Abstract: Global Electrification in Depression and War, 1930-1945

Harm Schröter and Luciano Segreto


The paper provides an overview of electrical foreign direct investment (FDI) during the period 1930-45. It especially pays attention to investment by US, Canadian, Belgian, and Swiss electric and holding companies. The same type of FDI by other states such as the UK, France, and Germany is examined. We argue that the impression that this type of FDI declined during the 1930s because of foreign exchange transfer problems and because of direct state intervention into prices and distribution of power is not correct. In spite of these difficulties, investors sold out only to a small extent and thus stayed with their respective investment. The paper also lists the most important investors according to their size of investment and their relation to each other.