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This article re-examines the hypothesis of Hirschman and Child that Nazi trade policy before the Second World War exploited the smaller European countries. Archival evidence on foreign exchange balances for 1938-40 shows that trade policies alone had only a small effect. Earlier dependence of south-eastern Europe on Germany was caused partly by the collapse of south-east European trade with the Soviet Union. Adjusted figures reveal a regional pattern similar to that of 1913. Generally, exploitation began with military occupation, but was then on a massive scale. Results again confirm Milward’s findings on the westward orientation of the German war economy.