Access to Raw Materials

June 5, 1942

Report Outline
Access to Raw Materials
Unequal Access Under Economic Nationalism
Limitation of Access by Abuse of Monopoly Power
Access to Haw Materials in the Postwar World
Special Focus

Access to Raw Materials

Real or asserted difficulties in obtaining access to needed raw materials have been the basis of one of the principal complaints of the “have-not” powers-Germany, Italy, Japan-and of their demands for territorial readjustments and a new economic order. During the period of war preparation, Axis leaders employed the “have-not” slogan as a rallying cry for programs of regimentation at home and programs of expansion abroad. Raw material problems, aggravated by the depression, led to a political and diplomatic struggle, which evolved into economic warfare, and culminated in the war which has now engulfed both hemispheres.

Broad recognition of the economic forces which may drive nations to armed conflict was contained in President Roosevelt's annual message to Congress, January 6, 1941, eleven months before the United States became a participant in the war. The President spoke of “four essential human freedoms.” The third freedom was “freedom from want, which translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants …” The Atlantic Charter, signed by the President and Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, also gave attention to world economic problems. The fourth of the Charter's eight points, directed to the question of raw materials, said:

They [the United States and the United Kingdom] will endeavor, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all states, great and small, victor and vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World WarII Raw Materials
Oct. 17, 1942  Silver in the War Effort
Oct. 03, 1942  European Food Resources
Sep. 14, 1942  Concentration of Production
Aug. 01, 1942  Rubber Supplies and Replacements
Jun. 05, 1942  Access to Raw Materials
Oct. 30, 1941  Enforcement of World Peace
Sep. 04, 1940  Problems of Tin and Rubber Supply
Feb. 08, 1940  Economic Weapons in the European War
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World War II