https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.117 ... 6w.twitter
Scherner convincingly argues that the lack of German-Italian economic cooperation - previously attributed to German/Axis dysfunctionality ("they didn't understand strategy") - was in fact rational on Germany's part. The Axis suffered a lack of natural resources, Germany controlled most of what they had, and Germany developed efficient resource conservation measures while Italy did not (more on those measures here). In addition, Italian sovereignty (she did not become a "satellite" of Germany as did Hungary and other smaller Axis allies) prevented the close supervision of Italian firms that Germany needed to ensure efficient use of scarce natural resources (Scherner emphasizes that Germany viewed all firms suspiciously, not just Italian).
An excerpt from the conclusion:
---------------------------------------------------------------------Thus, if we compare the Axis and the Allies and try to assess how
successful these alliances were, at least in terms of economic cooperation,
we should consider their dramatically different access to economic resources. This access, in turn,
affected the level of economic cooperation as well as the level of conflict and competition
among the partners: whereas the Allies relative abundance allowed them to pay less attention
to aspects like raw materials productivity, the Axis’ raw material scarcity forced it to
take such questions far more seriously. In other words, the level of wartime cooperation
was not only a product of shared political goals or trust among the partners but also of the
relative abundance or scarcity of resources
The article continues a trend of Scherner's research demonstrating that many of the supposed pathologies of the Axis war effort are entirely explicable in rational, resource-related terms. This is a great boon to WW2 scholarship, though I fear the somewhat technical bent of Scherner's articles will impede his insights seeping into broader historiography. That historiography has been warped by too many historians without economic training (e.g. Richard Overy), who see only dysfunction where better-trained economic analysts would see the effects of interlocking resource constraints and agency problems.