I intended to address colonial contributions later in the thread but, given the responses so far, will say a bit more on India now.
Before doing so, something must be pointed out regarding the analytical structure of this thread so far. I explicitly limited the first post to consideration of Germany's Domestic
economy versus the W.Allies' domestic economies. To object that I didn't include India or Kenya for the W.Allies seems to me a trifle given that I haven't added this little area called Europe for Germany. My prior is that Occupied Europe's contribution to Germany's war was and would have been significantly greater than India's contributions to Britain's war. I'd wager $20, for example, that the Low Countries alone provided more materiale value to Germany than India did to Britain.
But it occurs to me that folks less grounded in analysis of economic fundamentals don't share what seems blindingly obvious to me: that India and Africa were poor and Europe relatively rich. Perhaps for some folks it is not obvious that illiterate subsistence farmers aren't very relevant to industrial production, and they therefore can't imagine India's economic role being so small.
To the extent we disagree about such a deep topic as the preconditions for participation in industrialized societies, I fear the impasse is too large to bridge. But I'll make some gestures at convincing folks.
I know some of you are capable of intellectually honest and generous discussion even in the midst of disagreement so I entreat your generosity and ask you not to accuse me of oversight or deception for not addressing something where the analysis has not yet reached the stage of that something's relevance.
Since starting this topic, I've read at least what seem the relevant parts of the following books/articles:
Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History
by Rosina Visram.
India's War: World War II and the Making of Modern South Asia
by Srinath Raghavan.
Statistics Relating to India's War Effort
, available at https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-51156611/vie
"Discipline and Morale of the African, British and Indian Army units in Burma and India during World War II: July 1943 to August 1945" by Kaushik Roy, published in Modern Asian Studies
, November 2010.
"‘Race War’: Black American GIs and West Indians in Britain During The Second World War" by Neil A. Wynn, published in Immigrants and Minorities: Historical Studies in Ethnicity and Diaspora
, May 2007.
My reading will continue but here's my book reports so far, divided by topic:
India's contribution to Britain's NAM labor force:
Asians in Britain
discusses two facets of British "importation" of Indian labor that I haven't accounted for:
First, there's "Bevin's Boys" - a program by Minister of Labor Ernest Bevin:
it planned to bring ‘a number of Indian manual workers’ to Britain for a
period of six months’ industrial training (later raised to eight) and to
provide them with an ‘appreciation of the British method of industrial
co-operation … and the value of sound trade union principles’.2 Starting
in May 1941, at regular intervals, Indian ‘Bevin Boys’, as the volunteers
were called, began arriving in batches of 50...
A majority of the Bevin Trainees were
already skilled workers with technical and workshop experience, some
with engineering degrees.
Altogether, the scheme envisaged bringing
2,000 volunteers to Britain
So add another .002 million to the NAM table in Britain's favor. I apologize for the oversight.
Note that Bevin's plan targeted a mere 2,000 Indian trainees in May 1941
. So at an absolute nadir of British fortunes (Greece/Crete fallen, no serious allies), the British government intended a piddling program to raise India's productivity. Hard to make an argument that worse British fortunes in an SU-less ATL '44 would motivate massive training of Indians when an SU-less May '41 did not.
Note also that the program focused on those few Indians who already had technical training. This was not a program to industrialize illiterate subsistence farmers, as some here have suggested was possible.
More significantly, there's the Indian contingent sailing on Britain's merchant marine:
One India Office estimate puts the
number before the war as ‘some 33,000’, while the estimate from the
Indian government Bureau of Public Information records 45,000, an
underestimate. The available figures for the war, from the same
authorities, are given as ‘approximately 40,000’ for December 1941
and ‘59,000’ in February 1943.
Let's call it 100k. Add another .1 million to Britain's NAM table.
These are the only British "imports" of labor that Asians in Britain
mentions. Unless AHF scholars of modern Indian history can outdo the author and find more, it seems obvious that Indian labor imports were - as I said upthread - a rounding error in the NAM table.
Asian in Britain
mentions a financial contribution by India:
India also donated large sums of money as gifts and in other forms
of aid. By 1941, for instance, approximately £50 million was subscribed
to war loans and another £3.5 million donated to the Viceroy’s War
Purpose Fund, half of which was sent to Britain for causes such as the
Lord Mayor’s Fund for the victims of air raids, St Dunstan’s Fund for
the blind and King George’s Fund for sailors. Money was donated for
the purchase of aircraft
Were Britain not maximally mobilized for war, financing would matter. In OTL and ATL, however, Britain's production was largely unconstrained by finance given U.S. Lend-Lease finance/credit and deficit spending. The real war-time value of currency help would only show in, for example, net British imports from India, which is what we'd need to look at anyway to move our analysis from domestic economies to colonial/occupied spheres.
India's war production as % of total W.allied
Intermittent reminder that I'm still "forgetting about Japan" at this point in the analysis, so I'm discussing only factors relevant to the resource balance of the Germany vs. W.Allies fight. And remember I haven't added Germany's net imports from occupied/allied Europe. So it seems a bit unfair to do India first but as that seems to be a hold up for you guys... I won't treat the whole subject yet but to put some scope to the issue, here's a chart of India's wartime industrial workforce:
From the Indian government's Statistics Relating to India's War Effort
, available at https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-51156611/vie ... 9/mode/1up
So by 1944 India's industrial sector employed 3.5% of the estimated 73.3mil NAM workers available OTL to the W.Allies.
A high-level stat like this confirms my prior that India was simply too poor to figure materially in the production picture. For Indian workers to have contributed even 10% of W.Allied war production (still less than half of what occupied Europe gave OTL Germany) would require Indians to be vastly more productive than Westerners. For obvious reasons (education, infrastructure, corruption, political resistance to Britain) I'd wager another $20 that the reverse was true.
Now let's look at output value. From India's War
Currency conversion: I have only 1947 stats which value the Indian Rupee at ~1/3 USD (anyone have wartime currency exchange rates?).
From that we get a peak Indian output of ~$50mil for all manufacturing industries in 1944-5. That's 0.14% of just American War Department procurements in 1944 ($37bn). Or about a heavy cruiser's worth of value per year. We can also infer a productivity value [total value / industrial workers ] of ~$30/year.
[something appears wrong with those stats, which appear low even to me. Probably the currency exchange ratio. Maybe a PPP adjustment is needed but the industrial outputs - especially military goods - are valued internationally. Per Harrison, India had ~1/10th America's per capita GDP in 1938. But again, even if the foregoing math is off by an order of magnitude it values India's industrial production at 1.4% of America's munitions budget.].
All of that is to contextualize the raw munitions data from India in WW2, which look impressive on their face until we remember that WW2 production was largely a story of air-sea warfare, not bullets and shells (as O'Brien's How the War was Won
reminds us). India produced a lot of guns and shells:
Indian peak small-arms rounds production (222mil) was less than 4% of American peak production (>6bil in '43).
India peaked at 2.5mil artillery rounds (caliber not specified), 3.7% of peak U.S. production (~65mil).
India built 36,000 GRT of ships in '43 - 0.3% of America's 12mil tons GRT.
India's aircraft production didn't merit mention in any of the sources I read.
Given that the W.Allies spent only 25-30% on ground weapons, estimating the value of Indian weapons production at roughly 1% of total W.allied war production seems ballpark accurate.
EDIT: Just recalled that my source on US production (Global Logistics and Strategy) covers only the Army. So shells/bullets produced for the Navy and USMC, >30% of military budget, weren't included. So India looks even less significant than 1% of overall W.Allied production.
In addition to these topline facts about India, any putative program to rapidly industrialize India would face immense strategic obstacles that this thread has so far ignored. But it turns out the W.Allies were well aware of these obstacles. They considered measures to increase Indian war production, dispatching in March 1942 the "American Technical Mission to India" (document ID WO 32/10269 - can anyone locate it?). As excerpted in India's War
, the report states:
‘The Government of India and the industries of India, with few
exceptions’, the report noted, ‘were not organized on a war basis.’ No
single official or group of officials was charged with co-ordinating
the entire industrial war effort. A large number of industrial plants
were ‘mere jobbing shops’. The seriously congested railways plied
goods with ‘little regard for their importance or ultimate use’. Despite
a shortage of electric power, no attempt was being made to reduce
consumption for non-essential purposes. There was no method for
prioritizing projects and allocating resources. Prices were rising but
there was no mechanism for their control. The lack of co-ordination
and inefficiency in the war economy were epitomized in a ship repair
plant in Bombay which produced shoe-nails for the army and railway
switch gear, while ‘more than 100 ships waited in the harbor for
major and minor repairs’
So by mid-'42 the British/Indians had not rationalized India's economy for war production. A post-SU ATL starts no later than mid-'42.
Why didn't the British do so? Many factors but again from India's War
the [British] government was
concerned about the ‘state of political opinion’. The nub of the matter
was that the government was unsure, given the prevailing political
deadlock, how the people would respond to any attempt to regiment
So far we've argued over whether there was a way
to transform India into a W.Allied production powerhouse, ignoring whether there was a [Indian] will
. How much more potent would the Quit India movement have been had Axis armies looked ascendant?
Other critical strategic obstacles were cost and shipping. Again from India's War
The US joint chiefs felt, however, that the [invest in India] programme would throw an enormous burden on American shipping,
machine tools and raw materials.
Recall that my OP mentions DISTANCE as a critical strategic obstacle to W.allied victory over a post-SU Germany. India is really far, shipping things really far imposes really big shipping burdens.
We should also recognize that the W.Allies invested a lot of thought and some resources into the relatively small (in absolute terms) production increase wrought from India during the war. It wasn't an idea that might've popped up suddenly had the SU fallen; it was something vetted at the highest levels throughout the war (including extensive State Department discussions and memos to FDR: https://history.state.gov/historicaldoc ... 42v01/d496
). OTL production outcomes for India were about the best that could happen given the cost/return of further investment in India.
Finally, the biggest strategic oversight in this thread so far has been to assume that the W.allies control India in any meaningful sense if Germany beats the SU. Overview of relevant factors, IMO:
- 1. Germany is pushing into Iran by the end of '42. If Germany devotes 20 divisions to this push, the W.Allies need 20 divisions or ~600k men in theater to stop them.
- 2. Fall of the SU frees up Japan's Kwantung Army from Manchuria, which numbered 1.1mil in 1942. Japan can use some of that roll over the British/Indians from Burma and/or (more likely) conquer China and use the Burma Road to support a much stronger invasion of India from '43. Japan proposed an India-MidEast strategy to Germany in '42, which Hitler rejected because he was too busy in Russia. With Russia gone, the Axis focuses on the Indian Ocean. BTW - probably prevents the strategically pointless expeditions to Midway and Port Moresby, which the IJA opposed strenuously. Which means IJN focuses on Indian Ocean and probably can cut W.Allied communication east of Ceylon.
- 3. German defeat of SU opens up Turkey-Basra and Turkey-Suez axes (with or without Turkish cooperation), requiring additional W.Allied forces in the MidEast. Could again require easily 20 divisions.
- 4. To defend all axes in the MidEast-India theater, W.Allies would need easily another 50 divisions or 1.5mil men. As each in-theater soldier required 67lbs/day, that's 1.35mil long tons per month, 16mil per year - 60-80% of British import demand per year. As India/ME are 4x as DISTANT from U.S. as Britain, the shipping logistics are simply impossible.
- 5. Even absent panzers in Delhi, it can't be assumed that India doesn't boot the British in this scenario. Bose's recruitment efforts would be more successful; Indian elite's willingness to cooperate would be reduced. It is at least questionable whether Indians would abide being Britain's only foothold on the Eurasian landmass.
In short there's no feasible logistical path to the W.Allies holding India through 1944 if the Axis is determined to conquer. It doesn't matter how much the W.allies are willing to spend, unless they can conjure at least a tripling of their OTL shipping fleet by 1944, they can't send enough men to hold India.
So I might include India in the Axis economic column in the full analysis of resource balance in ATL 1944.
The final India topic I'll address will be the Indian Army, whenever I have the time.