Internment as a Business Challenge: Political Risk Management and German Multinationals in Colonial India (1914–1947)

Christina Lubinski*, Valeria Giacomin, Klara Schnitzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Internment in so-called ‘enemy countries’ was a frequent occurrence in the twentieth century and created significant obstacles for multinational enterprises (MNEs). This article focuses on German MNEs in India and shows how they addressed the formidable challenge of the internment of their employees in British camps during both the First and the Second World War. It finds that internment impacted business relationships in India well beyond its endpoint and that the First World War internment shaped the subsequent perception of and strategic response to the Second World War experience. It is shown that internment aggravated existing staffing challenges, impacted on the perception of racial lines of distinctions and re-cast the category ‘European business’. While internment was perceived and managed as a political risk, the case also shows that it created unexpected networking opportunities, generating a tight community of German businesspeople in India.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness History
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)72-97
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 13 April 2018


  • Internment
  • Political risk
  • India
  • Germany
  • International business

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