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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 97 (June 1947)

Szymczak, M. S.
The United States' stake in German economic recovery,   pp. 13-18 PDF (3.9 MB)


Page 15


percent of 1936-a year of virtually
full employment in Germany. With
the exception of lumber, the produc-
tion of all commodities is below the
1936 figure, but by 1948 prewar out-
put is expected to be reached in a
number of important industries. In
the British zone, industrial produc-
tion had recovered last fall to only
38 percent of 1936. The British zone
includes heavy industries, most of
which are under severe restrictions
as possible war industries, while the
American Zone contains mainly light
industries, manufacturing consumer
goods.
Unfortunately, the exceptional se-
verity of the last winter has undone
some of the progress experienced
during the preceding year. Industrial
production in the American Zone fell
in December to 39 percent, in January
to 31 percent, and in February 29 per-
cent of 1936. In March it recovered
to 35 percent, but this level still is
about one-fifth below the peak of
November 1946.
In spite of the low level of produc-
tion there is little unemployment.
Even in February 1947, unemploy-
ment in the American Zone was less
than 450,000 out of a labor of more
than seven million. Only in the white-
collar classes is the number of job
openings constantly smaller than that
of job seekers. This is the result of
three-facts. The labor force has been
greatly reduced by war losses and by
the Allied retention of a large num-
ber of prisoners of war in some coun-
tries. Secondly, much labor is needed
for work, such as removal of rubble
and plant repair, which does not show
in production statistics but neverthe-
less is vital for resumption of econo-
mic activity. Thirdly, for physical
and psychological reasons, the pro-
ductivity of labor has fallen consid-
erably, in some cases by as much
as two-thirds. The gradual revival
of economic activity, more food,
housing facilities, and improved avail-
ability of industrial consumer goods
will do much to remove the causes
of low efficiency.
Housing
Next to food, housing accommoda-
tions are the most pressing require-
ments of the German people. Despite
all war losses, the population of the
American and British Zones has risen
Imports*
Country         from
Germany
Germany's Trade in 1936
The importance of GeTmany for continental Europe is indicated by
the following table, showing Germany's trade in 1936 with some of the
leading European countries.
Percent
of total
imports
23.3
26.4
7.0
23.9
24.8
25.3
11.5
22.8
17.5
17.6
16.9
45.1
39.0
25.8
* -In millions of dollars.
Netherlands .
Italy.
France.
Sweden.
Switzerland
Denmark.
Belgium.
Soviet Union .
Czechoslovakia
Norway.
Austria.
Turkey
Rumania.
Hungary .
by around 20 percent in comparison to
prewar, mainly because of the inflow
of Germans expelled from the area
under Polish administration and from
Czechoslovakia and other eastern
European countries. At the same
time, urban housing suffered from
terrific bomb damage during the war,
especially in the industrial and com-
mercial centers. In Bremen, for in-
stance, 55 percent of all homes were
unusable in the summer of 1945.
Reconstruction has been hampered
by the scarcity of building materials,
which in turn is due largely to the
lack of coal: approximately 12.5 tons
of coal are needed for producing the
material necessary to build a small
apartment. Allied legislation provi-
des for the equitable distribution of
available housing among the popu-
lation, but this measure can bring
only small relief since the complete
equalization of all housing would
only provide around 80 square feet
per person in the American, and less
than 70 square feet per person in the
British Zone.
Improvement in housing conditions
is particularly needed in the Ruhr
district since the inflow of additional
miners from the Southern area of our
combined zones, required to fulfill
151
116
106
99
92
83
82
62
55
41
40
34
33
33
the program of output expansion,
depends upon the availability of
homes. A short range program has
been and a long range is being pre-
pared to provide additional housing,
including temporary camps and bil-
lets and permanent reconstruction.
In addition to building material, beds,
bedding, and furniture must be pro-
duced. While Military Government
plays an important role in drafting
the program, its execution is entrust-
ed to the German authorities. Mili-
tary Government has helped in that
task by reducing to a minimum the
requirements for military installa-
tions.
Domestic Trade and
Transportation
Despite the interdependence of the
four zones of occupation, interzonal
trade has been slow to develop lar-
gely because of the lack of economic
unification. Since January of this
year, trade between the American
and British Zones has been free, as
the result of the economic merger of
these zones, and trade between the
merged zones and the rest of Ger-
many will be increased under agree-
ments concluded among the zonal
authorities. Until and unless the over-
Exports*
to
Germany
74
77
40
61
51
62
69
23
45
23
29
48
30
35
Percent
of. total
exports
15.7
19.5
4.3
15.8
19.4
20.3
10.4
8.5
14.3
13.2
16.1
51.0
21.1
23.1
WEEKLY INFORMATION BULLETIN
16 JUNE -1947
15
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I


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