The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Hjalmar Schacht

(Part 5 of 13)

[Page 747]

(3) Production Control. As an additional means of assuring that the conspirators' military needs would be met, Schacht adopted a host of controls over the productive mechanism of Germany, extending, inter alia, to the allocation of raw materials, regulation of productive capacity, use of abundant or synthetic substitutes in place of declining stocks of urgently needed materials, and the erection of new capacity for the production of essential commodities. The structure of regulation was built up out of thousands of decrees in which governmental agencies under

[Page 748]

Schacht's control issued permits, prohibitions, and instructions These decrees were the outgrowth of carefully laid plans of the Ministry of Economics, of which Schacht was the head, concerning "economic preparation for the conduct of war", and in accordance with its view that "genuine positive economic mobilization" demanded that "exact instructions for every individual commercial undertaking are laid down by a central authority' (EC-128)

The plan to allocate raw materials was carried out through myriad "orders to produce" specifying that certain commodities must or must not be produced; "orders to process or use" prescribing the type and quantity of raw material which could or could not be used in the production of a given commodity; orders specifying that scarce raw materials could be used only as admixtures with more plentiful but inferior products; and other like measures. The precise details of these orders are unimportant for present purposes. Their significance lies in the fact that they were governed by a central purpose: preparation for war. In the above mentioned secret report issued in September 1934 by the Ministry of Economics it was said:

"Rules are to be initiated for the allotment of scarce raw materials etc; and their use and processing for other than war, or otherwise absolutely vital, goods is prohibited." (EC-128)

The military aspects of Schacht's plans to increase the production of scarce raw materials within Germany, and thereby reduce Germany's dependence upon foreign countries for materials needed in the rearmament program, are likewise revealed in the aforementioned report of the Ministry of Economics of September 1934:

"The investigations initiated by the Raw Materials Commission and the measures introduced for enlarging our raw materials basis through home production as well as for furthering the production of substitute materials will directly benefit war economy preparations." (EC-128)

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