On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

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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Post by nebelwerferXXX » 11 Sep 2015 14:02

Guaporense wrote:June 1948 strength: 2,800,000 men for People's Republic of China.
2,100,000 army (35 army groups with 10,000 MBTs, 4,000 APCs, 25,000 arty pcs)
300,000 navy (3 fleets, over 1,500 vessels)
300,000 air force (over 4,000 aircraft)
100,000 rocket troops (2nd artillery corps)

source:
The Chinese War Machine
Consultants: Dr. James E. Dorman, Jr./Nigel de Lee

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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by South » 12 Sep 2015 06:00

Good morning Guaporense and Nebelwerfer XXX,

To ensure a procedural matter doesn't mushroom into a substantive one,...

Since the People's Republic of China wasn't officially declared until 1 Oct 49, are the presented June end strengths for "PRC" including or excluding forces local to Chiang Kai Chek ? The Civil War had preexisting commitments of forces not available for external operations.

End strengths are valid when understanding what's actually available to prosecute combat.

Warm regards,

~ Bob

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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by steverodgers801 » 12 Sep 2015 21:15

There were two main parties, the guomingdong of Chiang and the communist, but there were numerous warlords of various strengths who supported or opposed Chiang as they saw fit.

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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 17 Feb 2016 05:33

Estimating economic potential by available inputs

Previously I used GDP figures to estimate "warmaking potential" of the Allied and Axis blocks. However, I used 1939 data and since the level of employment/capacity utilization was different among different countries the potential GDP levels might have been substantially different from the 1939 figures (ex. US might be underestimated given their high level of unemployment). Instead, I am assembling the data on fundamentals: population, capital stock, human capital stock and natural resources.

Economic output is understood by economists to be a function of:

(1) labor
(2) physical capital
(3) human capital
(4) TFP (total factor productivity)

So I will go over these categories using the data that I know regarding these territories from 1939-1940:

Labor

The total labor force available to a country is given by the country's population, excluding the population under 12-14 years old, the whole population above that age group is potentially part of the labor force.

Population in thousands:

Allies ------------------- 324,677
----- USA --------------- 131,539
----- USSR -------------- 126,970 (reduced by 37% due to Barbarossa)*
----- UK ----------------- 47,991
----- Canada ------------ 11,570
----- Australia ----------- 6,971
----- New Zealand ------ 1,627

Axis -------------------- 389,527
----- Germany -------- 69,286
----- Austria ----------- 6,653
----- France ----------- 41,900
----- Japan ------------ 72,364
----- Italy -------------- 43,865
----- USSR -------------- 65,409 (occupied parts)
----- Poland ------------- 31,365
----- Netherlands ------- 8,782
----- Belgium ------------ 8,392
----- Czechoslovakia --- 14,683
----- Hungary ----------- 9,227
----- Denmark ----------- 3,805
----- Greece ------------- 7,156
----- Norway ------------- 2,954
----- Finland ------------- 3,686

So, the Axis powers actually had in terms of potential labor force a greater potential number of workers inside their relatively industrialized territories than the Allied powers.

Physical and Human Capital

There is no accurate data on aggregate physical capital stock for these periods using PPPs and national accounts. Instead I shall present some data on physical machine tool stock and output. Machine tools are the physical capital stock used to produce armaments and hence are the fundamental determinants of industrial capacity for potential output of war related equipment and ammunition.

Physical machine tool stocks in 1943:

Germany --- 2,100,000
UK ------------ 740,000

Physical machine tool stock in 1938-1940, comparing selected categories of machine tools:

Germany ----- 1,177,600
USA ------------- 942,000

Also, the composition of the machine tool stock was very similar between Germany, UK and USA, with similar proportions of the total stock of machines being of similar types of machines. Since these countries used very similar technologies it was natural that the composition of the stock of machine tools was similar as well as it's utilization: the machine/labor ratio for the US and Germany was the same during the 1930's: their metal working sectors were very similar in terms of technology.

The existence of a large mass production industry of personal cars in the US and it's small scale in Germany and UK in the 30's does not mean that their manufacturing technology was very different, it was more due to a general cultural discrepancy and availability of cheap gas in the US.

Machine tool production 1940-1944:

UK ------- ca. 250,000
USSR --------- 115.400
USA ---- ca. 1,150,000
Japan -------- 271,000
Germany ---- 813,880

Although in US's case it's output was substantially larger than Germany's, implied at about 1,150,000 machines from comparison of the size of the stocks in 1940 and 1944.

Taking all in consideration, it appears that the Axis countries and their controlled territories had greater stocks of machine tools than the Allied countries and this situation did not change significantly over the course of the war, although Allied output of machine tools was greater thanks to the US's output.

Germany's machine tool stock was much greater than the UK and USSR combined and of comparable size to the US's during the war. Although I don't have data on the capital stock of France, Netherlands, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Canada, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary and Italy, very important territories during the war.

Human capital

The stock of human capital can be perhaps compared by counting the number of Nobel prize winners in sciences from 1919 to 1939, we have the following distribution of Nobel prize winners between the Allies and Axis countries (nearly all nobel prices in the sciences were from countries in either side, with a few from neutral countries like Sweden and Switzerland):

Allies --- 35%
Axis ----- 60%

In terms of human capital the largest concentrations of well educated scholars in the world was in continental Europe, 2/3 of all nobel prizes awarded from 1919 to 1939 were from the region. This reflected overall levels of education in society and access to cutting edge scientific research. The reason why Germany developed more technologies during the war (such as the famous Me 262 jet fighter) than the Allies was due to their superiority in scientific resources, an indicator of relatively more abundant stocks of human capital.

So, both in terms of human capital and physical capital, it appears that the Axis countries had an advantage over the Allied countries.

TFP

So, in terms of total population, physical capital and human capital, the Axis countries appears to have enjoyed an actual advantage over the Allied countries if we take into consideration the territories each coalition controlled by the end of 1941. So apparently the idea that the Axis powers had inferior resources to the Allied powers is wrong? Maybe not, because the Allied countries had more EFFICIENT economies, given their existing technology, physical resources and human capital, the Allied countries, specially the US and the UK, managed to extract more out of it than the Axis countries.

In a sense, the Allies did not enjoy an advantage in economic resources but an advantage in economic organization; the free market competitive system of the United States yielded significantly higher levels of total factor productivity than the economic organization existing over the territories under Axis' control. Specially the territories under German occupation, whose total population was ca. 200 million people, that was more than half of the total Axis' population, suffered complete economic collapse during the early 1940's, mainly due to the poor management/economic organization they were put under the Nazis.

Some argue that the lack of natural resources hampered the functioning of the continental European economy however if we look at the total expenditures on natural resources in Germany's case expenditures on oil imports were ca. 200 million RM or 0.2% of GNP in 1938, an insignificant fraction of the national economy. Even if demand for these natural resources were highly inelastic the economic loss caused from restricting the supply of some natural would have minor macroeconomic effects.

Finally, notice that despite the greater economic potential of the Axis territories, in 1939 the GDP's of these territories were estimated by Angus Maddison to be slightly smaller than the Allies:

Allies ---------------- 1,538,650
Axis ------------------ 1,386,806

This reflected the higher total factor productivity of the American and British economies. After the war began the economies of many of the Axis' territories collapsed (Italy, France, occupied USSR in particular) further expanding this discrepancy of total productivity.

As a result, in the decisive battles of 1943-1944, such as Stalingrad, Kursk, Bagration, Overlord and Bulge, the Axis forces were greatly outnumbered in terms of manpower (usually 2-2.5 to 1), despite their larger manpower endowments, and the Allies had more equipment, despite the greater Axis stock of industrial machinery to manufacture such equipment and the greater availability of manpower to work in those industries.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Gooner1 » 18 Feb 2016 15:57

Guaporense wrote: Machine tool production 1940-1944:

UK ------- ca. 250,000
USSR --------- 115.400
USA ---- ca. 1,150,000
Japan -------- 271,000
Germany ---- 813,880

Although in US's case it's output was substantially larger than Germany's, implied at about 1,150,000 machines from comparison of the size of the stocks in 1940 and 1944.
The precise UK figures are pretty easy to find: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/U ... ion-5.html
Production for 1940-44 was 373,418 with imports of around another 142,597 the majority of which was from the USA.

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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 07 Jul 2016 03:34

Thanks Gooner.

I cited the machine tool numbers from memory from Harrison's book, The Economics of World War II. I estimated US production at about 1.1 million from the addition of their stock between 1940 and 1944 (increasing from 940,000 to 1,780,000, or ca. 840,000, since this statistic does not measure stocks but the stock of 1940 plus deliveries it measures domestic sales of machine tools) plus exports (which would be around 250,000, mostly to the UK (142,597) and the USSR (44,704).

So we have:

Allies
-- US ---- ca. 1,100,000
-- UK --- 373,418
-- USSR - 115,400
-- total -- ca. 1,600,000

Axis
-- Germany -- 813,000
-- Japan ------ 271,000
---- total ----- ca. 1,100,000

Interestingly, the GDP of the territories controlled would appear to be similar as well (if you take out the Soviet occupation zone which was economically worthless for Germany and correct the US GDP by the Great Depression). Although one should note that US's supply of machine tools were probably better than Germany's (because they were of more expensive categories, US machine tools at German prices would be on average 9,000 RM while German ones cost on average 7,000 RM).
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 07 Jul 2016 05:04

US GDP for 1939 is problematic because the US was in a depression (although it's true that the World as a whole was in a depression in 1939, the US's depression was more pronounced than other countries since it was the epicenter of it). Overall to compare it to other countries I think that adjusting for the higher unemployment rate would be fair (previously I used the trends from 1913 to 1950 but that's also problematic), adjusting for the unemployment rate is less problematic.

In 1939 the unemployment rate was about 16%, while in a normal economic situation it would be around 5% and the average number of hours worked was about 1,850 - 1,900, lower than UK or Germany (which was around 2,100 - 2,200). Increasing the volume of employment by 11% and the average number of hours worked by about 12% the US's total labor supply would increase by 24.3%, usually the marginal product of labor is around 65% of GDP which means that increasing employment by 1% will increase output by .65%, however, since there are decreasing returns it means that increasing employment by 24.3% would increase output by 15.2% (given weight .65 on labor in a Cobb-Douglas production function), US's GDP in 1939 was 863 billion, adjusting by increased labor supply the GDP increased to 994 billion dollars.

So the GDP of the coalitions in September 1939 was:

Axis ------------------- 615 billion
-- Germany ---------- 429 billion
-- Italy --------------- 154 billion
-- Czeckoslovakia -- 32 billion

Allies -------------- 677 billion
-- UK -------------- 301 billion
-- France --------- 201 billion
-- Poland ---------- 68 billion
-- Canada --------- 55 billion
-- Australia -------- 41 billion
-- New Zealand --- 11 billion

Modest Allied superiority (caused by Poland which would be soon conquered by Germany), after that there was relative equality in GDP of the coalitions.

After the Battle of France, the GDP of the coalitions became by mid 1940:

Axis --------------------- 1,038 billion
----- Germany ---------- 429 billion
----- France ------------ 201 billion
----- Italy -------------- 154 billion
----- Poland ------------- 68 billion
----- Netherlands ------- 49 billion
----- Belgium ----------- 43 billion
----- Czechoslovakia --- 32 billion
----- Hungary ----------- 26 billion
----- Denmark ----------- 23 billion
----- Norway ------------ 13 billion

Allies -------------------- 407 billion
-- UK -------------------- 301 billion
-- Canada ---------------- 55 billion
-- Australia -------------- 41 billion
-- New Zealand ---------- 11 billion

While the UK had Axis controlled Europe to fight with over 3 times it's GDP, with the economic support of the Commonwealth their resources increased to about 40% of the Axis. Still fighting with enormous economic inferiority.

When Germany declared war on the USSR in June 1941, the GDPs of the coalitions were:

Axis --------------------- 1,057 billion
----- Germany ---------- 429 billion
----- France ------------ 201 billion
----- Italy -------------- 154 billion
----- Poland ------------- 68 billion
----- Netherlands ------- 49 billion
----- Belgium ----------- 43 billion
----- Czechoslovakia --- 32 billion
----- Hungary ----------- 26 billion
----- Denmark ----------- 23 billion
----- Greece ------------- 19 billion
----- Norway ------------ 13 billion

Allies -------------------- 837 billion
-- USSR ------------------ 420 billion
-- UK -------------------- 301 billion
-- Canada ---------------- 55 billion
-- Australia -------------- 41 billion
-- New Zealand ---------- 11 billion

By that time the Allies' economic inferiority was greatly reduced, however they were still significantly inferior in resources.

In December 1941, Japan and the US enter the war and the USSR loses 37% of it's population to Germany's invasion, then the economic balance of power became:

Axis --------------------- 1,388 billion
----- Germany ---------- 429 billion
----- France ------------ 201 billion
----- Japan ------------- 167 billion
----- Italy -------------- 154 billion
----- USSR (occupied) - 151 billion
----- Poland ------------- 68 billion
----- Netherlands ------- 49 billion
----- Belgium ----------- 43 billion
----- Czechoslovakia --- 32 billion
----- Hungary ----------- 26 billion
----- Denmark ----------- 23 billion
----- Greece ------------- 19 billion
----- Norway ------------ 13 billion
----- Finland ------------ 13 billion

Allies -------------------- 1,669 billion
-- USA ------------------- 992 billion
-- UK -------------------- 301 billion
-- USSR ------------------ 269 billion
-- Canada ---------------- 55 billion
-- Australia -------------- 41 billion
-- New Zealand ---------- 11 billion

With US's GDP adjusted for the Great Depression to it's economic potential. The Allies, with the entry of the US, gained some economic advantage over the Axis but in terms of potential it wasn't that much although the fact is that 1/4 of Axis GDP (Italy and the occupied USSR) was effectively dead weight not contributing to the Axis' war effort.

By mid 1944, the USSR had recovered most of it's territory (returning to 87% it's pre-war "economic potential", due to the loss of 13% of it's labor force) and Italy had surrendered as well. So the GDP of the coalitions were:

Axis --------------------- 1,083 billion
----- Germany ---------- 429 billion
----- France ------------ 201 billion
----- Japan ------------- 167 billion
----- Poland ------------- 68 billion
----- Netherlands ------- 49 billion
----- Belgium ----------- 43 billion
----- Czechoslovakia --- 32 billion
----- Hungary ----------- 26 billion
----- Denmark ----------- 23 billion
----- Greece ------------- 19 billion
----- Norway ------------ 13 billion
----- Finland ------------ 13 billion

Allies -------------------- 1,766 billion
-- USA -------------------- 992 billion
-- USSR ------------------- 366 billion
-- UK --------------------- 301 billion
-- Canada ----------------- 55 billion
-- Australia --------------- 41 billion
-- New Zealand ---------- 11 billion

By the way, an economic superiority ratio of 1.7 to 1 for the Allies in 1944 doesn't appear to be that unrealistic.

German troops were outnumbered by around 2.7 to 1 in the Eastern front, about 2.2 to 1 in the Western front* and 1.9 to 1 in Italy, but the human capital invested in a German soldier was considerably higher than an Allied soldier, even though the Allied soldiers had "apparently" more equipment one should note that in terms of inflicting casualties the German soldier was 870% as efficient as the Soviet soldier in the Battle of Kursk and 250% as efficient as the Western Allied soldier in Normandy, according to Zetterling, the average German strength was equivalent to 1.3 Western Allied strength or 1.7 Soviet strength in terms of CEV (according to Dupuy), that discrepancy was due to the superior quality of German equipment combined with the superior quality of the human capital invested in the German troops.

*In the Western front it's complicated to measure but German strength was about 65-75 divisions or between 900,000 - 1,000,000 men on paper but significantly less due to casualties, Allied field strength was about 1,500,000 in October 1944 and 2,500,000 in March 1945, averaging Allied strength at 2 million and German strength at ca. 900,000 yields 2.2 to 1.

Correcting these discrepancies in the quality of troops we have that German forces were outgunned by 1.4 times in Italy, 1.7 times in the Western front and 1.6 times in the Eastern front by 1944.

By the time of the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944:

Axis --------------------- 758 billion
----- Germany ---------- 429 billion
----- Japan ------------- 167 billion
----- Poland ------------- 68 billion
----- Czechoslovakia --- 32 billion
----- Hungary ----------- 26 billion
----- Denmark ----------- 23 billion
----- Norway ------------ 13 billion

Allies -------------------- 2,059 billion
-- USA -------------------- 992 billion
-- USSR ------------------- 366 billion
-- UK --------------------- 301 billion
-- France ----------------- 201 billion
-- Canada ----------------- 55 billion
-- Netherlands ----------- 49 billion
-- Belgium ---------------- 43 billion
-- Australia --------------- 41 billion
-- New Zealand ---------- 11 billion

Axis's economic resources decreased to 37% of the Allies' in a situation of similar discrepancy of strategic resources to Britain in the Battle of Britain following the Fall of France, however by December 1944 the Allied warmaking potential was fully mobilized and deployed against the Axis' forces while Germany did not focus Europe's warmaking potential (nor it was mobilized to a high degree) on destroying Britain after the Battle of France.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 08 Jul 2016 06:02

Crosschecking out the GDP figures:

USA ---------------- 992 billion
Germany ---------- 429 billion
USSR --------------- 269 billion
Japan -------------- 167 billion

So Japan's economy was about 16.8% of the US's, USSR's about 27% and Germany's was 43%? How accurate are these figures?

Well in 1943 these were the nominal GNP (which usually differ from GDP by less than 1% in mid 20th century economies):

USA -------------- 192 billion dollars
Germany -------- 160 billion RM
USSR ------------- 193 billion rubles
Japan ------------ 44 billion yen (figure for 1941)

German aircraft prices were about 2 times the US's (US prices in 1942, German prices in 1941) while machine tool prices were about 1.8 times, both these statistics were constructed based on averages of prices of these times. That yields a PPP exchange rate for these industrial products of about 1.9, implying that Germany's GNP was ca. 85 billion US dollars or ca. 44% of the US's GNP.

USSR's tank prices were around 190,000 rubles per T-34 (270,000 in 1941 and decreasing to 142,000 by 1945, in 43 I guess it's price was around the geometric mean or ca. 190,000 rubles ) while US Sherman tank of similar size and category, was ca. 50,000 dollars implying in a crude PPP exchange rate of about 3.8, so USSR's GNP was ca. 51 billion US dollars or 27% of the US's GNP(matching perfectly the GDP figures).

In Japan a Yamato class battleship was 250,000,897 yen or 3,570 yen per ton, a US battleship like Iowa cost 100 million dollars or 2,220 dollars per ton, implying in a PPP exchange rate of 1.61, which means Japan's GNP was 27.3 billion US dollars or 14.2% of the US's GNP, slightly smaller than GNP figures but notice that I am comparing Japan in 1941 with US in 1943, correcting for normal economic growth in 2 years means that Japan's GNP in 1943 probably was around 16% of the US's measured in battleship tonnage terms.

Apparently my estimate of US's potential GDP correcting for the high unemployment of the great depression appears to be of quite good quality.
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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 10 Jul 2016 21:14

While I "corrected" the GDP figures for the US in view of it's economy being depressed in the late 1930's I would think that's also a bias because the economies of western Europe were also affected by the depression. Although different economies were affected by different degrees.

Impact of the great depression on the economies of US and Europe: did it hurt the US's economy more than Europe's?

GDP per capita ---------- 1928 ------------- 1939
France -------------------- 4,431 ----------- 4,793
Germany ----------------- 4,090 ------------ 5,406
Belgium ------------------ 5,139 ------------ 5,150
Netherlands -------------- 5,720 ------------5,544
Switzerland -------------- 8,353 ------------ 8,092
Denmark ----------------- 4,785 ------------ 5,993
UK ------------------------ 5,357 ------------ 6,262
Western Europe --------- 4,347 ------------ 5,095
US ------------------------ 6,569 ------------ 6,561

source: Maddison project, 2013 database

While the US's per capita income was stagnated between 1928 and 1939, in Western Europe there was a modest growth of 17.2%, mostly driven by growth in Germany (33%), Denmark, Sweden, UK (18%) and Norway (43%), while France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland stagnated as well as the US.

If the US's economy grew the same on average as Western Europe did in the period, by 1939 the US's GDP would have been 17% bigger or around 1 trillion 1990 dollars similar to the figure I previously estimated by increasing labor supply by 25%, however, one must keep in mind that much of Western Europe was stagnated also because of the depression and the fastest growing economies were catching up to the "advanced ones".

For example, Germany's growth from 1928 to 1939 was mostly because it's economy was heavily hit by the hyperinflation of the early 1920's so in the late 20's its economy was below it's potential (indeed, below the average of Western Europe as a whole). Sweden and Norway were developing countries in 1928, so their growth potential was much greater.
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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 10 Jul 2016 22:59

Western Allies and Axis compared

It's often argued that the Western Allies enjoyed a superiority in economic/industrial resources. Well, let's see if that's actually true by first comparing the GDPs of the territories under control of each coalition assuming the USSR (and Finland) is (are) never involved in the war.

GDPs of the territories of each coalition, levels of 1939 measured in millions of 1990 dollars:

Axis --------------------- 1,222,815
----- Germany ----------- 428,750
----- France -------------- 200,840
----- Japan --------------- 166,506
----- Italy ---------------- 154,470
----- Poland --------------- 67,788
----- Netherlands --------- 48,687
----- Belgium ------------- 43,216
----- Czechoslovakia ----- 31,578
----- Hungary ------------- 26,184
----- Denmark ------------ 22,803
----- Greece -------------- 18,875
----- Norway -------------- 13,118

Western Allies --------- 1,269,990
------- USA --------------- 862,995
------- UK ---------------- 300,539
-------- Canada ----------- 55,167
-------- Australia --------- 40,749
-------- New Zealand ---- 10,510

I am not including Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, China, India, Thailand other British, French, Dutch and Japanese colonies which were all agricultural near-subsistence economies of negligible war-making potential and hence strategically irrelevant in industrial terms.

Also, if we take in consideration that the US was in the Great Depression (although the same was true for many European economies under the Axis sphere of power, like France, Netherlands, Belgium, whose per capita incomes did not grow like the US's between 1928 and 1939), the US's economic potential was greater than 863 billion, adjusting for an increased labor supply of 25% or increasing per capita income to long run growth trend levels yields a GDP of about 990 billion, increasing the Allied total to ca. 1,400 billion, still that's only 15% bigger than the Axis total.

Overall, though, I see coalitions with relatively similar aggregate economic size. Although the territories inside the Axis sphere of power had greater populations of over 300 million compared to 200 million for the Anglo-Saxon countries, also greater stocks of industrial machinery (Germany alone had a bigger stock of machine tools than the US) and produced more Nobel prize winners in the decades before WW2.

Overall, it's a popular myth the idea that the Western Allies enjoyed enormous superiority in potential industrial resources. However, during the war it's true the Western Allies military expenditures were a bit bigger, for 1944, they spent about 74 billion in 1939 dollars compared to 60 billion for the Axis, for the 1940-44 period as a whole, it was ca. 240 billion to ca. 210 billion (still quite closer than most would think):

Image

That's because the economies of France, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark collapsed by 40% following German invasion, that was a decrease of 124 billion or 10% of the Axis' total GDP, adjusting US GDP up for correcting for the depression we have that in the German sphere of power economic potential was relatively 1,100 billion to the Western allies 1,400 billion, a ratio 1.3 to 1. That fits pretty well with the a ratio of 1.25 to 1 in military expenditures in 1944. Although Japan alone was 20% of Axis military expenditures in 1944, even though it was ca. 14% of the 1939 Axis' GDP.
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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 12 Jul 2016 22:16

Errata: new (2013) estimates (from the Maddison project) put Italy's per capita income in 1939 at 2,981 instead of 3,521, this changes the GDP figures for the Axis block to:

Axis ------------------- 1,199,107
----- Germany ----------- 428,750
----- France -------------- 200,840
----- Japan --------------- 166,506
----- Italy ---------------- 130,762
----- Poland --------------- 67,788
----- Netherlands --------- 48,687
----- Belgium ------------- 43,216
----- Czechoslovakia ----- 31,578
----- Hungary ------------- 26,184
----- Denmark ------------ 22,803
----- Greece -------------- 18,875
----- Norway -------------- 13,118

Decreasing by 2% from previous figure, not a very significant different though it shows that Italy was indeed much weaker than Germany economically speaking. Romania's GDP was around 20 billion but I didn't include it because it's per capita income was super low (methodologically speaking, Romania was too poor to be included like India, China, Taiwan, South Africa and Korea, although Romania's per capita income was about twice of the poorest countries in the world and they actually mobilized a lot of soldiers for the war).
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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 25 Jul 2016 08:18

RichTO90 wrote:
Guaporense wrote: (1) Germany (1940-1944) --------- 4,565,592 tons (avr. weight 15.12 kg)
(2) United States (1940-1945) ---- 3,168,279 tons (avr. weight 14.96 kg)
No, U.S. War Department production by weight for "guns and mortars" was 5,014,582 short tons.
That's 4.5 million tons of "guns and mortars".
I know it's 3.8 million tons for "guns".
And it appears to be 3.2 million tons for "army guns between 75 mm and 200 mm".
Again, no, U.S. War Department production of 105mm was 295.252 million rounds for M2 and M2A1 and 7.920 for M3.
That implies in 4.5 million metric tons of 105 mm alone contradicting your post that weight for "guns and mortars" was 5,014,582 short tons.

This is where my data comes from:

Image

Clearly states 76 million and 7.4 million rounds of the two categories of 105 mm. And 211 million rounds for 75mm to 200 mm, which would weight about 3.2 million tons.

It's from this source:

Image
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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 25 Jul 2016 09:01

RichTO90 wrote:Not to mention that those economies also required resources. Which became more than a bit problematic when the Allied blockade took effect. Because, oddly enough, no one has yet managed to show where "market forces" managed to defeat a 5" naval rifle when it came to running the blockade... :roll: Never mind that all that wonderful "warmaking potential" the Germans "acquired" in Europe then competed for the same resources. :roll:
The war actually had a strong effect on the economies of the Allies because they divided the world into two areas: Allies and Axis and trade between the two blocks was blocked, which means the economies of both blocks suffered greatly: the UK main trade partners were in continental Europe so the collapse of trade with continental Europe certainly hurt the UK's economy greatly, the USSR and the US were more isolated and so their economies weren't so hit by the division though.

And I don't think that raw materials were actually quite that acute problem in Europe as conventionally believed. Nazi mismanagement is the issue not lack of raw materials, the only main issue was oil. But anyway, they could make synthetic oil, though at a high price.

Overall I would expect the economic impact of the lack of raw materials caused by the British blockade was much smaller than the losses in the gains from trade by all countries in the world on average just from the economic isolation caused by war. The reason is that most raw materials were a small fraction of the whole economy so they couldn't affect it that much. With the exception of coal, which was the biggest sector in many countries' economies and most important raw material but Europe didn't suffer from lack of coal.

Economists often arrive at conclusions that appear weird for someone with poor notions of magnitudes, for instance, Fogel won the Nobel prize for essentially proving that the invention of the railroad did not affect significantly economic growth in the US in the 19th century: had the railroad not been invented, Fogel predicted, economic growth would have been exactly the same.
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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Guaporense » 10 Aug 2016 22:56

I made this table comparing the GDP of the territories under control by the Axis and the Allied powers:

Image

Interestingly, in 1913 the GDP if the Axis' territories including the occupied industrialized parts of continental Europe were 73% of the Allied GDP, by 1939, they were 77% of the Allied territories GDP and in 1970, after the economies of Europe and Japan recovered from WW2 back to their potential levels, they were 70% of Allied GDP.

Three notes:

For US I used Kuznets revised estimates of US GDP growth during the war where he tries to correct for the distortions associated with war economies that I explained before. Maddison's figures (coming from a 1990 estimate using prices from the 1980's by the Bureau of Commerce) showing a doubling of US's GDP from 1938 to 1944 are the prime example of that type of statistical distortion and make WW2 wartime GDP comparisons very problematic.

For UK in the revised portion I used price data from that 2009 paper on real wages in Germany and UK to get a more sensible figure for UK's GDP than Maddison's because Germany's non-agricultural labor force was more than 1.5 times the UK in 1939 and productivity in German manufacturing and services was similar to the UK's, combined with the much larger German agricultural labor force would imply in a Germany's GDP about 1.58 times the UK's (I just multiplied the labor force size in each sector by it's relative productivity), instead of 1.43 times implied by Maddison's per capita income figures. Using the price data the ratio between Germany/UK's GDP was about 1.57 times in 1939 against 1.58 times using the labor productivity data.

Lastly, using information regarding the size of the black markets in occupied Western Europe I derived a crude estimate for the size of these economies during the war. It's more consistent with the fact that coal production over continental Europe increased a little between 1939 and 1944, so that the complete economic collapse as pointed out by Maddison's estimates appears dubious to me.

Taking all these elements into account it appears that excluding the occupied USSR's territories, the Allies enjoyed a significant but not large advantage in potential economic resources, in the order of 25 to 35%.
Last edited by Guaporense on 11 Aug 2016 22:46, edited 2 times in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

Richard Anderson
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Re: On estimating the warmaking potential of the world's regions

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Aug 2016 07:27

Guaporense wrote:That implies in 4.5 million metric tons of 105 mm alone contradicting your post that weight for "guns and mortars" was 5,014,582 short tons.
My bad, 295,252,000 was the total production of light field, tank, and antitank. Total production of ammunition for the 105mm Howitzer M2 and M2A1 was 85,482,000, including 72,248,000 M1 HE, 3,255,000 M67 AT, 90,000 T18 Canister, 2,540,000 M60 WP, 4,331,000 M84 CS, and 2,018,000 M60 HS and CNS. All types for the 105mm Howitzer M3 totaled 7,920,000.

Meanwhile, U.S. War Department production by weight for "guns and mortars" (your terminology) was 5,014,582 short tons. Comprised of 1,788,396 tons of heavy field, 2,498,945 tons of light field, tank, and antitank, 188,238 tons of antiaircraft, 384,295 tons of mortar shells, 83,230 tons of rockets, and 71,478 tons of aircraft guns.

U.S. Navy Department production by weight was 1,356,496 tons for all naval "guns", including 424,260 for naval surface fire, 738,366 for antiaircraft, 193,870 for rockets, and 33,218 for practice and training rockets.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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