Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 04:54

Avalancheon wrote:Soviet Grain Production: 1940-1950, by V. Katkoff. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3159589?seq=1
Thank you! Great source.

Reminder that JSTOR articles can be read by anyone, after free registration, due to COVID.
Avalancheon wrote:The loss of arable land in the Ukraine and Kuban put them in a very difficult position with regards to food supplys.
Definitely true re Ukraine but Kuban needs qualification. Much of the land taken by Ostheer in Blau fell later in '42 but was back in Russian hands by Spring. Occupation occurred, therefore, during the period between fall harvest of spring wheat and spring harvest of winter wheat. As was done in Western Ukraine in 1941, the Soviets probably forced an early harvest in those areas conquered during late summer. I've often wondered how much Soviet food production was truly lost to occupation of these lands. Per your source, not nearly all of it:
In many regions the Germans had occupied a few months, the Russians found a large grain acreage, sown under German occupation; thus with the advancing Red Army in 1943 there were added regions which not only did not need to be helped by the Soviet government, but instead contributed to the total food output.
Given that the Germans always planned to retain their conquered lands and extract grain surpluses from them, it makes sense that they encouraged planting as much as possible. When they retreated it was impossible to go to every field and destroy the sown crops.

So while the land losses during Blau certainly contributed to Soviet food problems, the extent of the damage was significantly less than had the Germans taken these lands earlier and held them longer.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 07:28

Avalancheon's source (hereinafter "Katkoff": https://www.jstor.org/stable/3159589?re ... b_contents) gives us some contemporary regional breakdowns of production and land yield:
The total grain production in all the eastern regions could be estimated at 25.0 percent of the total Soviet production, which was produced on 30.3 percent of the total Soviet acreage. [data for 1940] @209 
Arithmetic shows that the Eastern yields per hectare sown were 76.7% of western yields. Katkoff also gives 23.0% for Ukraine's share of grain production (p.208).

My OP estimated 75% east-west land yield ratio and 23.37% production share for Ukraine. Gotta say- not bad Mr. Marcks. :D

That said, my postulated productivity difference between Chernozem and non-Chernozem western land appears to have been too low: Given that the east-west ratio is ~.77 and that only ~ half of western land is Chernozem, it's likely that Chernozem land was at least 50% more productive than average eastern land.

-----------------------------

What about the trend in land yield during the war?

Avalancheon already quoted the 1940 grain harvest at 118.8mil t; from a diagram on page 208 we can infer total Soviet grain-sown area at 110.6mil ha: yield was 1.074 t/ha.

Page 213 gives the 1942 stats as 53.1mil t grain production on 70.8mil hectares: yield of .75 t/ha.

Grain yield declined by 30% between 1940 and 1942.

As Katkoff and many other sources attest, much of this decline is attributable to shortages of labor, fuel, transport, and fertilizer. Indeed, as the yield erosion is greater than the 1940 East-West yield delta, it's obvious that this would be so.

-----------------------------------

Just as my OP was able to come within a few points of estimating east-west yield ratios and Ukraine's share of production, likewise I think we can glean some top-line projections about the impact of losing the entire western region:
  • Between '40 and '42, the east-west ratio of sown grain land moved from 30:70 to nearly 50:50.
  • Were the SU to retreat to/past the Urals, that ratio would be 0:100 - i.e. all eastern.
  • Had the 1942 east-west yield ratio been equal to 1940's ~77:100, a shift of sown-land ratio from 50:50 to 0:100 would cause a 12% decline in grain yield per hectare.
...the foregoing assumes it's possible for the SU to increase sown land in the east more than OTL - something that is likely but, as Kotkoff states, only "with some improvement." (p.208).

Could the SU survive a 12% decline in grain per capita? Certainly not. As Hunger and War discusses, the SU's population was running a caloric deficit in '42-'43 (perhaps '44 as well) and the accumulation of that deficit is what caused widespread starvation and/or malnutrition-related illnesses like tuberculosis. A 12% decline in per capita grain supplies would drastically accelerate caloric-deficit accumulation, sending millions to their deaths.

The only route to survival would be to sow even more eastern land, which would require more labor. The simple fact that such land was not sown, in preference to other eastern land, shows that it was less productive and/or more remote. In either case, cultivating such land would require more labor per grain output (either due to more plowing/sowing for less yield or more building of improvements before cultivation).

Say the Soviets needed 14% more agricultural labor (1/.88) to compensate for a 12% decline in land yield.

In 1942 the SU's labor force (non-military) of 41mil was ~60% agricultural (See Harrison's Accounting for War App. I):


Image



A 14% increase moves Ag's labor share to ~68%, which is a ~20% decline in the economy's non-Ag labor share.

The '42 Soviet workforce was stripped to the absolute bare-minimum of civilian-oriented production. Even so, essential civilian services (government, transport, health, etc.) occupied at least 20% of the labor force. Assuming that's a floor for civilian-oriented production, the extra agricultural workers - 8% of labor force - have to come from the direct industry-weapons production complex's ~20% of the labor force. That 8% labor shift means:

40% reduction of the per-capita industry-weapons complex's labor share.

Note again that this is a 40% reduction in "pie-slice," independent of reducing "pie size."

If the SU retreats behind the Urals it's unlikely to have even half of its OTL 1942 population, but even with half the military's productive labor slice would be only 30% of its OTL slice ( 0.6 * 0.5 ).

Hopefully it's clear that a Red Army with 30% of OTL resources is a different ballgame.

------------------------------------------------

I'd anticipate an intuitive response from many: how can a 14% increase in agricultural labor demand cause a 40% decrease in munitions production?

My first answer is in the numbers above but I'd also challenge folks to reimagine the context of the wartime SU. A society that still employs over half of its population in agriculture is so far removed from our own that it's difficult for intuition to track. This was true even for contemporary Westerners such as the German soldiers who were shocked by the conditions of the Soviet peasantry (e.g. dirt-floored wood/thatch huts, lack of candles/oil for lighting let alone electricity). As such a society ekes out its industrial/services surplus from the agricultural base, any change in agricultural productivity has effects far greater than in our times or in the contemporary West.

Czarist Russia collapsed in WW1 because its agrarian economy could not withstand the stresses of modern war.
Stalinist Russia layered more industry atop the old economy but it's an error, IMO, to exaggerate the distance between 1941 and 1917.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 21 Aug 2020 07:53

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
Peter89 wrote: The SU's real lifelines were Vladivostok and Murmansk, the former wasn't even interdicted by the Japanese, the latter wasn't captured by the Axis.
True OTL.

But it's entirely feasible that these lifelines would have been cut had Germany seen a feasible level of success in Western Russia.

Re Murmansk, suppose the Ostheer joins with Finns at the Svir (OTL they were ~60 miles away). Leningrad then falls, Volkhov front disappears, AGN's 28 divisions can easily push its frontier to Lake Onega. That frees up the 80% of the Finnish Army, which could then take Belomorsk and cut the Murmansk railway during the winter. As Archangelsk is iced-in until May or so, British material (the most important early in the East) disappears for the first winter. There would have been political resistance to such an advance in Finnland but (1) Mannerheim was given wide rein to decide the final ending point of the Finnish advance based on his military judgment and (2) Hitler could have made the OTL generous provision of grain to Finland conditional on the offensive.
Yes, it's possible. In 1942, the Northern / Arctic Russia route accounted for about 40% of the LL. OTL, it dropped to 15% in 1943. Because...
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
Re Vladivostok, if the Germans more seriously wound Russia in '41 then Japan probably closes off and/or takes Vladivostok in Spring '42. OTL the Kwantung Army reached a peak strength of 1.1mil in '42. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kantokuen ... triumphant
No, it's not likely. Even if the Germans cripple the Soviets in 1941, in that given timeframe, the Japanese did not have the means to fight against the Soviets as well. A strategic choice was made to ignore them until China and the Western powers are dealt with. The IJA couldn't win the war against China, and the IJN lost the war against the USN.

You see, that's the problem with this strategy. If the Germans capture the European SU and cripple them economically, their diplomatic and logistical situation is still acceptable. They just needed time and wear down the German troops until the Wallies can mobilize their resources (and / or develop the A-bomb).

Also, the Germans and the Japanese did not coordinate their efforts. Why would the Japanese risk their war effort in China or Indochina to attack the Soviets? Or why would they spend their limited naval power to interdict LL to Vladivostok? It did not make sense from their perspective. The Japanese were actually happy for the ongoing German-Soviet struggle, the more blood they spill, the better for them. They did not want to see battle-hardened, well-equipped, mechanized European armies at their doorstep.
I mean they were not really allies in a real sense. During the occupation of Asia, Germans were not treated better than other whites.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
The Red Army had ~1mil in the East in early '42 but how many would have gone west if the Germans win a few more Taifun-style battles in Barbarossa? It's entirely feasible that Red Army forces would drop to 600-700k in Primorskiye, at which point Kwantung Army has 2:1 superiority. In that environment Japan can announce closure of Vladivostok to all U.S.-originating (or financed) goods without fear of the Red Army. Or it can actually invade Primorskiye. Hitler could prompt them to do so by conditioning Germany's declaration against America on Japan blockading or invading Vladivostok.
Not too much, if the Soviet political and military leaderships are as capable as in OTL. If they fall back to Vladivostok, the undermechanized, underequipped and outnumbered IJA forces will never attack them. They keep the Pacific route open, and soon they'll get strong enough to attack.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
In 1942, with much of their offensive capabilities exhausted, their best formations decimated and their logistical support in shambles, they really needed to destoy Soviet formations very near to their logistical support
German logistics in '42 were better than in '41 - at least the railways, were which the most important factor.

The difference between '42 and '41 wasn't relative logistics but relative force ratios.: When the Germans were overstretched in '41 they still had rough numerical parity until December or so, then were outnumbered by ~40%. When overstretched in '42, however, the Ostheer was outnumbered >2:1. The supplies reaching Stalingrad per division were no worse than - probably better than - the supplies reaching AGC's front after Taifun.

German combat efficiency was sufficient to overcome a slight numerical disadvantage plus logistical problems, but couldn't overcome a massive numerical disadvantage plus logistical problems.
I'm not referring to roads, railways and such, but to more mundane things. For example, aerial warfare needs airfields, if you have good airfields west of Rostov, your aerial power in the Caucasus will be lackluster. Same goes for repair shops, hospitals and whatnot.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
they really needed to destroy Soviet formations very near to their logistical support - their effective striking radius and the stiffened Soviet resistance made it clear. But they decided to push forward where the Soviets did not anticipate it, thus they captured territories they couldn't hold. Contrary to what Yuri wrote, the flexible defense worked perfectly well in the summer of 1942.
I agree that the Germans were stronger nearer their supply bases and I agree that they overreached in latter Blau. Instead of successive battles farther and farther from supplies, Blau III/IV should have been replaced by a shift of resources towards the Moscow or Leningrad axes with accompanying Kesselschlachten.
Exactly.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
But don't understate the cost of "flexible defense." The agriculture lost during Blau contributed to famine conditions in the SU during '42-'44 that killed millions (as discussed in Hunger and War, which I've excerpted elsewhere) and certainly decreased Soviet worker productivity due to hunger/illness (unquantified/unquantifiable so far). The industrial and population losses were signficant as well. The Soviets evacuated tens of thousands of carloads of plant from Luhansk, Voronezh, Rostov and elsewhere during Blau and left much else behind.
Yes, I mean the large scale occupation had a real and cruel effect on the Soviet war effort and on the Soviet people. However, the SU under Stalin was one of the worst dictature ever, and the Soviet leadership was willing to sacrifice twice the men they've lost in OTL. More hunger and deprivation will not change the game.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
So even if the Soviets retreat behind the Urals, the Axis stabilize the front at the A-A line by the end of 1942, it was an okay scenario for the Allies. If the Soviets escape with their armies and the Pacific route remains open, they would be able to field 50-100 divisions.
First, this assumes Vladivostok remains viable which, as discussed, is far from certain for a significantly-weaker SU.

Second, even a 100-division RKKA is a match for only ~40 German divisions. So Germany would have the option of screening the Eastern Front quite cheaply, which means D-Day is impossible unless the Wallies completely reorient their strategy to fielding a much-larger army. Alternatively, Germany could send ~60 divisions towards Novossibirsk, Karaganda, etc., whose capture leaves Soviet resources puny and the Eastern Front a rounding error in tabulating German commitments.
1.
Assumption on the square, I'd say. If we take a look at the Pacific War in the end of 1942, the Japanese were nowhere near strong enough to seize Vladivostok and / or interdict the Pacific LL route.

2.
But let's assume it. Still, the A-A line is about 2500km in the air, and I have no idea how much in real conditions. Even just to guard that border effectively, you're gonna need definately more than 40 divisions.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
Third, with Baku and "Second Baku" (the oil area east of Saratov but west of the Urals) gone, where is Soviet fuel coming from?

Fourth, where are the Soviets growing food for their remaining population? They retain only ~1/4 of 1939 croplands so can support ~1/4 of 1939 population: ~42mil. Now the SU is a Spain-sized power.
3.
The LL provided a reasonable amount of the Soviet fuel anyway (eg. 58% of their aviation fuel). Obviously, the Red Army will not be able to field the same size army as in OTL (because we assume heavy defeats and lost territories for them), so their consumption will be lower, too.

4. Maybe nowadays, but Spain had a population about 25 mil in 1940. Today, the ex-Soviet states have a combined economical output like Italy, but the SU was waaay stronger in 1940 than Italy :)

Communism had a forced modernization policy, which was at its height in the 1930's and 1940's. They've lost the cold war because they stuck at that level and were unable to change and adapt.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
Just as it's clear to us that Vladivostok would be the sine qua non of Soviet survival in this scenario, so would it be clear to the Germans and Japanese. Japan was desperate for Germany to end its eastern war and focus on the Wallies, attempting numerous times to broker a peace. In this scenario, Japan would clearly see its opportunity to reorient German war effort by ending Soviet viability via anti-Vladivostok action.
Really?? This is completely new for me. Can you please refer to some source? I'd be really interested in this!
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 08:12

Peter89 wrote:Really?? This is completely new for me. Can you please refer to some source? I'd be really interested in this!
From Germany and the Second World War vol.VI, p.175:
As the German–Soviet
war was a major disrupting factor in Japan’s strategic concept, rendering a
joint conduct of the war more dfficult and, more important, making a pooling
of armament resources impossible, Tokyo was hoping to eliminate that conflict
by a negotiated peace
Same source, p.178:
The Japanese army, however,
had little inclination to make further forces available to the navy while the war
in China continued and the option of an attack on the Soviet Union was still
on the table.
Same source, p.180:
So long as the German overall
war plan set its priorities in the east, the forces for a thrust towards the Middle
East were simply not available. In Tokyo it was the army command which
objected by pointing to the Soviet potential in the Far East; it was not willing
to facilitate a westward o·ensive into the Indian Ocean by making available
the troops (approximately 2 divisions) needed for the occupation of Ceylon.
...as I noted above, Kwantung Army's strength peaked in 1942 and it didn't become a weak force until well into 1944. The SU was always a constant strategic focus of the IJA.

Same source, same page:
The Japanese naval command acknowledged the obstructing effect produced
by the German–Soviet war and doubted if Germany would be in a position to
occupy Russia all the way to the Urals and simultaneously establish a link with
Japan across the Indian Ocean. Towards the end of February 1942 it therefore
took up the idea—repeatedly discussed within the Japanese leadership since
the autumn of 1941—of a negotiated peace, and tried to interest the German
side in this approach.352 By not only not accepting but sharply rejecting this
proposal,353 Berlin indirectly weakened those forces in Tokyo which pleaded
for closer co-ordination and a joint overall strategy of the partners.
There's more to cite but that's enough to establish the general idea that (1) Japan was well aware of the geostrategic implications of Germany being bogged down in the East, (2) the Japanese Army maintained an interest in attacking the SU even after Pearl, and (3) Japan desired closer cooperation with Germany but this was impossible so long as a the SU held out.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 08:25

Peter89" wrote:I'm not referring to roads, railways and such, but to more mundane things. For example, aerial warfare needs airfields, if you have good airfields west of Rostov, your aerial power in the Caucasus will be lackluster. Same goes for repair shops, hospitals and whatnot.
Ok but why were advanced LW airfields poor? Did the LW not know that airfields were important? Of course not. The LW couldn't build good airfields (and moving up shops, whatnot) because building airfields and whatnot depend on the rails, roads, etc.
However, the SU under Stalin was one of the worst dictature ever, and the Soviet leadership was willing to sacrifice twice the men they've lost in OTL. More hunger and deprivation will not change the game.
As I said in my last food-focused post, I think it's a real error to imagine there was no limit to the endurance of Soviet society. The threat of Stalin's executioners is motivating only to the point when obedience also means death. Had the Soviet state demanded enough food from the peasantry to guarantee their large-scale starvation, resistance would have increased. There was passive resistance anyway, such as this from Kotkoff:
[in 1942] the general relaxation of discipline on the part of the peasants [was] reported in Chelyabinsk and Omsk oblasts, the Altai Krai and Kazak SSR. Many European regions were unable to deliver the government-required grain. p.211
What's the difference between "unable" and "unwilling" here? None that I can see. If fulfilling government demands would ensure one's family's starvation, a government threat to kill you for refusal has no real effect regardless of how brutal a dictator is.

Note that the inability/refusal of some European peasants to meet government food demands in 1942 almost certainly contributed to the deaths of millions of urban workers in '42-'44. That happened yet Stalin and his goons were unable to take more peasant food despite government demands. That dynamic would escalate had the food situation worsened in the SU, eventually leading to 1917-style "secession of the peasantry" and/or civil war.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 08:48

Peter89 wrote:the Japanese were nowhere near strong enough to seize Vladivostok and / or interdict the Pacific LL route.
Interdicting LL to Vladivostok requires almost nothing in naval resources: A V-bound ship has either to (1) sail through the Kuriles past Japanese shore batteries, aircraft, light craft or (2) sail through the Tsushima Strait - same thing as Kuriles plus a lot more.
4. Maybe nowadays, but Spain had a population about 25 mil in 1940. Today, the ex-Soviet states have a combined economical output like Italy, but the SU was waaay stronger in 1940 than Italy
Fair enough. But if the Germans take the Urals rather than being outside them, the Soviet pre-war population is down to ~25mil. The Urals are hardly mountains, especially in the central region that shields/contains the biggest cities. They're big hills, a small RKKA wouldn't stop the Ostheer in them.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 21 Aug 2020 09:02

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 08:12
Peter89 wrote:Really?? This is completely new for me. Can you please refer to some source? I'd be really interested in this!
From Germany and the Second World War vol.VI, p.175:
Well.

I think that you went way further with your implications than your source. Did the Japanese attempt to broker a negotiated peace between the SU and the Reich? Or they just wished it to happen?

Because they wanted to negotiate a peace with the US, too... but it was out of the realm of possibilities.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Aug 2020 09:16

Hi Guys,

Just a couple of points.

Dallin in Odessa notes that, unlike the Germans, the Romanians in Transnistria decollectivised the farms and quickly got good crop yields. So there was another way to run the rural economy of occupied areas.

The other thing is that the population figures show that there were only 3 ethnic Russians in the USSR to every 2 ethnic Germans in the Reich.

A third of the USSŔ's population consisted of minorities of more or less negotiable loyalties. Thus there was also another way to run many of the captured territories politically.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 09:31

Peter89 wrote:
21 Aug 2020 09:02
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 08:12
Peter89 wrote:Really?? This is completely new for me. Can you please refer to some source? I'd be really interested in this!
From Germany and the Second World War vol.VI, p.175:
Well.

I think that you went way further with your implications than your source. Did the Japanese attempt to broker a negotiated peace between the SU and the Reich? Or they just wished it to happen?

Because they wanted to negotiate a peace with the US, too... but it was out of the realm of possibilities.
I almost added a concession that "broker" was too strong a word to use. To the extent it implies some readiness to make peace that awaits a broker, it's too far.

But it doesn't matter to the central point, which is that Japan understood how beneficial for it would be an end to German-Soviet war. Was it willing to fight the Red Army on unfavorable terms, to block a port from which LL flows could be re-directed OTL? No.

But that's entirely different from a case where Japan faces a weakened Red Army in Primorskiye and can mostly end LL flows - thereby sealing Soviet fate - by acting against the SU.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 21 Aug 2020 09:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 08:25
Peter89" wrote:I'm not referring to roads, railways and such, but to more mundane things. For example, aerial warfare needs airfields, if you have good airfields west of Rostov, your aerial power in the Caucasus will be lackluster. Same goes for repair shops, hospitals and whatnot.
Ok but why were advanced LW airfields poor? Did the LW not know that airfields were important? Of course not. The LW couldn't build good airfields (and moving up shops, whatnot) because building airfields and whatnot depend on the rails, roads, etc.
However, the SU under Stalin was one of the worst dictature ever, and the Soviet leadership was willing to sacrifice twice the men they've lost in OTL. More hunger and deprivation will not change the game.
As I said in my last food-focused post, I think it's a real error to imagine there was no limit to the endurance of Soviet society. The threat of Stalin's executioners is motivating only to the point when obedience also means death. Had the Soviet state demanded enough food from the peasantry to guarantee their large-scale starvation, resistance would have increased. There was passive resistance anyway, such as this from Kotkoff:
[in 1942] the general relaxation of discipline on the part of the peasants [was] reported in Chelyabinsk and Omsk oblasts, the Altai Krai and Kazak SSR. Many European regions were unable to deliver the government-required grain. p.211
What's the difference between "unable" and "unwilling" here? None that I can see. If fulfilling government demands would ensure one's family's starvation, a government threat to kill you for refusal has no real effect regardless of how brutal a dictator is.

Note that the inability/refusal of some European peasants to meet government food demands in 1942 almost certainly contributed to the deaths of millions of urban workers in '42-'44. That happened yet Stalin and his goons were unable to take more peasant food despite government demands. That dynamic would escalate had the food situation worsened in the SU, eventually leading to 1917-style "secession of the peasantry" and/or civil war.
The situation was dire, but it was not on the breaking point. Even in Leningrad, where the situation was arguably the worst, the Soviets did not surrender or revolted against the government / military. Besides the Germans did not have the capability to capture those territories that would cripple the Soviets food-wise.

Even if they do capture Leningrad, Moscow, etc. by the end of 1942, first of all, that would mean that they don't need to feed them, and second, the Soviets can retreat from the population centers and feed themselves - about quarter of their population with quarter of their food production + LL.

We can imagine the resilience and endurance of the Soviet peasantry, and I really doubt that after the US entry into the war - and the LL shipments arriving in quantity would break the Soviets. If the Soviets attempt to stand against the Germans near the frontlines, the better chance the Germans have to destroy them for good.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 09:38

Sid Guttridge wrote:Dallin in Odessa notes that, unlike the Germans, the Romanians in Transnistria decollectivised the farms and quickly got good crop yields. So there was another way to run the rural economy of occupied areas.
The Germans did the same thing outside of Ukraine, which paradoxically they viewed as too important for food supply to de-collectivize. (See Berkhoff's Hilter's Clean Slate).
Sid Guttridge wrote:A third of the USSŔ's population consisted of minorities of more or less negotiable loyalties. Thus there was also another way to run many of the captured territories politically.
I agree with the many authors who have pointed out that Ukrainians, Balts, etc. could have been made to join an anti-Bolshevik crusade had the Germans offered them a good alternative vision of their futures.

But I don't follow that line of analysis because it's a case of "Nazis win if they're not Nazis." We don't get Hitler and WW2 absent the psychotic worldview; that worldview is irreconcilable with an attractive offer of quasi-alliance with European Soviet minorities.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 09:45

Peter89 wrote:Even in Leningrad, where the situation was arguably the worst, the Soviets did not surrender or revolted against the government / military.
That doesn't really address my argument - though I'll concede I haven't spelled it out with great clarity.

Did the peasants of 1916 rebel against the Czar? No. They just stopped sending their food to the cities. The Czarist regime knew what was happening in the countryside, they were just powerless to force 100mil peasants to give them a few more loaves of bread each.

Same with a hypothetical worsening of Soviet food supply: either the NKVD swells to 10mil grain-collectors or there's no way to force millions of peasants to hand over small quantities of grain that, in aggregate, make the difference between collapse and endurance.

Neither is this post a clear explication of my argument, I fear, but what I'm getting at is something more basic: that it's a failure of imagination to believe that Stalin's regime was so all-knowing that compliance/resistance was a matter of Bastille-style revolution or fatalist obedience rather than a range of options that included small-scale, self-interested subversion. If Stalinist regimes were truly able to remove the relevance of self-interested incentives then all liberal economic critiques of it are wrong.

Leningraders weren't food-producers; they couldn't withhold grain. Different material conditions.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 21 Aug 2020 10:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Aug 2020 10:01

Hi TMP,

I agree. There were other possibilities open to Germany, but only so long as the Nazis weren't the Nazis.

Sid.

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 10:23

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 Aug 2020 10:01
Hi TMP,

I agree. There were other possibilities open to Germany, but only so long as the Nazis weren't the Nazis.

Sid.
It's a nice story. The bad guys lost because they're bad; the good guys won because they're good. For some folks a nice story is all that's needed from history.
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"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

antwony
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by antwony » 21 Aug 2020 10:57

I took the time to correct your nonsense about Finland before. But, that was a while back and guess you've forgot.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
Re Murmansk, suppose the Ostheer joins with Finns at the Svir (OTL they were ~60 miles away).
The Finnish Army crossed Syväri, they weren't ~60 miles away.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
Leningrad then falls, Volkhov front disappears
Seems a bit of big leap in logic there.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
AGN's 28 divisions can easily push its frontier to Lake Onega.
The Finnish Army already held the eastern shore of Ääninen.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 00:55
That frees up the 80% of the Finnish Army, which could then take Belomorsk and cut the Murmansk railway during the winter. There would have been political resistance to such an advance in Finnland but (1) Mannerheim was given wide rein to decide the final ending point of the Finnish advance based on his military judgment and (2) Hitler could have made the OTL generous provision of grain to Finland conditional on the offensive.
80%... what??? Cutting the Murmansk Railway vis-a-vis Finland is a very complicated subject. As you don't understand the basics of Finland in WW2, it' s perhaps best you don't bring that up.

BTW Can you please stop writing Finland with two nn's. You seem to be one of those Wehraboos that think writing in German makes you more credible. But, and I know German speakers feel this way too, using a foreign language term for something that has a direct equivalent in the language used is, at best, a bit annoying.

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