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.
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Guaporense
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Guaporense » 16 Apr 2015 16:54

In terms of economic development they were ahead. Usually measured in per capita income terms (or using other indicators such as life expectancy or education), Italy was significantly more developed than USSR or Japan and not far behind from UK and Germany.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by stg 44 » 16 Apr 2015 17:46

Guaporense wrote:In terms of economic development they were ahead. Usually measured in per capita income terms (or using other indicators such as life expectancy or education), Italy was significantly more developed than USSR or Japan and not far behind from UK and Germany.
Do you have same numbers to back that up?

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by RichTO90 » 16 Apr 2015 18:53

stg 44 wrote:
Guaporense wrote:In terms of economic development they were ahead. Usually measured in per capita income terms (or using other indicators such as life expectancy or education), Italy was significantly more developed than USSR or Japan and not far behind from UK and Germany.
Do you have same numbers to back that up?
If not, I'm sure he'll be able to make some up for you fairly quickly... :roll: 8-)

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Guaporense » 28 Oct 2015 06:34

stg 44 wrote:
Guaporense wrote:In terms of economic development they were ahead. Usually measured in per capita income terms (or using other indicators such as life expectancy or education), Italy was significantly more developed than USSR or Japan and not far behind from UK and Germany.
Do you have same numbers to back that up?
Per capita income in Italy is usually estimated at 56% of the US's level while USSR was around 30%. Source: The Economics of WW2.

In The Economics of WW2 Mark Harrison is impressed by the fact that the USSR and Japan represented bigger players in the war than Italy due to the vast discrepancy in the level of development. Italy's per capita income was almost double of these two other powers and about 2/3 of the levels of Germany and UK. It was a much more industrialized country. However, Italy never mobilized her warmaking potential. It she did she could have had a major effect on the war.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by stg 44 » 28 Oct 2015 13:32

Guaporense wrote:
stg 44 wrote:
Guaporense wrote:In terms of economic development they were ahead. Usually measured in per capita income terms (or using other indicators such as life expectancy or education), Italy was significantly more developed than USSR or Japan and not far behind from UK and Germany.
Do you have same numbers to back that up?
Per capita income in Italy is usually estimated at 56% of the US's level while USSR was around 30%. Source: The Economics of WW2.

In The Economics of WW2 Mark Harrison is impressed by the fact that the USSR and Japan represented bigger players in the war than Italy due to the vast discrepancy in the level of development. Italy's per capita income was almost double of these two other powers and about 2/3 of the levels of Germany and UK. It was a much more industrialized country. However, Italy never mobilized her warmaking potential. It she did she could have had a major effect on the war.
A big part of the reason Italy didn't was its lack of resources. Japan and the USSR had much greater access to raw materials, while Italy was mainly dependent on Germany to provide and Germany was fixated on making sure it had enough before worrying about Italy and the rest of its barnacles.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by ljadw » 01 Nov 2015 21:24

Italy did what it could (and the results were not that bad),it mobilized its warmaking potential .

its per capita income is without importance for this thread .

The military potential of a country does not depend on its income per capita .

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Guaporense » 04 Nov 2015 04:29

stg 44 wrote:
Guaporense wrote:
stg 44 wrote:
Guaporense wrote:In terms of economic development they were ahead. Usually measured in per capita income terms (or using other indicators such as life expectancy or education), Italy was significantly more developed than USSR or Japan and not far behind from UK and Germany.
Do you have same numbers to back that up?
Per capita income in Italy is usually estimated at 56% of the US's level while USSR was around 30%. Source: The Economics of WW2.

In The Economics of WW2 Mark Harrison is impressed by the fact that the USSR and Japan represented bigger players in the war than Italy due to the vast discrepancy in the level of development. Italy's per capita income was almost double of these two other powers and about 2/3 of the levels of Germany and UK. It was a much more industrialized country. However, Italy never mobilized her warmaking potential. It she did she could have had a major effect on the war.
A big part of the reason Italy didn't was its lack of resources. Japan and the USSR had much greater access to raw materials, while Italy was mainly dependent on Germany to provide and Germany was fixated on making sure it had enough before worrying about Italy and the rest of its barnacles.
I don't think so. Because it doesn't explain the low levels of military mobilization: Italy wasn't serius about it, its military outlays were very low in proportion to GDP and they surrendered the first chance they got.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by ljadw » 04 Nov 2015 08:29

they surrendered the first chance they got.[/quote]


They did not .They fought reasonably well .

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Guaporense » 09 Nov 2015 07:00

Thing is that the Allies were serious about it since they recognized the Nazis as something evil that should be removed from the earth. While the populations of the Axis countries didn't support their cause at all since everybody knew that it was ludicrous. That explains the outcome of the war more than analysis of warmaking potential since in those terms the Axis and Allies were relatively even matched. Overy makes those points as well, one of the best historians to ever work in that field.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by tramonte » 18 Nov 2015 20:25

Forget figures like artillery and AFV production because after all land warfare was in minor role in WW2 compared to battle of air and sea power. Even Germany invested 67-70% for air and sea warfare and western allies much more. Japan gave hardly more than 15% share for army.

Unbelievable how folks are focusing WW2 as mostly land battles. Reality was totally different. War was won by western allied air and sea power and resources went to navies and air forces. Armies got much less.
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by stg 44 » 18 Nov 2015 21:00

tramonte wrote:Forget figures like artillery and AFV production because after all land warfare was in minor role in WW2 compared to battle of air and sea power. Even Germany invested 67-70% for air and sea warfare and western allies much more. Japan gave hardly more than 15% share for army.

Unbelievable how folks are focusing WW2 as mostly land battles. Reality was totally different. War was won by western allied air and sea power and resources went to navies and air forces. Armies got much less.
This is a crucial point, at just about all times once the war started the Luftwaffe received the greatest funds and was the only service that fought on all fronts; the army was primarily in the East, the navy mostly in the west, but the LW was required everywhere, even at sea, so got the plurality if not majority of funds/resources.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by tramonte » 19 Nov 2015 05:29

There are lots of data suggesting how much terrible losses Luftwaffe took when fighting against RAF/USAAF than racing VVS. Common claim of 75% in west/south versus 25% in east might be near the truth. Loss rate per combat mission was much more heavier in west/south than in Eastern Front. My what folks and even historians are too easily forgetting/ignororing are those German aircraft destroyed in factories and after production never even reached battlezone in east, south, west and above Reich. One of the main reasons of Luftwaffe collapse was reduction of training for new pilots because lack of fuel. The idea how vital western strategic air war was indeed is still poorly understood because land battle-centric perspective. After all German resistance both in west and east without air cover was like turning clocks to WW1. Perhaps we should now realize why Panther/Tiger vs Sherman/T-34 was not big deal compared to air power. Air cover means mobility for troops. Land battles generally were not as decisive as common wisdom is suggesting. I should focus more resources, logistics and war production. In 1944 more German aircraft was destroyed outside battlezone (west, south, east and Reich) than in combat or non-combat missions.
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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Guaporense » 30 Nov 2015 06:46

Well, in Numbers Prediction and War, Dupuy explains that while airpower was not a very significant proportion of Allied firepower (around 5% on average in 1943-1944) it had decisive impact by damaging German supply lines and enabling Allied forces to cripple the German army without the massive losses in the Eastern front.

However, if you look at overall military expenditures it is not tresponsible airpower was the bulk of German military outlays. The Luftwaffe had 1.5 million personnel in 1943-1944 while the whole Wermacht had 11 million personel. And aircraft constituted about 23% of total metal working output in the 3rd quarter of 1943 when aircraft output, spare parts and associated equipment was 700 million RM montly compared to 3,050 million RM of Werchmacht purchases from the metal working sector montly. Overall that was 8.5 billion RM annualy compared to a military budget of 112 billion RM and government outlays of ca. 125 billion RM in the 1942-1943 fiscal year, aircraft overall was small expemditure at around 6% of government expenditures. While tanks were even smaller at about 1% of German government expenditures. Bulk of German expenditures were salaries for its 11 million Werchmacht employees, which were larger than expenditures on equipment and supplies even in 1943-1944. Besides the massive salaries expenditures and expenditures on munitions the armed forces also spend billions of RM on fortifications and V weapons programs.

American expenditures on aircraft and the airforce, however, constituted a larger fraction of government expenditures. In 1944 American aircraft expenditures were 16-17 billion dollars compared to 93 billion dollars for overall government expenditures, about 17-18% of all government expenditures. The personnel assigned to the airforce were also larger in proportion, at 2.4 million in the army airforce alone plus the navy compared to total military personnel of 11.5 million.

Overall, it appears priorities varied across countries. About 70% of Germany's resources were allocated to the army, with 20% for the Luftwaffe and less than 10% for the Navy. US resources were allocated in a more balanced manner with perhaps 35% for the army and 35% for the airforce and 30% for the navy. The Soviet Union probably allocated over 80% of its military reousrces into the army. Japan and the UK probably followed the same proportions as the US.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 30 Nov 2015 18:05

Guaporense,

Talking Luftwaffe versus Wehrmacht budget doesn't really buy you anything in the German air/sea weapon versus land weapon procurement debate.

The year 1944 was the peak weapon production year for the Nazi military economy.

The V-1 and V-2 together in 1944 cost more RM than all German vehicle production combined. Both were very much "air" weapons. Yet the V-1 cruise missile was Luftwaffe and the V-2 ballistic missile was Wehrmacht.

The V-weapons were built for geo-political reasons, to retaliate against the UK for the Allied Strategic Bomber Campaign.

R.V. Jones made the point in his book "MOST SECRET WAR" that the V-1 was a highly cost effective counter to Allied air power as it took far more effort on the part of Allied airpower to counter the unmanned V-1 than it took the German economy to build V-1's.

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Re: Was the USSR economically stronger than Germany?

Post by stg 44 » 30 Nov 2015 21:53

Mil-tech Bard wrote:Guaporense,

Talking Luftwaffe versus Wehrmacht budget doesn't really buy you anything in the German air/sea weapon versus land weapon procurement debate.

The year 1944 was the peak weapon production year for the Nazi military economy.

The V-1 and V-2 together in 1944 cost more RM than all German vehicle production combined. Both were very much "air" weapons. Yet the V-1 cruise missile was Luftwaffe and the V-2 ballistic missile was Wehrmacht.

The V-weapons were built for geo-political reasons, to retaliate against the UK for the Allied Strategic Bomber Campaign.

R.V. Jones made the point in his book "MOST SECRET WAR" that the V-1 was a highly cost effective counter to Allied air power as it took far more effort on the part of Allied airpower to counter the unmanned V-1 than it took the German economy to build V-1's.
Just a nit pick, the Wehrmacht is all the armed forces together, the Heer is the army. Otherwise I agree.
Also FLAK was under the Luftwaffe, which I don't think are factored into these numbers. In terms of budget according to the USSBS aircraft purchases were a pretty consistent 40% of the budget throughout the war, so I'd really like to know where Guaporense's numbers are coming from.

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