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SCIENCE JOTTINGS. GERMANY’S TRADE PREPARATIONS. WHIETHIERI Germany expects “peace by Christ- mas ” or not, it is at least evident that she will be ready for it when it comes. Or, to put it in another way, she is making the same steady and scientific preparation for the economic war which she


foresees will follow the cessation of hostilities that she did for the military struggle which broke out in August 1914. Our own (Government may be aware of these preparations or otherwise, but has not up to the present taken any overt step to counter them. Yet they have not passed unnoticed by our Allies, and the American journal Svslem, so long ago as April of

this year, described at length the measures taken by the German Government to prepare for the new struggle they see before them. These have been ably summarised by M. Albert Bloch in a recent number of the Revue Scientifique. In the first place, Germany knows per- fectly well that the declaration of peace will find her extremely short of raw material. The stocks of stuff that she had to import in pre- war days, from Chile nitrates and Transatlantic rubber down to cotton and leather, have all disappeared, thanks to the prolongation of the war; and her first business will be to replace them. Whatever the German Government may tell the people, it knows that they will never be able to do this by purchases for cash, because there will be no ready money left in the country by the time peace is made, and the golden dream of huge indemnities to be wrung from the conquered peoples has for some time been fading. Germany therefore proposes to build up a great reserve of manu- factured goods which she can sell in Europe, America, and Africa, even if her Asiatic market be barred to her, and with the proceeds to im- port the raw materials of which she will be so greatly in need. These will then in turn be worked up into manufactured goods, the machin- ery and organi tion for that purpose having been kept ready; and the process repeated until the deficiency is made good and trade con- ditions restored to something like what they

were before the war, when she will again aim at com- mercial ascendancy. It is a simple plan. and, if worked with German labpriousness and.attention to detail, can hardly fail to be successful. But is it practicable ? The best answer to this is an account of the steps that have already been taken with regard to it.


Immediately after the outbreak of the war, a company for dealing in raw material was formed under the dlirection of Herr Rathenau, whose name is familiar to most of us in connection with the Allgemeine Elek- trische Gesellschaft, or A.E.G. This purchasing com- pany, which is only the Government under another name, buys from the producer at home and abroad all the raw materials on which it can lay its hands,

and delivers them to the manufacturers at an increase of only five per cent., to cover the cost of handling. But this is not done haphazard, nor is any one manu- facturer allowed to get as much as he pleases so as to put him in a specially favourable position with regard to others in the same trade. A commission founded by the Government, under the presidency of Herr

1> I “It O . CHINESE LABOUR BATTALIONS IN TRAINING AT WEI-HAI-WEI: PHYSICAL EXERCISES. At Wei-Hal-Wei, the British territory in Shantung, thousands of Chinese coolie have been trained for emigration to Europe and Canada On Joining up they are leansed, vaccinated. inoculated against typhoid, and provided with saemf-uniforms of good blue cloth, with a broad white waist-band and white piping down the trousers At the depot they are housed In a style which for them is luxury. After a few days’ Idleness to accustom them to their changed conditions, they are taught physical eercies, to incubate discipline, and are esoon wonderfully smart on parade. The full course of trainIngr nally takesn a month.

Stahnler and consisting of the best financial and industrial experts in Germany, decides from time to time which goods are most likely to be required and in what quantity, and only the raw material for these may be supplied by Herr Rathenan’s organisation. The Government also helps in another way. Having control of all the State railways, it transports goods

— 9 N TC Oafcn BECAME A V 1’ýr1

at specially reduced rates which are made for export or are concerned in the manufacture of goods made for export, and does the same with by-products made in one factory which are utilis- able for the manufacture of exports in another. It gives similarly reduced rates to factories of a sufficient output which are some distance from the coast, so as to facilitate the accumulation of

goods at points convenient for carriage to the ports directly these are open. In this way, it is said, vast stocks of dyes and other chemicals, cutlery, and tin-ware have been accumulated. That Germany should have been able to carry out this plan, while at the same time turning out huge quantities of munitions of war and using her man-power to the last ounce both at home and in the fighting line, may seem wonderful. It has been accomplished, we are told, first by the systematic employ- ment of prisoners otwar and the enslavement of the civil population of the occupied terri- tory; and next by the equally systematic loot- ing of both machinery and raw material. Ex- perts have followed the steps of the German armies not only in Belgium and France, but also in Poland, Serbia, and Roumania, who have indicated everywhere the machinery to be seized, the mines to be worked, and the slave labour to be employed. Thus our enemies have been enabled in some measure to defy our blockade and to keep up their stock of goods ready to be exported at small cost to themselves. To ensure the carriage of these exports to the markets of the world, M. Bloch also tells us, they have got ready a large mercantile fleet, in-

cluding nearly thirty big steamers of the Bismarck type, and this without lessening their output of submarines and other vessels of war; while they have also kept open their steamship offices in all neutral countries. When the whole State is run on the same lines as an intelligently super- vised private business, it can indeed work wonders.

This is not the place for suggestions as to how Germany’s preparations for the economic war are to be defeated. The boycott of German goods, whether enforced by tariffs or otherwise, might do much. So might increased output of goods on the part of the Allies. But perhaps the most important thing is the will to defeat them. F. L.

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Issue 4103. - Vol CLI

Dec, 08 1917

Illustrated London News