GHDI logo

Hitler’s Confidential Memo on Autarky (August 1936)

page 7 of 8    print version    return to list previous document      next document

IV. It is equally urgent that the mass production of synthetic rubber should be organized and secured. The contention that the processes are perhaps not yet fully determined and similar excuses must cease from now on. It is not a matter of discussing whether we want to wait any longer, for that would be losing time, and the hour of peril would take us all unaware. Above all it is not the task of State economic institutions to rack their brains over production methods. This has nothing to do with the Ministry of Economics. Either we possess today a private industry, in which case it is its task to rack its brains about production methods, or we believe that the determination of production methods is the task of the State, in which case we no longer need private industry.

V. The question of the cost of these raw materials is also quite irrelevant, since it is in any case better for us to produce in Germany dearer tyres which we can use, than for us to sell [sic – verkaufen] theoretically cheap tyres for which, however, the Ministry of Economics can allocate no foreign exchange and which, consequently, cannot be used produced for lack of raw materials and consequently cannot be used at all. If we are in any case compelled to build up a large-scale domestic economy on the lines of autarky – which we are – for lamenting and harping on our foreign exchange plight will in any case not solve the problem – then the price of raw materials individually considered no longer plays a decisive part.

It is further necessary to increase German production of iron to the utmost. The objection that we are not in a position to produce from the German iron ore, with 26 per cent content, as cheap a pig-iron as from the 45 per cent Swedish ores, etc., is irrelevant because we are not in fact faced with the question of what would rather do but only of what we can do. The objection, moreover, that in that event all the German blast furnaces would have to be converted is equally irrelevant; and, what is more, this is no concern of the Ministry of Economics. It is for the Ministry of Economics simply to set the national economic tasks, and it is for private industry to carry them out. But should private industry believe that it is not able to do this, then the National Socialist State will succeed in carrying out this task on its own. In any case, for a thousand years Germany had no foreign iron ores. Even before the war, more German iron ores were being processed than during the period of our worst decline. Nevertheless, if we still have the possibility of importing cheap ores, well and good. But the future of the national economy and, above all, of the conduct of war, must not be dependent on this.

It is further necessary to prohibit forthwith the distillation of alcohol from potatoes. Fuel must be obtained from the ground and not from potatoes. Instead, it is our duty to use any arable land that may become available, either for human or animal foodstuffs or for the cultivation of fibrous products.

It is further necessary for us to make our supplies of industrial fats independent of imports as rapidly as possible and to meet them from our coal. This task has been solved chemically and is actually crying out to be done. The German economy will either grasp the new economic tasks or else it will prove itself quite incompetent to survive in this modern age when a Soviet State is setting up a gigantic plan. But in that case it will not be Germany who will go under, but, at most, a few industrialists.

first page < previous   |   next > last page