Definition of Autarky
Autarky is an economic policy to have a closed economy and not allow any external trade. In practice, a policy of autarky may refer to attempts to reduce a country’s dependence on external trade. For example, imposing tariffs and quotes may restrict trade even if it can not be entirely abolished.
In the nineteenth century, Japan was an example of a closed economy with virtually no contact with the outside world.
Autarky bears some resemblance to mercantilism. Mercantilism is an economic philosophy which seeks to limit imports and accumulate gold and silver.
Autarky and Hitler
Hitler pursued a policy of autarky. It was his ambition to make Germany self-sufficient. However, this policy of autarky was dependent on his other policy of lebensraum which involved increasing the size of Germany through conquest. In practice, Hitler never achieved autarky and depended on the import of oil, even though Germany did expand to include all occupied territories.