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In addition to the clearing agreements, Schacht devised the system which came to be known as the "aski" accounts. This scheme likewise obviated the need for free currency (i.e. Reichsmarks freely convertible into foreign currency at the official rate-U. S. dollars, pounds sterling, etc). The system worked as follows: The German foreign exchange control administration would authorize imports of goods in specified quantities and categories on the condition that the foreign sellers agreed to accept payment in the form of Mark credits to accounts of a special type held in German banks. These accounts were called “aski”, an abbreviation of Auslander Sonderkonten fuer Inlandszahlungen (foreigners' special accounts for inland payments). The so-called "aski” Marks in such an account could be used to purchase German goods only for export to the country of the holder of the account; they could not be converted into foreign currency at the official rates of exchange. Each group of “aski” accounts formed a separate "island of exchange" in which the German authorities, under Schacht's leadership, could apply their control as the country's bargaining position in each case seemed to warrant.
Schacht's ingenious devices were eminently successful. They admirably served the conspirators' need of obtaining materials which were necessary to create and maintain their war machine. On this point, Schacht has stated :
“The success of the New Plan can be proved by means of a few figures. Calculated according to quantity, the import of finished products was throttled by 63 percent between 1934 and 1937. On the other hand, the import of ores was increased by 132 percent, of petroleum by 116, of grain by 102 and of rubber by 71 percent.”
"These figures show how much the New Plan contributed to the execution of the armament program as well as to the securing of our food." (EC-611)
(3) Production Control. As an additional means of assuring that the conspirators' military needs would be met, Schacht adopted a host of controls over the productive mechanism of Germany, extending, inter alia, to the allocation of raw materials, regulation of productive capacity, use of abundant or synthetic substitutes in place of declining stocks of urgently needed materials, and the erection of new capacity for the production of essential commodities. The structure of regulation was built up out of thousands of decrees in which governmental agencies under
Schacht's control issued permits, prohibitions, and instructions. These decrees were the outgrowth of carefully laid plans of the Ministry of Economics, of which Schacht was the head, concerning "economic preparation for the conduct of war”, and in accordance with its view that "genuine positive economic mobilization” demanded that “exact instructions for every individual commercial undertaking are laid down by a central authority" (EC-128).
The plan to allocate raw materials was carried out through myriad “orders to produce” specifying that certain commodities must or must not be produced; "orders to process or use" prescribing the type and quantity of raw material which could or could not be used in the production of a given commodity; orders specifying that scarce raw materials could be used only as admixtures with more plentiful but inferior products; and other like measures. The precise details of these orders are unimportant for present purposes. Their significance lies in the fact that they were governed by a central purpose: preparation for war. In the above mentioned secret report issued in September 1934 by the Ministry of Economics it was said:
“Rules are to be initiated for the allotment of scarce raw materials etc; and their use and processing for other than war,
or otherwise absolutely vital, goods is prohibited.” (EC-128) The military aspects of Schacht's plans to increase the production of scarce raw materials within Germany, and thereby reduce Germany's dependence upon foreign countries for materials needed in the rearmament program, are likewise revealed in the aforementioned report of the Ministry of Economics of September 1934:
"The investigations initiated by the Raw Materials Commission and the measures introduced for enlarging our raw materials basis through home production as well as for furthering the production of substitute materials will directly
benefit war economy preparations.” (EC-128) (4) Plans and Preparations for Economic Controls During War. Pursuant to the unpublished Reich Defense Law secretly enacted on 21 May 1935, Schacht was appointed General Plenipotentiary for War Economy by Hitler. Under this law, Schacht was placed in complete charge of economic planning and preparation for war in peacetime, except for the direct production of armaments which was entrusted to the Ministry of War; and upon the outbreak of war, Schacht was to be the virtual economic dictator of Germany. His task was "to put all economic forces in
the service of carrying on the war and to secure the life of the German people economically". In order to facilitate his task, the Ministers of Economy, Food and Agriculture, Labor, and Forestry were subordinated to him, and he was authorized "within his realm of responsibility, to issue legal regulations which may deviate from existing regulations”. The necessity for absolute secrecy was stressed (2261-PS).
Schacht appointed Wohlthat as his deputy General Plenipotentiary for War Economy and organized a staff to carry out his directives. Schacht has admitted that he must accept full responsibility for the actions of these subordinates (3729-PS).
Before his resignation in late 1937, Schacht had worked out in amazing detail his plans and preparations for the German economy in the forthcoming war. Recognizing that wartime controls, to be effective, must be based on adequate information, Schacht had directed the completion of comprehensive surveys of 180,000 industrial plants in Germany and had compiled statistics concerning
the composition of the labor force as to sex, age, and training, the consumption of raw and auxiliary material, fuels, power, the productive capacity, the domestic and foreign trade as well as the supply of material and products in
the beginning and at the end of the year.” (EC-258) On the basis of the statistical data thus collected, plans had been formulated by the end of 1937 wherein
the needs of the Armed Forces and the civilian minimum needs in wartime are compared with the covering
thereof by supplies and production.” (EC-258) The supervisory boards, which were briefly described above in connection with the import and export controls, were charged with "preparing their orders for the regulation of war contracts and fees", and were instructed to coordinate with various Reich manpower authorities to secure “their indispensable personnel” (EC-258).
Special measures were taken under Schacht's direction, to maintain "mobilization stocks” of coal and to assure their distribution in accordance with the wartime needs of armament factories and large consumers. Large "gasoline storage places” were constructed for use of the Wehrmacht and “gasoline stations and gasoline stores” were designated "for the first equipment of the troops in case of mobilization”. Careful plans were also made for the allocation of power during war, and practice manoeuvers were held 69325547-48
in order to determine “what measures have to be taken in case places of power generation should be eliminated” (EC-258).
Evacuation plans for the removal of war materials, agricultural products, skilled workers, and animals from military zones were worked out by the Office of the Plenipotentiary for War Economy with characteristic thoroughness. Thus, "the supplies and skilled workers in the evacuation zones” were “registered, earmarked for transportation into certain salvage areas and registered with the Wehrkreiskommandos by the field offices of evacuation and salvaging plans” (EC-258).
Detailed plans for a system of rationing to become effective immediately upon mobilization had already been made by the end of 1937:
"The 80 million ration cards necessary for this purpose have already been printed and deposited with the Landrats, Chief Mayors, and corresponding authorities. The further distribution of the ration cards to the individual households is prepared by these authorities to take place within 24 hours after
mobilization has been ordered." (EC-258). Trusted persons whose reliability had been attested to by the Secret State Police were installed in important enterprises and charged with the execution of "measures which guarantee the maintenance of production of their enterprises in the event of mobilization”. Their functions likewise extended, among other matters, to applying "for exemptions from military service" of "employees who are indispensable to their enterprise”, and seeking immunity from requisition by the Wehrmacht of all motor trucks which were needed in the enterprises to which they were assigned (EC-258).
Pursuant to directives issued by Schacht as Plenipotentiary, labor authorities of the Government ascertained "the available amount of manpower, the wartime requirements of manpower and measures for the covering of the wartime needs". The wartime needs were to be met in part “by using reserve manpower (manpower theretofore used in non-essential enterprises, women, etc.)”, and by making "every change of working place and every hiring of workers dependent upon the consent of the Labor Office" (EC-258).
The foregoing measures, it should be noted, are merely representative; they are not exhaustive. But enough appears to make it abundantly clear that Schacht's contribution, by any standard was an extraordinarily important one. Enough appears, moreever, to give particular emphasis to the following observations of
the Honorable George S. Messersmith, United States Consul General in Berlin from 1930 to 1934:
"It was his (Schacht's] financial ability that enabled the
D. SCHACHT PARTICIPATED IN THE NAZI CONSPIRACY PURPOSELY, WILLINGLY, AND WITH KNOWLEDGE OF ITS ILLEGAL AIMS AND METHODS.
(1) He was a faithful adherent of Hitler. It has already been demonstrated that even before Hitler's accession to power, Schacht aligned himself with Hitler and accepted his program. Schacht's utterances after Hitler had entrenched himself in power clearly show that he remained a faithful servant of Hitler despite the series of outrages committed under Hitler's direction.
At the opening of the Leipzig Fair on 4 March 1935, Schacht said:
“My so-called foreign friends don't render any services to me or the cause, which they don't want anyway, of course, but not even to themselves, if they try to construe a contrast between me and the allegedly impossible economic theories of National Socialism and represent me as a sort of guardian of economic reason. I assure you that all that I am doing and saying enjoys the absolute approval of the Fuehrer and that I would never do or say anything that does not have