I have scoured the internet for numerical figures and an actual list of raw materials to no avail. Moreover, I am reasonably certain that many of you are very knowledgeable upon this subject matter, and are more than able to inform me. I would greatly appreciate this.

In addition, it would be very nice if anyone could recommend any archive/database or book that may help me in my research.

Thanks once again.

  • 4
    I found an extensive bibliography on the topic: archives.gov/research/holocaust/bibliographies/… - there were neutral countries, such as Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, which would trade with Germany - and the German economy between 1939-1945 was supported by the spoils of conquest, confiscated assets from the holocaust, and outrageous currency exchange rates within the occupied territories (so-called 'occupation marks')
    – user13123
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 2:07
  • 3
    Note as well that Germany derived a lot of its resources from a snatch-and-grab operation: by invading the USSR in 1941, they sought to make themselves largely independent of trade by grabbing mineral-rich deposits, plantations, factories and other assets. The failure of this operation led to their increased dependence upon trade and, as such, the impoverishment of their own population. Cesarani (The Final Solution) has some information on this, but he doesn't go into detail as regards the trade agreements themselves and so I'm writing this as a comment only.
    – Shimon bM
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 6:13
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    From Spain, a key import was wolfram and other metals; the UK organized a campaign in order to buy as much wolfram as was available to deny it to Germany (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…)
    – SJuan76
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 12:07
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    Quite lovely comments, though, I'm waiting for a complete answer. ;)
    – 关一骏
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 13:16
  • 2
    Don't worry. Our members will not wait for an invitation to comment.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


Germany lacked raw resources, mostly oil, rubber, manganese, nickel, iron, chrome &c, as well as food.

This is what they tried to get from wherever they could.

I believe the most important Germany's trade partner in the first third of the war (1939-1941) was the USSR. Everyone knows about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols, but the trade agreements (1939 and 1940) were no less important for British blockade failure.

USSR supplied petroleum, manganese, copper, nickel, chrome, platinum, lumber and grain &c (see numbers and references in the wikipedia links above).

Other important trade partners were Sweden (iron), Rumania (oil) &c.

They also "imported" industrial products from occupied France (trucks) and Czechoslovakia (tanks) - see also my answer to Did France & Italy continue to develop and manufacture sophisticated military hardware once under German control?

A good source is "Inside the 3rd Reich" by Speer.

You might find http://ww2-weapons.com/military-expenditures-strategic-raw-materials-oil-production/ useful too.

See also Was one of the main reasons Hitler attacked the Soviet Union due to oil?.


Germany largely lacked industrial metals such as iron, tungsten, and chrome. They traded for iron with Sweden, tungsten with Spain, and chrome with Turkey.

All of these were neutral countries, and their importance in supplying key raw materials was a major reason why Germany allowed them to stay neutral. If Germany had occupied them, and then lost them to a counterinvasion by e.g. the Soviet Union or the western allies, it would have lost the war faster than it actually did.

  • Great content, but where did you find this information? Just a small issue, no worries.
    – 关一骏
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 3:45
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    @BirlantisEscheatvc: Added links to SE articles on Sweden and Turkey. A reference to Spain and tungsten (wolfram) was in one of the comments.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:39
  • Oh—didn't notice. Thank you, @TomAu!
    – 关一骏
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 3:40
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    @TomAu Just a reminder that comments may be deleted, and maybe you should put the link in your answer. Or even better, some excerpts.
    – Spencer
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 13:31

Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Austria and Italy ware dependent on German and Polish coal. So were The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

How dependent France was on German coal i'm unsure about.

Remove Belgium from my list, how large part of the amount of coal which they used and which was Belgian i'm unsure about but they had until the 50s sizable reserves of coal themselves.

  • Why did i get a down-vote on this ???? At least Scandinavia was dependent on german or polish coal. Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 8:51
  • 1
    I dunno. Perhaps because you state The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg relied on German coal?
    – Jos
    Commented Feb 17 at 2:25

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