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A Comparison of the Mining and Metallurgic Industry in Germany, Japan, Russia, the U.S, and Chile 1850-1950

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Jung, Chang Woo
Term Paper, Seminar History of Historiography, December 2010

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Rapid development since the middle of the 19th century
III. From the Industrial Revolution to 1914
III.1 Germany from 1850 to 1914
III.1.1 Start of the Industrial Revolution
III.1.2 Germany until 1914
III.2 Japan from 1850 to 1914
III.3 Russia from 1850 to 1914
III.3.1 Emancipation of the Serfs
III.3.2 Mining in the Urals and Heavy Industry in Ukraine
III.3.3 Russia until 1914
III.4 The U.S. from 1850 to 1914
III.4.1 Increased exploitation of coal and steel since 1850
III.4.2 Consolidation of companies and birth of the U.S Steel Corporation
III.4.3 The U.S until 1914
III.5 Chile from 1850 to 1914
III.5.1 Traditional Mining Country
III.5.2 The War of the Pacific (1879-1884) and the Start of the Nitrate Era
IV. Between the World Wars
IV.1 Germany from 1914 to 1945
IV.1.1 German Industry from 1914 to 1945
IV.1.2 World War II and Another Defeat
IV.2 Japan from 1914 to 1945
IV.2.1 Japanese Steel Industry from 1914 to 1930
IV.2.2 Imperialism and World War II
IV.3 Russia from 1914 to 1945
IV.3.1 World War I and Foundation of Soviet Union
IV.3.2 Soviet Industrialization and World War II
IV.4 The U.S. from 1914 to 1945
IV.4.1 World War I and International Export
IV.4.2 Great Depression and World War II
IV.5 Chile from 1914 to 1945
IV.5 Germany's Invention of Synthetic Nitrates
IV.5 World War I Aftermath and Copper Exports in World War II
V. After the World War II
VI. Conclusion: Comparative analysis of the cases of Germany, Japan, Russia, the U.S, Chile

I. Introduction
            When the European and American continents began to make industrial improvements from their respective legacies, the main power beneath the advance was the invention of technology for the use of resources like coal, steel, and oil. Among the new technology, coal mining and steel metallurgy were the most critical factors of transformation for countries under the name of modernization. Since the industrialization, the leading power of each country focused on the development of its mining and metal industry. This proved the serious importance of possessing this technology and enough resources for successful urbanization of lands. When the world encountered 20th century, the significance of this industry grew even higher, which was also proved by two World Wars. This paper tries to cover the history of mining and metal industries from industrialization to World Wars by comparing the cases of several countries: Germany, Japan, Russia, the U.S and Chile. Although all these countries once accomplished their modernization and urbanization in past, there are some differences depending on each nation. The ultimate goal of this paper is to analyze the history of mining and metal industry of these countries, explain essential differences, and finally make a reasonable conclusion on the topic.

II. Rapid development since the middle of 19th century
            Before 1860s, it was hard to find the big size companies or industrial complex which dealt with mining and metallurgy. Until then, the usage of steel was mostly consisted of sword, tool, cutlery manufacturing, and some other very limited purposes. But looking back the situation of this period, it is not a surprise thing at all. First and foremost, the price of steel was too expensive when it came to massive production. The industrial-scale mass steel production was centered limitedly in Sheffield, Britain. The case of coal and other mining was similar to the case of steel. Many countries did not feel the need of these resources while their main fuel was until wood, while the basic idea of more effective fuel - coal - was already introduced to the world. Later, the invention of steam engine and railroad transportation proved the absolute superiority of coal over wood in effectiveness, and stimulated the boom of mining industry. In steel¡¯s case, after Henry Bessemer found the technique of producing steel from pig iron with cheap price, steel industry began flourishing. Later, the introduction of Siemens-Martin process allowed easier and closer control over the steel producing. [1]
            With each country's policy very friendly to mining and metallurgy industry, the production of steel and coal grew greatly from 1850s to 1870s, and more rapidly until the eve of World War I. The World War I and II caused spurt in output of fuel and steel, and also the diversion in production for military use. Each country confronted diverse situations while they pushed ahead the modernization, and provided different policy to go through.

III. From the Industrial Revolution to 1914

III.1 Germany from 1850 to 1914

III.1.1 Start of the Industrial Revolution
            Compared to the early start of Industrialization in Britain, Germany began to industrialize itself long after the United Kingdom. Not to be left behind, German government strongly argued the support for local industry. As the result, many mining and steel making enterprises were initiated by the government. [2] Over time, these industrial units grew and prospered within the aid of Prussia and of other German states. At the center of this process, there was medium size industry (mittelständische Unternehmen) which provided lots of innovations as the engine of technical progress. In the cases of German states with plenty of natural resources, the iron and steel industry flourished quickly. [3] In overall Germany, the main concern of people gradually moved from protoindustry to heavy industry The conservative regime of Germany planned progressive economic policy, which were mainly consist of rapid economic growth and increasing urbanization. From 1850 to 1870, the overall length of railroads in Germany was trebled. [4]

Table 1: Germany's Indices of Industrial Production and Output of Coal 1855-1875 [5]
Year Indices of Industrial Production (1913=100) Output of Coal (in millions of metric tons)
1855 10 no data
1860 13 13.6
1865 16 21.8
1870 19 26.4
1875 27 37.4

Table 2: Germany's Output of Copper and Iron Ore 1855-1875 [6]
Year Output of Copper (in thousands of metric tons) Output of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1855 72 1,345
1860 93 1,259
1865 153 2,546
1870 207 2,918
1875 279 3,960

            After Germany went through several wars, the second German Empire was established in January 2nd, 1871. The leader, Otto von Bismarck, emphasized heavy industry including coal mining and steel production among the others. Along with continuous growth, German Empire gave further impetus to rapid improvement of its heavy industry. Since 1880, the main force of German Industrialization was consists of mass production, increased speed of capital flow, diversification of products, and technological advances.[7]
            From 1890s to 1900s, the Germany Empire manifested ambitious aspiration to gain the status of a world power, equal to Britain. In this period, German government pursued Imperialism as the basis of foreign policy. Germany endeavored to spread its political and economic power over European continent, competed with Britain and France. In this process, Germany was a member of the Triple Alliance (organized in 1882, with Austria-Hungary and Italy) against the political pressure of the rest European countries. Time passed, in 1907 France, Britain and Russia organized Triple Entente to counter Germany's Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy. [8]

Table 3: Germany¡¯s Output of Coal and Iron Ore 1880-1900 [9]
Year Output of Coal (in millions of metric tons) Output of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1880 47.0 5,065
1885 58.3 6,509
1890 70.2 8,047
1895 79.2 8,437
1900 109 12,793

Several Regions famous for their Coal Mining Industry
            Among the other industrialized regions in 19th century Germany, the Ruhr Valley was one of the suitable places for mining industry due to its great opportunity of access to natural resources - the coal. With the enormous coal deposits from mines, this region contributed much to the development of German steel industry. Not only geographical benefits, the region also had a large number of workers, which were consists of skilled labor force from the long history of mining and immigrants from other states. Ruhr also provided nearby markets for mining industry. By 1850, the number of ironwork companies in the Ruhr Valley became 50 with 2,813 full-time workers. After 1880, a large number of companies began to separate the working process, and by this "vertical integration" system they increased the amount of production and lowered the cost of steel. [10] Along the enormous coal production of Ruhr, Saar region also provided considerable part of Germany¡¯s coal output. Both regions produced the fuel on which Germany¡¯s industrial expansion was mostly based, and later coal from Ruhr and Saar became the basis for the World Wars. [11]

III.1.2 Germany until 1914
            From the 1880s to the eve of World War I, the Triple Alliance developed its political, economic and military power through the arms race. During this period, Germany enlarged its mining and steel industry. Steel was produced for civilian usage, as well as for the production of arms and the expansion of the navy, thus serving militarization. [12]

Table 4: Germany's Indices of Industrial Production and Output of Iron Ore 1901-1913 [13]
Year Indices of Industrial Production (1913=100) Output of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1901 59 12,115
1904 68 15,699
1907 79 20,204
1910 86 22,446
1913 100 28,608

III.2 Japan from 1850 to 1914

Escape from the old Feudalism, and the Meiji Restoration
            Before 1854, the base of Japan¡¯s national wealth definitely came from its agriculture. There was almost no major industry in Japan more than agriculture. Most parts of the country were self-sufficient with agriculture, and seriously dropped behind compared to Western society. The entire Japan was under the feudal system. [14]
            When Tokugawa Shogunate began to lose its political power in mid-1850s, this government was forced to open its country to Western commerce and influence. After Tokugawa Shogunate was overthrown by Meiji Restoration in 1868, the new social order changed enormous parts of Japan. The main purpose of revolution was the popularization of Western heritage in Japan and its application, with the combination of Japanese traditions-the Eastern values. The leading figures of Meiji Restoration were Ito Hirobumi, Matsukata Masayoshi, Kido Takayoshi, et cetera. As the ¡°nationalistic and West preferring¡± power began to dominate Japan, the ¡®Meiji oligarchy¡¯ strongly executed the rapid industrialization and modernization inside the country. This policy accelerated the construction of unban infrastructure in cities based on steel production. The massive production system was established by expanding the number of shipyards, iron smelters, and spinning mills ? the major constructions for metallurgic industry. [15]
                 During this process, the support on heavy industry made huge expansion of the mining industry in Japan.

Table 5: Coal Production in Japan in Various Years from 1875 to 1913 [16]
Year Coal Production (metric tons)
1875 600,000
1885 1,200,000
1895 5,000,000
1905 13,000,000
1913 21,300,000

            Table 5 showed the steep growth of Japanese coal mining industry. Generally, coal was very important in industrialization since it was used for steam engines in modern ships and locomotives. The strong growth rate of coal production corresponds to a similarly strong growth rate of the population of Japanese cities in that period, especially those which contained lots of resources or had serious location for product transportation. The government intervened into many enterprises to help private businesses flourish, and financed for the construction of factory.
            By the early investment on heavy industry, Japan could secure strong modernized military force about 2 decades earlier than the other East Asian countries. With its army, Japanese defeated Qing dynasty in first Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).[17] After the war with China, Japan accelerated its industrialization more, and later this was connected to Japan's focus on heavy industry to feed its army for imperialistic purpose. [18] With its successful Meiji Restoration, Japan stimulated its metallurgic industry.
            Although Japan heavily relied on traditional agriculture to provide funds for the investment of modern industrial structures, Meiji government successfully changed its country from feudal economy to capitalist economy. The Westernization provided cornerstone for Japan to become the most powerful force in East Asia.[19]

III.3 Russia from 1850 to 1914

III.3.1 Emancipation of the Serfs
            Before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, Russia was the country which completely relied on the agriculture and feudal system. Even the agriculture couldn¡¯t provide enough benefits for Russia. The traditional serfdom means large amounts of immobile population, but it was not only the serfdom alone which hindered the modernization of Russia. Beneath the poor situation, there were huge amount of infertile wild regions like Siberia, which made the connection between cities hard. If Russia wanted to establish communication with such lands, it should pay expensive cost for transportation. The capricious vagaries of climate and vast distance from navigable rivers to the nation¡¯s center fundamentally disturbed the industrialization. Construction of railroad was also difficult since the extreme weather freezes the ground in winter, and steaming hot temperature makes the frozen ground too muddy in summer. [20]
            However, with the Emancipation policy of Tsar Alexander II in 1861, Russia was at least able to take its first hard step into the process of modernization. Tens of millions of ex-peasant labors were released from the serfdom and became mobile labor force. They needed employment, and Russia was nimble to organize the blueprint for its industrialization. Heavy industry was Russia's major concern from the Emancipation to the First World War. [21]

III.3.2 Mining in the Urals and Heavy Industry in Ukraine
            From the past, Ural was the region with abundance of natural resources buried underground. With Russia¡¯s new trend of industrialization, the mining industry began to flourish around Ural mountain range. [22] While Ural served as the major coal and non-ferrous metal producer, Ukraine was Russia¡¯s possible center of heavy industry. Although Russia had problems to connect Ukraine with main cities by proper transportations, it became worthy once the government succeeded to locate the heavy industries in this land. From 1880s, iron and coal mining with relatively high-quality metallurgy in Ukraine brought huge growth in the modernization of nation. Accompanied with the enormous construction of transporting network (which was total 1,826 km in 1860, and 30,596 km in 1890) and other industry like oil production of Caucasus, the massive metal industry in Ukraine allowed large amounts of exports and continuously guaranteed 5% of annual economic growth from 1861 to 1913. Since 1890s, the national economic growth exceeded 8% per year, which was top in the world at that time. [23]
            From 1870s onwards, Russian government wanted to accelerate its iron industry. Metal products were fundamental for the growth of other industry sectors in Russia, and also for the construction of railroads. Later in 1892, Sergei Witte, who became the chief of the Ministry of Finance, strongly supported railway construction and put over 275 million rubles per year. Since then, the mining and metallurgical industry was greatly developed in Russia. [24]

Table 6: Coal Production of Russia [25]
Year Coal Production (million poods) Pig-Iron Production (million poods)
1860-1864 21.8 18.1
1870-1874 61.9 22.9
1880-1884 225.4 29.2
1890-1894 434.4 66.9
1895-1899 673.3 120.9
1900-1904 1057.7 169.0
1905-1909 1444.5 170.8
1910-1913 1840.2 236.1

            After the emancipation of serfs, the main role of Russian government was mostly about keeping balance of international and domestic trade and the strength of ruble in world market. The leading figures of Russian economy were the states themselves, which were quite active in supporting private enterprises. Foreign investments increased since 1880s, and Imperial Russia rapidly entered the new aspect of modernization. [26]

III.3.3 Russia until 1914
            However, despite the large efforts of Imperial Russia to reform its lands and foreign investments on heavy industry, still the nation remained far behind the other European neighbors in most aspects. The industrial performance of Imperial Russia was still weak and relatively poor, without certain industrial sector that was notably prosperous. Tsarist Russia was going to its collapse, although the heavy industry companies were gradually growing up. [27]

Table 7: Growth of Capital In Russian Industrial Joint-Stock Companies [28]
1890 1900 1910
Total Foreign Total Foreign Total Foreign
Mining and metallurgy (million rubles) 85.8 55.7 472.2 343.8 1700.0 1063.5

III.4 The U.S from 1850 to 1914

III.4.1 Increased exploitation of coal and steel since 1850
            Since 1850, the increased production of anthracite (hard coal) made American households to replace wood by the fuel of higher quality. Most of anthracite was produced from northeastern Pennsylvania coal region and Ohio. Later, West Virginia also participated in the mining industry. After the invention and introduction of the products from industrialization like railroad locomotives and electricity generation process, the need for bituminous coal (soft coal) also emerged inside the nation. The number of enterprises which were willing to mine bituminous coal grew continuously. As the result, the total coal output in U.S soared greatly from 1850s to 1890s and peaked in 1918 with the amount of 680 million tons. By the mechanization of mining process in early 1900s, the coal production of U.S marked its unique position in the world. [29]
            With the growth of coal mining industry, American steel production also grew from 380,000 tons in 1875 to 60 million tons in 1920. With the massive export of steel, U.S' solid technique, protective tariff policy and increase of urban infrastructure achieved over 7% of annual growth rates from 1870 to 1913, which was the highest in the world. Especially in the case of steel, it was easier for America to develop the production center since the lands containing large amount of iron ore are very close to the 'eastern cities' - which were huge and urbanized. The lack of domestic labor force was complemented by the immigrant workers from Britain, Germany, and Eastern Europe countries. American steel output finally exceeded that of Britain in 1889. [30]

III.4.2 Consolidation of companies and birth of the U.S Steel Corporation
            In 1901, U.S Steel Corporation was founded by J.P Morgan, combining Andrew Carnegie¡¯s Carnegie Steel Company with some other large steel producer companies in United States. From the very start U.S Steel was the largest steel producer in the world over every European steelwork companies, and also the largest company ever at that time. The company took 67% of overall U.S steel production, and 30% of overall world production in its first year. In 1911, U.S Steel's share in the American expanding market over the world exceeded 50%. The company was largest mining and steelwork conglomerate in the world. [31]

III.4.3 The U.S until 1914
            The steel and coal production of U.S before First World War was overwhelmingly enormous. Due to its huge amount of natural resource and location advantage, U.S steelwork and mining grew rapidly more than that of any other countries in the world.

Table 8: U.S. Output of Coal 1850-1913 (in thousands of metric tons) [32]
Year Output of Bituminous Coal Output of Anthracite Coal
1850 3,655 3,925
1860 8,216 9,965
1870 18,571 18,106
1880 46,046 25,941
1890 100,972 42,156
1900 192,610 52,043
1910 378,397 76,644
1913 434,029 83,030

III.5 Chile from 1850 to 1914

III.5.1 Traditional Mining Country
            In the modern time of Chile, mining was the ¡°goose which laid most of the golden eggs.¡± From the late-colonial period, Chile's mining was famous for good quality of gold, silver and copper. Although the Gold Rush in colonial period gradually went out of sight and finally disappeared in late 1870s, still there were huge demands of silver and copper. The chief mines were located in Coquimbo and Atacama, the Central Valley of Chile. In 1830s, Chile's total silver output was 33,000 kg and copper output was 14,000 metric tons. Then in the 1870s, total silver output over 123,000kg and copper output 46,000 metric tons: which were over one third of world¡¯s supply at that period. [33]
            With the use of steamship in mid-1840s, the ship transportation to Europe was lessoned from 3 months into 40 days, and this stirred up the ¡°mine and export¡± atmosphere in Chile. Supported by rich Chilean mine owners and British traders, Chilean railroads were established in late-1840s. Moreover, first telegraph was installed at Santiago-Valparaiso sector in 1852. Later in 1876, there were 48 telegraph offices and 2,570 km cable network in Chile. These processes contributed greatly on Chilean Industrialization and Modernization. [34] However, yet Chile did not succeed in the establishment of copper smelting industry.
            From mid-1870s, coal mining was started in southern Chile. To compete with imported Welsh coal from Britain, Chilean mining companies followed European standards of coal extraction and increased employment. There were some foreign companies in mining industry, but in most cases were Chilean. Along with coal production, nitrate was extracted in Chile from 1870s. Nitrate was mostly used as fertilizer in Europe, and Britain had huge interest in this resource. The foundation of Antofagasta Nitrate and Railway Company by cooperation of British and Chilean enterpriser in mid-1870 indicates the importance of nitrate in Chilean mining industry. [35]

Table 9: Chile's Output of Coal 1895-1910 [36]
Year Coal Production (metric tons)
1895 200
1900 325
1905 794
1910 1,074

            However, the main problem of Chilean mining was the lack of effective technology. Large-scale metal smelters appeared in 1860s, but only one mine in Norte Chico used steam-engine in the process until 1870s. Due to the slow importation of modern technology, Chilean mining industry was unable to raise its output rapidly like other European countries and U.S did. [37]

III.5.2 The War of the Pacific (1879-1884) and the Start of the Nitrate Era
            From 1879, Chile fought the War of Pacific against Peru and Bolivia for six years. To back up its army, Chilean government began to recruited peasants, artisans and miners.[38] During the war, Chile¡¯s copper and silver exports fell down. But it was not because of the war itself. The main factor was the failure of infrastructure in mining industry. Chile failed to update extraction technology at the proper moment and was still using "Pirquen System" which was traditional but wasteful mining technique. Moreover, there was not a technology for digging ore in deeper underground, so the copper produced in this period was in poor quality. A slump held down the world price of copper, and lots of foreign companies competed with Chileans for the better copper prices.[39] In silver's case, the price also declined during the War of Pacific due to lower international demand and harsher foreign competition than before.[40]
            However, the biggest reason was the beginning of Chilean Nitrate Era from 1880s. From this moment Chile¡¯s main export was nitrate and many miners moved to newly flourishing nitrate industry. Because of the migration, main cities of nitrate production like Norte Grande experienced huge population growth. The population of Norte Grande soared from 2,000 to 234,000 between 1875 and 1907. In the case of Iquique, the principal nitrate port city, became Chile¡¯s 4th largest city along with the nitrate boom. [41] The main customers of Chilean nitrate was Germany, the U.S., France, Belgium. Other countries which later participated in Allied force also bought considerable amounts from Chile. [42] There were British and German ownership of plants in Chile, but over the 60% was under the control of Chileans.

Table 10: Chile's Nitrate Industry 1880-1910 [43]
Year Workers Production (in thousands of metric tons) Export (in thousands of metric tons)
1880 2800 224,000 224,000
1885 4,600 436,000 436,000
1890 13,000 1,075,000 1,063,000
1895 22,500 1,308,000 1,238,000
1900 19,700 1,508,000 1,454,000
1905 30,600 1,755,000 1,650,000
1910 43,500 2,465,000 2,336,000

IV. Between the World Wars

IV.1 Germany from 1914 to 1945

IV.1.1 German Industry from 1914 to 1945
            During the battles of the First World War, the situation turned harsh for Germany. The trench warfare exhausted Germans and their major industries. Lack of work force made severe damage on the production of coal and steel. German Empire collapsed at the near end of the war in 1918, and after the war Germany had the duty for paying enormous reparations to other European countries. Weimar Republic, which was Germany¡¯s first parliamentary republic, replaced the second empire. For over 10 years after World War I, Germany underwent harsh depression in almost every part of its industry. Moreover, the Great Depression in 1929 gave critical damage to German industry. Steel and mining industry was no exception in this backwash.[44]
            In 1933, the Nazi administration began to mold Germany's industry into one supporting her policy of future military conquest. Hitler argued economic arrangements which were designed to expand Germany's influence in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe. Nazi government broke off participation in the Geneva Disarmament Conference and League of Nation in 1933. Next year, Nazi army approved the production of ships and aircrafts in larger and bigger scale than those of Weimar Republic. The reinforcement was shown publically. In June 1935, Germany contracted Naval Agreement with Britain, which states the limitation of German navy scale under one third of Britain¡¯s. However, from 1936 Nazi government began Four-year Plan for war preparation, under Göring's control. The steel industry for military reinforcement was at the center of this plan, although Germany kept peacetime economy until the eve of the second World War. [45]

Table 11: Germany's Output of Coal and Iron Ore 1920-1940 [46]
Year Output of Coal (in millions of metric tons) Output of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1920 108 6,362
1925 133 5,923
1930 143 5,741
1933 110 2,592
1940 184 17,200

            In the case of iron ore, Germany imported enormous amounts from Sweden through the Norwegian port city of Narvik. In fact, Germany's domestic production made up a relatively minor share of its iron ore consumption. This is why Churchill tried to locate British force in Norway later in World War II.

Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG
            The most important structure of Germany's steel and mining industry during Interbellum was Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG. Translated into "United Steelworks," this industrial conglomerate was the union of several steelwork and mining companies including Thyssen AG, Phoenix AG fur Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb, Rheinische Stahlwerke, Rhein-Elbe-Union GmbH, Deutsch-Luxemburgische Bergwerks-und Hütten-AG, Bochumer Verein, and Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks-AG. The organization was founded in 1926, when Germany was under great economic pressures and confronted with infinitely decreasing prices of iron ore. Underwent the Great Depression, part of the company was nationalized in 1932 to prevent bankruptcy. When Nazi party took the government, the company made deep connection with Nazi industry before and during WWII. However, during WWII most of company¡¯s facilities were bombarded under the attack of Allied force, and after the war the company was dismantled. [47]

IV.1.2 World War II and Another Defeat
            In 1939, Germany invaded Poland and by this act the Second World War began. For the mining companies of Germany, this war burdened duty for providing enough fuel for the new mechanized armaments. Unlike the World War I, every country in the war renovated its army with brand-new technology, and supply of fuel was extremely important for the fast movement of mechanized troops-in Germany's case, it was called as 'Blitzkrieg.' In the case of steel industry, the burden for military production was more than mining industries. The key of victory in the battles was the amount of mechanized troops, and Germany accelerated steel production more. [48]

Table 12: Germany's Output of Coal and Iron Ore 1941-1945 [49]
Year Output of Coal (in millions of metric tons) Output of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1941 187 15,600
1942 188 13,300
1943 190 12,600
1944 166 10,300
1945 35.5 no data

            Overall, the Second World War was another ordeal for Nazi Germany. German troops failed to eliminate Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and the France in the early stage of World War II due to the intervention of the United Kingdom. For this reason, in later stages of war Germany had to fight at several fronts simultaneously. At first, the Axis force pressed hard the allies, but over time Germany was gradually exhausted in the supply of fuel and mechanized armaments while the Allies received enough support mostly from United States. At the end of the war, numerous coal and steel producing plants were destroyed by the Allies¡¯ bombardment. [50]

IV.2 Japan from 1914 to 1945

IV.2.1 Japanese Steel and Mining Industry from 1914 to 1930
            From the victory of First Sino-Japanese war in the mid-1890s, the Japanese steel and mining industry under rapid Westernization policy experienced great advances. Government encouraged the heavy industry to flourish, and Japanese steel industry was at the very center of it. However, it was not from the very start of 20th century that Japan made such huge success. The main factor of steep growth rate was the First World War. Before this first world-scale battle, Japanese steel industry kept with very small growth rate. This was due to the lack of the Japan's ability to compete with other international companies. It was true that Japan began to be rapidly industrialized compared to the other East Asian countries, but the plants and overall infrastructures were still smaller than those of European and American countries.[51]
            However, the situation changed with the outbreak of World War I. During the war, European steel companies which exported considerable amounts of products to Japan should withdraw to support their mother nations to win the war. Simultaneously the Allies ordered Japanese steel for additional military use. This greatly increased Japan's steel exportation to international market. Since there were not enough steel supplies by foreign countries, domestic demands were also soared. Altogether, World War I gave precious opportunity to the entire Japanese metallurgic industry in many ways.[52]

Table 13: Japan's Indices of Industrial Production and Output of Iron Ore 1895~1919 [53]
Year Indices of Industrial Production (1913=100) Output of Iron Ore(in thousands metric tons)
1895 49 26
1900 57 25
1905 59 53
1910 80 67
1913 100 71
1916 127 101
1919 165 211

            Together with steel industry, Japan's mining industry gradually expanded. To back up explosively growing steel industry, Japanese mines should produced enormous amounts of hard coal. Around the start of WWI in 1914, Japanese total output of coal increased greatly.

Table 14: Japan's Output of Coal (in metric tons) [54]
1909 15,048
1911 17,633
1913 21,316
1915 20,491
1917 26,361
1919 31,271

            During the World War I, the steel demands for urbanization enlarged. Government entered into the mass construction of railroads and public office building, and this trend was even more stirred up from 1920s. After World War I, the overall steel production was quadrupled compared to that of pre-war period. This is shown from the statistics about the output of steel ingots and castings. [55]

Table 15: Japan¡¯s Output of Steel Ingots and Castings [56]
Year Output of Steel Ingots and Castings (in thousands metric tons)
1912 15
1916 371
1920 811
1924 1,127
1928 1,825

            From the middle of World War I, Japan slowly manifested its ambition to imperialize rest parts of East and South Asia. Chosen from 1905, northern parts of China from mid-1910s were already under Japan's control. Lots of population in those regions was forced to do labors. This fact explains the explosive increase of steel ingots and castings output from 1912 to 1928. In 1925, Japanese heavy industry production took 26% of the empire¡¯s overall output. In 1930, it became 37%. [57] Slowly and cautiously, Japan prepared for its imperialistic wars.

IV.2.2 Imperialism and World War II
            The 1930s were a period for Japan to continue its expansion and diversification with the growth of steel, machinery and chemical industry. Japan's heavy industry surpassed all the other industries, and the number of steel producing factories doubled from that of 1920s. The number of workers quadrupled. From this period, Japan became self-sufficient in production of steel goods. The production-to-consumption ratio reached 103% for steel and 115% for steel products.[58] The main causes for this advance was technical improvements, increased government spending on armaments and exploitation of the resources in East and South Asia. Japan already annexed Taiwan in 1895, Chosen (Korea) in 1910, Manchuria in 1931. Start with the victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War (which started in 1937), Japan began to colonize other parts of Asia. Manchukuo, a new center of heavy industry in Manchuria, was one of the results from Japanese militarism. From these conquered regions, Japan took labor force and imported coals to accelerate the modernization of its military. In the back of all these processes, Japanese imperialism effectively worked with the ambitious plan for heavy industry. [59]

Table 16: Japan's Output of Steel Ingots and Castings [60]
Year Output of Steel Ingots and Castings (in thousands metric tons)
1930 2,289
1935 4,704
1940 6,856

            During the early stages of Japanese expansion, its economy grew considerably, too. Japanese iron production rose from 3,355,000 tons in 1937 to 6,148,000 tons in 1943, and steel production rose from 6,442,000 tons to 8,838,000 tons over the same time period. In 1941, it was said that Japanese aircraft industries had the capacity of manufacturing 10,000 aircraft per year. [61]

Table 17: Japan's Output of Coal and Iron Ore [62]
Year Indices of Industrial Production (1913=100) Output of Iron Ore(in thousands metric tons)
1934 35,925 215
1937 45,258 294
1940 56,312 496
1942 53,540 1,067
1944 52,945 1,718
1945 29,880 935

            During the World War II, Japanese government forced its heavy industry to devote almost all of its production to meeting military needs. Because of this policy, Japanese steel industry couldn¡¯t produce enough for the non-military demands. Moreover, since the Allied forces sharply blocked the maritime trade upon which the Empire depended greatly, the communication with international demand was curtailed. As a result, Japanese steel and mining industry was damaged severely by the war. At the end of war, Japan experienced harsh inflation and shortages of current and labor, with the liberalization of its East and South Asian colonies. [63]

IV.3 Russia from 1914 to 1945

IV.3.1 World War I and the Foundation of the Soviet Union
            The World War I tested the Tsarist Regime. This war experience required the Imperial Russia to come up with proper supply for its population. Unfortunately, the old autocracy in Russia didn't have such capacity to deal with World War I and eventually failed to endure the war. Modernization demands and economic, social, cultural developments definitely eroded the nation. In the middle of world war, Russia began radical and thorough reform. [64] Russian Revolution was at the very first of this reformation. Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown in 1917, and Bolsheviks took the power in November of the same year-the foundation of Soviet Union. However, the newly established Soviet Union with its leader, Lenin, could not turn Russia's current situation positively until the end of World War I. The extreme social unrest by world and civil wars with Russian Revolution severely hindered the development of almost every industry in Russia. Heavy industry, and mining of course, were no exception. [65] It took over 12 years to recover the production level of 1914.

Table 18: Russia's Indices of Industrial Production and Output of Coal [66]
Year Indices of Industrial Production (1937=100) Output of Iron Ore (in millions of metric tons)
1914 17 30.8
1921 5 7.5
1924 8 14.6
1926 17 23.4
1928 22 32.5

Table 19: Russia's Output of Iron Ore [67]
Year Output of Iron Ore (in millions of metric tons)
1914 7,660
1921 140
1924 940
1926 3,430
1928 6,133

IV.3.2 Soviet Industrialization and World War II
            In 1928, Lenin's successor Stalin launched first Five-year Plan. The main goal of this national project were the modernization of manufacturing facilities, advance in technology, increase of total industry output and et cetera. Under the Plan, heavy industry was definitely the major concern of Soviet economy. There was a reason why Russia pushed ahead its steel and metal industry: unlike other industries, heavy industry didn¡¯t need minute plans. Until then, it was a gamble to believe Russian railroad and electronic cable connection. Due to the backwash of several wars and revolution and harsh climate, many of those connections were destroyed or unstable. Naturally, the current of information and resource were limited. This was catastrophic for Soviet government, who had no other options but use old information when making economic plans. However, in the case of heavy industry there was less problem - Russia had Ural and Ukraine regions, which means abundance of natural resources. Also, Russia was extremely good at the extraction technology. Coal and iron ore were steadily produced, and the infrastructure-factories and other facilities-was well prepared from the time of Imperial Russia. [68]
            Under this planned economy, Russia became the leading producer of coal, iron ore, minerals like manganese, gold and natural gas in the world. New metallurgical plants that included the whole technological chain were constructed near the main coal and iron ore deposits in Ukraine, the Ural Mountains, and also in Siberia. Similarly, the plants producing other types of resources grew rapidly. Moreover, with the start of Five-year Plan Russia¡¯s railroads and waterways were modernized and newly built to ensure uninterrupted flow of resources. Automobile and aviation industries were additionally launched. Every plant of heavy industry was bought by foreigners (mostly by Americans and Europeans), and these investments led Soviet Union to run this profitable industry without serious difficulty. Many American engineers were hired with the promise of high wage. They contributed to the rapid technology transfer from their homelands to Russia.[69]

Table 20: Russia's Indices of Industrial Production and Output of Coal 1928-1940 [70]
Year Indices of Industrial Production (1937=100) Output of Iron Ore (in millions of metric tons)
1928 22 32.5
1932 45 57.5
1937 100 110
1940 131 140

Table 21: Russia's Output of Coal [71]
Year Output of Iron Ore (in millions of metric tons)
1928 6,133
1932 12,086
1937 27,823
1940 29,912

            Beginning with the Five-year Plan, one of the most important industrial conglomerates of Russia, "Kombinat" (translated into 'Combine') appeared. Firstly founded in Urals in 1928, the Kombinat system was consists of several plants which took similar function-like the extraction facilities of coal, iron ore, nickel and chrome. It was an ultimate form of division of labor, and work efficiency increased. Ukraine implemented the Kombinat System later. [72] Under the Soviet Industrialization in the 1930s with a series of Five-year Plans (1928-1932, 1933-1938, 1938-45. Last one was interrupted by World War II, so enlarged.), Urals became one of the biggest industrial centers of Russia. Magnitogorsk was founded in Southeastern Urals, became the center of iron smelting and steel making. [73]

Table 22: Russia's Output of Crude Steel 1928-1945 [74]
Year Output of Iron Ore (in millions of metric tons)
1928 4,251
1932 5,927
1937 17,730
1940 18,317
1945 12,252

            Until the eve of World War II, Soviet government concentrated on the enlargement of its Red Army. Industrialization based of heavy industry made the rapid modernization of army possible. Right before the outbreak of World War II, Russia had more than twenty-three thousand tanks-which were six times more than Fascist Germany. Similar ratios applied for artillery, aircraft, navy vessels, and small arms.[75] During the World War II in 1941~42, Soviet government moved the European Russia, Central and Eastern Ukraine (including major industrial centers of Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk, Krivoy Rog, Mariupol and Nikopol, Donbass), and the industrial areas of Moscow and Leningrad to the eastern foothill of Urals, to avoid the attacks of German army. [76] Russia¡¯s heavy industry continued its consistent growth even in the days of brutal war.

IV.4 The U.S. from 1914 to 1945

IV.4.1 World War I and International Export
            To fulfill military goods for the First World War, European countries desperately needed the imports of extra fuel and steel. Grabbing this opportunity, U.S was the main protagonist of international coal and steel trade with no doubt. During the World War I, U.S.' annual production of steel and coal exceeded the combined output of all German and Austro-Hungarian firms.[77] At this point, the steelwork and mining companies in U.S. maximized their annual production. The employment boomed thoroughly.

Table 23: U.S. Output of Coal and Iron Ore 1914~1920 [78]
Year Output of Coal (in thousands of metric tons) Output of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1914 383,471 42,105
1916 455,879 76,374
1918 525,618 70,776
1920 515,886 68,690

IV.4.2 Great Depression and World War II
            After the war, there was temporary reduction in the production. No more mass demand for military armaments was there. However, for seven years after World War I, European countries consistently imported U.S. steel and coal to recover destroyed cites and facilities. The U.S.' endless advance in mining and metallurgic industry already surpassed every other nation in the world. Even the considerable number of plants in Europe and other continents were under ownership of Americans. [79]
            However, U.S. soon confronted with one of the worst stagnations in modern history. All of the sudden, the crash of U.S. stock market 1929 froze the flow of current, and foreign investments fled from American market. The damage on overall U.S.' industry was even hard to count, and the production of coal and steel decreased greatly. It reached at bottom in the winter of 1932-33. [80]

Table 24: U.S. Output of Coal and Iron Ore 1929-1932 [81]
Year Output of Coal (in thousands of metric tons) Output of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1929 485,334 74,200
1930 424,133 59,346
1931 346,425 31,631
1932 280,964 9,639.2

            After 1933, the situation turned favorable again. The recovery from depression was fast and effective. Along the re-boom of mining and metallurgy industry, the mechanization trend of European, Asian and American world raised the demands of fuel and steel. At the center of trend, there was the need of military mechanization-tanks and jets. European and Asian countries imported considerable amount of coal and steel from America. The States became the center of steel production and export again. When the Second World War began in 1939, U.S exportation of steel and weaponry increased impressively. [82]

Table 25: U.S.' Exports of Iron Ore 1939-1945 [83]
Year Exports of Iron Ore (in thousands of metric tons)
1939 1,070
1940 1,410
1941 1940
1942 2,560
1943 2,460
1944 2,190
1945 2,100

IV.5 Chile from 1914 to 1945

IV.5.1 Germany's Invention of Synthetic Nitrates
            Beginning of the World War I made Chilean nitrate industry suffered. European imports were considerably reduced, because each European nation didn't have enough money for nitrate while they consumed most of revenue to support its army. The entire Europe began to find cheap alternative of nitrate fertilizer, and Britain found the sulfate of ammonium. More desperate than its competitors, German government started chemical research to invent effective alternative of nitrate. In the middle of World War I, Germany finally created synthetic nitrate. [84] When mass production of synthetic nitrates began, this invention seriously damaged Chilean nitrate exports.

IV.5.2 World War I Aftermath and Copper Exports in World War II
            After the First World War, Chilean nitrate industry became stagnant. The level of production and export was similarly kept, but there was no increase in the scale. However, the situation changed again with the emergence of Ibanez Regime in 1927. This Regime strongly supported nitrate industry, and the economy prospered again throughout the Chile. In mid-1920s, forty nitrate facilities were reopened. [85]

Table 26: Chile¡¯s Nitrate Industry 1926-1929 [86]
Year Workers Production (in thousands of metric tons) Export (in thousands of metric tons)
1926 38,118 2,016 1,668
1927 35,778 1,614 2,271
1928 58,493 3,164 2,832
1929 44,464 3,233 2,896

            In 1929, the Great Depression from U.S. affected Chile's mining industry again. The backwash of severe depression eroded Chile's economic prosperity, and the price of copper and nitrate almost free-fell. [87] However, like Ibanez Regime did in mid-1920s, the new Chilean president Alessandri carried out protective policy and supported mining industry from 1932 to 1938. With his ¡°Economic Nationalism,¡± Chile was able to escape from the Great Depression. [88]
            During the Second World War, nitrate finally gave back its superior position to copper in Chilean economy. Actually, the invention of synthetic nitrate predicted the end of Chilean nitrate economy, but for copper it took longer time to recover its position due to Chilean government¡¯s strong focus on nitrate. Before the war, there were lots of American-occupied copper companies in Chile which had 5.3 million pesos of annual income in 1938. When the war occurred, selling of copper was reduced in Europe while U.S. bought Chilean copper in enormous amounts. During the war, copper extraction industry boomed again and coal industry kept continuous growth.[89]

Table 27: Chile's Output of Refined Copper and Coal 1933-1944 [90]
Year Output of Refined Copper (in thousands of metric tons) Output of Coal (in thousands of metric tons)
1933 157 1538
1939 326 1850
1940 347 1938
1942 477 2151
1944 490 279

V. After World War II

            Defeated in World War II, Germany was divided into 4 zones - Soviet, American, British and French. West Germany was reconstructed in 1947 through the Marshall Plan. The project also contributed to the resurgence of mining and steel industry in Germany. However, it took lots of time and efforts to recover the production level in 1940. [91]

            Similar to Germany's case, wartime expenses severely destroyed Japanese economy. Unemployment, inflation and poverty in every area of Japan made steel and mining industry paralyzed. However, since America took the supervision of Japan under the control of Supreme Command of Allied Powers (SCAP), this helped the initial recovery of Japan. When the Korean War occurred in 1950, Japanese steel industry flourished again by international trade of weaponry. [92]

            Russian heavy industry continued its rapid improvement after the victory of World War II. Soviet government kept planned economy system under the control of Stalin, and after the Korean War U.S.S.R became one of the two leading forces during cold war period.

The U.S.
            World War II made the U.S. the strongest force in the world. To keep its position as world¡¯s leading force, U.S.¡¯ domestic steel and mining industry continued to make enormous amount of production. America kept fast pace in development, and protected its position as both massive importer and exporter of fuel and steel.

            After World War II, the price of copper dropped again and the production fell down. However, the Korean War in 1950 ended the postwar slump of Chilean copper industry. In 1950s, copper fully replaced nitrate and became Chile's principal revenue-earner.[93]

VI. Conclusion
            This paper so far covered the mining and metallurgic industry of five different countries from 1850 to 1950. Every country has different history: the start, development, crisis and so on. Each country had its own specific environment and society. Now the paper will compare and contrast each country¡¯s case to find the similarity and difference among them.

Start of Industrial Revolution with different natural & socio-economic environment
            In the early stage of industrialization, the most critical key to success is appropriate environment. In Germany's case, there are regions with rich underground resources like Ruhr, Saar and Silesia. Also, the construction of railways was relatively faster than other countries. These factors made Germany¡¯s economic expansion throughout East and Southeast Europe possible. In Japan's case, the early situation was quite worse; the whole country was under the feudal system, and Westernization was desperately needed to develop mining and steel industry. In Russia's case, the main problem was its huge land and harsh climate. Although Russian lands contain plenty amount of underground resources, Imperial Russia failed to use them effectively. It was hard to establish stable connection between cities. In U.S.' case, the convenience in communication with European mainland guaranteed newest technology. Also, the geographical benefit (a. far from major international conflicts / b. rich resources) led U.S to concentrate only on the development of its industry. Finally, in Chile's case, the main products was different from other mining industries-copper and nitrate. Although its technological advance was the slowest, Chile's abundant natural resources made back-up for its mining industry.

Different ways to improve mining and steel industry
            Although there is time gap between the examples of five countries, each country¡¯s strategy to flourish its mining and metallurgic industry has unique features and it is possible to compare them. In Germany's case, it was powerful focus of government on mining, steel and heavy industry. While Germany experienced two World Wars, the top priority was on the heavy industry. Not only to support the army properly, but Germany also needed steel to take the high position in European world both technologically and economically. This is very similar to Japan¡¯s case. Despite its late start of steel and mining industry, Japan concentrated on those heavy industries in the process of Westernization. Moreover, the exploitation of East and South-east Asian colonies is one of Japan's major strategies. In Russia's case, the Emancipation of serfs was very first step toward modernization. From this Russia paid lots of time and efforts to establish necessary facilities. Also the introduction of Kombinat system was very innovative part in Russia's strategy. Similar to the German Vereinigte Stahlwerke and U.S. Steel Corporation, it was effective industrial conglomerate of Russia. Later with Soviet Government, the Planned Economy effectively worked with heavy industry. U.S.' plan to enlarge its mining and metal was comparatively simple: large-scale labor force and fertile natural resources. Lastly in Chile's case, the main strategy was the strong focus on mining industry, based on rich resources. However, Chilean strategy should be differentiated from Germany¡¯s and Japan¡¯s case, in the sense that the focus of Chile on its mining industry had concentrated more on exportation.

Mining and steel industry in wartime
            Finally, each country¡¯s mining and metallurgic industry went through the period of two World Wars. First, World War I was a harsh experience for European countries, but also a great opportunity for non-European countries. Through the World War I, German economy was seriously damaged and this affected on steel and mining industry. Russia¡¯s situation was similar to that of Germany, and there was even rapid change in political system-from Imperial Russia to Soviet Union. However, for non-European countries the World War I was a huge opportunity to export their products. Japan and Chile were able to grow faster during WW I, since European competitors naturally disappeared during wartime. Second, World War II was one of the most important moments for all five countries¡¯ mining and metallurgic industry. With the mechanization process of army, all five nations¡¯ heavy industry produced their best quality and quantity. In Russia and U.S., the steel and mining industry steadily grew during the war, and Chilean extraction industry exported enormous amounts of copper. In the case of German and Japanese heavy industry, most production was used for military need. After the war, Russian, U.S. and Chilean mining and metallurgic industry kept continuous growth until 1950. On the other hand, World War II harshly damaged the other side-German and Japanese economy. It took considerable amounts of time, money and efforts for these two defeated countries to recover their mining and steel industry.


(1)      Citizendium Article: "Steel Industry, History"
(2)      ibid.
(3)      ibid.
(4)      Fullbrook 1990 pp.127-129
(5)      Mitchell 1992 p.410
(6)      ibid. pp.433, 441
(7)      Wikipedia Article: "Economic history of Germany"
(8)      Fullbrook 1990 pp.143, 149-150
(9)      Mitchell 1992 pp.417, 442
(10)      Citizendium Article: "Steel Industry, History"
(11)      "The Rise and Fall of Germany's Coal Mining Industry"
(12)      Fullbrook 1990 p.150
(13)      Mitchell 1992 pp.411, 442
(14)      Nam 2010
(15)      Wikipedia Article: "Meiji Restoration"
(16)      ibid.
(17)      Wikipedia Article: "First Sino-Japanese War"
(18)      Wikipedia Article: "Economic history of Japan"
(19)      Wikipedia Article: "Meiji Restoration"
(20)      Falkus 1972 pp.44-46
(21)      Waldron 1997 pp.47-51
(22)      Wikipedia Article: "Ural Mountains"
(23)      Falkus 1972 pp.56-59
(24)      Waldron 1997 pp.63-65
(25)      Falkus 1972 pp.51-52
(26)      ibid. p.54
(27)      Waldron 1997 p.68
(28)      Falkus 1972 p.72
(29)      Wikipedia Article: "History of coal mining in the United States"
(30)      Citizendium Article: "Steel Industry, History"
(31)      Wikipedia Article: "U.S. Steel"
(32)      Mitchell 2003a pp.311-312
(33)      Collier and Sater 1996 p.76
(34)      ibid. p.84
(35)      ibid. p.87
(36)      Mitchell 2003a p.314
(37)      Collier and Sater 1996 p.79
(38)      ibid. p.137
(39)      ibid. p.139
(40)      ibid. p.140
(41)      ibid. p.163
(42)      ibid. p.165
(43)      ibid. p.163
(44)      Fullbrook 1990 pp.153-156
(45)      ibid.
(46)      Mitchell 1992 pp.419, 442-443
(47)      Wikipedia Article: "Vereinigte Stahlwerke"
(48)      Wikipedia Article: "World War II"
(49)      Mitchell 1992 pp.419, 443
(50)      Wikipedia Article: "Vereinigte Stahlwerke"
(51) "Company History of Sumitomo Metal Industries"
(52)      ibid.
(53)      Mitchell 2003b pp.347, 375
(54)      ibid. p.354
(55) "Company History of Sumitomo Metal Industries"
(56)      Mitchell 2003b p.423
(57) "Company History of Sumitomo Metal Industries"
(58)      ibid.
(59)      Wikipedia Article: "Economic history of Japan"
(60)      Mitchell 2003b p.423
(61)      Wikipedia Article: "Economic history of Japan"
(62)      Mitchell 2003b pp.355, 375-376
(63)      Wikipedia Article: "Economic history of Japan"
(64)      Waldron 1997 p.69
(65)      Wikipedia Article: "Soviet Industrialization"
(66)      Mitchell 1992 pp.412, 421
(67)      ibid.
(68)      Wikipedia Article: "Soviet Industrialization"
(69)      Gale Encyclopedia Article: Russian History - Soviet industrialization
(70)      Mitchell 1992 pp.412, 421
(71)      ibid. p.443
(72)      Naver Encyclopedia: "Ural Kombinat"
(73)      Wikipedia Article: "Ural Mountains"
(74)      Mitchell 1992 p.458
(75)      Gale Encyclopedia Article: Russian History - Soviet industrialization
(76)      Wikipedia Article: "Ural Mountains"
(77)      Citizendium Article: "Steel Industry, History"
(78)      Mitchell 2003a pp.312, 325
(79)      Wikipedia Article: "History of coal mining in the United States"
(80)      Wikipedia Article: "Great Depression"
(81)      Mitchell 2003a pp.312, 326
(82)      Wikipedia Article: "Effects of World War II"
(83)      Mitchell 2003a p.424
(84)      Collier and Sater 1996 p.163
(85)      ibid. p.217
(86)      ibid. p.218
(87)      ibid. p.221
(88)      ibid. p.226
(89)      ibid. p.268
(90)      Mitchell 2003a pp.314, 371-372
(91)      Fullbrook 1990 pp.204-206
(92)      Wikipedia Article: "Japanese Post-war Economic Miracle"
(93)      Collier and Sater 1996 p.268

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