Contributions of occupied territories to German war effort

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
User avatar
Posts: 1866
Joined: 07 Oct 2009 02:35
Location: USA

Contributions of occupied territories to German war effort

Post by Guaporense » 31 Dec 2014 01:43

How much did occupied territories contribute to Germany's war effort in proportional terms? Let's look at the data:

German military outlays and payments of occupied territories we can deduce the proportion of military outlays paid by Germany itself in billion RM:

----------------------------- 1942 ---- 1943
total military outlays ----- 91 ----- 112
Germany ------------------- 74 ------- 87
Occupied ------------------- 17 ------ 25
- France -------------------- 8.55 --- 11.1
- Belgium ------------------- 1.5 ----- 1.6
- Nettherlands ------------- 2.2 ------ 2.2
- others --------------------- 4.5 ----- 9.55

And Germany had large numbers of foreigners in it's labor force which contributed to a sizeable fraction of output although productivity of slave labor was lower than free labor (which explains the decreased in productivity in heavy industry during the war) and forced labor was a large fraction of foreign labor. In 1942, 9% of Germany's labor force was foreign, in 1943, 13%. Assuming the productivity of foreign laborers was 75% of domestic laborers, we have that 7% of output in 1942 and 10% in 1943 was due to foreign labor. So that Germans themselves paid for 67 billion RM (75%) in 1942 and 79 billion RM (70%) in 1943.

The French economy was in really bad shape during the war: in 1943 a similar proportion of French GNP was mobilized for the war than Germany's but Germany still paid nearly 8 times more and the French labor force was slightly lass than half of Germany's labor force. French GDP decreased by 2/3 from 1939 to 1943, if the French economy grew like Germany's, by 15% from 1939 to 1943, in 1943 French payments would have been around 35 billion RM instead of 11. Same applies to occupied territories: in 1939 they had a greater GNP than Germany had, by 1943 their contribution to the war was less than one third of Germany's.

Also, Germany during the war annexed several territories which increased it's labor supply from pre-war levels by 15%, although you could say they were "ethnic Germans". Still discounting the contribution of these territories, which increased Germany's labor force from 34 million to 39 million in 1939, means that people within the 1937 borders paid for 57 billion RM in 1942 and 67 billion RM in 1943, or 63% and 60%, respectively.

I also notice that appears to be proportional to the relative quantities of steel and coal produced within 1937 borders compared to the output of the whole "grossraum" from France to Poland before the war: in 1937, Germany produced 20 out of the 38 million tons of steel produced in the block and 187 million out of 330 million tons of coal. The occupied territories had large economies but lacked the emphasis of heavy industry that Germany had.

Coal output in 1938, million tons, excluding coal used to produced coke and consumed at the mines:

Germany: 187
Austria+ Czechoslovakia + France + Poland + Denmark + Belgium + Netherlands: 143

In 1942-1943 Germany's territories included: 1937 Germany plus Austria, 1/3 of Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, parts of France and Poland ( ... g_1944.png).

1938 GDP numbers of areas under direct German control were according to Harrison's Economics of WW2, pages 5-8 were:

Germany: 351.4
Austria: 24.2
Czechoslovakia: 30.3
France: 185.6
Poland: 76.6
Denmark: 20.9
Belgium: 39.6
Netherlands: 44.5
Norway: 11.6
Greece: 19.3
Yugoslavia: 21.9
Baltic states: 12.9
Occupied USSR: 134.2

Greater Germany's GDP appear to be around 400 billion, including annexed areas. Total GDP of areas under direct German control appears to be 973 billion dollars (about 5/4 of US's GDP), note that most of it is outside of Germany (like 570 billion on occupied areas versus 400 billion in Greater Germany). Austria+ Czechoslovakia + France + Poland + Denmark + Belgium + Netherlands: 421.7 billion, larger than Germany even though coal output was smaller.

However many of these areas were poor, like USSR's, Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland, whose GDP at market exchange rates would be relatively lower than Germany's and France's. At market exchange rates in 1938, Germany's GNP was 45.6 billion dollars, Japan was 7.5 billion, 17% of Germany's, at these PPP estimates, Japan's GDP was 46% of Germany's in 1938. Market exchange rates tend to amplify GDP differences between rich and poor countries as productivity in tradeable goods sectors tend to vary more than in the whole economy. As result, the nominal GDP of these areas wasn't 125% of the US's, but slighlty less, considering that Poland, Yugoslavia, Greece, Baltic states and the occupied USSR were very poor in per capita terms, so their nominal GDP would be 50% of their PPP GDP levels, hence the GDP of the whole German economic block would be like 840 billion dollars, 400 billion in greater Germany, 440 billion outside of greater Germany. France's GDP was 42% of these areas and represented 50-45% of occupation taxes.

However, during the war the economy of these occupied areas collapsed, to 1/3 of their pre-war levels in France's case but appears to be similar in the case of other countries, collapsing to 1/3 of pre war levels. So by 1943, Greater Germany's GDP was 500 billion, the occupied areas GDP was around 150 billion, France's was 60 billion, so their contribution to Germany's war effort was proportional to their collapsed resources. US's GDP increased from 800 billion in 1938 to 1,160 billion by 1943. So the territories Germany controlled in 1942-1943 had greater GDP than the US in 1938, by 1943, their combined GDP was 56.5% of the US's.

Military outlays were also smaller, at 112 billion RM or 104 billion RM in 1939 prices or 42 billion US dollars (35 billion dollars using Tooze's exchange rates), compared to US's military expenditures of 79.7 billion dollars in 1943 dollars, ca. 55 billion dollars at 1939 prices.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

Return to “Economy”