German economic data

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 925
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German economic data

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Dec 2019 13:07

@ DerAlteFritz I'm also reading Milward's The New Order and the French Economy, picked it up yesterday from the library. Familiar with it? Given it's 35 years old I'm wondering whether it's out of date by now. OTOH it has decent tables on fundamentals like French coal production by region.

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1064
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: German economic data

Post by Stiltzkin » 14 Dec 2019 04:15

where does Hunscha come from?
Hunschas survey served as evidence in the Nuremberg trials (BArch R 3/1626a), but is obviously flawed (featured in Germany and the 2ndWorld War). It is the basis for most calculations listed in literature. Additionally to the revisions, the grand total of 123 bln RM has to be adjusted for the non redeemed accommodations ("Reichskreditskassenscheine") in the range of 3bln RM.
Kleman and Kudryashov apparently relied on Boelcke's data, they appear to be similar. Information on the spoils of war and the black market were obtained from Buchheim.

The second point is that Klemann came out in 2012, "Paying for Hitler’s War" came out in 2016 yet there has not been a serious attempt to re-write either Milward's Blitzkrieg Theory nor the Inefficiency Theory (p46 Paying for Hitlers War). I suspect this reluctance comes from the fact that these calculations are estimates and speculation and that several of them would be needed to create a new theory. Like a house of cards it would only take one to fail..
The Blitzkrieg theory has to be dismissed, the economy had been pushed and prepared for long lasting conflicts, based on the experiences of WW1. This is also mentioned in Nazi Germany's preparation for war: evidence from revised industrial investment series. Mismanagement on the other hand cannot explain the chain of events, unlike the flaws in the underlying strategy.
However bearing this in mind, these data series could be combined to give a rough estimate of German/Europe GDP to compare with Soviet Union
Has been already done in this forum though, but Soviet data is problematic, to say the least. Samuelson and Harrison are probably your best bets in the western sphere. You would need to construct a suitable PPP, as you cannot freely convert currencies. Though I do not think that it actually makes much sense, considering the (different) portfolios of both systems. It is far more important to look at material capabilities, which were relevant for waging war (such as coal and steel outputs/allocations and military outlays). The civil sector translates into the war economy and what is not available there, cannot carry over into the military nexus.
---------------------------
His portrayal of Western Europe as a sink-hole of Nazi investment always seemed fishy to me,
The Nazi bureaucratic apparatus was neither particularly productive nor the most efficient. Overall the system seemed underutilized though, markedly in the occupied territories, but this choice does not appear irrational from a strategic point of view (ignoring the problem of labour shortcomings for a moment), considering the potential consequences. A greater expansion would have increased the dependency on the respective territories, which would have backfired under the contraction of the territory from 43 onwards, much stronger than it was the case historically (last but not least, the increased vulnerability to bombardment)

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 925
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German economic data

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Dec 2019 08:09

Stiltzkin wrote:You would need to construct a suitable PPP, as you cannot freely convert currencies. Though I do not think that it actually makes much sense, considering the (different) portfolios of both systems. It is far more important to look at material capabilities, which were relevant for waging war (such as coal and steel outputs/allocations and military outlays). The civil sector translates into the war economy and what is not available there, cannot carry over into the military nexus.
The more I look at this subject, the more I agree with this skepticism re the headline figures often referenced in general-audience history works. Even PPP series like Maddison's, which are good for centuries-long overviews, grind into implausibility re the foibles of war accounting. He'd have us believe, for instance, that a Germany producing ~45% of U.S. output in planes and vehicles and a greater absolute quantity of ammunition had only ~1/4 of the U.S. economy. I suspect the "details devil" relates to the ability of a command-war-economy to realize production efficiencies without those efficiencies rapidly translating into transaction prices, as would occur in a normal and decently-competitive market economy. PPP time-series construction would need to keep pace with administrative/technical efficiencies not captured by historical contract prices, a project whose undertaking I can't even begin to contemplate. Better to focus, as you suggest, on the top-line inputs to production in a world where the technological divergence wasn't so great as to render pounds of coal or hours of man-labor incompatible across borders.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 925
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German economic data

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Dec 2019 08:25

Stiltzkin wrote: Overall the system seemed underutilized though, markedly in the occupied territories, but this choice does not appear irrational from a strategic point of view (ignoring the problem of labour shortcomings for a moment), considering the potential consequences. A greater expansion would have increased the dependency on the respective territories, which would have backfired under the contraction of the territory from 43 onwards, much stronger than it was the case historically (last but not least, the increased vulnerability to bombardment)
That argument makes sense if you believe the Nazis foresaw that they'd lose France later and therefore shouldn't rely on keeping her. Doesn't seem plausible; Nazis planning is paradigmatic of optimism bias until the very last. They were still investing in Eastern Ukraine, for example, during summer 1943.

IMO underutilization of occupied territories stems more from the inherent inefficiency of Nazi bureaucracy that you also cite. Doing things in a manner conducive to strategic goals almost always required the personal intervention of Hitler or his favorite-of-the-day (Speer during the "Armaments Miracle"), otherwise much would be lost to internecine turf wars.

User avatar
Der Alte Fritz
Member
Posts: 2014
Joined: 13 Dec 2007 21:43
Location: Kent United Kingdom

Re: German economic data

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 14 Dec 2019 11:41

I have two references re Hunscha in Bundesarchiv:
1)
R 2501/6434 1941
Note on the file of a Dr. Kurt Hunscha , Head of the Economics Department at Dresdner Bank, gave a lecture on contemporary issues of international monetary policy
Docket 21a, 75 Berlin Lechtfeld
2)
R 3 / 1626a
Vol. 2(1936-1944) July 1948
Volume number 2
Contains among other things:
'The economic and financial relations of Germany with the occupied countries of continental Europe in the period from 1940 to 1944 with comparisons to the German foreign trade of the pre-war period 1936 to 1939.- Copy of an expert opinion by Dr. rer.pol.Kurt Hunscha to submit to the Nuremberg trial

From Nuremburg Trial Records
- Red series
Vol VIII Index documents Economic series p1029 to p1051
https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law ... l-VIII.pdf

Vol VII p269 document EC-86 Accounting country by country for occupation costs
https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law ... ol-VII.pdf

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1064
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: German economic data

Post by Stiltzkin » 14 Dec 2019 20:12

That argument makes sense if you believe the Nazis foresaw that they'd lose France later and therefore shouldn't rely on keeping her. Doesn't seem plausible; Nazis planning is paradigmatic of optimism bias until the very last. They were still investing in Eastern Ukraine, for example, during summer 1943.
If this was the case, then the Soviets would never have established backup facilities, while the argument is hardly weakened by further investments into Ukraine in 1943, as it ignores magnitudes. Substantial allocations occured at a time when the initiative was lost, with the Western territories still in their possession. Neither was military planning and mismanagement merely confined to Nazi leadership.
IMO underutilization of occupied territories stems more from the inherent inefficiency of Nazi bureaucracy that you also cite. Doing things in a manner conducive to strategic goals almost always required the personal intervention of Hitler or his favorite-of-the-day (Speer during the "Armaments Miracle"), otherwise much would be lost to internecine turf wars.
They controlled a proto union but could not rely on an EU Army. That Speer's myth still continues to plague historiography is most unfortunate.
Note that Allied war economies did not radically differ in their basic form.

----------------------------
I have two references re Hunscha in Bundesarchiv [...] 'The economic and financial relations of Germany with the occupied countries of continental Europe in the period from 1940 to 1944 with comparisons to the German foreign trade of the pre-war period 1936 to 1939.- Copy of an expert opinion by Dr. rer.pol.Kurt Hunscha to submit to the Nuremberg trial
This was the featured report and represents the lower boundaries. I doubt that it is going to add anything substantial though, as the data you accumulated is already superior.

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1064
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: German economic data

Post by Stiltzkin » 14 Dec 2019 21:02

I suspect the "details devil" relates to the ability of a command-war-economy to realize production efficiencies without those efficiencies rapidly translating into transaction prices, as would occur in a normal and decently-competitive market economy. PPP time-series construction would need to keep pace with administrative/technical efficiencies not captured by historical contract prices, a project whose undertaking I can't even begin to contemplate. Better to focus, as you suggest, on the top-line inputs to production in a world where the technological divergence wasn't so great as to render pounds of coal or hours of man-labor incompatible across borders.
Especially in the face of manipulations, freezing, distortions and the absence of a comparable market. In his original work, Harrison estimated German munitions output at ~15-20% of the US...what matters is also not the raw volume of munitions, but rather the ratio of per capita investment. Hypothetically, a small nation with significantly less soldiers than the USSR, Ger or US, lets say with just 30-40% of their manpower levels, but equipment at approximate levels, would still yield a much greater investment per man. This of course ignores qualitative factors (design, manufacture).

User avatar
Der Alte Fritz
Member
Posts: 2014
Joined: 13 Dec 2007 21:43
Location: Kent United Kingdom

Re: German economic data

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 14 Dec 2019 23:03

Underutilization of occupied territories stems more from the inherent inefficiency of Nazi bureaucracy
Inefficiency may have been a factor but there is also an inherent resource extraction problem from hostile occupied territories, from outright resistance through to inefficiencies from damaged economies and disruption of supplies and transport. Getting resources out of Allied governments is hard enough but from an occupied enemy territory is an uphill struggle.

A comparison could be made with the Russian government in the First World War failing to extract food from its suspicious peasantry using market means through to the attempts of the Soviet government in the Civil War under War Communism to do the same with more violent methods. This was resource extraction from one's own recalcitrant peasantry, how much more difficult when the German occupiers were attempting to do the same with a background of destroyed farm machinery and a raging partisan war?

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1064
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: German economic data

Post by Stiltzkin » 15 Dec 2019 15:59

Inefficiency may have been a factor but there is also an inherent resource extraction problem from hostile occupied territories, from outright resistance through to inefficiencies from damaged economies and disruption of supplies and transport. Getting resources out of Allied governments is hard enough but from an occupied enemy territory is an uphill struggle.
Hence why the aggregation of assets in resource mobilization is always problematic.

User avatar
Der Alte Fritz
Member
Posts: 2014
Joined: 13 Dec 2007 21:43
Location: Kent United Kingdom

Re: German economic data

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 17 Dec 2019 10:53

Germany at the start of the war in 1939 has a population of 69 million her own economic output of 7557 GDP per capita.

In 1940 Germany conquers Western Europe adding France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway which have a combined population of 66 million with GDP per capita around 6000 mark.

Adding in the earlier conquests of 1939 of Czechoslovakia and Poland increases the population to 112 million or just under double Germany's however these countries have a lower GDP per capita under 3000 which makes the potential GDP of the German sphere of occupation about the same as Germany's.

This potential is not realised due to several factors.

Firstly the moment these countries become occupied states they immediately lose access to their colonies, international trade and international fiance. Local trade France with Spain for instance continues but British denial of sea lanes cuts access to the rest of the world. This is not recovered over time.

Secondly these economies suffer an element of wartime disruption due to war damage, population movement and their own mobilisation efforts which will recover over time.

Thirdly there is another round of lost potential due to active and passive resistance by the occupied state which cause extraction problems for the occupier. This situation will tend to deteriorate over time.

Finally there is the efficiency of the occupiers administration in managing the occupied economy and mitigating the above factors to some degree and this of course varies from country to country. An element of German inefficiency comes from its own organisation and structures but another element comes from the fact that it is fighting a war and cannot devote manpower and resources to managing the occupied state and has to rely on indigenous personnel.

Moreover what could Germany expect to extract from any given economy when typically the home economy only provided 50% of its GNP towards military effort? This is a function of wealth since economies have to devote a baseline of their activity towards keeping their populations fed, clothed and heated with basic services. Rich countries have a higher proportion of their economy above this baseline and so are able to generate greater amounts of potential military activity. This is a major reason as to why Western Europe was always going to contribute more to the German war effort than Eastern Europe which was far poorer. Poland's GDP per capita was half the size of France's and the proportion above the baseline far smaller.

Looked at from this perspective, the 10-20% that Germany extracted from the occupied countries looks pretty successful especially as almost all these countries had lower GDP per capita than Germany's.

This is the broad brush stroke kind of picture that you get from these comparisons which has a use although one cannot rely on it for the fine detail as discussed above and it has its limitations.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 925
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: German economic data

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Dec 2019 11:31

Der Alte Fritz wrote: Looked at from this perspective, the 10-20% that Germany extracted from the occupied countries looks pretty successful especially as almost all these countries had lower GDP per capita than Germany's.
It looks even more successful given that up to 30% of labor within the Reich was performed by foreigners, depending on when we look and how we define foreign. I haven't seen that facet combined with the material import facet. Then there's non-imported services rendered abroad (HiWi's) in addition to goods provided abroad to WM as I already mentioned. It suggests that Germany was approaching 50% of wartime production attributable to non-Germans foreign and domestic.

...which may be hiding further damage attributable to Wallie bombing.

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1064
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: German economic data

Post by Stiltzkin » 19 Dec 2019 00:45

Moreover what could Germany expect to extract from any given economy when typically the home economy only provided 50% of its GNP towards military effort? T
West: Money.
East: Labour/Slaves (although that would be misleading, as there was initially no indication, judging by the high mortality rates).
Also, the "core" territories were overall more integrated:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Return to “Economy”