Actually I've revised that view, now believe Germany probably could have done this with a mid-40 PoD. At some point I'll split the '42 ATL narrative into its own thread and state the view fully there. Too much flotsam in this thread to carry out structural narrative changes.HistoryGeek2021 wrote:I see now looking back at the original post that your ATL posits an earlier point of departure:
The earlier PoD would easily secure my previous +20-div ATL, which decides the Eastern Front perhaps in 1941.
I always try to write conservatively, becoming more aggressive with ATL projections as information comes in - or abandoning them if proven unwarranted.
That you (very nearly) phrase this as a direct question for discussion rather than a launching point for your next point is appreciated.HistoryGeek2021 wrote:I would be curious as to how Germany could raise the necessary trucks (20,000 according to your original post), given...
One easy fix flows directly from taking the SU more seriously: more ruthlessly pillage occupied and domestic economies for trucks. The Ostheer's truck park grew by >60% in the year after Barbarossa, with the absolute increase (~130k trucks) exceeding new production by 100% (see also). That implies at least 70k trucks taken from Europe, probably >100k given Barbarossa losses.
German domestic production soared while those trucks were being removed, as did German net imports of war material. So obviously the war industries (foreign and domestic) didn't need all their trucks.
The other route is my original one: more production. It's not necessary to the ATL any longer so I don't want to put in effort right now. Just quickly: USSBS Motor Vehicles report is clear that the industry had much excess capacity. USSBS report on Adam Opel (Europe's largest automaker prewar) says that most of its capacity went to the Ju-88 program in 1940.
Your USSBS stat is for natural rubber only; synthetic dominated the picture by 1941. Interesting that German natural stocks increased after '40 though - those few blockade runners had a big impact.HistoryGeek2021 wrote:1940 was the nadir for German rubber supplies - would Germany have enough rubber to produce the necessary trucks?
Our ATL-requisitioned trucks come with tires so this doesn't seem a big issue. But just in case, note what USSBS says about rubber shortages:
Also note that Germany exported 15% of its synthetic rubber production in 1941.There is no evidence that the shortage of rubber
ever handicapped the Wehrmacht or essential
industries. There were restrictions on rubber
products for the civilian market; there were fears
of future shortages, which might handicap the
prosecution of the war; but as far as can be
determined actual shortages were never severe
enough to impair the fighting power of the Wehr
macht. It would have been necessary to reduce
production by 70–80 percent to have a direct
effect on the war effort.
This sounds a lot like British squealing about their domestic stocks in '42: shipping losses were pushing stocks below bureaucratic comfort but cushion existed before any real crisis would set in.
This seems especially true given that ATL truck delta is ~4% of European truck park (assuming 500k trucks) and probably <2% of European tire inventory (including cars etc.).
Have you read GSWW v.6/1? I mean really read it, not just mined it for cites? I ask because it's a doorstop and just execrably boring as narrative. I'd bet money Tooze hasn't really read it, given some things he's said about it.HistoryGeek2021 wrote:Müller notes that the decision making process for armaments production between the fall of France and the start of Barbarossa was a confused, bureaucratic mess, with the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe taking priority over the army in many areas.
Muller's narrative about German decision making involves a lot more than mess. He is unambiguous that he believes the German state decided not to fully mobilize in '39-'41. There are complex reasons for this of course, doesn't change the conclusion.
The other striking thing about Muller's narrative is that Hitler could cut straight through all of this mess when he decided to: When he made army ammunition his #1 priority, Todt was assigned with extraordinary powers and artillery ammo output increased by ~50% in a few months.
Later in the war, when the Adolf Hitler Panzer Program became his priority, tank output nearly tripled (by weight) between January and May '43.
There were many axes of dysfunction in the war economy; this ATL doesn't need to peak into them to reorient ~0.3% of war spending or amplify its total by that amount.* Foreign labor (and truck) requisition is sufficient. As is leaning on industrialists not to waste workers, as was done later in the war (discussed towards the end this post).
So the ATL need only specify that Hitler orders the necessary production increases with attendant priorities, carrots, and sticks.
*please realize that I am aware that money doesn't literally make things but that money is useful accounting tool for comparing resource expenditure. A Tiger tank cost ~3x a PzIV because it embodied ~3x the resources. The "money isn't real" retort always has me hanging between giving an Econ 101 course and deleting my account.
It should be clear that I reject the framing - specifically it's not a question that my ATL needs to answer. Other questions point out routes sufficient to provide the ATL delta without Mueller-time narratives on Nazi bureaucracy:HistoryGeek2021 wrote:It seems then the real questions are:
(1) Why didn't Germany have a rational bureaucratic system in place for managing armaments production?
Why didn't Germany mobilize more foreign labor? They had excess plant capacity in every industry - really no debate about that.
Why didn't Germany pursue the numerous mobilization avenues in 1940-1 that it pursued later, such as (1) penalizing industrialists for not handing over labor excess to war production, (2) closing and consolidating inefficient firms, (3) forcing double-shift work at firms efficiently using labor. GSWW 6/1 discusses many of these, leadership's knowledge of their utility earlier, and their quick adoption after the 41-42 Winter Crisis.
Why was Germany still building autobahns in 1942? And some of Speer's shitty architecture at the same time?
First answer: My counterfactual analysis seeks to prove that Hitler lost because he took the SU lightly. If that's true (it is), I don't need more to blow up most of WW2 military historiography and (this requires another step in ATL world) the warmongering rhetorical uses of WW2 in contemporary politics (a discussion barred by forum rules so let's not pursue it).HistoryGeek2021 wrote:(2) Why was Germany unaware of the military potential of the Soviet Union?
My point is more dramatic the more Hitler's appraisal of SU was contingent, however. If something intrinsic to Nazism or even to Hitler mandated the fatuous Barbarossa plan, contingency diminishes. So was Hitler close to realizing the enormity of his task? Clearly yes. Selected quotes from Hitler’s Great Gamble by James Ellman:
Does Nazi racism make a fatuous Barbarossa inevitable? No: Hitler took Poland and Yugoslavia very seriously as military foes.“In the final days before the invasion, Hitler
became increasingly nervous and troubled—pacing constantly and needing
sedatives to be able to sleep.”5
Laboring under these fears of failure, “when Göring sought to flatter
him before Barbarossa, asserting that his greatest triumph was at hand,
Hitler sharply rebuked his marshal: ‘It will be our toughest struggle yet—
by far the toughest. Why? Because for the first time we shall be fighting
an ideological enemy, and an ideological enemy of fanatical persistence
at that.’ At the Wolf ’s Lair, Hitler’s headquarters in East Prussia built
expressly for the invasion, he voiced unease to one of his secretaries about
what lay ahead: ‘We know absolutely nothing about Russia. It might turn
out to be a one big soap-bubble, or it might just as well turn out to be
something quite different.’”6 On June 20th he told his staff, “I feel as if I
am pushing open the door to a dark room never seen before without
knowing what lies behind the door.”7
Is under-estimation of enemies intrinsic to the hubris of dictatorship? No: See Hitler vs. France, Stalin always, even the Kims back down from real wars.
So we're left with 20th Century history turning on the foibles of a particular man who made a particular bad decision. That's contingency at its apogee.
There are other factors that explain Barbarossa fatuity in the sense that, absent them, Hitler (as historically constituted) likely would have behaved differently:
The primary one is Halder not being absurdly incompetent during the planning period. I had a long discussion on this in another thread starting around here.
Halder talked sense into Hitler re November '39 France invasion; Hitler listened to his generals quite a bit - in many ways too much.
Absolutely yes.HistoryGeek2021 wrote:(3) If Germany had been aware of the military potential of the Soviet Union, would they still have embarked on Operation Barbarossa?
I'd argue it's the same as OTL: we need to kill this baby before it grows up and kills us.
Hitler could not afford a Soviet superpower as a neighbor while fighting the W.Allies (and he expected war with US, probably before Britain went down). That makes his rule - the very existence of the German people! (lol) - subject to Stalin's whim.
Hitler said OTL he'd go to the Urals if necessary. That's what was, in fact, necessary.
I have trouble even seeing the counterargument. Hitler accepts that he lives at Stalin's whim? Hitler commits seppuku so Britain makes peace and a united Europe can fight the SU? There was no way out but forward after September '39.
Even if one believes that Stalin would not have attacked later, one must also believe that Hitler believed so. That's an absurd position in the historical record; we can discuss if really necessary.
If Hitler starts a public drive "melt the U-Boats for tank production" or something then I could see this argument.HistoryGeek2021 wrote:(4) If Germany had efficiently allocated armaments production toward the army, how would the Soviet Union react?
But an ATL:OTL delta of 5 divisions amidst ~190 German divisions?
IIRC there's discussion in Glantz (Stumbling Colossus and/or Colossus Reborn) that projected Germany having 200 divisions and 10,000 tanks when it invaded [contemporaries had no idea how badly the German war economy was run, projected their own efficiency onto Germany]. If Stalin actually discovered that Germany was producing 300 tanks/month, he might have invaded first.
It's questionable how much more Stalin really could have done short of declaring war himself. SU's armaments output nearly matched Germany's in 1940 and probably exceeded it on June 22.HistoryGeek2021 wrote:The main reason Stalin gave for not mobilizing the Red Army in response to the OstHeer's buildup was that he believed Germany would never embark on a two-front war while still at war against Britain.
For RKKA to have had forward forces capable of stopping panzer groups on June 22 would have required something like twice the men and weapons, given how Blau went against ~2:1 odds. Anything short of that and it's just bigger PoW hauls.