Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
RichTO90
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by RichTO90 » 01 Oct 2013 16:46

ljadw wrote:This is not so : it is a question of elimination

1)GDP should not be used (not a good indication in the case of closed economies:not my words)
Quite true, but also irrelevent in the context of World War II. Complaints regarding the problematic nature of GDP are based upon the context of the globalized world of today, not the desperate and partly or wholly "closed" individual nations fighting World War II.
2)Figures of production of raw materials should not be used,because there is no agreement about what raw materials should be used : has the fact that Germany produced more steel is more important than the fact that the SU produced more oil ?
Actually, there has long been very good agreement - Guns, Germs, and Steel - pretty adequately covers it. :lol:

Germany produced more steel, but it was inadquate for all their requirements (see Tooze); the Soviet Union produced less initially, but received more finished steel product, and utilized it differently than did Germany.

Germany produced less oil, but sufficient for their requirements until about mid 1943.

More important to the end result of the war were manpower and strategic requirements.
Last edited by RichTO90 on 01 Oct 2013 16:57, edited 1 time in total.

RichTO90
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by RichTO90 » 01 Oct 2013 16:56

ljadw wrote:I also like to know why the people who are attacking me,because I am arguing that the USSR was economically stronger than Gemany,were also attacking Guaporense,when he said that Germany was economically stronger than the SU ?
You are not making your case any better by complaining about anonymous "people" supposedly "attacking" you orby claiming those same unnamed "people" engaged in such "attack" on guaporense.

I am not "attacking" you; I am simply pointing out that much of your argument is simply illogical or poorly supported. Worse, I found your repeated diddling with figures all too reminescent of guaporense's tactics and challenged you on that point.

Nor, previously, did I "attack" guaporense for his claim that "Germany was economically stronger than the SU"; I challeneged his defective use of sources, falsifying of facts and figures, and repetitive changes of topics where he then proceeded to trot out all the same old disproven "facts and figures". His claim, in fact, was that Germany was economically stronger than either the U.S., UK, or the Soviet Union. The first is false, the second is arguable, depending on whether the British Empire is meant, and the last - if treated in isolation - is simply true.

However, if you would care to show a post from that old thread where I ever made such a claim you are welcome to do so. Meanwhile perhaps you could identify someone else here that fits your claim?

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by ljadw » 01 Oct 2013 19:41

You called me a lunatic,I interprete this as an attack .
On the old thread(7 october 2010),you replied on the following post by Guaporense:"I had the impression that many people think that the USSR and the UK had superiority in material resources over Germany",the following :"Thence you would be correct since they did".

I interprete this as that your opinion is that the USSR had superiority in material resources over Germany.

Now that I am saying that the USSR was economically stronger than Germany, I am called a lunatic .

Sad..

An other post from you on the old thread (also 7 october in my timezone) :Wether or not the 25 missing % would have made the difference in 41/42 is the question.

I am interpreting this as following :you doubt that,if the forces/resources tied in the West have been available for the East,Germany would have won .

Now that I am saying that if these forces had been available,Germany still would have failed,I am a lunatic ;

Sad...

About the other anonymous poste,since you asked for a name ...



On the old thread,LWD declared on 25/8/2010:the SU did have more resources and access to yet more.
This is very close to my claim that the USSR was economically stronger than Germany.
On 1 october,replying to Guaporense:Germany had much superior material resources? In some areas perhaps,but overall,that's in some doubt .

Now, I have to quit,these hospital visits are tiring down .

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LWD
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by LWD » 01 Oct 2013 20:59

ljadw wrote:...
1)I did not say that I agreed with the "argument :"but with less steel,the SU was building more tanks,thus the SU was stronger",but,it can be used to counter the claim ;"Germany was producing more steel ,thus it was stronger" ,which also can be considered as nonsensical.
In what way does the fact that the USSR produced more tanks counter the fact that Germany produced more steel? Steel production was a critical component of the economies of the time by the way. Tank production not so much.
2)About the GDP : Paspartoo (an economist) wrote in his first post :"now,for the GDP,it is not a good indication in the case of closed economies."
But part of that depends on how it's calculated does it not? If you calculate it by converting currency I'll agree it's not a great indicator. However if it is calculated by tacalculating the equivalant value of production (i.e. a ton of steel is worth X dollars) then it can be pretty good.
3) your opinion that GDP and raw materials production are much better measures than the one I have used,make them not good .
The ones you use have little or no correlation to economic strength so it may be my opinion but it's based on fact and logic where your opinion seems to be based on your beliefs and little or nothing else.

RichTO90
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by RichTO90 » 02 Oct 2013 03:01

ljadw wrote:You called me a lunatic,I interprete this as an attack .
No, I did not, I said "wow the lunacy just doesn't stop". http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 8#p1822458 That you have translated that very valid commentary on this inane thread into an "attack" on you personally is a sad commentary on how far off the rails you have managed to go.
On the old thread(7 october 2010),you replied on the following post by Guaporense:"I had the impression that many people think that the USSR and the UK had superiority in material resources over Germany",the following :"Thence you would be correct since they did".

I interprete this as that your opinion is that the USSR had superiority in material resources over Germany.
Then you need a better interpreter. Anyone reading that should be able to interpret my response as "it is correct to think the USSR and the UK had superiority in material resources over Germany". A. N. D. Do you fail to comprehend that? You could also interpret that as each had "material resources" superior to Germany - better access and more resources, which is notthe same as economic or productive superiority.
Now that I am saying that the USSR was economically stronger than Germany, I am called a lunatic .
No, you were not called a lunatic, but this thread is lunacy, since there is literally nothing to support your argument.
Sad..

An other post from you on the old thread (also 7 october in my timezone) :Wether or not the 25 missing % would have made the difference in 41/42 is the question.

I am interpreting this as following :you doubt that,if the forces/resources tied in the West have been available for the East,Germany would have won .

Now that I am saying that if these forces had been available,Germany still would have failed,I am a lunatic ;
The "missing 25%" has nothing to do with economic strength or production, so your interpretation again is incorrect.
Sad...

About the other anonymous poste,since you asked for a name ...



On the old thread,LWD declared on 25/8/2010:the SU did have more resources and access to yet more.
This is very close to my claim that the USSR was economically stronger than Germany.
No, it is not, "resources" and "economic power" or "production" are not all synonymous. Yes, the Soviet Union had more resources and access to more, but that does not mean it was economically stronger.

On 1 october,replying to Guaporense:Germany had much superior material resources? In some areas perhaps,but overall,that's in some doubt .
Again, I am afraid that "material resources" and "economic strength" are not one and the same.
Now, I have to quit,these hospital visits are tiring down .
I am sincerely sorry if you are in hospital and wish you all the very best.

KDF33
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by KDF33 » 02 Oct 2013 05:28

RichTO90 wrote:You need to start pulling away from absolutes and start looking for nuance. The difference in steel production was small...in 1941 roughly 32-million tons of German versus 30-million tons of Soviet.
Hello Rich,

Minor disagreement here - the Soviets never came close to producing 30 million tons of steel in 1941, or at any point of WW2 for the matter. Here's a basic comparison between German and Soviet output for steel, coal and fuel (meaning avgas, vehicle gasoline and diesel fuel):

Thousands of metric tons:

1940:

Germany: 21,540 steel -> 315,500 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 2,562 fuel
USSR: 18,317 steel -> 145,740 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 4,994 fuel

1941:

Germany: 28,233 steel -> 317,900 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 3,163 fuel
USSR: 17,898 steel -> 130,420 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 5,188 fuel

1942:

Germany: 28,744 steel -> 340,400 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 3,657 fuel
USSR: 8,070 steel -> 54,859 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 2,732 fuel

1943:

Germany: 30,603 steel -> 347,600 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 4,279 fuel
USSR: 8,475 steel -> 63,295 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 3,248 fuel

1944:

Germany: 25,853 steel -> N/A bituminous coal-equivalent -> 2,822 fuel
USSR: 10,887 steel -> 86,325 bituminous coal-equivalent -> 4,309 fuel

Looking at this data, it's pretty obvious that Germany's economy dwarfed that of the USSR by a significant margin. Especially after Barbarossa.

Regards,

KDF

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by KDF33 » 02 Oct 2013 05:38

Also interesting is to note what the annexed areas (Austria, the Protectorate, parts of Poland, Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg) added to total German output. I only have full data for 1941 and 1942, but it gives an interesting picture:

Thousands of metric tons:

1941:

1937 Germany: 23,460 steel -> 241,500 bituminous coal-equivalent
Annexed areas: 4,763 steel -> 76,400 bituminous coal-equivalent

1942:

1937 Germany: 23,277 steel -> 250,300 bituminous coal-equivalent
Annexed areas: 5,467 steel -> 90,100 bituminous coal-equivalent

Regards,

KDF

RichTO90
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by RichTO90 » 02 Oct 2013 12:44

KDF33 wrote:Minor disagreement here - the Soviets never came close to producing 30 million tons of steel in 1941, or at any point of WW2 for the matter. Here's a basic comparison between German and Soviet output for steel, coal and fuel (meaning avgas, vehicle gasoline and diesel fuel):
Not sure its a disagreement at all, I was unclear if the figures were directly comparable. German steel production from all sources in 1941 was 32.1-million tons, but I wasn't sure if that was raw steel or included finished product. The Soviets figures I have are 17.893-million tons of raw steel and 13.338-million tons of finished steel products. Now in rechecking I find the German figure is for ingot steel - i.e., raw steel - so, yes, the Germans were producing twice the output of raw steel and thus it may be inferred that their finished steel production was also in the same range.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by thereichsmarschall » 03 Oct 2013 23:27

Well I suppose this is as good a thread as any to make my initial post ! This topic obviously touches on a deep held ideological belief and after 15 pages , no matter how convincingly the point that the ussr was economically weaker than Germany is made, some will choose to not draw the proper conclusions.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Oct 2013 11:09

Hi TRM,

It may be a brief first post, but it makes what I think is a valid general point.

We in the Cold War West have probably been too quick to accept the German post-war proposition that they only lost because they were massively disadvantaged in almost every way against the USSR. One must accept that there was no inherent reason why the Russians could not be better managers of resources or qualitatively superior to the Germans in some areas.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Oct 2013 16:59

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi TRM,

It may be a brief first post, but it makes what I think is a valid general point.

We in the Cold War West have probably been too quick to accept the German post-war proposition that they only lost because they were massively disadvantaged in almost every way against the USSR. One must accept that there was no inherent reason why the Russians could not be better managers of resources or qualitatively superior to the Germans in some areas.

Cheers,

Sid.
Exactly Sid, the Soviets better utilized what they had. They were more ruthless in their mobilization and did so more quickly than anyone else.

As of 1943, the Soviets had 54% of their working population in war-related industry or in the armed forces, Germany had 37.6%. More significant is where they were - 31% of Soviets were in war industry and 23% in the armed forces. In Germany, only 14.2% were in war industry and 23.4% in the armed forces. More workers, more production, a problem the Germans struggled with throughout.

War expenditures were similar though, in 1943 the Germany's spent roughly $13.5-billion on munitions, the Soviets about $14-billion (normalized to U.S. 1944 munitions prices).

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by stg 44 » 05 Oct 2013 17:56

RichTO90 wrote:
Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi TRM,

It may be a brief first post, but it makes what I think is a valid general point.

We in the Cold War West have probably been too quick to accept the German post-war proposition that they only lost because they were massively disadvantaged in almost every way against the USSR. One must accept that there was no inherent reason why the Russians could not be better managers of resources or qualitatively superior to the Germans in some areas.

Cheers,

Sid.
Exactly Sid, the Soviets better utilized what they had. They were more ruthless in their mobilization and did so more quickly than anyone else.

As of 1943, the Soviets had 54% of their working population in war-related industry or in the armed forces, Germany had 37.6%. More significant is where they were - 31% of Soviets were in war industry and 23% in the armed forces. In Germany, only 14.2% were in war industry and 23.4% in the armed forces. More workers, more production, a problem the Germans struggled with throughout.

War expenditures were similar though, in 1943 the Germany's spent roughly $13.5-billion on munitions, the Soviets about $14-billion (normalized to U.S. 1944 munitions prices).
That's misleading as Tooze points out; 'civilian industry' was also involved in war work, whether it was making uniforms, food, saddles and harnesses for horse, etc. That's counted as 'civilian production' despite clearly being for the war effort.
Beyond that the other problem is classification of workers; 'domestic servants' was the title of women who were contract labor on farms, despite clearly not being involved in what is traditionally considered 'servant activities'.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by RichTO90 » 05 Oct 2013 19:25

stg 44 wrote:That's misleading as Tooze points out; 'civilian industry' was also involved in war work, whether it was making uniforms, food, saddles and harnesses for horse, etc. That's counted as 'civilian production' despite clearly being for the war effort.

Beyond that the other problem is classification of workers; 'domestic servants' was the title of women who were contract labor on farms, despite clearly not being involved in what is traditionally considered 'servant activities'.
Nonsense; it would only be misleading if I had stated something like "'civilian industry' was also involved in war work", which leaves the scope for what is included deliberately vague. Certainly, uniform manufacture and saddlery are included as "war industry", why would they not be? Food is part of agriculture, which is a Group II industry and feeds, not just the soldiers, but also the other workers as well as civilians. In fact, Harrison used the British wartime sector breakdown in which GroupI included all durable production goods (what generally is considered directly "war-related" industry), Group II included all "essential" services such as agriculture, mining, government, transportation, and public utilities, and Group III included workers in non-durable manufacturing, construction, finance, and services.

Certainly Tooze does point out that the old arguments regarding Germany's inefficiency in production are misleading, see especially pages 436-440, but that is a horse of a slightly different color. By any chance do you have a citation for what you claim Tooze pointed out - that every other economist except Tooze has included things under the rubric of "war work" for other nations that they include only as "civilian industry" only for Germany? I confess I do not recall that argument from him and cannot find such an argument in my copy. Certainly no calculation that I know of includes agriculture as "war industry". If anything, including the grossly inefficient and manpower-heavy German agricultural sector as "war industry" and using it as indicitive of the status of German war mobilization would be misleading indeed.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by paspartoo » 05 Oct 2013 20:10

I also saw the same thing and consider it a mistake (or at least an exaggeration). According to ‘Germany: guns, butter and economic miracles’ (chapter 4 of ‘The Economics of World War II’) ‘by late 1940 most of the consumer branches were already devoting between 40 and 50 percent of their output to the military, leaving very little for the civilian population’.

I’m not sure what constituted the ‘civilian’ industry in the SU. Seems like everything they built was supposed to go into war production on a moment’s notice.
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by stg 44 » 05 Oct 2013 20:23

paspartoo wrote:I also saw the same thing and consider it a mistake (or at least an exaggeration). According to ‘Germany: guns, butter and economic miracles’ (chapter 4 of ‘The Economics of World War II’) ‘by late 1940 most of the consumer branches were already devoting between 40 and 50 percent of their output to the military, leaving very little for the civilian population’.

I’m not sure what constituted the ‘civilian’ industry in the SU. Seems like everything they built was supposed to go into war production on a moment’s notice.
That's it, it wasn't Tooze that argued that (I haven't rechecked, I can't find my copy ATM). IIRC Overy also mentions.

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