Some background on West Germany and the West German Licensee.

     Until reunification West Germany was bordered in the north by the North Sea, Denmark and the Baltic Sea, in the east by the German Democratic Republic and the Czech Republic, in the south by Austria and Switzerland and in the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
     It had a land area of 248,577 sq. km. (95,976 sq. miles compared to UK 50,300 sq. miles). The population was in the region of 55 millions.
     Although officially enjoying a temperate climate, with such a relatively large land mass situated in the middle of a continent, there is a wide variation in the climatic conditions pertaining in different parts of the country where the topography changes from flat areas in the north to mountainous areas in the south. Annual temperatures vary from freezing in the winter to a mean of about 20 degrees celcius in the summer governed by the terrain. Much of the precipitation in the south falls in the form of snow.
     About 30% of the country is covered in woodland mainly pine and conifers interspersed with deciduous vegetation. In the south and south west vineyards cover many of the hillsides along the large rivers, Rhine, Mosel and Main.

Historical background.

     As a unified nation Germany is relatively young. Through the opportunism of Otto von Bismark this was achieved by 1871 firmly under the leadership of Prussia pursuing a doctrine of "realpolitik" and the firm control of "blood and iron" materialism. During this period Germany began to rival and eventually overtake Britain in the manufacture of heavy engineering goods and particularly in electrical equipment and chemical products. These industries were backed by an excellent education system which prepared students for their entry into the manufacturing sector. The welfare of the working population was also taken into account. Germany was the first country in the world to introduce insurance for sickness, injury and old age.

     There is little historical doubt that Germany, for its own self interest, initiated both world wars in the 20th. century. The facts on these conflicts are well documented.

     Following the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied forces in May 1945, for administrative purposes the country was split into four occupation zones, the Russians administering the eastern part of the country. The west was divided into three occupation zones administered by the British in the north, the US in the south and the French in the south west. This area of the country became known as West Germany.
     Berlin was similarly divided.
     Werner and Mertz, being located in Frankfurt am Main was in the American zone of occupation.
        

     The military occupation of West Germany came to an end in 1952 with the signing of the Bonn Convention the western Allies acknowledging that the country was an essential member of Western Europe in the face of Soviet pressure.

     West Germany was a founder member of the Coal and Steel Community, an original member of the European Economic Community which evolved into the European Union, a member of NATO and of the United Nations. Pressure is at present being applied for Germany to become a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations.

     The business of Werner & Mertz was originally the manufacture of a range of polishes which was probably instrumental in bringing the companies together.

     I did not have a long experience of working with W&M, visiting them only once in 1969 and being involved in one visit by their representatives to Stafford. However there is little doubt that, together with Flli. Zucchini, they were amongst the most efficient and pleasurable people to work with.

     While much of the correspondence received from them could be regarded as intricate and detailed they were attempting to gain sales, marketing and technical knowledge in order to learn how best to service a market which was new to them and to make progress in situations which were of necessity different to those experienced in UK. They were never too proud to ask advice and to seek for suggestions as to how they could approach a problem. By this method they learned effectively and quickly. They employed efficient technical staff in a well equipped laboratory and sought to solve their own problems as they arose in their marketplace which eventually, no doubt, put them in a position where they felt that they could cope with any new technology which came along from their own resources.

     So far as I am aware the exchanges between the companies were always polite and cordial even when differences of opinion arose. When the parting of the ways came it was on a mutually friendly basis.


  
October 2004.