THE annexation of Austria has expanded Germany's domestic market by ten percent. More important, it has increased her supply of raw materials, especially iron ore and timber. In southern Austria lie an estimated 300 million metric tons of ore; this mineral possesses an iron content of 30 to 35 percent, has good smelting qualities, is easy of access and can in large part be extracted by strip-mining. The acquisition of these mines almost doubles Germany's pre-Anschluss reserves, believed to be about 375 million tons of 25 to 30 percent ore, though Nazi estimates are considerably higher.
The German Government naturally intends to exploit these resources on a large scale. Hitler has announced that by 1940 the new Reich will produce between 41 and 45 million tons of ore -- enough to make it completely self-sufficient. The German output of iron ore has been 10 million tons per year, only a third or a quarter of the country's requirements. Field Marshal Goering, who is in charge of the Nazi Four Year Plan to attain autarchy, recently stated that the annual production of Austria will immediately be doubled -- from 2 to 4 million tons. This amount will, of course, go only a short way towards relieving Germany of the necessity to import iron ore from abroad. Those in charge of the Four Year Plan doubtless expect to increase Austria's ore output severalfold. They also hope that the new mines being opened in Germany itself will soon be producing on a considerable scale. Nevertheless, it is very unlikely that the Reich can reach self-sufficiency in iron ore by 1940. In any case, even if Goering were able to speed up production enough to meet Hitler's required figure of 41 to 45 million tons, all the German and Austrian ore deposits would be used up within fifteen years. The creation of so shortlived and highly expensive an industry is obviously dictated by military rather than by economic considerations.
Austria also possesses extensive forests, covering more than 7 million acres, that is to say, approximately equivalent to a third of
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