by the time the 1918 armistice was signed, 21000 millionaires were born in the United States. Frank vandelip, President of Citibank, commented: “as a derivative of the war, millions of new rich were born.”

by the time the 1918 armistice was signed, 21000 millionaires had been born in the United States. Frank vandelip, President of Citibank, commented: “as a derivative of the war, millions of new rich people were born.”

World War I involved 27 countries; 66103164 people were involved, with 37494186 casualties. Direct spending is $208 billion and indirect spending is $151 billion. These figures do not include billions of interest derived, pensions and alimony for veterans, and similar expenses. The whole world had not seen such a huge war before.

is undoubtedly a wealth feast for some large enterprises and businessmen. It was ironic that they sold their weapons, especially those produced by Austria and Germany, to almost all their enemy countries and their compatriots in the war. The German army marching into Belgium was blocked by German machine guns and artillery. When the Austrian army entered Serbia, it met the Skoda artillery produced by Austria. The German Navy encountered a British warship equipped with Krupp carburized armor in the battle of Jutland. The soft airship used by the British navy for anti submarine was exported to Britain by Germany’s pasivar company shortly before the outbreak of the war.

Britain also faces the same situation: first, the markchin machine gun in the hands of the German army, and then the torpedo produced by the white headed torpedo company built by the British in fum (riyeka) of Austria Hungary empire. The British once helped Italy build two large shipyards, VIX Terni and Armstrong pozzoli. Fortunately, Italy defected from the alliance, so the British Navy did not become an enemy of these warships built by British technology. However, in the Dardanelle Strait, the British fleet suffered heavy losses from British mines laid by Turkey and was shattered by the British Armstrong cannon of the Turkish army.

“what did they do in World War I?

some famous large companies existed during World War I. Nokia, a Russian company in Finland, produces telephone lines, field telephones, military leather shoes and rubber shoes for the Russian army. Philips in the Netherlands manufactures light bulbs, carbon arc and signal lamps. Monsanto of the United States was the largest saccharin producer in the world at that time, while Lihua brothers of the United Kingdom (one of the predecessor of Unilever) was mainly engaged in producing margarine from African oil palm. In addition to producing aspirin and other drugs, Bayer, the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in Germany, is also one of the most important manufacturers of synthetic rubber in Germany. The company was also producing an over-the-counter anesthetic, whose name was applied for as a registered trademark by Bayer, called “heroin”.

before the war, Carl Zeiss of Germany was the most famous manufacturer of optical instruments in the world. Its lens and optical instruments were famous all over the world. The army and navy of various countries used Zeiss optical glass as sight and fire control instrument. During World War I, Britain urgently needed Zeiss products and managed to get them. There are many versions about how they got it. One version said that the products were shipped to the UK through the Netherlands, while the other said that the UK had obtained some Zeiss staff and “persuaded” them to produce the instruments at Vickers’s factory in the UK.

due to the war with Germany, Japan is also facing the problem of high-end optical instruments out of gear. In order to solve the problem of “localization of optical weapons”, funded by Mitsubishi consortium, Tokyo Instrument Manufacturing Institute, iwaki nitrate manufacturing Institute and Fujii Glass Manufacturing Institute jointly established “Japan optical industry Co., Ltd.” and later developed into Japan’s largest optical instrument manufacturer. In 1988, Japan optical society changed its name to Nikon company according to its best-selling camera brand name, which comes from the abbreviation Nikko of “Japanese (Ben) optics” and the trademark Ikon of Zeiss in Germany.




are still the most popular American companies. At the beginning of the war, European countries thought that they could not fight for long, and they could be self-sufficient in military supplies production. It was true in the first year after the war, but when all signs showed that it could be a protracted war, they began to urgently look for a new source of supply – the United States. From August 1914 to February 1918, the Allies purchased $15 billion worth of goods from the United States. During the war, the DuPont chemical company of the DuPont family, the American steel company of the Carnegie family, and manufacturers such as Bethlehem Steel Company, Anaconda copper, American smelting and refining company, Remington Arms Company, Winchester weapons company, colt automatic weapons company, Atlas gunpowder company and General Motors made huge profits. DuPont produced 40% of the ammunition of the Allied forces, and its stock price soared from $20 to $1000 during the war. By the time the 1918 armistice was signed, 21000 millionaires were born in the United States. Frank vandelip, President of Citibank, commented: “as a derivative of the war, millions of new rich were born.” But another name invented by American writers Helmut engelbrecht and frank hannagan is more appropriate for these people: they are “merchants of death”.

the real protagonists

although Monsanto and Nikon have their own World War I stories, the real protagonists are the arms dealers. Germany’s Krupp company established the world’s largest arms empire before the war. Its artillery became famous after the Franco Prussian War, and its agents spread all over the world, using every political conflict to ensure smooth sales. When the Serbs and Bulgarians, Turks and Greeks fought each other, the Krupp cannon contributed to the death and destruction of both sides