The relatively wide range of raw materials in central-east and south-east Europe could have provided a favourable basis for implementing governmental policies in the interwar period aimed at encouraging industrial activity. As shown in chapter 4, natural resources were, however, unevenly distributed among the Successor States and the mutual exchange of primary materials would have had to have been much greater for industrial production to have profited from an intra-regional division of labour. Economic nationalism was one of many factors hindering a cooperation which was difficult enough on the technical score -- the opening-up of deposits and their linkage to users by new transport routes -- and exacerbated by political isolationism tendencies and strained diplomatic relations between the east European states after 1918.
The full extent of east Europe's natural resources had not even been fully explored and the ratio of exploitation reserves cannot be defined. Whilst minerals, especially non-metallic, were impressive in variety and extent in the Balkans, iron ore was available in substantial quantity only in Yugoslavia and coal principally in Poland and Czechoslovakia. But at the then modest magnitude of extraction, coal reserves over the whole territory were an extremely high multiple of output, as Table 5.1 shows.
|Peak year ( 1929) production and estimated reserves of coal|
|Production||Reserves||Total reserves in hard|
|a 1 ton = 7mn kcal.|
|Source: Tables 4.1 and 4.2; Political and Economic Planning (PEP), Economic Development in South-Eastern Europe,|
|London, 1945, p. 47.|