Podcast (Audio only)
What were the consequences of the German occupation for the economy of occupied Europe? After Germany conquered major parts of the European continent, it was faced with a choice between plundering the suppressed countries and using their economies to produce what it needed. The decision made not only differed from country to country but also changed over the course of the war. Individual leaders; the economic needs of the Reich; the military situation; struggles between governors of occupied countries and Berlin officials, and finally racism all had an impact on the outcome.
In the end, in Western Europe and the Czech Protectorate, emphasis was placed on production for German warfare, which kept these economies functioning. Hein A.M. Klemann, professor in economic history at Erasmus University and Sergei Kudryashov, scientific researcher at the German Historical Institute in Moscow discuss their latest book entitled "Occupied Economies: An Economic History of Nazi-Occupied Europe, 1939-1945" which shows that as a consequence the economic setback in these areas was limited, and therefore post-war recovery was relatively easy. However, plundering was characteristic in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, resulting in partisan activity, a collapse of normal society and a dramatic destruction not only of the economy but in some countries of a substantial proportion of the labour force. In these countries, post-war recovery was almost impossible.