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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union?

 
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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:20:31 AM   
Keke


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TulliusDetritus

I mean, these are HUGE things that can't be hidden. It's MASSIVE: think about the astronomical quantities of military materiel made in the US in WW2. I mean, you can't miss it. When historians were saying Germany only mobilized her forces in 1943-44, I am assuming they were tracking German industrial output, map: number of factories, year of creation, number of workers, etc. etc. And therefore they discovered that yes, German regime built/transformed many factories (or increased productivity) in 1943-44.


Tooze provides answers to these things. Trust me. I don't want to retype everything here.

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:23:11 AM   
TulliusDetritus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chris10
focussing on mobilizing craftmanship and productions...consumer goods and other stuff started dissapearing from daily life and shops as fabrics swapped production...


If I well understood, these "fabrics" were producing x stuff and then they started producing y stuff. You are not being very concrete. Am I safe to assume "y" is military stuff? If yes, they were "transforming" factories ergo they were producing more stuff, which should be in theory easily tracked. Or not?

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:25:03 AM   
TulliusDetritus


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Keke, the reviews of his book are very contundent (a great book apparently). I will buy and read it. Now I'd really like to know what went wrong aka what was missed by the other historians

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:57:24 AM   
Chris10


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TulliusDetritus
If I well understood, these "fabrics" were producing x stuff and then they started producing y stuff. You are not being very concrete. Am I safe to assume "y" is military stuff?

yes...you are right...fabrics stopped producing hair-tonic,wallpapers,heating-pads,chairs,buckets..whatever you can think about in consumable goods and swapped to someting else needed by the military.

quote:

ORIGINAL: TulliusDetritus
If yes, they were "transforming" factories ergo they were producing more stuff, which should be in theory easily tracked. Or not?

Everybody in germany could just straight see the changes between 42 and 43

just a few numbers:

1939 the consumable goods industry got 732.000 tons of steel assigned
in 1940 it was 908.000 tons..so actually a lot more than one year before.
I let it to anybodys own judgement what that tells us.

For the 750.000 men in the 50 new Divisions Germany has raised before the France campaign there where only produced 370.000 rifles, 21.000 MG, und 394 light infantry guns, the rest had to be taken from the national weapons reserve which was pretty low by then anyway cause the Poland campaign had cost a lot more material than expected.

During 1941 the production of light infantry wepaons dropped 38%, the production of Artillery by 67%. The total drop of weapons production was 29% while in germany everybody lived just a normal life as if there would be no war at all. Shops and warehouses where full with stuff


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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 1:58:10 AM   
Panama


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The Soviets certainly expected a better showing by German industry. They had assumed twice the aircraft production and four times the armored combat vehicle production. RGAE, 4372/91/3002, 139 (Gosplan defence sector, 1937)

Also, when you plot the war production of the USSR, UK, USA and Germany on a curve the other nations have a very steep curve. Germany's is gradual and constant. Not what you would expect of a nation at total war.

And here's something for you pro/anti Speer people.

pre Speer number of:
artillery types 26
AT gun types 12
AA gun types 10
Armored vehicle types 18
Aircraft types 42

post Speer number of:
artillery types 8
AT gun types 2
AA gun types 2
Armored vehicle types 7
Aircraft types 5

The role of mass production in undeniable. Soviet superiority in this field prevailed. Germany was all about the latest novelty and the widest variety. Coupled with German industry's artisan tradition (non mass production) this all translated into a lack of wartime rationalisation and cost reduction. The Soviets mass production strategy might have limited variety and caused disruptions in production due to weapons upgrades but it more than made up in quantity and efficiency.

This isn't merely a sterotypical assertion but can be documented. Soviet war production was able to accelerate faster in 1942 and out produced Germany overall despite an inferior industrial base that was barely out of it's fledgling stages.

You cannot boil Germany's defeat down to one or two or even three things. It was a large variety of factors that, individually would not have lost the war but, in total, brought about defeat. It's almost as though they were doing war on the fly without long term strategies while the Soviet Union had been planning for a war against somebody since 1927.

< Message edited by Panama -- 7/1/2011 2:30:10 AM >

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 2:04:48 AM   
pompack


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While controversial, I have certainly put this book on my wishlist if only because of this review:

"This massive study of Hitler’s war economy runs to half the length of War and Peace, partly for the reason that the author shares with Tolstoy the annoying habit of repeating himself frequently and at length. Although I suspect the book will be cited more often than read and perhaps more often read than understood, it must all the same now be enrolled by any serious student of the second world war as belonging to the list of indispensable sources available." - Noble Frankland, The Spectator


While he has got to be over 90 by now, this is a very, very postive review by a major historian (and I don't count World at War as a credit but I do count the British official history of the bomber offensive).

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 2:10:35 AM   
Ridgeway

 

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Guys -- stop saying "fabrics." Fabrik heisst "factory" auf englisch.

Fabrics (auf englisch) are textile products like nylon, cotton, linen etc.

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Post #: 37
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 2:31:20 AM   
pompack


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ridgeway

Guys -- stop saying "fabrics." Fabrik heisst "factory" auf englisch.



Ah yes, but I think that most people on this forum know that, if only from searching for data on German production in WWII

Although I must admit that I had to look at the post twice before I caught it since he spelled it with the "c" instead of "k".

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Post #: 38
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 2:43:16 AM   
Panama


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ridgeway

Guys -- stop saying "fabrics." Fabrik heisst "factory" auf englisch.

Fabrics (auf englisch) are textile products like nylon, cotton, linen etc.


Maybe a fabrics fabrik?

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 3:00:36 AM   
Mynok


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I am quite curious about the book now, having read Speer's volume about the situation.

Panama makes an excellent point about the German tendency to make lots of specialized vehicles in small numbers vs a few general ones in great quantity.

I have to wonder if maybe somewhere near the heart of the issue is what 'mobilized' means. German industry was certainly in decent shape early in the war, but it wasn't dedicated totally to war production. I can't see how this could be disputed. Is it? The general take from mainstream historians is that the big boost in war material production was the switch of industry from domestic production to military.



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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 8:05:53 AM   
Keke


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mynok

I have to wonder if maybe somewhere near the heart of the issue is what 'mobilized' means. German industry was certainly in decent shape early in the war, but it wasn't dedicated totally to war production. I can't see how this could be disputed. Is it? The general take from mainstream historians is that the big boost in war material production was the switch of industry from domestic production to military.


It is disputed indeed. In the light of information Tooze provides it is funny to see people reiterating the traditional views on this issue.

_____________________________

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- A. Solzhenitsyn


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Post #: 41
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 8:33:36 AM   
Apollo11


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From: Zagreb, Croatia
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Hi all,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Panama

The Soviets certainly expected a better showing by German industry. They had assumed twice the aircraft production and four times the armored combat vehicle production. RGAE, 4372/91/3002, 139 (Gosplan defence sector, 1937)

Also, when you plot the war production of the USSR, UK, USA and Germany on a curve the other nations have a very steep curve. Germany's is gradual and constant. Not what you would expect of a nation at total war.

And here's something for you pro/anti Speer people.

pre Speer number of:
artillery types 26
AT gun types 12
AA gun types 10
Armored vehicle types 18
Aircraft types 42

post Speer number of:
artillery types 8
AT gun types 2
AA gun types 2
Armored vehicle types 7
Aircraft types 5

The role of mass production in undeniable. Soviet superiority in this field prevailed. Germany was all about the latest novelty and the widest variety. Coupled with German industry's artisan tradition (non mass production) this all translated into a lack of wartime rationalisation and cost reduction. The Soviets mass production strategy might have limited variety and caused disruptions in production due to weapons upgrades but it more than made up in quantity and efficiency.

This isn't merely a sterotypical assertion but can be documented. Soviet war production was able to accelerate faster in 1942 and out produced Germany overall despite an inferior industrial base that was barely out of it's fledgling stages.

You cannot boil Germany's defeat down to one or two or even three things. It was a large variety of factors that, individually would not have lost the war but, in total, brought about defeat. It's almost as though they were doing war on the fly without long term strategies while the Soviet Union had been planning for a war against somebody since 1927.


After Molotov - Ribbentrop pact the Soviet gained access to some military industry in Germany (in accordance to the pact).

IIRC I remember reading that one high ranked Soviet delegation visited German tank factory and was astounded when they were told that "Pz.Kpfw. IV" was the heaviest tank they had...


Also, one of the oldest myths was that the Soviets had bad industry and bad weapons and that only mass production saved the day - thsi is very very far from truth!

Although individual weapons system were not as "polished" or"crafty" as German ones they were very very very good, very robust and they were designed to be operated for low skill personnel!


IMHO the German success in 1941 (and 1942 and 1943 - because the Kursk was much more closer call than it was thought) was due to cohesion, organization, initiative and superb state and training of the German army much more than quality of individual weapon systems...


BTW, IMHO, the finest tank of WWII was T-44 (T-54/T-55) - the Germans and the West had nothing like it - the T-55 (which is essentially modified T-44) still lives on in many parts of the world - no other current weapon system (apart from AK-47) achieved that so many decades after production start!


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 8:47:20 AM   
Lieste

 

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Oh, I don't know, some benighted peoples still use swords/spears... which have a fairly lengthy history... and I think I've seen people on the news fighting tanks with rocks, which has to take first place for oldest current weapon?? First used by Ug 1 million years ago. 

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Post #: 43
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 9:28:08 AM   
rolypoly


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thx for the hint. I ordered it straight away.

btw, isnt it something like less than 5 pages copied isnt violating copyrights yet?

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 10:41:46 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panama
You cannot boil Germany's defeat down to one or two or even three things. It was a large variety of factors that, individually would not have lost the war but, in total, brought about defeat. It's almost as though they were doing war on the fly without long term strategies while the Soviet Union had been planning for a war against somebody since 1927.


Indeed. Many factors are involved, but if you have to highlight two of them, I'd choose first, the size of German economy and population base compared to that of its enemies, and second, the lack of a rational and streamlined command structure, which separated political, military and economic matters (as was the case for the US and to some extent, and late in the war, for the USSR) while retaining a central organism that choose the goals and left the real specialists to provide the means to accomplish those goals.

Speer appointment at the head of German industrial war effort was an step into this direction, with apparent results (as others have pointed out in the thread, rationalization is a must when resources are scarce, which was the case of Germany in WW2). The benefit of this was compensated - in a negative way - by the obsession - not restricted to the Bavarian corporal - and effort with wünderwaffen (wünder tanks, wünder strategic rocketry, wünder planes, etc.). The Nazi regime policy - at all levels - had more of gambling - and very often, putting the money on bets with quite poor odds - than being directed by planning, prudence and foresight.

Another important point was that as soon as the resources - money, labor, whatever - available for plunder in the occupied countries started to dwindle - because of the Allies advances or just because everything of value had already been sent to the Fatherland - the whole Nazi enterprise was doomed. Yet another stark parallelism with the woes of Napoleonic France after the 1812 campaign in Russia.


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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 11:09:50 AM   
Keke


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek


Indeed. Many factors are involved, but if you have to highlight two of them, I'd choose first, the size of German economy and population base compared to that of its enemies, and second, the lack of a rational and streamlined command structure, which separated political, military and economic matters (as was the case for the US and to some extent, and late in the war, for the USSR) while retaining a central organism that choose the goals and left the real specialists to provide the means to accomplish those goals.


Again, in the light of Tooze's info, the first claim is true, the second is not.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
Speer appointment at the head of German industrial war effort was an step into this direction, with apparent results (as others have pointed out in the thread, rationalization is a must when resources are scarce, which was the case of Germany in WW2). The benefit of this was compensated - in a negative way - by the obsession - not restricted to the Bavarian corporal - and effort with wünderwaffen (wünder tanks, wünder strategic rocketry, wünder planes, etc.). The Nazi regime policy - at all levels - had more of gambling - and very often, putting the money on bets with quite poor odds - than being directed by planning, prudence and foresight.


Speer got the credit for previous heavy investment that started to show in production numbers from 1942 on. One has to build factories first, and the stuff will come out later. German war economy was fully mobilized from 1936 on, with gradual buildup. The limiting factors were relative scarcity of raw materials, labour and food supplies. Speer's "Armament miracle" was propaganda for the German masses, and it survived the war.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
Another important point was that as soon as the resources - money, labor, whatever - available for plunder in the occupied countries started to dwindle - because of the Allies advances or just because everything of value had already been sent to the Fatherland - the whole Nazi enterprise was doomed. Yet another stark parallelism with the woes of Napoleonic France after the 1812 campaign in Russia.


There was no surplus of coal, oil, or foodstuffs before Barbarossa, which is quite amazing. American and Soviet estimations of German resources were exaggerated because they refused to believe the actual numbers...

< Message edited by Keke -- 7/1/2011 11:10:03 AM >


_____________________________

Jyri

The eternal privilege of those who never act themselves: to interrogate, be dissatisfied, find fault.

- A. Solzhenitsyn


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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 11:37:33 AM   
Keke


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The origins of improper mobilization myth according to Tooze:






Attachment (1)

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Jyri

The eternal privilege of those who never act themselves: to interrogate, be dissatisfied, find fault.

- A. Solzhenitsyn


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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 11:38:05 AM   
Keke


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From: Finland
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and





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Jyri

The eternal privilege of those who never act themselves: to interrogate, be dissatisfied, find fault.

- A. Solzhenitsyn


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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 11:48:38 AM   
Mehring

 

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quote:

It's almost as though they were doing war on the fly without long term strategies while the Soviet Union had been planning for a war against somebody since 1927.
That is an appearence which does not tally with reality. The truth is to be found in comparing the histories of the two countries.

Of all the countries in the world, Marxism was most imbeded in the German working class. It is hard today to imagine the role played by social democracy among the German working class up to the Nazi dictatorship. For many it was a way of life more than a vote, organising education and recreation and virtually every aspect of life for German workers. Though the German social democracy had become reformist, heading off and opposing revolutionary currents, it was largely on the basis of sanitising rather than renouncing its Marxist origins.

The Communist Party of Germany was formed to re-leaven the German Marxist tradition. In the last election held in Germany, more voted KPD in the German capital than Nazi. The KPD too, had fallen into the service of interests hostile to socialist revolution, namely Stalin's counter-revolutionary bureaucracy in Russia. It aided the Nazi's in their road to power. But again, it distorted and corrupted Marxism to serve Russia's prototype bourgeois national interest.

In all, the German working class remained accepting of politics dressed up in the Marxist lexicon, and Hitler was well aware of, and deeply feared this. The question for the Nazis, then, was how to gain room in the world for German capital to expand again, without arousing the surpressed and decapitated, but very much alive, socialist traditions of the working class. Not least were concerns that the Nazi's volatile middle class social base could swing the other way, so to speak, if Nazi policy appeared to fail and a lead from another layer of society appeared.

This did not prevent Germany from preparing for aggressive war. That she did so is an unambiguous fact. But it did prevent her leaders from mobilising industry for the war effort at the expense of consumer goods. Social peace at home had to be maintained by making the war appear to be somewhere 'over there.'

Wars of short duration with relatively little disruption to public life were the order of the day. When this proved impossible to maintain, is there anything that could have turned this ominus minus more into a plus for rallying Germany to the Nazi cuase, than the allied bombing of German cities and Roosevelt's insistance at Casablanca on Germany's unconditional surrender?

Russia, on the other hand, the so called hotbed of Bolshevism, was in a quite different situation with different aims.

The revolution of November 1917 in its subsequent creation of state industries and state monopoly of foreign trade had created some condidions for socialist construction, but by virtue of her isolation and backwardness, rather more for bourgeois national construction. As students of Bismark onwards will testify, conditions for the two are not in all cases mutually exclusive.

The civil war was inconclusive. While the Bolsheviks emerged militarily victorious, the Soviet Union was economically shattered. As Marx himself put it, “A development of the productive forces is the absolutely necessary practical premise [of Communism], because without it want is generalized, and with want the struggle for necessities begins again, and that means that all the old crap must revive.”

Yet in post civil war Russia, want was everywhere and the old crap returned in shedloads, and by the most unexpected route. The divergent interests of all Russian society were refracted through the one state party, a resumption of pre-November dual power by another means. What followed was a struggle of the Stalin faction against the Left and Right Oppositions, then one between Stalin's bureaucracy and the rich peasants and entrepreneurs. This was, in essence, a struggle for control of surplus production, of which there was not enough to go round.

Stalin's triumph led to the most total annihilation of Marxism witnessed in any country of the world as oppositionists at every level of the state and society were executed in their tens of thousands or herded into the GULAG from which few returned. It was the last stage of this counter-revolutionary purge that destroyed the brains of the Red Army centered around Tukhachevsky.

More fundamentally, Stalin reinstated capitalist social relations on the basis of nationalised property and lacking an economic regulator, either in the form of an internal market or democratic control of capital and production. This unlikely social formation was highly successful only in the context of global economic collapse of relatively free market economies and the basic construction tasks that faced Russia's new rulers.

The Russian working class, which was before the revolution a small but powerful section of society, all but evaporated under the strain of the civil war. The working class that Stalin built came in from the countryside. It had no Marxist tradition, little education, no history of independent organisation and expected little from life. That is not to say it was content, but its potential at that time, for organised resistance to the state does not compare to that of Germany's working class.

By this comparison it should be clear that the military buildup of Germany and Russia between the wars is fundamentally different. Germany was preparing for war to achieve for Germany what the Kaiser did not- an economic sphere of influence into which German capital could expand. As outlined in Hitler's, until 2003, unpublished 'Zweites Buch', his ultimate aim was to create a German dominated economic bloc in alliance with the British Empire, capable of standing up to the prodigious growth of the USA. he predicted the final showdown between the two blocs would be in the 1980s.

Though unpublished, it is unlikely that the British ruling class were unfamiliar with Hitler's goals. Indeed, the British aristocracy and royal family were great fans of the Nazis, Lord Halifax led a faction advocating peace with the Nazis in 1940 and Churchill, who was never opposed to Naziism until he saw it cutting accross Britain's interests, was doubtless genuine in his remorse at ceding Britain's global hegemony to the United States when after the war he bemoaned having butchered the wrong pig.

The expansion of the Russian military, on the other hand, absorbed enormous manpower and resources. It was the point of contact between the belatedly developing Russian economy and the market, the means by which the nascient Russian capitalist class could exclude the predations of global markets and interested foreign parties, from the development of her industries for the benefit of the Russian ruling class.

This powerful sword, the protection of her economy from economic regulation, turned out to be double edged, but this was not something which became critical before the war, becoming an inescapable pattern of development only in the 1960s and onwards. As the technical and social divisions of labour increased, the less return was achieved from investment and the more fragmented the economy became.

Unlike Germany, Russia had no need of foreign markets, cheap labour, or resources. The invasions of eastern Poland, Bessarabia, the Baltic States and Finland not withstanding, Russian military buildup was in its essence defensive, her defence by buffer states expressing in another form the death of her revolution and domestic Marxism.

And so it was, that clothed in new pseudo-ideologies, the interests of competing national finance capital set the worlds people at each others throats a second time.

_____________________________

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Post #: 49
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:17:57 PM   
Zebedee


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mynok


I am quite curious about the book now, having read Speer's volume about the situation.

Panama makes an excellent point about the German tendency to make lots of specialized vehicles in small numbers vs a few general ones in great quantity.

I have to wonder if maybe somewhere near the heart of the issue is what 'mobilized' means. German industry was certainly in decent shape early in the war, but it wasn't dedicated totally to war production. I can't see how this could be disputed. Is it? The general take from mainstream historians is that the big boost in war material production was the switch of industry from domestic production to military.




That's the nub of the issue Mynok. The lead time for building factories, allocating the resources etc. which saw the increased production of the late war years did not and could not start til the conquest of France. However, there a few underlying things to note - Germany was heavily mobilised even pre-war. And being 'totally dedicated to war production' is only possible over the short term - the impact of the increasing diversions away from minimum levels to sustain the civilian economy are shown in things such as the declining harvest yields as fertilisers, horses and manpower were diverted away from the basic necessity of actually feeding the population. One sees it in the numbers of dead from air-raids as construction of air-raid shelters grinds to a near halt. One of Tooze's points is that 'Total War' is a propaganda term. The Soviet economy of 1942 was 'total war' but it wasn't sustainable (cf Mark Harrison's work on the soviet war economy).

Much more than I intended to write. But Tooze is worth a read. Why he's worth listening to is that he's an economic historian and it's the first review of the German economy from that perspective since Milward. And Milward's work relies almost exclusively on Speer. As we've seen with the memoirs of the generals, sometimes the truth is unfaithful to the later accounts of those who were there - especially those who have a lot to hide. There does seem to be a lot of rationality within the German war economy which doesn't get sufficient attention whereas the excesses are highlighted to a much greater degree than similar things elsewhere.

----

Chris10 - you do know why artillery production and shell production dropped in 41 don't you? It was because Hitler ordered a massive ramping up of production in late 1939 to be ready for the trench warfare predicted for France in 1940. It would have been insane to continue at that level as well as preventing the buildup for Barbarossa. Course, to prepare the Heer for Barbarossa they cut back too far, but then Barbarossa was intended from the outset to be a war lasting no more than a few weeks. If you want to discuss this in detail, I'm on all the major reputable research forums for WW2 so throw me a PM with your choice of venue. I'd be interested in some indepth criticisms with reference to sourced information which disproves Tooze on the economics :)

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Post #: 50
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:27:46 PM   
Keke


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Mehring, Tooze uses Hitler's "Second Book" quite extensively in describing Nazi objectives.

Amidst your quality reply there was this bit from the old, very persistent mythology.

quote:

But it did prevent her leaders from mobilising industry for the war effort at the expense of consumer goods. Social peace at home had to be maintained by making the war appear to be somewhere 'over there.'


I'll go over the details later.

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Post #: 51
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:31:43 PM   
Keke


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zebedee

There does seem to be a lot of rationality within the German war economy which doesn't get sufficient attention whereas the excesses are highlighted to a much greater degree than similar things elsewhere.


Very true!

And thanks for saving me from a lot of typing.

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Post #: 52
RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 12:43:38 PM   
Zebedee


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Keke
Very true!

And thanks for saving me from a lot of typing.


I reviewed Wages of Destruction when it was first released. It's a seminal work. There are viable criticims to be made of it, but the fundamentals of the revision to Speer's account have yet to be seriously challenged 7 years after release. Everything is converging towards the endpoint Tooze pointed out. Amusingly, it's also the endpoint which the Heer itself argued was true in 20s and 30s but to which 'Blitzkrieg' blinded most people. Still, it's new in academic terms and it'll be another good 15 - 20 years before it properly filters through if important past revisions are anything to go by.

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 1:13:21 PM   
DTurtle

 

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If the reason that German production did not increase until later because it took time for the made investments to pay off, what is the reason that the Soviet Union was able to ramp up its production so much faster? Or is that also a wrong understanding of the situation?

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 1:22:48 PM   
Zebedee


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quote:

ORIGINAL: DTurtle

If the reason that German production did not increase until later because it took time for the made investments to pay off, what is the reason that the Soviet Union was able to ramp up its production so much faster? Or is that also a wrong understanding of the situation?



The Soviet Union was willing to force its population to the brink of mass starvation by narrow allocation of resources. There also was the spare capacity available to ramp up the production - the equivalent spare German capacity had been utilised in 1939.

edit: During 1942, this process in the SU gradually reversed with civilian need output rising again and extra defence outlays coming solely from new resources made available.

< Message edited by Zebedee -- 7/1/2011 1:27:12 PM >

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 2:44:26 PM   
Klydon


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The Germans were their own worst enemy at times when it comes to industry and production during WW2. Above all, they had raw materials issues that were a big limiting factor, especially in the mid to late 30's. The only raw material Germany really had was coal and that could only go so far in trading. Everything else had to be imported. The German economy was on the brink of being in serious trouble due to other shortages because of everything that had been put into rebuilding the military. In short, if the Germans had not gone to war, their economy would have likely faced serious issues because of the trade imbalances and shortages.

Depending on what sector of the military you talk about, there were some different issues. For the Luftwaffe, the air ministry had a bad tendency to make things too complicated. A lot of this is off the top of my head, but.. When the JU-88 was first designed, it was a very advanced and simple aircraft with outstanding performance. After the Luftwaffe got done with it, the aircraft was far heavier and lost a lot of performance since it was insisted the aircraft frame be strengthen for dive bombing. Just about any aircraft development program suffered (He-177 and ME-262 being two more examples). Udet was one of the big issues since he insisted on any bomber being able to dive bomb.

For the army, the situation was very different. The Germans continued to build complicated vehicles, requiring many more man hours to construct for no apparent gain (limited slip differental, how the seats were done, etc are some examples). Despite the army requesting SIMPLE vehicles, the manufacturers continued to turn out complicated designs. This is one area where Speer was able to make some inroads with the manufacturers.

The navy had its own issues with wasteful manufacturing methods employed with many of its systems and weapons. I don't have the figures available, but the amount of strategic materials consumed per torpedo (in terms of lead, zinc, copper, etc) early in the war was very high. When the torpedoes were redesigned and started production in 1942 (it had not been a priority before), they used far less strategic material and man hours to construct each torpedo.

Now, in addition to the above examples, the German industry was constantly pulled back and forth on what should have priority. In the years leading up to 1939, the army probably had priority. Certainly they did during 1940 when a land war with France was looming. After the unexpectedly quick fall of France and the check with the Battle of Britain, Germany planned on demobilizing a good number of infantry divisions in order to help with industrial production and production was to be oriented towards the needs of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine. This priority remained in place in 1941, even after Hitler decided to invade Russia. The only thing done was to cancel the demobilization. It was not until late 1941/early 42 that the German industry once again had the Heer as a priority for production instead of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine.

The decision to import industry from the occupied countries (IE, "loot" them) to Germany was a bad decision for Germany. Not only were those facilities unavailable while being relocated, there wasn't enough manpower available in the Reich to run them. If they had been left in place, local population could have potentially worked in those factories, etc.

For all of this, there is no question the German industry could have been run far more efficiently, but there are also external factors including raw materials issues, manpower, and policy/directive issues with both the manufacturers themselves and also what the government required.

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 3:31:38 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Keke
quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
Indeed. Many factors are involved, but if you have to highlight two of them, I'd choose first, the size of German economy and population base compared to that of its enemies, and second, the lack of a rational and streamlined command structure, which separated political, military and economic matters (as was the case for the US and to some extent, and late in the war, for the USSR) while retaining a central organism that choose the goals and left the real specialists to provide the means to accomplish those goals.


Again, in the light of Tooze's info, the first claim is true, the second is not.


You mean Tooze is supporting the view that the Nazi regime had a rational structure? Really? In any case, I should make my point more clearly. The first factor, alone, would determine the final fate of the Nazi adventure. The second would have just made longer - and bloodier - the whole affair.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Keke
quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
Speer appointment at the head of German industrial war effort was an step into this direction, with apparent results (as others have pointed out in the thread, rationalization is a must when resources are scarce, which was the case of Germany in WW2). The benefit of this was compensated - in a negative way - by the obsession - not restricted to the Bavarian corporal - and effort with wünderwaffen (wünder tanks, wünder strategic rocketry, wünder planes, etc.). The Nazi regime policy - at all levels - had more of gambling - and very often, putting the money on bets with quite poor odds - than being directed by planning, prudence and foresight.


Speer got the credit for previous heavy investment that started to show in production numbers from 1942 on. One has to build factories first, and the stuff will come out later. German war economy was fully mobilized from 1936 on, with gradual buildup. The limiting factors were relative scarcity of raw materials, labour and food supplies. Speer's "Armament miracle" was propaganda for the German masses, and it survived the war.


Well, I said a "step in the direction of..", not the critical step in that direction. I don't buy either Speer's attempts at self-aggrandizement. This is a common feature of surviving Nazi officials: to maximize what they considered "an achievement" and minimize their blunders (and crimes).

quote:

ORIGINAL: Keke
quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
Another important point was that as soon as the resources - money, labor, whatever - available for plunder in the occupied countries started to dwindle - because of the Allies advances or just because everything of value had already been sent to the Fatherland - the whole Nazi enterprise was doomed. Yet another stark parallelism with the woes of Napoleonic France after the 1812 campaign in Russia.


There was no surplus of coal, oil, or foodstuffs before Barbarossa, which is quite amazing. American and Soviet estimations of German resources were exaggerated because they refused to believe the actual numbers...


Yes you're right. I was referring how Germany substituted trade with plundering - "scientific" plundering at that - occupied nations, especially France and Belgium. I need to dig up the reference, but I recall I found it on Götz Aly's "Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State", New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005, which is well received by Tooze himself (see www.hist.cam.ac.uk/academic_staff/further_details/tooze-aly.pdf).


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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 4:01:18 PM   
kvolk


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Tooze maybe be a leading indicator of WW2 history being reinterpreted. if you look back at other conflicts like the Civil War most of the what is consider the best scholarship came about around 100 years after the conflict when there was more objectivity about and access to source materials from both sides.

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 4:03:52 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: kvolk
Tooze maybe be a leading indicator of WW2 history being reinterpreted. if you look back at other conflicts like the Civil War most of the what is consider the best scholarship came about around 100 years after the conflict when there was more objectivity about and access to source materials from both sides.


Very true. One work which fits into that description is "Battle Cry for Freedom" by James McPherson (which is by the way a joy to read).

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RE: Why Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union? - 7/1/2011 4:05:05 PM   
kvolk


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek

quote:

ORIGINAL: kvolk
Tooze maybe be a leading indicator of WW2 history being reinterpreted. if you look back at other conflicts like the Civil War most of the what is consider the best scholarship came about around 100 years after the conflict when there was more objectivity about and access to source materials from both sides.


Very true. One work which fits into that description is "Battle Cry for Freedom" by James McPherson (which is by the way a joy to read).


Agreed one of the best single volumes written on the war I think...

< Message edited by kvolk -- 7/1/2011 5:28:43 PM >

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