An Economic and Social History of Europe from 1939 to the by Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

By Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

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The war continued certain important tendencies already wellestablished before the outbreak of hostilities. Conventional industrial development - textiles, iron and steel, machinery continued its eastward march. By 1945 Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Bulgaria all possessed the foundations of basic industrial sectors, while the development of the eastern regions of the Soviet Union continued the thrust of the industrialisation drive of the 1930s. Despite the pressures of war, new developments also remained circumscribed by economic realities.

In the General Government the Germans originally planned simply to demolish all industrial plants. This approach changed to the systematic exploitation of all existing plants for German benefit, but the Nazis continued to view' Poland essentially as a source of agricultural products, industrial raw materials and labour. All schools above the fourth grade level were closed , and some two million forced labourers were taken to Germany. In Russia the German army was expected both to supply itself from the conquered areas and also to begin the development of those areas of sources of food, raw materials and labour.

The countries of central and eastern Europe, already partially integrated into the German war economy, found the pressure of the 1930s intensified, though the relation of each 28 AN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF EUROPE to Germany varied with military and political conditions. German policy envisaged the integration of the industrial areas of Austria and Czechoslovakia into the Aryan industrial heartland. For the 'German' population of Austria this was to mean a general economic upswing, while of course no benefits were intended for the 'Slav' population of Czechoslovakia outside the Sudeten region.

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