GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

A Company Party at Rhein Metal-Borsig Company, with Swastika Decorations (1937)
The chief goal of the Four-Year Plan was the central coordination, production, and allocation of raw materials needed for war. With its implementation in 1936, state intervention in business and industry escalated. Under Hermann Göring's direction, private enterprises were supposed to be forced to adapt to the needs of "restoring Germany’s capacity for self-defense," often against every rule of economics. For example, in a discussion with top representatives of heavy industry on March 17, 1937, Göring demanded that they halt their profitable exports of raw materials and channel them into German rearmament instead. Furthermore, he demanded a general increase in the unprofitable exploitation of domestic iron ores. He finally reacted to industrialists' negative attitude by founding the state-owned "Reich Works Hermann Göring" in July 1937. Financed by state monies, this company competed with private enterprises by purchasing overly expensive ores, driving up the price of German iron, and thus making its sale abroad more difficult. Additionally, Göring’s company took over a large number of private firms in the heavy industry sector, including the armaments concern shown in the photo, Rhein Metal-Borsig. By 1944, the “Reich Works Hermann Göring,” the most important example of the National Socialist planned economy, had become the largest steel company in Europe.