Europe has always held a unique position in the world, due to a combination of geographical, historical and economic factors. Immediately before the war, the Continent (excluding the U.S.S.R.) accounted for over a third of total world trade. In short, the interests of the whole world are vitally concerned with the rapid rebuilding of the Continent of Europe.
Germany, almost inevitably, was the pivot of this whole system – with their central geographical position, large population, reserves of excellent coal, and a vast and highly-efficient industry. In fact, the Reich was the third world trading nation, and covered about a quarter of both Europe’s total and internal trade – followed by France, with an eighth.