TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
02 Feb 2020 06:00
Ok instead of holding off on my in-depth post about Soviet starvation during the war, I'll data-dump some tables from Hunger and War to give you all a sense of the scope of this problem.
Here's a link to 9 tables from the book: https://imgur.com/a/D5TGZAb
The most jarring to me is the table of mortality increases in **The URALS** during 1944:
This is 1,000km from the front yet in Chelyaninsk - perhaps the most important armaments center of the SU - death rates for adults were over 4 times
higher than in 1940!!!!
A critical piece of evidence that the authors suss out is that OVERALL mortality didn't increase dramatically. Why? Because pre-war most mortality was of <5yo's - "infant mortality" in tech speak. During the war, however, fewer kids were born. And so many kids died early in the war - when records are more sparse - that by 1943/4 there weren't many 2-5yo's around to die! Previous researchers probably looked at the headline stats for mortality and didn't see a dramatic divergence, only recently have the Hunger and War researchers exposed the real truth.
What's more the data show that excess mortality was concentrated in men aged 20-59 (see charts in link). That means the very workers supplying the war were literally being worked to death!
Even at the critical Nizhny Tagil tractor factory (most of SU's T-34 production) up to 40% of lost work days were due to starvation! [see bottom chart in link] Actually it's almost certainly higher than this, as the authors say that record keeping didn't allow them to identify the causes for all lost work days...
The authors emphasize that starvation mortality/morbidity was a slow-progressing condition:
Earlier, we discussed how the lack of trained physicians and their inexperience recognizing cases of starvation influenced the reliability of cause of death diagnoses. These same difficulties also beset factory doctors treating workers in defense industry. Because the condition usually progressed slowly, at least among non prison workers, sufferers themselves did not necessarily understand the cause of their deteriorating health and seek medical assistance. At least up through 1943, factory doctors tended to mistake signs of advanced starvation— lethargy, inability to stand, loss of vision, incontinence, bradycardia, and hypothermia—as symptoms of its earlier stages. Because they were already under pressure to avoid signing workers off work, when finding patients with these symptoms, they tended simply to place them on lighter work or assign them bed rest at home. This was insufficient, because at this stage of starvation, patients needed not just rest, but refeeding.
...thus many more people than who died or were out sick suffered symptoms of starvation. What effect did hunger have, therefore, on the productivity of the millions of workers who were grievously underfed but didn't reach clinical levels or death? Harrison has mentioned productivity declines across many sectors of the SU economy. There are many reasons to expect this - disruption of networks by military action, replacement of experienced soldiers, relocation effects - but it would be fascinating to see disaggregation of malnourishment effects. Unfortunately that level of data will probably never be available.
What this evidence proves - in my mind beyond any reasonable doubt - is that starvation had a definite impact on the Soviet economy. There are clues elsewhere: Moskoff's "Bread of Affliction" mentions that "food crime" was the biggest concern of interior law enforcement, for example.
When I say that the Soviet Union may have collapsed if Germany held the "Blau lands" through 1943, this is what I'm referring to. The regions taken - Eastern Ukraine, southwest Russia, the Kuban - were the most important breadbaskets remaining to the SU after loss of Western/Central Ukraine in '41. Undoubtedly the Blaulands were less productive in '43 after being recovered, due to loss of capital goods and dislocation of personnel and supporting networks.
But if the SU had lacked those regions entirely? Say it's a 10% drop in food supply per capita. I can't imagine the SU surviving that loss intact. Given the razor-thin margins of survival/effectiveness even in the absolutely critical Urals factories, there probably wasn't enough spare calories in the Soviet diet for large-scale production to continue. Either every non-worker would have to be literally starved to death or the workers just couldn't have functioned.
Max Payload suggests increased food supplies from the U.S. The '42 populations of the U.S. and SU were roughly equal at ~130mil. Would the U.S. have given up 10% of its food to the Communists? For many reasons I find this politically infeasible. There would also be huge problems with large-scale distribution of food to relieve famine in the midst of war: famines relief is almost always a problem of distribution rather than total supply. Most LL food went directly to the RKKA so didn't encounter distributional issues (i.e. the SU just fed the supplies into existing military logistics). "Food crimes" would afflict the distribution channels...
The main motto of the researcher is to question everything and everyone, regardless of the authorities.
The authors of Hunger and War showed the opposite of what they wanted to show.
All healthy men aged 18-55 in the cities of the Urals were called up to the red Army. At the same time, the population of the Urals in 1941-1942 grew at the expense of people evacuated from the Western regions of the USSR. Arrived men aged 20-59 years are people who are not suitable for military service, that is, suffering from diseases. In addition, the authors did not take into account that in 1942-1943, evacuees from Leningrad arrived in the Urals, that is, people who were already "killed" by hunger arrived in the Urals.
There will be famine in the Urals if and only if there is a drought. And the inhabitants of villages, not cities, will die of hunger. Delivering food to the city is not a problem, the cities are located on railway lines. The problem with delivering food to villages is that villages are located 120-150 km from major cities on an area of 824,000 square kilometers (for comparison, the area of France and Germany is 901,000 square kilometers).
I come from the Urals (South Ural-Orenburg region), the city of Magnitogorsk (the city of Magnetic mountain) was previously part of the Orenburg region, and the city of Mednogorsk (the city of Copper mountain) is now in the Orenburg region.
My sources of information:
My great-grandmother was born in 1860 and lived for 102 years.
My two grandmothers were born in 1901 and also died in the same year in 1990.
My grandmother's second husband was born in 1894 (my grandfather, as I now learned, died of wounds in the hospital).
My aunt was born in 1925 and worked on a collective farm.
My father was born in 1927 and is an agronomist by training. He worked on the collective farm as a tractor driver, agronomist, foreman (the collective farm is divided into teams, our collective farm had three teams – three villages) and, finally, the Chairman of the collective farm. Before being drafted into the Red Army in March 1945, my father worked as a Turner in a mechanical factory during the winter. This plant from Moscow was located in a small room of the locomotive depot and the surrounding area at a railway station 7 km from our village.
Finally, my experience of working in the village until the age of 15 and therefore, I can:
plant seeds, grow and harvest-cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, pumpkin, watermelons, melons, apples, plums, pears, currants and gooseberries;
feed, water, and harness a horse in a cart or sled, feed a pig, herd cows, goats, and sheep, and mow hay for Pets for the winter;
milk the cow, pass the milk through the separator to get the cream, from which then beat the butter in a special tub;
raise chickens, geese and ducks, collect their eggs, and in late autumn, when the cold weather comes, cut some of the poultry for meat.
my father taught me how to care for bees and collect honey, he had seven beehive;
at the age of six, he taught me how to shoot a small-caliber rifle and a shotgun (my father had two 4.5 mm rifles and a 16-gauge shotgun). During the hunting season (spring and autumn), we shot wild geese and ducks when they flew to the shore of the Arctic ocean or back and sat down to rest in the lake and pond;
I can catch fish in the river, lake and pond using special devices or fishing rods;
collect mushrooms, strawberries and blackberries in the fields and ravines.
I lived in the village in 1962 when there was a drought and I know what it is. The second time I saw what a drought was like in 1969, but I no longer lived in the village. However, according to the stories of my relatives, these droughts were were Paradise compared to those that were in 1921-1922 and 1930-1931. From 1940 to 1946, there were no droughts-God, Allah, and Buddha blessed Russia/the USSR, the Red Army, and comrade Stalin to fight the European hordes.