Nazi Commercial Policy
The abandonment of the gold standard and the introduction of foreign-exchange controls and import quotas, measures taken before the Nazis assumed power, required a reorganization of German commercial policy. In 1934 a so-called New Plan was developed under the direction of Hjalmar Schacht, then Director of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economic Affairs. The Plan was essentially a system of bilateral trade agreements worked out on a semibarter basis; Germany purchased products from countries that would agree to purchase German products in exchange. The scheme was extremely complicated—Schacht himself noted in a speech that at a trade fair a German exporter had decorated his booth with the more than forty forms he had to fill out in the conduct of his business. But the system allowed Germany to make purchases abroad in the absence of adequate gold or foreign-exchange reserves. Beyond that, it became the vehicle for greater economic penetration of the states of southeastern Europe and an instrument of German domination in that region in the years before the war. The first of the documents below is the German anaysis of the implications of the 1934 commercial treaty with Yugoslavia; the two following documents, relating to the German-Rumanian trade agreement of March 23, 1939, demonstrate the expansion of the mechanism of German penetration by the eve of the Second World War.
KeywordsTrade Fair Foreign Minister Contracting Parti Free Zone German Export
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- Royal Institute of International Affairs, Documents on International Affairs, 1939–1946, Vol. I (London: Oxford University Press, 1951), pp. 117–118. Used by permission.Google Scholar