Capital Comment

Just as the summer is fast fading into autumn, showing first signs of the long winter ahead, come reports from Germany which hint of the severe hardship and suffering the people there may be expected to undergo this winter as a result of Hitler’s policies.

The United States is giving official cognizance to the serious situation confronting the German people. Only this week, an official statement here by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of the United States Department of Agriculture, calls attention to the “alarming” deficit of feedstuff and the shortage of food in Germany.

At the same time the world-wide boycott against German goods is having a telling effect on the general economic condition of the land. Since he became Reichsfuehrer, Hitler has declared that Germany has nothing to fear from any economic boycott or refusal to trade on the part of other countries, for the highly-skilled technicians and chemists of the land would quickly evolve materials to replace those denied through the stress of international jealousy and opposition.

Germany has been faced with the problem of finding substitutes for imported raw materials for a number of months. Shortage of foreign exchange has emphasized the acuteness of the dilemma. One of the imported commodities restricted by the foreign exchange situation is wool. To supply the country’s needs with something akin to wool, German technical and chemical experts invented “woolstra,” a material consisting of fine fibers of a cellulose character woven into cloth together with threads from old woolen garments.

In its report on food conditions in Germany, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics points out that “Germany is faced with a shortage of grains this year. In addition, potatoes, other root crops, hay and pastures have suffered severely…. The deficit of feedstuffs, however, is alarming, and even though livestock numbers undergo a substantial reduction, large quantities of feedstuffs will have to be imported.”

The most significant statement in the Bureau’s report is that, “At the present time, it appears that Germany will be able to obtain only a small percentage of these necessary supplies from European countries. They will probably have to come from overseas, but will, no doubt, be purchased from countries granting Germany increased market possibilities for German exports.”

In trying to overcome economic difficulties through a policy of isolation, Hitler and his followers are setting for Germany a feat which is practically impossible of accomplishment. The task set the Children of Israel, that of making bricks without straw, was simple compared with that confronting the German people.

Under normal conditions Germany sells more goods abroad than she imports. The boycott and other factors have reversed this situation. In order to increase exports the Hitler government has decreed that merchants must not purchase abroad in excess of the value of the German goods that have been purchased and paid for by the prospective seller country.

Because of sharply-cut exports to the United States due largely to the boycott put into effect by American Jews and non-Jews and organized labor, Germany will try to get along without large quantities of raw materials which normally came from the United States, or else buy more expensive or poorer goods in other countries or develop substitutes that can be produced in Germany.

Those in official Washington keeping tabs on the German economic situation are of the opinion that the process outlined by Hitler leaders for the salvation of Germany may well contain the seeds of that country’s economic destruction. Germany cannot hope for success by pitting herself against the world.

In view of the outlook in Germany, it may be freely predicted that by the end of the coming winter Germany will have a fuller realization of the fact that she cannot consider herself apart from the rest of the world.

Since August 16, and until July, 1935, all German import duties on wheat, rye, oats and barley are suspended in order to meet the shortage of the commodities caused by severe drought. The sale of potatoes for industrial purposes has been temporarily prohibited in Germany to conserve the short potato supply.

The German government, it is reported in Washington, will welcome barter arrangements for foreign grains in exchange for its manufactured products, or would permit the sale of foreign grain against reichsmarks. All transactions would be under government supervision.

Germany cannot look to the United States for any supplies of grain for foodstuffs. Drought conditions in this country have curtailed production to an extent that there is no surplus for export.

European countries in general are suffering from short crops this year and therefore Germany cannot turn to these. South American countries are in a little different position. Their crops have been fairly plentiful this year and export supplies are available. Indications are that, in view of Germany’s great need for additional food and feed supplies, she will turn to South America and endeavor to strike a bargain with some of the countries there.

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