TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
30 Jan 2020 09:42
Peter89 wrote:The war was waged against his economical ideas, and as we all know, the Germans won by a great margin, right?
This takes the form of a very simple logical error - the inverse. ["Not Thomas means not success", where the original proposition is that Thomas right: "Thomas means not success"]
I'll concede you're not advancing the inverse specifically, but you're clearly suggesting that failure to follow Thomas' recommendations explains German failure. As a matter of logic that simply doesn't follow: there are infinite other reasons for German failure than ignoring Thomas.
And yes, I've read War and economy in the Third Reich and the Wages of Destruction.
Then I don't see how you can possibly have suggested that civilian consumption was "not restricted badly."
...unless your thesis assumes that only extreme civilian hardship implies sufficient mobilization. That's plainly not true, as the margin between sustainable and "extreme" hardship is quite small as a percentage of rich countries' GDP (e.g. Germany), and therefore elimination of that margin has little impact on resources deployed.
Never stated it otherwise.
Then why raise the issue? Unless you think the very small delta extracted from civilian consumption during latter war years would have been sufficient to make a difference in outcome... Which would undercut your argument that war with SU had no chance of success.
Germany's war effort wasn't shallow, but it wasn't in line with the grand strategy. The sheer numbers they spent on military indicates that. https://i.redd.it/pp7c5khh52kz.png
No idea what a simple chart of military spending in 1939 is supposed to argue.
Germany made many mistakes that we can discuss but none of them is apparent from that chart.
I never said that the whole SU was an underdeveloped wasteland... don't put words into my mouth. East of the A-A line the Germans would have faced immense wastelands with little infrastructure. Most of the railway network of the SU was west of the A-A line: http://users.tpg.com.au/adslbam9//Railways1941.png
The war wouldn't stop there, you know? Even if the Germans are able to reach the A-A line in 1941, their difficulties would grow and their performance would shrink. This was such a commitment they simply couldn't afford. The proper economical exploitation of the SU could only come AFTER the window of opportunity to crush the Wallies has closed already. Thus, attacking the SU is a bad idea.
The words came from a direct quote, it wasn't at all clear you're talking about only the SU past the AA line.
What you're not addressing is the relevance/strength of the SU if it loses all territory up to AA line (or beyond), whether in '41 or '42.
Regarding rail infrastructure, you should study the files on soldat.ru regarding the rail lines east of Volga in 1940. http://www.soldat.ru/files/4/10/137/
Ostheer would have had plenty of infrastructure to move towards the Urals against a dramatically-weakened RKKA (again, you're ignoring the impact of loss of so much land/resources on RKKA strength). Towards the main pre-Urals centers of Perm, Ufa, and Orenburg run double-tracked railways. After that it's a short hop to the Urals industrial cities, after that the SU is a tertiary power if it somehow manages to avoid starvation, including of fuel.
...which raises another critical point you ignore: the wartime SU was critically food-threatened. Even the most critical factories in the Urals couldn't feed workers adequately, losing many man-hours to send sickly workers to "refeeding" facilities. Lose all the breadbasket regions west of the Volga and how do you maintain even the wretched '42/43 standard of living? How do you grow food in worse land after losing all fuel resources, without sending every factory worker/soldier to the farms? If you send everyone to farms, how do you field/arm an army?
Don't take this personally, but this kind of argumentation is what most bothers me about the current state of general discussion of WW2 Eastern Front. It's a failure to take the SU's assets seriously. It's as if the SU is always some imponderable font of resources, regardless of which cities and agricultural areas it loses. It wasn't - Soviet territorial losses during '41/42 had a huge impact on the course of WW2 and even on the Cold War.
As long as the US would be an undeclared belligerent, the Germans stood a chance IF they only compete with Britain. FDR couldn't shift the public opinion fast enough to enter into a war, mobilize the war industry, train the soldiers and whatnot before 1943. Yes, eventually the US would join the war, it would crush the economical system of the colonial empires, etc. etc. and the nuclear bomb project was giving it an edge over any powers in the world. So any window for any opportunity would close eventually, US was on its way to world domination. But we are talking about the terms of what came afterwards. Imperial Russia got defeated in WW1 and France got defeated in WW2, but these defeats would count for nothing after the war.
Not sure what you mean here. You seem to concede that Germany had no way of winning anyway?
Regardless, your response appears irrelevant to an attack on the SU, regardless of the chances of such attack. It fails to account for the resources and strategic depth gained by conquering the SU. I understand you don't think conquering would work but you also say that successful conquering wouldn't have mattered. For the latter argument to make any sense it has to relate to Germany's position vis-a-vis Anglosphere in cases where it has or hasn't added the SU's territories to its assets.
We are talking about two different bananas here, so I decided to state my position on the matter instead of answering piecemal a neverending misunderstanding.
Germany's rearmament programme between 1933-1939 was breit
and costly. So I don't think there was a "Blitzkrieg economy" or anything like that. German rearmament ran as early and as fast as it could. This was mainly because Germany had to rebuild its navy, its army, its air force from a scratch.
Moreover, the main economical problem, ie. Germany had to import almost every kind of raw material (expect coal) for hard foreign exchange; thus, almost everything was subject to a naval blockade (see The Economic Problem in Williamson Murray's Strategy For Defeat: The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945, https://books.google.hu/books?id=e0RwCwAAQBAJ
). Therefore Germany introduced autarchical measures in agriculture, introduced rationing and such before the onset of war - thus decreasing food imports, thus saving foreign exchange for rearmament-related imports.
Facing this fundamental strategical problem of economic nature, Georg Thomas
drew up two different paths: the breite und tiefe (the width and depth) of armament (see: Breite und Tiefe der Rüstung. In: Militärwissenschaftliche Rundschau, 2. Jg. (1937), 2. Heft, S. 189-197.). Germany cannot import enough raw materials to build every kind of arms to a competitive level. This implied that Germany had to focus on import-nonsensitive technology and quality rather than quantity. Almost completely ignoring this idea, Hitler gave permission to every kind of armament programs, which were, at best, halfway through when the war broke out.
it was a terrible idea for Germany to go to war. If I was there, I would have advised against it. But I wasn't there and I could never serve Nazism, because my fundamental point of view in business and private life is to utilize human resources instead of making distinctions by birth. I firmly believe that the Nazi (and Communist) idea sow the seeds of its own demise. Thus the economical, political and diplomatic opportunities could never be exploited to such extent as they could have been with proper statecraft. The reliance on sheer, raw force meant that Germany couldn't afford to lose, ever; and stalemates were just a slower way of losing.
The rapid victories in 1940-1941 meant that Germany took control of vast amount of resources (iron ore from Lorraine, France, bauxite from France and Hungary, grain from Poland), secured others (copper from Bor, Serbia, manganese from Úrkút, Hungary, oil from Romania and Hungary, chrome from Turkey), not to mention the stockpiles in these countries.
After the fall of France, Germany had a window of opportunity to exploit this victory and crush the British Empire before the American entry to the war, and before the Wallies could mobilize their resources for war.
Up to this point, the civilian consumption and the rationing was acceptable in Germany. The Soviet-German trade agreement provided even more strategic resources. See the links I provided before.
When Hitler began to rave about the invasion of the SU, Georg Thomas
drew up two different paths once again: if you put all our resources for one card, you better to be sure that the math will work. If the Soviet stockpiles, industry and whatnot could be taken intact and with minimal losses, only then could Barbarossa pay the dividends Hitler had hoped for. Even then, the population had to be starved out (Hunger Plan). When ljdaw quoted that the "Germans will run out of fuel by October" meant that the Germans will run out of fuel by October IF they ever want to compete with Britain. The war had to be short, decisive, taking huge amount of loot and suffer minimal casualties IF the rations and the military infrastructure (training schools, etc.) were to be maintained at the same level of quality.
So if the SU could not (or doesn't worth to) be occupied up to Vladivostok, it is better not invade it at all. There is nothing like a stable A-A line, even if the SU loses 2/3 of its population. As long as the rest can fight, the Wallies will help them. The L-L was enough to tie down significant portion of the Wehrmacht (including the Luftwaffe!), thus weakening the German military capabilities against Britain by a substantial margin.
The other path is to use this window for the conception and implementation of a grand strategy that can defeat the British Empire. If the isles can't be attacked directly, the KM and the LW should focus on the tonnage war, and the WM and the LW on the colonies and bases in striking distance. Chipping away the RN's capital ships one by one, get new bases, etc. Thus, Germany could preserve its economical strength for these years.
even with such a strategy the Germans couldn't have won simply by military means. A 80/90 million nation couldn't rule the world alone, not in 1940. And there comes ljdaw's favorite argument: "they thought it will work, because it had to work". There is much truth in that, because the fundamental strategic assumptions regarding Barbarossa were, at best, wishful thinking.
To mix things up
And to get back to the original topic of the thread. I also think that the Soviet Union could have been defeated by military means. But it would also mean that the war was 100% surely lost for Germany. In this case, the commitments on the other theatres had to be reduced to minimum, the Axis alliance had to be fully mobilized, and plans for a 2-3 years campaign had to be drawn up. I don't think it is a sensible idea, but it had more than zero chance to work.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."