- Posts: 5
- Joined: 20 Jul 2021 15:02
- Location: Spain
Another clear example of how the III Reich squandered its possibilities in too many projects. Most of the resources were spread over way too many industrial facilities. Again the main policymaker, Hermann Göring was more interested in expanding his private empire, amassing political & economic power than in the economic rationale behind many of those projects. And his attraction for huge projects would be a liability when Germany had to be careful where to invest its scarce raw materials and economic resources.
One of those brainchild projects were the Salzgitter steelworks and the iron ore mined nearby. Initially it made sense from the perspective of a country likely to be blockaded again by the Royal Navy. However the German steel barons were very reluctant to invest in the project that was finally taken over by the state -at a huge cost- The main reason was to invest in facilities working with low-grade ores. Göring would outmaneouver them by setting up a state company managed by himself. But to start from scratch a huge industrial conglomerate was no easy by any mean. When Germany conquered Western Europe in 1940 the facilities were redundant and had barely produced some pig iron and almost no steel at all. However the RHG carried on investing in those facilities although most of the steel industries in the Ruhr were starved of capital.
In the summer of 1940 the German dilemma was not to build up new steelwork facilities but rather how to supply the existing ones with coal and labour. Both were scarce as many workers had been drafted, coal production was declining or stagnated and transport situation was pushed to the limit by the new needs: supplying Italy, France and Belgium with coal and raw materials to keep their industry going.
The conquered Soviet steelworks and other industries in the Ukraine are another example of projects not likely to pay off. Most of the facilities were devastated by the retreating Soviets. To bring them back into operation large repairs and investments were needed. Again the Ruhr steel barons were demanded to take them over. Obviously as resources were spread thin, the main areas of interest in France and Belgium out of their reach, their interest was indeed very limited. Most of them were convinced it would cost too much effort to put back some facitilites too far from Germany, without power, little coal and a terrible transport situation. They dragged their feet as much as they could until the Soviet offensive in 1943 reconquered the region without having produced much of value.