A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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Guaporense
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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by Guaporense » 24 Feb 2015 03:19

ljadw wrote:There is also the following ; the OP is : A comparison of American and German economies in WWII, not :a comparison of the American economy to :the German economy + the economies of the German allies + the economies of the European neutral countries + the economies of the occupied European countries .
I never added the GDP of German allies and European neutrals to this comparison:
Guaporense wrote:After conquering France and the Low Countries in mid 1940, Germany controlled similar economic/industrial resources as the US, Germany further conquered a 100 million people in Eastern Europe in 1941, though mostly poor non-industrialized/half industrialized territories, which didn't increase Germany's potential resources in proportion to population but in GDP terms it was a 20% increase over this "Grossraum":

------------------GDP (PPP) ----- GDP (nominal) ----- Population ----- Per Capita Income ------ Coal output -------- Machine tool stock
"Grossraum" --- 869,339 -------- 82.2 billion ---------- 191,506 ------- 4,592 --------------------- 425,769 ------------ 944,527*
USA ------------ 862,995 -------- 90.5 billion ---------- 131,539 ------- 6,561 --------------------- 400,979 ------------ 896,035**

for sources, see "Estimating Warmaking Potential thread"

All numbers for 1939, except machine tools, 1938 for Germany only, 1940 for US.

In 1943, US's GDP increased, in 1990 dollars, to 1,171,861 millions (Kuznets's estimate), however, while "Grossraum" GDP was apparently 664,728 millions, assuming occupied territories paid 45% of their GDP in occupation taxes (France paid in 1943, 55.5% of it's GDP to Germany, 36.9% in 1942, source: http://eml.berkeley.edu/~webfac/eicheng ... /white.pdf). German military expenditures were 72% of US's level in 1943 (using 2 1939 RM to 1 1945 dollar), partly due to the economic collapse of the Grossraum following Nazi economic policies, still degree of . In 1943, assuming average GDP growth rate of 2.5% a year, yields a GDP of 959,588 for the Grossraum, still 82% of US's level.
Also I did not include territories Germany came to control later, such as Italy, Yugoslavia, 37% of the USSR and Greece.
If one want to compare the latter,a minimum of intellectual honesty would require to compare them with :the economy of the US + the economies of the allies of the US
That was what I did:
Guaporense wrote:Military Outlays and GDP of all controlled territories

Notice that in threads I made earlier such as in Nominal GDPs (i.e. converted on nominal exchange rates) of the world were attempts to deal with imperfections regarding PPP measures of GDP. However, reflecting on the military expenditures implied by PPP's it appears that PPP's GDP might be a superior measure: Japan's military outlays looked more like 20% of the US's rather than 10% as implied by official exchange rates. Instead, it appears that computing PPP GDP's and understanding the effects of per capita income appears to be a better approach: countries such as USSR and Japan managed total economic mobilization even though their per capita incomes were one third of the leading economies, but that was perhaps due to the fact that their per capita incomes were 4-5 times higher than China, Africa and India's, the truly backward regions of the world, which were agricultural subsistence economies, incapable of mobilizing their resources for total war, Japan, despite being relatively poor already was a industrial market economy, capable of mobilizing most of it's product for modern warfare. As a result I will consider only regions with per capita incomes equal or higher to those of the lowest income economies capable of military mobilization: Poland, Japan and the USSR (i.e. bigger than 2000 1990 dollars, so India, China and African colonial territories are irrelevant (and they practically were in warmaking potential terms))

Anyway, in 1942, at the turning point of the war, these were the 1939 PPP GDP's in 1990 dollars of the regions controlled by each coalition were:

Allies ---------------- 1,538,650
----- USA ------------ 862,995
----- UK ------------- 300,539
----- USSR ----------- 268,660 (reduced by 37% due to Barbarossa)*
----- Canada -------- 55,167
----- Australia ------ 40,749
----- New Zealand -- 10,510

Axis -------------------- 1,386,806
----- Germany -------- 428,750
----- France ----------- 200,840
----- Japan ------------ 166,506
----- Italy -------------- 154,470
----- USSR -------------- 151,430 (areas under German occupation)*
----- Poland ------------- 67,788
----- Netherlands ------- 48,687
----- Belgium ----------- 43,216
----- Czechoslovakia --- 31,578 (3/4 of the 1937 estimate, 1/4 was in Sudetenland)
----- Hungary ----------- 26,184
----- Denmark ----------- 22,803
----- Greece ------------- 18,875
----- Norway ------------- 13,118
----- Finland ------------- 12,561

*estimated in terms of reduction of labor force size: 86 million workers, 31 million under German occupation, 55 million in the "free" USSR

Not including Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, China, India, Thailand other British, French, Dutch and Japanese colonies (which were almost all agricultural near-subsistence economies of negligible war-making potential). Total Axis military outlays were relatively smaller than that though.

Total Military Expenditures

Allies ------ 3,358,000 (218% of the pre-war GDP)
Axis -------- 2,255,000 (163% of pre-war GDP territories)

The Allies managed to mobilize the economic potential of their territories to a greater degree than the Axis did. Though there is also the fact that Germany did not control all these territories in 1939, these territories were under Axis control for 2 years of the nearly 6 years long war.
I included everything in these tables. If you compared all Germany's allies and controlled industrialized territories versus the US alone you would get:

Axis -------------------- 1,386,806
USA -------------------- 862,995

Though US had higher rates of unemployment than the territories under Axis control, on average. If you substitute the actual GDP number by the long run trend, it is still significantly smaller. It's a myth that the Allies enjoyed vast economic superiority over the Axis, a myth based on ignoring the vast territories under Axis occupation besides their home territories.

By the way, if you look at measures of GDP, military expenditures, aircraft production and naval production Japan was obviously bigger than 10% of the US:

GDP (1939, millions 1990 dollars PPP)
Japan -------- 166,506
USA ----------- 862,995

Military outlays (billions 1939 dollars PPP), 1942 to 1944
Japan -------- 28.3
USA ----------- 155.4

Aircraft output (1941-1945)
Japan -------- 65,000
USA ----------- 297,000

Naval output (major vessels) (1942-1944), metric tons
Japan --------- 550,000
USA ----------- 3,200,000

Japan and the US had similar composition of military expenditures because both were island countries (US's island was North America), which allocated more resources to the Navy and Airforce. Germany's relatively resource allocation was different.

More like around 18% of the US's. Since most of US's resources were allocated versus Germany, Japan wasn't suffering from an enormous material inferiority. Truly a great power, Japan, though, lost many battles where they had numerical parity, they truly lost to the US on the battlefield. Not only due to a smaller economy but essentially because apparently the US military was more efficient as well in utilizing their resources.
But,of course,dreaming of intellectual honesty is only wishful-thinking .
I am the only person here who actually cares about understanding historical reality and is not a slave of political correctness and pro-Allied propaganda.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by RichTO90 » 24 Feb 2015 22:45

Guaporense wrote:I am the only person here who actually cares about understanding historical reality and is not a slave of political correctness and pro-Allied propaganda.
I see. And you prove that by ignoring corrections to your data and then pretending that none of those corrections were ever given you.

There's a very nice word for the world of "historical reality" you live in where you aren't a "slave of political correctness".

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Re: Ultimate Ammunition Table

Post by LWD » 12 Apr 2015 14:57

Guaporense wrote:
LWD wrote:Of course you are also rather ignoring the fact that the US ammunition production was limited not by production capablity but by percieved need.
I never did so. Production of everything is dictated by perceived need. This is obvious and I never had then intention of suggesting otherwise.
...
You are ignoring the fact that German production was very much resource limited. The US could have upped ammunition production without impacting other war production to any significant extent.

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Jan 2019 22:26

Old and long thread I know. And a frustrating read because the OP appears somewhat less than totally accurate and many responded with ideologically-valanced invective.

Nonetheless, the OP has a point that the total resources of the Grossraum approached American levels, especially if captured Soviet territory is included.
The glaring assumption, however, is that the conquered societies and peoples of Europe were willing and capable of producing for the Wehrmacht as they did pre-war. I didn't read the entire thread but didn't see much discussion of this factor. Per Tooze, Western Europe contributed only ~10% of Germany's armaments production in 1943. Meanwhile the OP is crediting the Grossraum with basically doubling Germany's productive capacity. The Grossraum was starved of petroleum, which caused a breakdown of agriculture (especially in France), and which precluded feeding and/or motivating the population to anything like pre-war productivity.

The foregoing comparison ignores the more substantial contributions of the Grossraum to raw materials (especially labor) that enabled some of the later production increases. This can't be overstated, however, as even here coal/steel production plummeted in Western Europe compared to pre-war and there was very little surplus after providing the occupied societies with the bare necessities of survival (e.g. heat in winter). Indeed, Germany had to export coal and steel to sustain many of its conquests (this is one reason, btw, that Spain's accession to the Axis might have been a huge burden rather than a boon).

What I'd suggest is to consider the OP's contention in the context of a "what if" where Germany has better success against the Soviet Union via preparing appropriately for that war (rather than assuming a brief blitzkrieg). Under those conditions - where Germany has taken Moscow, the Volga basin, and the Caucasus (at least) by the end of 1942 - Germany has at least a feasible path to "winning" the war in the sense of keeping the Anglo-Americans off the continent indefinitely. In that scenario, the occupied territories of the Grossraum could have been supplied with (Russian) oil, Germany's allies would have been motivated to cooperate to a greater extent, and the resources of Ukraine could have been mobilized better.

We don't need to assume the OP's pre-war levels of Grossraum productivity to see a huge problem for US/UK in this scenario. Germany's defensive stance, interior lines, and better battlefield effectiveness meant it could have survived a 2:1 GDP ratio. Trading a Type XXI Uboat for 10 Liberty Ships and their cargo, for example, is a ~30:1 ratio of economic attrition. Trading a fighter or Flak against a four-engine bomber is still far ahead of the resources ratio. Meanwhile Germany doesn't need to build landing craft, convoy escorts, fleets of warships, etc.

So while I can't fully endorse the OP's points (especially as I've mostly skimmed this thread), there's more to the Axis chances of success and the economic balance than is usually supposed. Thank God Hitler made such a basic strategic error regarding the kind of war he faced in Russia.

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by Stiltzkin » 29 Jan 2019 01:59

Nonetheless, the OP has a point that the total resources of the Grossraum approached American levels, especially if captured Soviet territory is included.
The glaring assumption, however, is that the conquered societies and peoples of Europe were willing and capable of producing for the Wehrmacht as they did pre-war. I didn't read the entire thread but didn't see much discussion of this factor. Per Tooze, Western Europe contributed only ~10% of Germany's armaments production in 1943. Meanwhile the OP is crediting the Grossraum with basically doubling Germany's productive capacity. The Grossraum was starved of petroleum, which caused a breakdown of agriculture (especially in France), and which precluded feeding and/or motivating the population to anything like pre-war productivity.
Capacity is just what it is, whether it is utilized or not. It has been frequently argued that Germany lacked the industrial capacity, this theory is still deeply enrooted in literature.
The Nazis failed to extract a large number of potential soldiers out of the occupied territories, the byproduct of their ideology and their short sightedness when planning for the war against the USSR. One might argue that this is exactly what cost them the war. Germany needed labour, or more reliable Allies, this would have required a greater synergy. Italy's contribution would have had to be greater than merely supporting them with few Divisions. Japan on the other hand, should not have challenged the Anglo-Saxon sphere of power.
The foregoing comparison ignores the more substantial contributions of the Grossraum to raw materials (especially labor) t
There have been a variety of contributions on the labour and material situation in the economy section. The OP argued that economic factors played a subordinated role in the defeat of Nazi Germany, politics, geostrategy and demography had a greater influence.
What I'd suggest is to consider the OP's contention in the context of a "what if" where Germany has better success against the Soviet Union via preparing appropriately for that war (rather than assuming a brief blitzkrieg). Under those conditions - where Germany has taken Moscow, the Volga basin, and the Caucasus (at least) by the end of 1942 - Germany has at least a feasible path to "winning" the war in the sense of keeping the Anglo-Americans off the continent indefinitely.
Yes, a different strategy would have favoured them (a prolonged war), but the inconclusiveness of the conflict still made them vulnerable, as Germany's labour force would be extended and occupied in the East. Fighting the USSR turns the continental conflict into a world war one way or another (why would the Allies stand idle?).
In that scenario, the occupied territories of the Grossraum could have been supplied with (Russian) oil, Germany's allies would have been motivated to cooperate to a greater extent, and the resources of Ukraine could have been mobilized better.
I fail to see how this would have "motivated" other parties. It had more to do with cultural spheres and ideology, the mentality of people than mere resources. Germany would have to rip these populations out of Moscows sphere of power. It is as if the US was trying to persuade North Korea to join them in a campaign against China. Privileges and economic growth are not instantaneous and thus their impact would not be felt without delay.
Originally, no such plans existed, we are speaking about the Nazis here, it lies in the nature of things. The Stalinist regime (despite executions, famines and deportations), had a very tight grip over these populations.
We don't need to assume the OP's pre-war levels of Grossraum productivity to see a huge problem for US/UK in this scenario. Germany's defensive stance, interior lines, and better battlefield effectiveness meant it could have survived a 2:1 GDP ratio. Trading a Type XXI Uboat for 10 Liberty Ships and their cargo, for example, is a ~30:1 ratio of economic attrition. Trading a fighter or Flak against a four-engine bomber is still far ahead of the resources ratio. Meanwhile Germany doesn't need to build landing craft, convoy escorts, fleets of warships, etc.
Yes but this was not the reason for their demise either, also a victory in the East would have enabled them to shift their entire effort to the Atlantic Theatre.
One thing of course is, that the ocean shielded Germany from American economic might, at least for a certain period, but you could turn it around by asking the question: What enabled them to come back? 23,153,570 Soviet operational losses did. What prevented a Soviet collapse? Allied support and stabilization.
Thank God Hitler made such a basic strategic error regarding the kind of war he faced in Russia.
Yes, except that the Halder-Hitler schizm looked differently. Hitler was an advocate of a prolonged war (before launching Typhoon), realizing that the war would not end in 1941, while Halder insisted on pushing for Moscow. They changed their strategy in 1942, overextended and as a consequence, were enveloped. Their efforts thwarted, there was no chance of success, independent of the overall strategy. It was about survival. Fighting the front to a standstill was still feasible, post 43 even this door closed.

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Jan 2019 02:23

Stiltzkin wrote:Fighting the USSR turns the continental conflict into a world war one way or another (why would the Allies stand idle?).
Why would the USSR stand idle had Hitler focused on UK/US?
Nazi-Communist war was inevitable. Hitler thought it'd be easy but I think it still happens even if Hitler had accurate understanding of USSR and/or Hitler decides not to attack USSR. Stalin had an ambitious expansion program; he specifically targeted Turkey and Iran pursuant to the Nazi-Soviet pact and, like Hitler, that pact was a holding pattern for a military buildup on the historical Eastern Front.
Stilzkin wrote:The OP argued that economic factors played a subordinated role in the defeat of Nazi Germany, politics, geostrategy and demography had a greater influence.
Good, I agree with the OP on that issue. Germany outproduced the USSR and might have lost against it anyway in a one-on-one fight due to demographics.
Stilzkin wrote:I fail to see how this would have "motivated" other parties. It had more to do with cultural spheres and ideology, the mentality of people than mere resources.
Setting aside Ukraine for now, the history is pretty clear to me that countries like Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Romania, Hungary, and Turkey all varied their support of Germany according to the Wehrmacht's fortunes. That's demonstrably true of ore sales, machine tool sales, and willingness to commit soldiers.

Re the Ukraine, I'm not talking about wholesale shifting of allegiance to Germany. That of course would never happen in a world in which the Nazis are still Nazis. On the margins, however, German success would have caused some shifts. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians chose the Waffen SS or Hiwi service over joining the partisans; the mix of these choices again varied with Germany's fortunes. Stalin's tight grip did not preclude significant (though minority) support for the Germans; his grip would have been much weaker if Red Army is pushed back to the Volga or Urals.
Stiltzkin wrote:Yes but this was not the reason for their demise either, also a victory in the East would have enabled them to shift their entire effort to the Atlantic Theatre.
One thing of course is, that the ocean shielded Germany from American economic might, at least for a certain period, but you could turn it around by asking the question: What enabled them to come back? 23,153,570 Soviet operational losses did. What prevented a Soviet collapse? Allied support and stabilization.
Not sure how to construe your point here. I don't disagree that the Red Army basically won the war and that Allied support helped the Red Army do it.

The background of everything I'm saying is this: had Hitler invaded the USSR pursuant to a better strategic vision executed by a realistic plan based on accurate intelligence instead of prejudice and wish-fulfillment, Germany could have won in the East. I say more about it here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=239750

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Jan 2019 02:35

Stiltzkin wrote:Yes, except that the Halder-Hitler schizm looked differently. Hitler was an advocate of a prolonged war (before launching Typhoon), realizing that the war would not end in 1941, while Halder insisted on pushing for Moscow.
I don't find the Hitler-Halder disagreement all that interesting actually (though for the record I tend to take Hitler's side over Halder's).
Neither strategy would have ended the war in 1941 or even 42. Stalin and his people were prepared to fight on without Moscow.
Hitler went into Barbarossa expecting a short campaign. The difference between him and Halder is he recognized the truth earlier. Halder's record in the East is terrible IMO.

What Germany needed to do was win a 2-3 year war of attrition. For that they needed a slightly better army in 1941/42. They could have had such an army given the right pre-war and early-war decisions but building such an army would have delayed turning against UK and US and was therefore unnecessary given prevailing views of the USSR.

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by South » 29 Jan 2019 08:56

Good morning T. M.P.,

Basic accuracy is missing is missing in Grossraim's total resources approaching US levels.

Compare, for example, a 100 miles stretch of railroad track and properly coupled to the track's risk management program - typically being insurance. The Union Pacific RR had less risk of track destruction than a German-controlled counterpart track.

Continue this type of analysis for the other key components of critical infrastructure.

It's difficult for a civilian agency to challenge projects with the justification of "military necessity". The Third Reich was deficient in strong internal controls. The US - although with its own scandals - had a governmental apparatus in place to more properly allocate resources to prosecute a war. The US had the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply. It had the Office of Production Management. Pre-Pearl Harbor, FDR established the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board. Many others are on the list.

The Third Reich had the Schacht Goring "dispute". Schacht lost and Goring won. This "dispute" was Hitlet's BASIC strategic mistake.

I always go on alert whenever reading "GDP" with the narrative's absence of "foreign exchange reserves" (FOREX).

One major factor re the Moscow campaign was the inadequate support systems and what these systems were for. The Red Baron type aviation ace had an air cargo supply program that could not deliver the planned tonnage.

FDR liked the Schacht Autobahn plan to minimize unemployment concurrent with furthering the infrastructure for the war. Some of the US programs have the Schacht "signature" on 'em.

US resource levels eclipsed the Third Reich. Adding time to the time line enhanced the US levels concurrent with diminishing the level of the Third Reich. Blitzkrieg had a value. Attrition against the US - the British empire - the Soviet Union - ?!

~ Bob
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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by South » 29 Jan 2019 09:18

Good morning Stiltzkin,

Some good points. I ask to amplify on one.

Re: "...argue that Germany lacked the industrial capacity ... this theory is still deeply enrooted in literature";

It's less a theory and more so, an approach. Consider, for example, replacement cost accounting. Those not using the aforesaid get different tallies for the industrial capacity charts. The destruction of an industrial facility...let's say an oil refinery...in peacetime, can be lived with. Adjustments will occur. During wartime: the ripple effect makes the problem even more of a problem.

......

Geostrategy incorporates economic factors. A P51 fighter aircraft over the Kiel Canal has an economic component to the military mission. Britain-based bombers destroying housing, whether as a primary target or collateral damage, is as economic a matter as there is.


~ Bob
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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by Stiltzkin » 30 Jan 2019 00:35

Why would the USSR stand idle had Hitler focused on UK/US?
Because: a)the USSR already got plenty of territory in 39 (with little to no casualties!) and was originally Allied with Nazi Germany (both the UK and US had nothing to offer that would have been of particular interest). An Anglo-American-Soviet tripartite would appear unlikely, had events turned out differently than they historically did. Soviet aggression was also contained in the 20s and 39, it was not in Stalin's interest to be perceived as the aggressor. Moscow was always interested in maintaining the borders and constellation of 1815. This is a question of pragmatism. I think a good example exists today, Moscow takes a similar stance when negotiating with Beijing, the mechanisms involved are quite similar to those between Stalin and Hitler in 1939.
Furthermore, it is very unlikely that the Western Allies would have been able to establish a foothold on the continent (or pay the price for that matter), without the German Army being overextended in the East. Britain and France should have made a move in 1939, this would have thwarted Hitler's ambitions much earlier.
b)Stalin hoped for Germany to bleed out on the Western Front, which would have enabled him to refocus on China, Iran, Korea and Japan (it all changed in 41 of course). His main objective however were the Balkans.
c)Most importantly: The Western Allies were kicked off the contintent in 1940 and Germany's ultimate goal lied in the East: The Lebensraum (the resources they needed to challenge US/UK oversea dominion), which was Hitler's plan from the very beginning, significantly lessening the relevance of this discussed point. This turned the war into a world war and created the possibility of a victory over the Nazi's, the UK needed the Soviet manpower to survive, while Stalin would embrace all the help he could get, in order to survive.
Nazi-Communist war was inevitable
Was it? There would have been alternatives had Germany not gone rogue. It was also not in Stalin's interest, as there was no certainty that he might win (the collapse of the Russian Army in WW1 in mind). You are using hindsight, observe the situation from the year of 38-39 and not 45. The public needed to be convinced that the Nazis were the blight of the world. Diplomatic skill would have dampened that. It is Tojo that dragged the US into the war actually, before that the United States were rather unwilling to participate. The US did not have such a world presence back then, as it maintains today.
An containment of Bolshevism would have been achievable via a defensive strategy (e.g. comparable to NATO). Germany blackmailed its neighbors and dragged the Germanic (or at least parts) and Slavic populations into a total war, while alienating possible Allies. The final result was, that the Soviets stood at the Elbe, instead of the Bug.
Not sure how to construe your point here. I don't disagree that the Red Army basically won the war and that Allied support helped the Red Army do it.
That the Allies could not come back without that price that was paid. Either they commit to the conflict in the same way as France and Britain did in WW1, or (and this is the strategy they pursued) they let the Soviets bleed for them and tip the balance in their favour. The US was not ready to transport a sufficient number of Divisions into Europe before 42 anway.
The German defeat was based on multiple strategic errors of the High Command. Simpy put: A Soviet attack in the Western districts would not produce a victory, while the Wehrmacht could not bring the USSR down to its knees via a quick strike. It required a) An overwhelming Anti-Hitler coalition, b) the German Army gradually wearing down over the wide Steppes of the EF. The failure of Barbarossa did not teleport the Soviet Army into Berlin, nor was a Soviet preemptive strike a guarantee for success (e.g. Winter War).
I don't find the Hitler-Halder disagreement all that interesting actually (though for the record I tend to take Hitler's side over Halder's).
Neither strategy would have ended the war in 1941 or even 42. Stalin and his people were prepared to fight on without Moscow.
Hitler went into Barbarossa expecting a short campaign. The difference between him and Halder is he recognized the truth earlier. Halder's record in the East is terrible IMO.
As mentioned above, the change of their overall strategy would have increased their chances of success. Either you keep pushing towards the capital in 41 and 42, or you decide to sit in the Donbass for years, while you still have the numbers to hold ground and launch offensives.
Germany outproduced the USSR and might have lost against it anyway in a one-on-one fight due to demographics.
Yes, in the end you can produce as much as you want, "wonder weapons" or not, if your enemy is throwing thousands of Divisions at you, it would require a considerable edge. In a natural arms race this is rarely achievable and WW2 was not decided by the most modern of weapon systems, rather the most basic ones.
Still, this is only one possible outcome (albeit a victory at a higher cost), which inherits a fundamental problem, as the USSR was taking casualties at an increased rate. They would have had to reconsider launching further offensives. I have calculated the attrition rates and included all manpower reserves that would have been available from the OKH theatres. The result was, that it was not only a question of mere manpower but also the ground to give. In fact, the Soviets do not win against the Nazis in a toe to toe comparison as they would run out of men if they would not make it into Berlin before 46. If the German Army would have been able to retreat deeper into Central Europe, this would have complicated things further. Historically speaking this was impossible, as the Allies were closing in from these directions. The Soviets did not have this problem and the Eastern Front shielded them from German economic power. Without Allied economic help, the abililty to deploy a greater number of Divisions in 1944-45 would have been problematic, while decreasing effectiveness (motorization, airpower, nutrition, communication etc.). Disintegration would have also been quite possible (in the dark days of 42), during WW1, when British help seeped in after an unsuccessful Campaign in the middle East, this had an impact on the situation of the Russian Imperial Army.
Originally I thought the same way, but I have distanced myself from this contention. The two cent theory is just propaganda. Just as certain individuals like to inflate Anglo-American importance, there are also those who tend to downlplay it.
Note that the term "outproduction" is quite stupid. It is used in conjunction with the impression of an overwhelming superiority over the Axis powers. War economy does not work that way. Only amateurs tend to think that if an armed force has produced 10,000 more tanks than its adversary, it therefore must be superior. This can say something about a faction (choices, allocations, doctrines), but it might also not. The United States has a smaller AFV park than Russia, yet it is economically superior.
Re the Ukraine, I'm not talking about wholesale shifting of allegiance to Germany. That of course would never happen in a world in which the Nazis are still Nazis.
Yes, but taking them out of the equation would already change things drastically, the core parts of the RSFSR were down to new cohorts on the eve of 43, Soviet manpower was not endless. There is no absolute certainty in these scenarios, rather a probability of success. Both World Wars were much closer than one might think, taking away a few pieces influences the outcome considerably.
Stalin's tight grip did not preclude significant (though minority) support for the Germans; his grip would have been much weaker if Red Army is pushed back to the Volga or Urals.
Yes, but the Soviets could afford more mistakes and cultural spheres matter.
Last edited by Stiltzkin on 30 Jan 2019 05:54, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by Stiltzkin » 30 Jan 2019 00:41

argue that Germany lacked the industrial capacity ... this theory is still deeply enrooted in literature
Well, the thing is that a lot of people equate lower output with lower productivity or less economic power, less capacity, but the reality is that Germany was already at a semi-war footing and reached (more or less) the pre planned levels. Usually, people cite tank issues as an indicator for inefficiency in the early war years (or merely focus on the later stages of the war when massive territorial losses occured), but that was more of a local problem to find a satisfactory asset, to initiate production. With an increase of losses, output started to rise and no nation on earth would have been able to adequately replace losses in such a situation they found themselves in at the end of the war. The essence is: Add 1,000,000 Axis soldiers to the equation and production ramps up, unless of course the raw material situation would reach critical levels.

Anyway, there is also one issue with the GDPs here, in that they are artificially inflated due to war production and inherit flaws, since calculations suffer from such phenomenons. You need to compare the war effort of two nations operating under similiar conditions.

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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by South » 30 Jan 2019 05:18

Good morning Stiltzkin,

Concur; especially in re GDP and how it's calculated.

......

Ref your replies to T.M.P.;
Re Tojo got the US into the war;

A Head Note; The deliberate and highly-visible Japanese attack on the USS Panay, 12 December 1937, anchored in Yangtse River, near Nanjing, China, was kept from the US public by FDR. He knew the US was not - yet - ready for war: socially, economically or politically.

A Japanese colleague of mine...since left the planet...told me of a Japanese school of thought that the US started the war in the Pacific with the US acquisition of the Hawaiian Islands, circa 1898.


~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

Stiltzkin
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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by Stiltzkin » 30 Jan 2019 05:56

A Japanese colleague of mine...since left the planet...told me of a Japanese school of thought that the US started the war in the Pacific with the US acquisition of the Hawaiian Islands, circa 1898.
This sounds a bit too far-fetched. One could argue that the aid to China in their fight against Japanese expansionism played a larger role in their decision making than acts from the late 19th century, but I do not exclude this possibility.

TheMarcksPlan
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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Jan 2019 07:03

Stitzkin wrote:Was it?
Yes, the war was inevitable unless Hitler isn't Hitler. The march east for Lebensraum is at the core of his Weltanschauung.
It was also not in Stalin's interest, as there was no certainty that he might win (the collapse of the Russian Army in WW1 in mind). You are using hindsight, observe the situation from the year of 38-39 and not 45.
No, try viewing the situation from Hitler's perspective and from the perspective of a hypothetical "turn to the West" by Hitler in '40/'41.
Hitler said repeatedly that maintaining the status quo of 1941 while Germany fought the UK and US would enable Russia to blackmail him economically and diplomatically.
He was also aware that USSR was building up its forces and would have a massive army by 1942 at the latest (he told Mussolini in summer '41 that the Germans would have lost if they had let the Soviet buildup continue until '42).
You're correct that it wasn't in Stalin's interest to invade in '41, but during '42-'44, as Germany became more deeply enmeshed against the U.S. and as Stalin's 15-million man army mobilized, it absolutely would have been in his interest to attack a weakened Germany.
And don't let hindsight trick you into believing that a delayed Russian attack would have been similar to the IRL Red Army effort (i.e. taking years to make progress). Hitler's early successes depended on numerical superiority and/or parity that would not have existed for a Russian steamroller that starts fresh in, say, 1943.

You're also incorrect in implying Stalin wanted no more from Hitler - either directly or indirectly.
He wanted to directly expropriate at least those Polish lands formerly belonging to the Czar.
He wanted to expropriate further territory and influence in the Balkans, as you recognize, which brings him directly into conflict with Hitler's Rumanian and Hungarian allies, as well as Hitler's refusal to countenance Russian control of the Bosporus.

No, Hitler made the only rational move by trying to preempt Russian power accumulation.
b)Stalin hoped for Germany to bleed out on the Western Front
That his hope wasn't fulfilled in '40 doesn't mean it's abandoned. Stalin was still saying, after the fall of France, that he was happy to see the capitalist countries destroy each other.
That the Allies could not come back without that price that was paid. Either they commit to the conflict in the same way as France and Britain did in WW1, or (and this is the strategy they pursued) they let the Soviets bleed for them and tip the balance in their favour.
I don't need to argue that the US/UK were willing to sacrifice a whole generation a la WW1 to show they're capable of fatally undermining Germany's ability to resist Russia. Even marginal actions such as Torch and Husky, had they occurred simultaneously with Barbarossa, would have fatally undermined Germany's striking power.
In the scenario we're considering (Russian starts in 42-44) the balance of forces is further tipped against Germany.

Why have you any faith that Stalin - having amassed ~4-1 numerical superiority over a Germany that is being pounded by US/UK bombers and bled at the margins of its overextended Empire - that this Stalin would withhold acting?

Just by way... I consider it redundant to trade accusations of hindsight when discussing alternative history. The very fact of contesting alternate history implies that one believes he has the better insight into the true dynamics at play. I, for example, believe you don't understand the true power dynamics in the East because you're looking at that front based on hindsight of the way things went there. Speaking of which:
As mentioned above, the change of their overall strategy would have increased their chances of success. Either you keep pushing towards the capital in 41 and 42, or you decide to sit in the Donbass for years, while you still have the numbers to hold ground and launch offensives.
Let's table the Moscow or Kiev issue for now; we disagree but it's ancillary.
More fundamentally, you're giving only two historically viable options: take the capital or take the Donbass.
I believe that's a blinkered view of history, though I'll admit I'm in a very small minority.
A plausible alternate history is one in which Hitler has decent intelligence about Soviet military strength and acts accordingly. I.e. he launches Barbarossa with a slightly stronger force that actually achieves the primary goal of Red Army destruction west of Don-Dniepr line. As a result, Germany stays a couple million men ahead of the Russian mobilization curve and conquers all the way to Volga by the end of 42. That effectively ends serious Russian resistance.
Yes, in the end you can produce as much as you want, "wonder weapons" or not, if your enemy is throwing thousands of Divisions at you, it would require a considerable edge. In a natural arms race this is rarely achievable and WW2 was not decided by the most modern of weapon systems, rather the most basic ones.
This would be an interesting topic. Is there a thread on USSR vs. Germany one-on-one?
IMO the course of such a conflict is path-dependent. I tend to agree with you that, had the Western Allies simply disappeared in 1941-43, Stalin probably can't get to Berlin. It's for that exact reason that I argue Germany was closer to winning a war of attrition against SU than is commonly supposed. If Germany incapacitates a "mere" 2 million more Russians in '41, the cascading effects on subsequent attrition rates are such that Stalin is pretty much out of soldiers by '43.

BUT - the flipside of this path dependence is the scenario in which Stalin has the strategic jump on Hitler rather than vice versa. That's exactly what a German defense on the Bug confers. To repeat, this gives Stalin at least an 8mil field army in 1943. Germany is burning while the Donbass, Leningrad, etc. are all safe and productive. Hitler is f*%ked in this scenario. Maybe so are West Germany, Belgium, etc.
Both World Wars were much closer than one might think, taking away a few pieces influences the outcome considerably.
Can't disagree here. WW1 was still a close call in 1918.
Although I believe WW2 could have gone differently, I actually think its "closeness" is overrated after ~August 1941. All the drama of Stalingrad, Alamein etc. is a drawn out denouement to the climax of Soviet survival at (something like) full strength, which cemented an insuperable Allied coalition.

South
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Re: A Comparison of American and German economies in WW2

Post by South » 30 Jan 2019 09:19

Good morning Stiltzkin,

In geopolitics, it's exactly on target. A new shatterbelt was formed in the Central Pacific. Japan sought to become a Pacific power and the US interfered with their plans.

Political geography, economic geography and the overall encompassing geopolitics deals in trends.


~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

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