Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

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historygeek2021
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Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by historygeek2021 » 04 Mar 2021 07:20

This article on the US state department website discusses Turkey's chromium exports to Germany during WW2:

https://1997-2001.state.gov/www/regions ... turkey.pdf

The basic story is, Germany was Turkey's biggest trading partner in the 1930s, and Turkey was Germany's principal supplier of chromium. But Turkey got spooked when Italy invaded Albania and concluded the Pact of Steel with Germany in 1939, so Turkey tried to align itself with Britain. In 1939, Turkey concluded a trade deal with Britain wherein Turkey agreed to sell all of its chromium to Britain through 1941. So Germany had to look elsewhere for chromium, mainly the Soviet Union. After Barbarossa started, Germany had to rely on its conquests in the Balkans and Norway for chromium.

In October 1941, Turkey agreed to resume chromium shipments to Germany in 1943, in the amount of 45,000 tons, which the Allies estimated to be Germany's annual requirement. Turkey agreed to sell even more chromium to Germany in 1944, but the Allies finally put their foot down and Turkey let its trade agreement with Germany expire in April 1944.

There is an interesting quote from Speer in the article:
Albert Speer, who reported on the current German inventory of alloy metals in amemorandum to Hitler on November 10, 1943, and concluded:

"Hence the element in shortest supply is chromium. This is especially grave since chromium is indispensable to a highly developed armaments industry. Should supplies from Turkey be cut off, the stockpile of chromium is sufficient only for 5.6 months. The manufacture of planes, tanks, motor vehicles, tank shells, U-boats, and almost the entire gamut of artillery would have to cease from one to three months after this deadline, since by then the reserves in the distributions channels would be used up."

In his memoirs, Speer explained further that the conclusion in his memorandum "meant no moreor less than that the war would be over approximately ten months after the loss of the Balkans."
The article also notes that manganese and chromium can be substituted for some purposes, so presumably some of Germany's chromium needs were alleviated by their exploitation of the manganese mines in the Ukraine after Barbarossa.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Mar 2021 08:32

Hi hg2121,

A similar situation existed with Spanish Tungsten/Wolfram, though there the Germans were more successful in securing deliveries until 1944: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10 ... lCode=ehqb

The British also tried to interfere with Romanian oil deliveries to Germany in 1939-40 by buying up all available oil barges and I seem to remember that they tried to interdict German iron ore deliveries from Norway in 1939-40. The British and French even considered bombing the USSR's Caucasus oil fields when Germany started to turn there for oil.

I suspect that the impact of British economic warfare and the Royal Navy's continental blockade goes under reported on essentially military sites like AHF.

Cheers,

Sid

historygeek2021
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by historygeek2021 » 04 Mar 2021 20:01

It seems like 1944 is the year the Allies finally persuaded Germany's key metal suppliers (Portugal, Sweden and Turkey) to cut off their deliveries. I guess now that Allied lives were finally on the line in large numbers in continental Europe, the Allies decided it was time to pull the plug on the German war machine.

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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Mar 2021 21:34

Hi historgeek1,

You post, "I guess now that Allied lives were finally on the line in large numbers in continental Europe, the Allies decided it was time to pull the plug on the German war machine."

That is a very strange and counter-factual thing to post. The British had been trying consistently since 1939/40 to cut off all these supplies. They had been 99% successful with their naval blockade as far as supplies from outside Europe were concerned. However, the Royal Navy was not in a position to do the same within Europe.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Peter89 » 08 Mar 2021 12:03

Don't fall for this myth guys.

As for wolfram: Germany imported most of its wolfram from the world's largest producer, China. The Iberian import became important when the Germans successfully closed the Soviet border for imports, and because they've conquered France to open up that route.

German wolfram imports (total / China, 1000 tons)
1933: 3.8 / 1.9
1934: 4.4 / 2.5
1935: 7.9 / 4.8
1936: 8.7 / 5.1
1937: 11.4 / 8
1938: 14.2 / 9
1938 (Jan-August): 8.9 / 6.3
1939 (Jan-August): 7.3 / 7.3

German chrome imports (total / Turkey, 1000 tons)
1933: 44.7 / 11.7
1934: 77.0 / 18.6
1935: 95.4 / 40.6
1936: 123.4 / 65.8
1937: 132.2 / 65.1
1938: 176.4 / 52.6
1938 (Jan-August): 95.8 / 27.6
1939 (Jan-August): 157.2 / 96.2

German official chrome supplies in wartime years (total / Turkey / Balkans, 1000 tons):
1940: 10.4 / 0.5 / 3
1941: 8.6 / 0.1 / 8
1942: 32.8 / 0 / 30.1
1943: 32.8 / 4.6 / 23.4
1944: 48.8 / 12.0 / 36.6

As for chrome: the main suppliers for Germany's chrome were the mines in the Balkans, not Turkey; but again, the overall situation was screwed up with the invasion of the Soviet Union, arguably the most important trading partner of Germany.


It is somewhat like the importance of the Swedish iron ore, which was undoubtedly of high quality but it was not critical for German war effort, and the Swedish trade could be easily diverted to the Baltic sea instead of Narvik.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

historygeek2021
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by historygeek2021 » 09 Mar 2021 03:54

Peter89 wrote:
08 Mar 2021 12:03
Don't fall for this myth guys.

As for wolfram: Germany imported most of its wolfram from the world's largest producer, China. The Iberian import became important when the Germans successfully closed the Soviet border for imports, and because they've conquered France to open up that route.

German wolfram imports (total / China, 1000 tons)
1933: 3.8 / 1.9
1934: 4.4 / 2.5
1935: 7.9 / 4.8
1936: 8.7 / 5.1
1937: 11.4 / 8
1938: 14.2 / 9
1938 (Jan-August): 8.9 / 6.3
1939 (Jan-August): 7.3 / 7.3

German chrome imports (total / Turkey, 1000 tons)
1933: 44.7 / 11.7
1934: 77.0 / 18.6
1935: 95.4 / 40.6
1936: 123.4 / 65.8
1937: 132.2 / 65.1
1938: 176.4 / 52.6
1938 (Jan-August): 95.8 / 27.6
1939 (Jan-August): 157.2 / 96.2

German official chrome supplies in wartime years (total / Turkey / Balkans, 1000 tons):
1940: 10.4 / 0.5 / 3
1941: 8.6 / 0.1 / 8
1942: 32.8 / 0 / 30.1
1943: 32.8 / 4.6 / 23.4
1944: 48.8 / 12.0 / 36.6

As for chrome: the main suppliers for Germany's chrome were the mines in the Balkans, not Turkey; but again, the overall situation was screwed up with the invasion of the Soviet Union, arguably the most important trading partner of Germany.


It is somewhat like the importance of the Swedish iron ore, which was undoubtedly of high quality but it was not critical for German war effort, and the Swedish trade could be easily diverted to the Baltic sea instead of Narvik.
Sources?

Peter89
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Peter89 » 09 Mar 2021 08:44

TUNGSTEN IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR: CHINA, JAPAN, GERMANY, THE ALLIES AND IBERIA by Joan Maria Thomàs

For the wolfram.

and

The World War Two Allied Economic Warfare: The Case of Turkish Chrome Sales by Murat Önsoy

For the chrome.

and

The Economics of Neutrality:  Spain, Sweden and Switzerland in the Second World War by Eric Bernard Golson

For the re-routing of the Swedish iron ore from Narvik to Luleå.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

Peter89
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Peter89 » 09 Mar 2021 08:51

historygeek2021 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 03:54
Peter89 wrote:
08 Mar 2021 12:03
Don't fall for this myth guys.

As for wolfram: Germany imported most of its wolfram from the world's largest producer, China. The Iberian import became important when the Germans successfully closed the Soviet border for imports, and because they've conquered France to open up that route.

German wolfram imports (total / China, 1000 tons)
1933: 3.8 / 1.9
1934: 4.4 / 2.5
1935: 7.9 / 4.8
1936: 8.7 / 5.1
1937: 11.4 / 8
1938: 14.2 / 9
1938 (Jan-August): 8.9 / 6.3
1939 (Jan-August): 7.3 / 7.3

German chrome imports (total / Turkey, 1000 tons)
1933: 44.7 / 11.7
1934: 77.0 / 18.6
1935: 95.4 / 40.6
1936: 123.4 / 65.8
1937: 132.2 / 65.1
1938: 176.4 / 52.6
1938 (Jan-August): 95.8 / 27.6
1939 (Jan-August): 157.2 / 96.2

German official chrome supplies in wartime years (total / Turkey / Balkans, 1000 tons):
1940: 10.4 / 0.5 / 3
1941: 8.6 / 0.1 / 8
1942: 32.8 / 0 / 30.1
1943: 32.8 / 4.6 / 23.4
1944: 48.8 / 12.0 / 36.6

As for chrome: the main suppliers for Germany's chrome were the mines in the Balkans, not Turkey; but again, the overall situation was screwed up with the invasion of the Soviet Union, arguably the most important trading partner of Germany.


It is somewhat like the importance of the Swedish iron ore, which was undoubtedly of high quality but it was not critical for German war effort, and the Swedish trade could be easily diverted to the Baltic sea instead of Narvik.
Sources?
Comments?
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Mar 2021 11:16

Peter89,

Thanks for posting up those statistics.

Regards

Tom

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Andy H
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Andy H » 09 Mar 2021 12:35

Hi

You can download this article for free to give some more detail and context

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... and_Iberia

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Peter89 » 09 Mar 2021 15:24

Andy H wrote:
09 Mar 2021 12:35
Hi

You can download this article for free to give some more detail and context

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... and_Iberia

Regards

Andy H
I think all of these articles are free to access and in English.

The original work - also the best one - is in German and called Die wirtschaftliche Abhängigkeit des Dritten Reiches von Ausland by Jörg-Johannes Jäger, I just felt it unfair to be quoted.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

historygeek2021
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by historygeek2021 » 09 Mar 2021 20:09

Peter89 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 08:44

The World War Two Allied Economic Warfare: The Case of Turkish Chrome Sales by Murat Önsoy
This article states in numerous places that the quality of chrome ore from the Balkans was too low to meet the needs of German industry, and that Germany was dependent on Turkey for imports of high quality chrome ore. I could quote half a dozen passages in the article to this effect, but I'll just leave you with this:
Reichs-Wirtschaftsministerium reported in October 1942 that the German chrome demand was 3120 tons/month and the delivery of chrome from the Balkans was 3200 tons/month and Germany has stocks enough for 7-8 months. Therefore it was instructed not to import any chrome from Turkey instead it should be inspected whether or not attention should be canalized to some other places to guarantee their delivery such as wolfram from Spain and Portugal. After this report a meeting took place between the director and the manager of the ferroalloys department. Manager argued that it was necessary to delivery high quality chrome ore from Turkey which was the scarcest of all and found in Turkey. On the other hand director claimed that this kind of chrome could be acquired from Albania. At the end it was decided that Turkish high grade chrome should be attained at any cost.
Pages 106-107

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... rome_Sales

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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Peter89 » 11 Mar 2021 19:54

historygeek2021 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 20:09
Peter89 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 08:44

The World War Two Allied Economic Warfare: The Case of Turkish Chrome Sales by Murat Önsoy
This article states in numerous places that the quality of chrome ore from the Balkans was too low to meet the needs of German industry, and that Germany was dependent on Turkey for imports of high quality chrome ore. I could quote half a dozen passages in the article to this effect, but I'll just leave you with this:
Reichs-Wirtschaftsministerium reported in October 1942 that the German chrome demand was 3120 tons/month and the delivery of chrome from the Balkans was 3200 tons/month and Germany has stocks enough for 7-8 months. Therefore it was instructed not to import any chrome from Turkey instead it should be inspected whether or not attention should be canalized to some other places to guarantee their delivery such as wolfram from Spain and Portugal. After this report a meeting took place between the director and the manager of the ferroalloys department. Manager argued that it was necessary to delivery high quality chrome ore from Turkey which was the scarcest of all and found in Turkey. On the other hand director claimed that this kind of chrome could be acquired from Albania. At the end it was decided that Turkish high grade chrome should be attained at any cost.
Pages 106-107

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... rome_Sales
I don't understand what you've missed.

Yes, high grade ores are important but not critical.

Germany ran its war machine without Turkish chrome and never really depleted its wolfram stocks. Swedish iron ore was also nice, but also not critical. I seriously doubt that you've read through the papers because otherwise you wouldn't say that Germany would face critical shortages in these materials, especially chrome.

Quoting opinions does not equal hard facts.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

historygeek2021
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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by historygeek2021 » 11 Mar 2021 22:19

From the same article, page 65:
Balkans was a considerable chrome source for Germany but the quality was far low.
Pages 81-82:
After the Balkan campaign, Bulgaria annexed part of Yugoslavia with the rich chrome sources. It was then called the Germans New-Bulgaria. From now on the chrome resources of Yugoslavia were under Bulgarian control and on the 24th April 1941, Germany appropriated these mines. Thereby Germany got under control the biggest chrome mines of the Balkans, the ones under British control, the Allatini Mines Ltd. London, the Ljunoten A.D and the Hromasseo A.D. Skopje. These companies were directed by German trustees until the end of the war. On the other hand, the mines in Albania were exploited by the Italians until their withdrawal in 1943. Germany and the Krupp Company invested for making the chrome mines utilizable. However, quality of the ore was so low and the transport was so difficult that it did not work at all. The biggest chrome facility in Balkans could only be put in service in the early 1944.
Page 85:
The value to Germany of Turkish supplies was even more important than the figures suggested, since they had high chrome oxide content and the supplies of similar grades in Axis Europe were only sufficient to meet about two-thirds of the ferro-chrome requirements of 55.000 tons. Ferro-chrome could be produced from lower grade ores but such processing was expensive both in labor and power. In addition to that, certain of the really low grade Greek ores were not useable for ferro-chrome production.
Page 86:
To meet her dangerous position with regards to the limited chrome resources, Germany was making a great effort to increase the production in the occupied countries, to assure supplies from Turkey and to reduce consumption.
Page 99:
The low grade deposits in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece started to provide Germany sufficient low grade chrome for her requirements and she was lacking only high grade ores for which she was dependant to Turkey. Only in the second half of 1942 the German anxiety began, her stocks and the expected deliveries from Yugoslavia and Greece was proved to be insufficient to meet her needs during the first six months of 1943.
Page 110:
Nevertheless dependency on the Turkish chrome was not diminishing. It was impossible to produce carbon-rich ferro-chrome using the low grade ore coming from the Balkans. Without the high-grade chrome deliveries from Turkey, ferro-chrome sector in Germany would have been in trouble
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... 3/download

If you can cite expert analysis explaining how the Turkish high grade chrome ore was not necessary for the German armaments industry, then by all means do so.

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Re: Article discussing Turkish chromium exports to Germany during WW2

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Mar 2021 18:21

Any reliable numbers at hand to show Turkish exports to Germany vs the quantities extracted from the Balkan mines, or other sources?

Never mind, I see them hid behind the numbers for Wolfram.

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