entitled What Went Wrong with East Germany. The article points out that Herrhausen’s banking views differed significantly from those of the US/British banking establishment.
Herrhausen, recruited by Chancellor Helmut Kohl to assist in planning the economic reunification of Germany, was a champion of third world debt forgiveness. Poland’s debt service burden to help stimulate development in former eastern bloc economies. He also argued strongly for a slow process of German reunification, one that would make full use of East German worker’s superior technological education and skill level. This approach would stimulate East German industrial infrastructure development while simultaneously protecting East Germans against a sudden loss of social supports they enjoyed under the communist regime. Most controversially he proposed to build a high speed rail link connecting Paris, Hanover, Berlin, Warsaw and Moscow.
The 1991 Assassination of Treuhand Chief Detlev Rohwedder
Instead of taking 10 years, as Herrhausen proposed, following his murder, the process of German monetary and economic union was compressed down to one year. In June 1990, Kohl appointed Detlev Rohwedden to head the government created company Treuhandanstalt to oversee the disposition of the entire East German economy. From the outset, Rehwedder, who shared Herrhausen’s vision of East German infrastructure development, was in constant battle with the western banking establishment and other members of Kohl’s cabinet. He insisted on modernizing East German state industries to make them economically viable, whereas the Anglo/American banking establishment sought to simply dump them onto the open market for private investors to buy up.
In his final interview five days before his death, he announced victory – a vital Treuhand policy change from that of immediate privatization to one emphasizing the rehabilitation of existing industries to make them more competitive.
On April 2 1991, Rohwedder was assassinated by a so-called “RAF third generation” sniper who left no forensic traces to his identity. Within weeks of his death, Rohwedder’s Treuhand policy was quietly reversed under new leadership.
The doors of Treuhand were opened to a host of management consultants to pick over the 81,000 East German companies under Treuhand and prepare them for rapid sell-off. Western firms were offered large incentives to buy former East German state owned firms only to shut them down, fire the work force, or use them in similar jobs at a fraction of what western workers would get.
The social consequences of this new Treuhand policy were staggering. In summer 1992, the real level of unemployment (including half time workers) in former East Germany was 40% of the work force.
*Operation Gladio was part of a post-World War II program set up by the CIA and NATO supposedly to thwart the influence of left-wing groups and politicians in electoral politics in Western Europe. They were notorious for false flag operations in which bombings and assassinations were blamed on fictitious communist groups such as the “Red Brigages” and the “Red Army Faction.” The existence of Gladio was confirmed and admitted by the Italian government in 1990, after a judge, Felice Casson, discovered the network in the course of his investigations into right-wing terrorism.