HistoryGeek2019 wrote:The USA alone had three times the GDP of Germany at the peak of Germany's economy in 1944. See the below chart from "The Economics of World War II", edited by Mark Harrison:
True re 1944 but you're looking at a peak USA versus a devastated Germany and occupied Europe.
's chart based on 1938 GDP of territories under Axis/Allied control in 1942:
I'll concede that using 1938 figures under-represents the USA, as it slipped back into depression that year.
Nonetheless, if we move ~$200bil of the USSR's GDP from Allied to Axis due to Soviet defeat, the 1938 score tips even in further in Axis favor: ~$1,750bil Axis to ~1,250bil Allied.
EDIT: I highlighted the wrong figure for the Allies - I should have highlighted the 1,748 instead of 1,443. Nonetheless, transferring USSR GDP to Axis would still put Axis 1942 territorial GDP (1938 figures) ahead of Allies, just to a lesser extent (1,750 to ~1,550).
The true economic picture would fall somewhere between 1938 territorial apportionment and 1944 OTL GDP figures.
A Germany with no serious continental enemies can build enough fighters to blunt or even stop the Allied bombing offensive, meaning 1944 production ~25% higher. That applies to the bombing of Baku as well as of industry.
With secure food and oil supplies, the fuel- and fertilizer-starved economies of occupied Europe can regenerate their production.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:The USA's labor force was almost 20 million higher than Germany.
Not once Germany has 400 million people under its sway.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Germany would have to rely on slave labor and plundering its neighbors, which can only last so long.
I don't see any intrinsic limit to Germany's ability to use foreign labor. Do you? There was never any serious challenge to German rule in occupied countries from partisans alone. The USSR kept its boot on the neck of Eastern Europe for decades; I don't think Hitler would have been squeamish about compelling acquiescence.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote: It's 180 kilometers from Baku to the Persian border. From Ploesti to the closest spot in Italy is 900 kilometers. Baku would have been one giant crater.
Who says Germany stops at the Persian border? Churchill certainly didn't think he would. With the USSR defeated or in collapse, Hitler can make the Caspian Sea an Axis lake, protecting Baku.
It's also extremely difficult to bomb oil production - the Allies always bombed refineries instead. There's literally thousands of individual wells that need something like a direct hit to be permanently out of production. There's insufficient built up area around wells to create a firestorm with area bombing.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:It had to rely on slaves and coercion of conquered peoples to harvest these resources, and that is an inherently unproductive, weak economic system.
Per Tooze, foreign labor was ~70% as productive as German. So yeah, maybe inefficient but Europe's 400+ million could potentially produce more at 70% efficiency than the U.S.'s 130 million or the Anglosphere's ~200mil.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And Germany lacked the labor force and infrastructure to exploit the raw materials they conquered.
Re infrastructure I estimated in another post that it would cost <2% of Germany's OTL steel budget to build a brand-new double-track railway from Poland to Baku:
Whether the Anglosphere alone would have maintained a real GDP advantage over a Nazi Grossraum stretching from Lisbon to Yekaterinburg is debatable, depending on your assumptions about bombing and occupied collaboration.
If we look at the history of modern warfare, however, a block needs overwhelming superiority to conquer an opposing block. WW1 involved a similar mismatch of economies but was a darn-close call. IMO if Greater Germany and/or the European Axis can maintain even a 2:1 disadvantage against the Anglosphere, the good guys probably don't march into Berlin. There's just too many advantages for the defenders, including asymmetric strategic needs such as a massive shipbuilding industry that Festung Europa needn't worry about. And there's the fact that German soldiers were better, man for man and weapon for weapon, than their contemporaries.
And critically, as Annatar points out, the good guys need to build an army multiple times stronger than OTL and shed blood on a different order of magnitude to reach Berlin. It's at least not obvious to me that the Anglosphere would have been willing to do that.