November 10, 1945

Report Outline
Nationalization of Industry in Postwar World
Soviet System and European Plans for Industry
Nationalization Program of British Socialists
Opposition to Nationalization in United States

Nationalization of Industry in Postwar World

Impending Changes in National Economic Structures

Nationalization of key industries, now under way in Great Britain and in numerous European countries, is perhaps the most striking economic development to come out of the war. World War I had far-reaching political consequences on the Continent, but only Russia experienced revolutionary economic changes. While the state took over all industry in the U. S. S. R., private enterprise remained the predominant economic system elsewhere. World War II will have more profound effects on national economic structures. The current trend toward government acquisition of major industries promises to make socialism, or a modified form of socialism, the prevailing pattern in the European economy.

Telephone and telegraph systems have long been operated as government services in many foreign countries. Public ownership of railroads also has been common. And most continental countries have maintained public monopolies of various types in certain consumer-goods industries, notably tobacco and matches, as a source of state revenue. However, despite government business activities of this sort, private enterprise has been the rule in by far the greater part of the economies of such nations. The situation will change with nationalization of mining, iron and steel manufacture, and other industries of basic economic importance.

Factors Influencing Extension of Nationalization

Nationalization on the Continent will be facilitated by the industrial disorganization left in the wake of Nazi occupation. By one means or another the Nazis gained a controlling interest in many of the key industries of countries which they overran. The extent to which this process was carried is indicated by the report that the Hermann Goering Works controlled the entire iron and steel production of Austria, the entire copper production of Yugoslavia, four-fifths of the lignite coal production of the Sudetenland. one-half of the iron and steel production of Czechoslovakia and of Poland, and one-half of Danube shipping. The task of restoring such properties to their original owners would involve special complications, since numbers of those owners, and in some cases all of their heirs, have died or disappeared. Where the private interest already has been partly or wholly extinguished, one of the chief hurdles to nationalization has been removed. In fact, nationalization may present the simplest method of dealing with properties that have passed out of the hands of a country's individual citizens and are now in the trusteeship of the government of the liberated country.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World War II Aftermath
Dec. 2009  Rewriting History
Dec. 18, 1981  Europe's Postwar Generations
Apr. 06, 1949  Occupation Feeding
Jun. 12, 1946  Compromise
May 22, 1946  Treaties of Alliance
May 01, 1946  European Peace Settlements
Apr. 17, 1946  International Information
Nov. 10, 1945  Nationalization
Sep. 26, 1944  The Great Powers and the Dardanelles
Feb. 23, 1944  International Cartels
Sep. 04, 1942  World Organization After the War
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union