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the cornerstone of German economy, provides heat, power, and raw material for innumerable commercial and industrial purposes and, in addition, is a sizeable export commodity enabling Germany to alleviate her deficiencies in iron ore, oil, food, and other commodities through purchases from foreign countries.
Within the territorial boundaries of post-war Germany the production of hard coal which exceeded 13,000,000 tons per month during the war, fell to a low of approximately 700,000 tons by April, 1945. Similarly brown coal output, 21,000,000 tons monthly during the war, fall to a few thousand tons at the close of hostilities.
Faced with reduced capacity as a result of mine destruction and loss of manpower, the four occupation Powers have supported the maximum possible output in order to maintain occupation troops, prevent a complete standstill in civil economy, and at the same time provide exports to surrounding countries which are dependent upon German coal. Accordingly, production increased steadily, reaching an output of approximately 5,165,000 tons of hard coal in May, 1946, or somewhat less than half the wartime figure, whereas the 13,353,000 tons production of brown coal represents two-thirds the peak wartime achievement. During the four weeks allocation period of May 5,068,216 tons of merchantable solid fuels were loaded for Germany and Austria (military loadings included) and 969,384 tons for export making a total of 6,037,600 tons.
These achievements are best understood in terms of the abnormal conditions and obstacles which the Allied authorities encountered. In the first place the number of workers declined due to the release of prisoners of war an the exodus of foreign workers returning to their respective countries following the cessation of hostilities. A lack of incentive for the remaining German mine workers to exert their maximum effort toward production has been a definite retarding factor. In addition thereto, a ceiling on coal distribution and, therefore, output requirements (coal cannot be stockpiled in unlimited quantities) was imposed by the disruption in transportation facilities resulting from wartime destruction of bridges and tracks, lack of rolling stock, and the difficulties of interzonal coordination.
These transport problems were of primary significance between June, 1945, and March, 1946. Coal and Coke stockpiled by the Germans prior to the conclusion of the war (exclusive of Silesia) totaled approximately six million tons. However, with the easing of the transport situation, withdrawals during 1946 have reduced these reserves by about 3,500,000 tons. Increasingly important, also, is the lack of mining supplies and the deterioration of capital equipment, which has resulted in a decrease of both efficiency and safety. Efforts have been concentrated on overcoming this handicap during the third quarter of 1946.
The measures necessary to achieve Allied aims have also imposed certain difficulties in organizing the producing and distributing functions of the German coal industry. For many years the distribution of coal was completely dominated by the highly-cartelized coal syndicates in which membership was made compulsory by the Reich. Decentralization of both operations and ownership has required German distributing agencies to adopt business practices and methods with which they are to a large extent unfamiliar. For example, the powerful and exceedingly complex Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Kohlen-Syndikat, which dictated price and production quotas, and regulated the distribution activities of all hard coal mining companies in the Ruhr/Aachen/Saar districts, was abolished at the beginning of occupation.
The Reich's dominance of the coal industry was founded partly on the fact that state-dominated companies accounted for approximately one quarter of the coal production in Western Germany. Companies not dominated by the Reich, were, of course, subject to strict compliance with the political and economic principles of the Nazi regime. The Allied denazification program has therefore had its effect upon every phase of coal activities, particularly in the field of management. The best instance of this is the fact that practically all the directors and managers of the Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Kohlen-Syndikat have been interned as well as separated from their positions in the industry.
U.S Zone, a Deficit Area
The U. S. Zone of occupation may be briefly described as a coal deficiency area from the standpoint of production, whereas the French, British, and Soviet Zones are surplus producers. Therefore, despite the fact that U.S. Zone production has almost attained a level of output comparable with pre-war years (from a percentage standpoint it outstrips production in the other Zones), it is largely dependent upon incoming coal from Western Germany. Tonnage allocations to the U. S. Zone in 1946 show that its consumption position compared to the other Zones is relatively the same as in 1938 during both periods, the U.S. Zone has claimed approximately 18 percent of the total domestic consumption in Germany.
The best summation of coal achievements in Germany since June, 1945, may be made by comparison with the pre-war year 1938. Average quarterly domestic consumption of solid fuels (excluding raw-brown coal) was then approximately 38 million tons compared with the second quarter 1946 of around 19 million tons.
The 1946 allocation for transportation represents about one-fourth the total allocation and exceeds the actual 1938 tonnage by 15 percent. This seemingly large portion is due to fundamental position of transport in any exchange economy and to the fact that the poor condition of post-war transportation equipment necessitates the use of unusually large quantities of fuel.
Coal allocated for the public utilities in 1946 compared favorably with consumption in 1938.
Substantially reduced in 1946 is the industrial consumption category which includes all types of industrial and commercial consumers with the exception of transportation and public utilities. Allocations within this category, less than half the 1938 level, are channeled to those industries which must function in order to aintain minimum sustenance and prevent unrest in the areas of occupation. Priorities are given to the production of steel for the reactivation of all essential industry, particularly transportation and mining, where maintenance of equipment was neglected during most of the war years. Because of the world food shortage, fertilizer plants, which are a part of the chemical industry, are given top priority in final allocations, are food processing industries and agricultural machinery.
No coal has been allocated for space heating or general household use of the German civilian population, even during the winter months, although hospitals, schools and community kitchens were furnished the necessary supply. Consumption of Coal, 1936 and 1949 al
(U.S. Zone) (Figures for 1949 are estimated projections based on the Reparations Plan)
Agricultural & Domestic
7 8 11 5 5 3
-11 +17 -15
6 -36 + 2 -10
0 -30 it 71 --15 +15
a Data are in terms of hard al equivalent and include all types of solid fuele
with the exception of raw brown coal.