Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

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Peter89
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 21 Aug 2020 12:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 09:31
Peter89 wrote:
21 Aug 2020 09:02
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 08:12
Peter89 wrote:Really?? This is completely new for me. Can you please refer to some source? I'd be really interested in this!
From Germany and the Second World War vol.VI, p.175:
Well.

I think that you went way further with your implications than your source. Did the Japanese attempt to broker a negotiated peace between the SU and the Reich? Or they just wished it to happen?

Because they wanted to negotiate a peace with the US, too... but it was out of the realm of possibilities.
I almost added a concession that "broker" was too strong a word to use. To the extent it implies some readiness to make peace that awaits a broker, it's too far.

But it doesn't matter to the central point, which is that Japan understood how beneficial for it would be an end to German-Soviet war. Was it willing to fight the Red Army on unfavorable terms, to block a port from which LL flows could be re-directed OTL? No.

But that's entirely different from a case where Japan faces a weakened Red Army in Primorskiye and can mostly end LL flows - thereby sealing Soviet fate - by acting against the SU.
Okay, let's take a different angle, because we are playing with too many scenarios here, I think.

If the Japanese and the Germans coordinate their war efforts in 1940-1941, and they try to take down the SU and keep the US at a neutral state as long as possible, they might have succeeded. It could also have worked if the SU joins the Axis or stay on trading terms with the Germans - not to mention, the Japanese -, thus allowing intercontinental trade - beneficial for all parties. No need for invasion of the NEI, no need for the raid on PH, etc. This coalition might stood a chance against the Anglo-Saxon powers and their vast empires. The sheer idea of invading the SU was a bad one from an economic perspective. (Georg Thomas pointed that out pretty well - Germany could only profit from it if they capture Soviet resources an facilities with very, very moderate damage, and they starve and slave-labor the local population into death. Otherwise - it is futile to invade the SU.)

If they try to do it in 1942, with the US in the war, it was not really possible. The Allies played WW2 so masterfully economy-wise and diplomacy-wise, that Axis/Japan needed a miracle on the square to even stand a chance before the time window - given by the development of A-bomb - closes for good.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 21:11

Apparently some folks refuse to believe that the Finns harbored expansionist ambitions in WW2.

From Finland in the Second World War by Ollie Vehlvilainen, translation published by Palgrave McMillan:
Operations would be dictated by purely military considerations. The power to
decide just how far military measures would be extended was in practice left to Mannerheim. Nevertheless, on all major decisions, the
Commander-in-Chief consulted the President
From page 92:
That this ideal [greater Finnland] became the operational policy of the country’s political and military leaders was a consequence of two main factors: one
was the lesson provided by the Winter War that the long eastern frontier was difficult to defend and should therefore be pushed further to
the east; the other was the view that Finland should concern itself with
the affairs of its ethnic brothers over the border when the defeat and
dissolution of the USSR made this possible.2 As German victory began
to appear likely, President Ryti envisaged a frontier running from the
White Sea across Lake Onega to the River Svir, then on through Lake
Ladoga and the Karelian Isthmus, in this way incorporating the Kola
Peninsula, Eastern Karelia, and perhaps even northern Ingria into a
‘Greater Finland’. Mannerheim, at least on occasions, seems to have
entertained some doubts about the feasibility of permanently annexing
Eastern Karelia. Even so, he agreed with the idea of taking the enemy
bases there. Major-General A.F. Airo, the Quartermaster General,
drafted strategic proposals on new frontiers for the government. They
were based on the principle that a border running from the White Sea
to Lake Ladoga would constitute an advantageous defensive position in
the east. In public the proposed frontier was justified by the slogan ‘A
short border – a long peace’.3
antwony wrote:BTW Can you please stop writing Finland with two nn's. You seem to be one of those Wehraboos that think writing in German makes you more credible.
Can you please remove that "w" from your username? It's so annoying that I cringe typing it.

I'm mostly finnished talking about Finnland with you.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Aug 2020 21:31

Peter89 wrote:Okay, let's take a different angle, because we are playing with too many scenarios here
I agree it's difficult to analyze multi-step hypotheticals but IMO you've retrenched on generalities - futility of war against SU - with which I disagree for reasons that I've spelled out in great detail in this thread and elsewhere.
Peter89 wrote:Georg Thomas pointed that out pretty well - Germany could only profit from it if they capture Soviet resources an facilities with very, very moderate damage, and they starve and slave-labor the local population into death. Otherwise - it is futile to invade the SU.
Much of what Thomas says he said comes from his post-war memoirs and - like all Nazi memoirs - can't be trusted.

There's a certain tendency to respect Thomas because his concept of "armaments in depth vs. breadth" has the ring of seriousness and prudence. But honestly he was a terrible economic manager, perhaps the man most responsible for the under-performance of German production in the war. DRZW volume V has detailed discussion of the ways in which Thomas was fundamentally incapable of understanding how best to run a modern economy. His fundamental error was to believe in centralized military management over entrepeneurial/market initiative. That this was a bad idea requires no hindsight - it was the lesson drawn by all contemporary analysts from Germany's experience in WW1. But for Thomas to imbibe that lesson would have been to surrender the power he sought as the putative central economic manager.

On the SU specifically, Thomas' analysis is short-term and superficial. Yes it's true that Germany needed intact facilities for short-term returns on Barbarossa. In the medium term, however, Germany could have replaced destroyed/evacuated industrial plant. Indeed they had already done much of that work by 1943 when the Donbas was lost.
Peter89 wrote:If they try to do it in 1942, with the US in the war, it was not really possible. The Allies played WW2 so masterfully economy-wise and diplomacy-wise, that Axis/Japan needed a miracle on the square to even stand a chance before the time window - given by the development of A-bomb - closes for good.
I disagree with basically all of this but it's a long discussion and I've made most of the points elsewhere. I'd suggest moving the broader discussion to an appropriate thread but every such discussion I've started is now locked by the mods... Nonetheless, feel free to try again.

I'd prefer to focus on the discrete point of the SU's strength in Primorskiye in an ATL 1942 in which they've lost considerably more against Germany. You claim that they'd focus on Primorskiye but, as that implies ceding more land to Germany, I disagree.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2020 05:02

Avalancheon wrote:
21 Aug 2020 03:38

Soviet Grain Production: 1940-1950, by V. Katkoff. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3159589?seq=1
I'm still grateful that Avalancheon shared the link to this source but, after sleeping on it, I began to have my doubts. Many of its stats don't conform to those provided in Harrison's Accounting for War, most saliently grain crops:

Image

Kotkoff's 1940 grain figure of 118.8mil t significantly exceeds Harrison's figure of 95.5mil t.

Perhaps more relevant to our discussion, Harrison's view of the 1942 grain decline (-69%) is much greater than Kotkoff's ( -55.3% on 53.1mil t from 118.8).

Kotkoff published in 1950 - still during the Stalinist era when official Soviet stats sought to minimize the damage incurred in WW2. I favor Harrison's post-Stalin figures over Kotkoff's.

My initial evaluation is that Kotkoff's figures are useful in giving us a geographical distribution of production in a way that Harrison's are not.

But in evaluating the vulnerability of Soviet production to German capture, we should take Kotkoff - and the analysis I've presented upthread from his figures - as an absolute floor for the potential damage of further hypotheical German advances.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 22 Aug 2020 07:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 21:31
Peter89 wrote:Okay, let's take a different angle, because we are playing with too many scenarios here
I agree it's difficult to analyze multi-step hypotheticals but IMO you've retrenched on generalities - futility of war against SU - with which I disagree for reasons that I've spelled out in great detail in this thread and elsewhere.
Peter89 wrote:Georg Thomas pointed that out pretty well - Germany could only profit from it if they capture Soviet resources an facilities with very, very moderate damage, and they starve and slave-labor the local population into death. Otherwise - it is futile to invade the SU.
Much of what Thomas says he said comes from his post-war memoirs and - like all Nazi memoirs - can't be trusted.

There's a certain tendency to respect Thomas because his concept of "armaments in depth vs. breadth" has the ring of seriousness and prudence. But honestly he was a terrible economic manager, perhaps the man most responsible for the under-performance of German production in the war. DRZW volume V has detailed discussion of the ways in which Thomas was fundamentally incapable of understanding how best to run a modern economy. His fundamental error was to believe in centralized military management over entrepeneurial/market initiative. That this was a bad idea requires no hindsight - it was the lesson drawn by all contemporary analysts from Germany's experience in WW1. But for Thomas to imbibe that lesson would have been to surrender the power he sought as the putative central economic manager.
Hardly was he the useless economist you describe him, and he did not have much time left after the war to whitewash himself either. He also voiced concerns during the war. Btw not just him, but he was an economist; so he primarily voiced economic concerns. The naval commanders voiced naval power-related concerns.

If you take a look at the war economy plans for the big nations in WW2, each and every one of them had a long-established plan how to shift the peacetime production to wartime production. We can see state-centered versions and capital-centered versions, too. Germany was the only one, which did not have such a plan, especially not for an empire that stretches across the continent, from Norvegia to Greece. Also, they had no idea how to cooperate economically with their allies and the neutral states, while the British happily bought key natural resources from Romania, Turkey, Portugal...

In such state of affairs, the economy had to be centralized to some degree, because:
1. the political and military decisions had to be made that way (occupying allies or neutral states, cross-country infrastructural developments, etc.)
2. the Germans had to force the economic integration of their empire (otherwise, the age since 1918 has been an economic disintegration)
3. private capital across Europe in 1940 was very nationalist compared to today's standards, and did not necessarily see Germans as partners, so their contribution to a flourishing Reich is very questionable

I don't say that the war against the SU was futile. I just say it needed a miracle to work. I think the Germans' only chance to conclude the the war was to defeat Britain before the US enters into the war. If they suffer too heavy casualties (especially in aircraft) or if the Soviets use scorched earth and Fabian strategy, or simply the war drags on into 1943, the war was lost.

One didn't need to be an Adam Smith to see that.

This is really interesting, because in 1941, when the key moments came, the Germans did not properly mobilize their alliances against the Soviets. By 1942, the Japanese were out of the question, the Romanians exhausted themselves, the Italians had major commitments in the Mediterraneum, and the extra divisions provided by the aforementioned nations and Hungary were simply not enough and not decisive either (well, they were decisive in the AGS's defeat).
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 21:31
On the SU specifically, Thomas' analysis is short-term and superficial. Yes it's true that Germany needed intact facilities for short-term returns on Barbarossa. In the medium term, however, Germany could have replaced destroyed/evacuated industrial plant. Indeed they had already done much of that work by 1943 when the Donbas was lost.
Peter89 wrote:If they try to do it in 1942, with the US in the war, it was not really possible. The Allies played WW2 so masterfully economy-wise and diplomacy-wise, that Axis/Japan needed a miracle on the square to even stand a chance before the time window - given by the development of A-bomb - closes for good.
I disagree with basically all of this but it's a long discussion and I've made most of the points elsewhere. I'd suggest moving the broader discussion to an appropriate thread but every such discussion I've started is now locked by the mods... Nonetheless, feel free to try again.

I'd prefer to focus on the discrete point of the SU's strength in Primorskiye in an ATL 1942 in which they've lost considerably more against Germany. You claim that they'd focus on Primorskiye but, as that implies ceding more land to Germany, I disagree.
Alright TMP, I get your point. Let's follow your logic and your numbers.
Moving from the geography of sown land to that of actual production requires a bit more guesstimation. As noted above, Asiatic Soviet land was 41% less productive than European Chernozem and 31% less productive than European non-Chernozem land in 1974. Chernozem land was certainly more productive in 1939 as well but I don't have figures for the difference. If we assume the same productivity ratios for 1939 as 1974, then we can estimate the distribution of 1939 Soviet grain production as follows:
This is absolutely wrong methodically. We can not assume such a thing. These are the effects of the different agricultural methods (ferilizing, plowing, density of plants, etc.) for corn production:

Image

And also, you have to factor it with the actual soil type; not every type of soil was able to carry the increased production from 1939 to 1974 the same way.

Also:
Image

The wheat and corn production per acre between 1939 and 1974 almost doubled (in Hungary). I am not sure of the Soviet numbers per region, but I know that in Hungary, the production improvement re the difference between the different types of soils was very, very big.

Anyway, let's put that aside and use your numbers. Let's assume that the Germans defeat the Soviets and deprive them of their grain-producing regions. Based on the numbers you provided, the Soviet grain production shrinks to 24.44%. But also, their population shrinks to 26.645% - some 45.421 million, plus, of course, the refugees.

Could you please answer me a question: if the Soviets lose approximately 75% of their population and 75% of their grain production, why are they no longer able to feed themselves? Especially with LL?

The IJN gets defeated on the sea, and the Pacific LL starts to arrive in quantities from 1943.

Also, that means that the remanining Soviet forces - from a population of approximately the contemporary Italy - can field a pretty strong army, and they don't have to worry too much about famine or ill-equipped troops. The Japanese most likely use the Kwantung Army to fight the Pacific War or the war with China - they were losing both by 1943.

So the Soviets are still not out of the game.

The Axis still lose the troops in Africa because they've lost the control of the air and the capability to strike on the seas. Higher Wallies casualties? Yes, that is to be expected. If the Germans are pretty tough and hold out a bit more longer, they might earn a few A-bombs on their major cities.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by antwony » 22 Aug 2020 08:24

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 21:11
Can you please remove that "w" from your username? It's so annoying that I cringe typing it.

I'm mostly finnished talking about Finnland with you.
I would say good. But, you have't been talking with me. I'm been correcting some of your more egregious nonsense, it's not a conversation.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Aug 2020 21:11
Apparently some folks refuse to believe that the Finns harbored expansionist ambitions in WW2.

From Finland in the Second World War by Ollie Vehlvilainen, translation published by Palgrave McMillan:
How is me pointing out that the Finnish Army had advanced further than you suggested the German's should questioning "Greater Finland"? If anything, it supports the point you're trying to make.

Professor Olli- Pekka Vehviläinen wrote a good book, you should try reading it sometime. Mispelling his name is.. well very you.

Stay classy.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2020 09:23

Peter89 wrote:Hardly was he [Georg Thomas] the useless economist you describe
I didn't say he was useless; I said he (1) committed a fundamental error on how to run a war economy (i.e. profit doesn't matter)* and (2) had a short-term and superficial analysis of the Barbarossa economic problem. There are many smart economists who would fail both tests, especially in the strategic context of a Fuehrer demanding short-term returns on Barbarossa.

*This is pretty much an exact quote from Thomas to industrialists, mentioned in GSWW v.5. I can find the quote if you like but maybe you're familiar with it?
Peter89 wrote:If you take a look at the war economy plans for the big nations in WW2, each and every one of them had a long-established plan how to shift the peacetime production to wartime production.
Germany had a plan too. See GSWW v.5 chapter II.1 ("Preparations for Total War"). There is a host of literature in the last decade arguing that German war mobilization basically could not have been more effective (Adam Tooze, Jonas Scherner - e.g. https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... ungswunder). While I think they overstate their thesis (that's an incubating long post from TMP), German mobilization was not fundamentally different from America/Britain.

Comparison to Britain's early-war mobilization is confounded by a few oft-ignored points:

1. Germany spent ~30% of its budget on ammunition, something that the usual stats (comparing planes, tanks, guns, etc.) ignore.

2. Germany mobilized ~5.5mil men when war started while Britain mobilized <2mil. It's really hard to replace millions of men in an economy virtually overnight; it's even harder to manage that replacement process efficiently.
This is absolutely wrong methodically. We can not assume such a thing. These are the effects of the different agricultural methods (ferilizing, plowing, density of plants, etc.) for corn production:
When I say "if we assume" I mean to point out that my theoretical construct is only approximate. So yes, by all means revise it. But:

1. I can't understand the Hungarian documents you've provided an cut/paste into Google translate.

2. Do any of these documents show that poorer soil - at the broadest analytical level - benefits more from technological progress than better soil? Iowa farmland, for example, remains the most productive in the world for corn. This was true in 1880 and is true today. Much has changed between 1880 and today but I don't see conclusive evidence that non-Iowa land has benefited more than Iowa land.
I don't say that the war against the SU was futile. I just say it needed a miracle to work.
What's the difference? It's futile for me to pick a fight with Vladimir Klitschko but with a miracle it might work...
Also, they had no idea how to cooperate economically with their allies and the neutral states, while the British happily bought key natural resources from Romania, Turkey, Portugal...
There's a whole U.S. State Department cache of documents devoted to Allied efforts to get Turkey to stop selling so much chromium to Germany. https://history.state.gov/historicaldoc ... 42v04/ch47. The Allies ended up prevailing in this tussle but might their immensely greater wealth have had something to do with it, rather than German incompetence?

There's an easy, pat narrative in which Nazis were deranged, disordered folks who couldn't handle workaday subjects like economics and logistics. For much of the German leadership there's an element of truth but we do ourselves no favors by pretending that psychotically evil people can't be instrumentally rational.
Let's assume that the Germans defeat the Soviets and deprive them of their grain-producing regions. Based on the numbers you provided, the Soviet grain production shrinks to 24.44%. But also, their population shrinks to 26.645% - some 45.421 million, plus, of course, the refugees.

Could you please answer me a question: if the Soviets lose approximately 75% of their population and 75% of their grain production, why are they no longer able to feed themselves? Especially with LL?
A few points:

1. Yes, the Soviets can feed 25% their population with 25% of their grain. The point isn't that a 45mil SU would starve, it's that a 45mil SU can't stop the Germans. ...which feeds into:

2. The Urals contained ~10% of pre-war Soviet food production so 40% of the remainder in (1). As the Soviets can't stop the Germans, they're shortly down to 15% of pre-war food production. More importantly, the Urals contain a lot of stuff that can't be moved on a reasonable timeline (mines, heavy industry).

3. The point of (1) is to show something like a hard limit on the population of an Asia-only SU, not to show that it necessarily starves. It has a choice of being a small country that can't stop the Germans (i.e. no huge refugee movement) or being a slightly larger country that starves. As both choices are terrible, the only remaining option is peace if Hitler/Japan are amenable (and I think they would have been - Hitler specifically said he'd give Stalin a peace if he retreated to the Urals).

4. The Soviets can feed X% of their population with X% of their food IF the LL deliveries aren't also lost. As that's not something I concede, Japan's course of action is relevant.

Speaking of Japan in 1942, an excerpt from Shattered Sword by Parshall and Tully:
In fairness to the Army, it rightly wanted to preserve its strength for further
actions against the Russians in Manchuria. Despite the mauling the Japanese had been
subjected to two years earlier, in late 1941 it looked as if the Russians themselves were
being overwhelmed. The Red Army had been continually beaten by the Wehrmacht
during the previous summer, and to all outward appearances the Soviet Union was
on the verge of collapse. This reversal of fortunes for the Soviet colossus meant that
there might exist real opportunities for the Japanese to seize more. But
the net result was that the Army’s attention was not fully engaged by the Pacific.
Again, the IJA was still focused on Russia in 1942, only it was being opportunistic and waiting for an opportunity to deliver a knock-out blow.

The dynamics of Soviet-Japanese tensions are one of the least-acknowledged facets of the grand strategic picture in WW2. It was a big deal for both sides always, with the Russians keeping >1mil men against Kwantung Army even at the worst of times.

From the same source, p.45, discussing Japanese reasons for invading the Aleutians:
Potential incursion from the
north, and communication links between the United States and Russia would then be
obstructed.” This latter was a very important point, given the quantity of American
supplies being sent to Russia via the Barents Sea.
...Japan forbade the transit of war material to Vladivostok via its inspection points in the Kuriles and Tsushima, but could not do so with shipments via the Barents Sea. So part of Japan's motivation for the otherwise strategically-foolhardy Aleutians operation was to reduce U.S. assistance to Russia.

More here re Japan and Russia:
Moreover, the fear of Russia, which had dictated the time of attack and the speed of the advance, had not abated and the Army was anxious to adhere to the original plan to deploy its forces to the north. All these considerations, plus the size of the force required and the difficulties of supplying and maintaining this force, convinced the Army that the invasion of Australia was a "ridiculous operation."
The second front, MacArthur held, should be in the Pacific. Not only would an offensive there aid Russia by releasing the forces held down in Manchuria, he argued, but it would also protect Australia and India and have the enthusiastic support of the American people.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... egy-9.html


if the Soviets use scorched earth and Fabian strategy
What does that look like? If it means abandoning everything (including people) west of the Urals, then see my points above. If it means evacuating millions more behind the Urals, how do they eat, how do they produce, etc.?
they might earn a few A-bombs on their major cities.
I have my doubts about whether the A-bombs would have stopped an otherwise-victorious Nazi regime but it's a longer discussion as well. The ends to which the Nazis would have gone once A-bombs start falling are so horrible it would be tantamount to mutually-assured destruction (mass-murder of occupied populations, Sarin gas all over England - tens of millions could die on both sides, Europe could be basically depopulated before the end).

But the A-bomb is a deus ex machina that rescues the W.Allies from what I think was a terrible WW2 strategy, and the opposing sides' strategies are what is interesting - more interesting than the happenstance that nuclear technology matured in 1945.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 22 Aug 2020 09:34, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2020 09:26

antwwwwwwwwwwwwwwony wrote:questioning "Greater Finland"?
So you agree that President Ryti and much of the Finnish establishment desired a border at the White Sea, which implies cutting the Murmansk railroad?

Great, we don't have any dispute then - Greater Finnland was an aim of the Finnish government that it would have pursued under the right circumstances. Thanks for your contributions.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by antwony » 22 Aug 2020 10:05

To actually engage with you assuming that you know what you're talking about.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:26
antwwwwwwwwwwwwwwony wrote:questioning "Greater Finland"?
So you agree that President Ryti and much of the Finnish establishment desired a border at the White Sea, which implies cutting the Murmansk railroad?
No. further advances would lead to the SDP withdrawing from government which, for a start, would mean new elections and, at least for a while (probably forever), no more President Ryti.

Ryti was a competent politican and wouldn't commit career suicide.

Whether some Finns wanted a larger Suur- Suomi or under what circumstances could it happen are different subjects.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:26
Great, we don't have any dispute then - Greater Finnland was an aim of the Finnish government that it would have pursued under the right circumstances. Thanks for your contributions.
But, I can't engage with you when you continue to come up with ignorant nonsense like this. Greater Finland was created.

Have the last word and a nice weekend, I can't be bothered with your passive aggressive stupid anymore.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2020 10:21

antwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwony wrote:I can't be bothered
Great, now that he's gone...

...we can discuss this important topic with actual seriousness. From Finland in the Second World War:
Thenational romantic ideal of a ‘Greater Finland’ came into full bloom
when the troops set off on their offensive, and the non-socialist
Finnish-language press was caught up in the enthusiasm.
So all but the socialist press supported the idea.

One person has argued (without citation) that the Finnish SDP would have left the government if the army took Belomorsk. He implicitly argues (without support) that President Ryti would not have been able to form a new government in this eventuality with the support of, say, further-right parties. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriotic ... s_Movement

This person has also ignored the possibility that Ryti would be replaced by someone who supported a march to the White Sea, which seems the likely outcome given that all non-socialist organs of public discussion supported Greater Finnland. It seems unlikely that a new government would adopt policy disfavored by the populace.

And of course all of this ignores the realpolitik of a Finnish government confronting a stronger Germany's ultimatum on Belomorsk or grain.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 22 Aug 2020 11:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
Peter89 wrote:Hardly was he [Georg Thomas] the useless economist you describe
I didn't say he was useless; I said he (1) committed a fundamental error on how to run a war economy (i.e. profit doesn't matter)* and (2) had a short-term and superficial analysis of the Barbarossa economic problem. There are many smart economists who would fail both tests, especially in the strategic context of a Fuehrer demanding short-term returns on Barbarossa.
Okay, but I argue with both of your statements. You know, in a classical, friendly manner. :milwink:

1. Profit wasn't the primary objective for Germany's war industry. Besides - it wasn't just Germany, and that's my point. The Germans had a very hard time to manage their occupied territories, the whole ecosystem of the continent was disrupted and a new one had to be created - and, in the meanwhile, the war machine had to be fed and the infrastructure had to be built before the Wallies can muster a much bigger force with the help of... the rest of the world, really.

The world economy in 1940 was cornered around the colonial empires. It meant that the colonies provided resources, raw materials and cheap labor for the industries of the motherlands, and in return, they could buy the products of the home country. Most colonial empires ran very much protected markets, so the sense of "profit" was not the same as it is today, in the age of neoliberal capitalism. Profit was secondary to almost all but the US markets.

By the way... not even the US waged the war 100% economically. FDR realized this and that's why the Americans insisted to the breakup of the colonial empires (they knew they will win the free market competition, and that was their prize for their participation in the war) after the war was won.

This is why everyone is wrong about the myth of a negotiated peace with the Americans. They were strong enough to reshape the world with British help.

2. Well, to the best of my knowledge, the Germans never even considered a 2-3 years campaign in the Soviet Union. So the military-economical analysis of the problem (given the timeframe and such) was absolutely fine. It was a stupid idea unless a miracle happens.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
*This is pretty much an exact quote from Thomas to industrialists, mentioned in GSWW v.5. I can find the quote if you like but maybe you're familiar with it?
I am familiar with a few volumes, but tbh I didn't read them all, and I am certainly not able to quote it from the top of my head.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
Peter89 wrote:If you take a look at the war economy plans for the big nations in WW2, each and every one of them had a long-established plan how to shift the peacetime production to wartime production.
Germany had a plan too. See GSWW v.5 chapter II.1 ("Preparations for Total War"). There is a host of literature in the last decade arguing that German war mobilization basically could not have been more effective (Adam Tooze, Jonas Scherner - e.g. https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... ungswunder). While I think they overstate their thesis (that's an incubating long post from TMP), German mobilization was not fundamentally different from America/Britain.
Yes it was.

Germany was a recently patched up country and their dominium over continental Europe was a funny patchwork of reluctant allies, occupied hostiles, shrewd neutrals and whatnot. Germany had a mobilization plan for the Reich at best. We should not forget how much war materiel and production capabilities the Germans had found when they started to occupy their allies in 1943 / 1944.

US / British mobilization was under a single leadership, it was pre-established and very well ran.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
This is absolutely wrong methodically. We can not assume such a thing. These are the effects of the different agricultural methods (ferilizing, plowing, density of plants, etc.) for corn production:
When I say "if we assume" I mean to point out that my theoretical construct is only approximate. So yes, by all means revise it. But:

1. I can't understand the Hungarian documents you've provided an cut/paste into Google translate.

2. Do any of these documents show that poorer soil - at the broadest analytical level - benefits more from technological progress than better soil? Iowa farmland, for example, remains the most productive in the world for corn. This was true in 1880 and is true today. Much has changed between 1880 and today but I don't see conclusive evidence that non-Iowa land has benefited more than Iowa land.
1. The first figure shows the effects of the cultivation improvements' effects on the corn production. You can see that the difference is 4-fold. So it means that if you have 1 acre of agricultural land that produces an average of 1 ton of grain in 1940, it depends on a lot of factors, not just the soil quality.

It also means that if you have (like in the second figure) 1 acre of agricultural land that produces an average of 2 tons of grain in 1974, you have no way to assume that another 1 acre of agricultural land will produce grain with the same ratio. It depends on so many factors - erosion, fertilization, mechanization, etc. etc.

2. It depends on the soil improvement techniques available, but I have no reference in English at hand, and I don't know what the Soviet agriculture looked like in 1941. I just see the broad numbers and I have an insight how agriculture works today, mostly in Hungary. But as a general rule of thumb, if you have 1 acre of land that is only good for grazing, you can improve it much better than 1 acre of land that produces grain already. Like I said, it's quite a complicated thing, and without hard numbers of the regional Soviet agricultural production in 1940/1941/1942, we are poking the mist here.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
I don't say that the war against the SU was futile. I just say it needed a miracle to work.
What's the difference? It's futile for me to pick a fight with Vladimir Klitschko but with a miracle it might work...
But it wasn't like that. Germany had to fight the Soviet Union, in order to defeat the British Empire, before the US enters the war.

So it is like two top boxers fight each other, but one of them has to keep another top boxer at bay, and keep the best boxer - who sometimes kicks against him - out of the ring. Is that a bloody wonder why a lot of people think the German leadership was stupid to attack the SU?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
Also, they had no idea how to cooperate economically with their allies and the neutral states, while the British happily bought key natural resources from Romania, Turkey, Portugal...
There's a whole U.S. State Department cache of documents devoted to Allied efforts to get Turkey to stop selling so much chromium to Germany. https://history.state.gov/historicaldoc ... 42v04/ch47. The Allies ended up prevailing in this tussle but might their immensely greater wealth have had something to do with it, rather than German incompetence?

There's an easy, pat narrative in which Nazis were deranged, disordered folks who couldn't handle workaday subjects like economics and logistics. For much of the German leadership there's an element of truth but we do ourselves no favors by pretending that psychotically evil people can't be instrumentally rational.
I never said anything of that sort...

But you must admit that it was foolish by both the Germans and the Japanese that they had no grand strategy and no joint vision of the world after the war. Also, both countries thought that they can "win big" with little means.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
Let's assume that the Germans defeat the Soviets and deprive them of their grain-producing regions. Based on the numbers you provided, the Soviet grain production shrinks to 24.44%. But also, their population shrinks to 26.645% - some 45.421 million, plus, of course, the refugees.

Could you please answer me a question: if the Soviets lose approximately 75% of their population and 75% of their grain production, why are they no longer able to feed themselves? Especially with LL?
A few points:

1. Yes, the Soviets can feed 25% their population with 25% of their grain. The point isn't that a 45mil SU would starve, it's that a 45mil SU can't stop the Germans. ...which feeds into:

2. The Urals contained ~10% of pre-war Soviet food production so 40% of the remainder in (1). As the Soviets can't stop the Germans, they're shortly down to 15% of pre-war food production. More importantly, the Urals contain a lot of stuff that can't be moved on a reasonable timeline (mines, heavy industry).

3. The point of (1) is to show something like a hard limit on the population of an Asia-only SU, not to show that it necessarily starves. It has a choice of being a small country that can't stop the Germans (i.e. no huge refugee movement) or being a slightly larger country that starves. As both choices are terrible, the only remaining option is peace if Hitler/Japan are amenable (and I think they would have been - Hitler specifically said he'd give Stalin a peace if he retreated to the Urals).

4. The Soviets can feed X% of their population with X% of their food IF the LL deliveries aren't also lost. As that's not something I concede, Japan's course of action is relevant.
1. But it is like "assming the Soviets lose everything with little to no damage to the Germans". Aren't you making the same fallacy here as the German planners of Barbarossa? If the Germans were somehow be able to crush-defeat the Soviets in 1942 and push them behind the A-A line, they must have lose some offensive capabilities while doing so, eh?

2. What do you mean by "can't stop the Germans"? The Soviets launched major offensives along the AGN and AGC front as early as the summer of 1942. The former ate up the reserves from the Crimea, the latter exhausted the 9th and 4th armies. If by any miracle the Germans were able to defeat the Soviets in a more effective manner and then launch a miraculous conterstrike that crushes the Soviet forces along the whole front, they might have been able to reach the A-A line with their whole Ostheer exhausted. There would be nothing like "the Soviets can't stop the Germans".

3. Why would they give peace? They were already allied with the two superpowers of the day; as long as they held out, they could win. Don't forget that the leadership of the SU in 1940's mostly consisted of battle-hardened veterans of the civil war, where they had worse positions than any time against the Germans... with no international support. Moreover, they had nothing to lose, so they were a very dangerous enemy to begin with.

4. Yes, I agree. What actually happened was that Japan's navy was gradually annihilated in the battles of 1942, where they successfully met the USN with no force concentration, thus wasting their numerical superiority in half a year.

Besides, they had no means to successfully interdict the American shipping to the SU.

If they tried to invade the SU with their army,
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
Speaking of Japan in 1942, an excerpt from Shattered Sword by Parshall and Tully:
In fairness to the Army, it rightly wanted to preserve its strength for further
actions against the Russians in Manchuria. Despite the mauling the Japanese had been
subjected to two years earlier, in late 1941 it looked as if the Russians themselves were
being overwhelmed. The Red Army had been continually beaten by the Wehrmacht
during the previous summer, and to all outward appearances the Soviet Union was
on the verge of collapse. This reversal of fortunes for the Soviet colossus meant that
there might exist real opportunities for the Japanese to seize more. But
the net result was that the Army’s attention was not fully engaged by the Pacific.
Again, the IJA was still focused on Russia in 1942, only it was being opportunistic and waiting for an opportunity to deliver a knock-out blow.
it only made sense if the Soviets remove a substantial number of their units from Vladivostok - and why would they be so stupid? They weren't so stupid OTL. Besides, the Soviet units on the Eastern front were sufficient enough on their own to wear down the German units. If we imagine a scenario where the Murmansk and the Persian ways are both closed, the Soviets would probably double their efforts to keep the Pacific route open; don't you agree?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
The dynamics of Soviet-Japanese tensions are one of the least-acknowledged facets of the grand strategic picture in WW2. It was a big deal for both sides always, with the Russians keeping >1mil men against Kwantung Army even at the worst of times.

From the same source, p.45, discussing Japanese reasons for invading the Aleutians:
Potential incursion from the
north, and communication links between the United States and Russia would then be
obstructed.” This latter was a very important point, given the quantity of American
supplies being sent to Russia via the Barents Sea.
...Japan forbade the transit of war material to Vladivostok via its inspection points in the Kuriles and Tsushima, but could not do so with shipments via the Barents Sea. So part of Japan's motivation for the otherwise strategically-foolhardy Aleutians operation was to reduce U.S. assistance to Russia.

More here re Japan and Russia:
Moreover, the fear of Russia, which had dictated the time of attack and the speed of the advance, had not abated and the Army was anxious to adhere to the original plan to deploy its forces to the north. All these considerations, plus the size of the force required and the difficulties of supplying and maintaining this force, convinced the Army that the invasion of Australia was a "ridiculous operation."
The second front, MacArthur held, should be in the Pacific. Not only would an offensive there aid Russia by releasing the forces held down in Manchuria, he argued, but it would also protect Australia and India and have the enthusiastic support of the American people.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... egy-9.html
Operation AL started when Japan was on the rise. To illustrate their overconfidence, they assigned two light carriers on unimportant bombing missions to Dutch Harbor on the eve of the most important carrier battle...

Japanese planners thought they are invincible in 1941. Well, they were wrong. They didn't let 50% of the Wallies' shipping through their porch because they were so good and honest guys. They did it because they couldn't afford to fight with the SU as well. Thus the steep rise of the importance of the Pacific route in LL shipments. (29.9%->49.9% , 1942->1943)
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
if the Soviets use scorched earth and Fabian strategy
What does that look like? If it means abandoning everything (including people) west of the Urals, then see my points above. If it means evacuating millions more behind the Urals, how do they eat, how do they produce, etc.?
They evacuate the most possible armies, production and people behind the Urals, and destroy production facilities and infrastructure west of the Urals.

Like we agreed before, they could be supplied by themselves and by the Pacific route.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 09:23
they might earn a few A-bombs on their major cities.
I have my doubts about whether the A-bombs would have stopped an otherwise-victorious Nazi regime but it's a longer discussion as well. The ends to which the Nazis would have gone once A-bombs start falling are so horrible it would be tantamount to mutually-assured destruction (mass-murder of occupied populations, Sarin gas all over England - tens of millions could die on both sides, Europe could be basically depopulated before the end).

But the A-bomb is a deus ex machina that rescues the W.Allies from what I think was a terrible WW2 strategy, and the opposing sides' strategies are what is interesting - more interesting than the happenstance that nuclear technology matured in 1945.
[/quote]

I think you don't get it... even if the SU and China falls by some miracles by 1943, the A-bomb project produced convincing results already. Both the Germans and the Japanese are exhausted and the US carriers and battleships, as well as their technologically advanced, mass-produced planes begin to arrive in numbers.

By the start of 1944, the Wallies on their own had the power to finish off both Japan and Germany, and they had no means to stop that happening. Harry Truman demonstrated that he had no problem with the nuclear incineration of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians... and the same goes for the glorious commander of the 8th Air Fleet.

Btw I seriously doubt that the Wallies needed any deus ex machina style of winning. The A-bomb just sealed the deal.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2020 11:10

antwony wrote:Greater Finland was created.
My annoyance with this poster prevented me earlier from fully addressing the issues.

This quote is actually true and it shows the bankruptcy of the idea that internal moral/political considerations stopped the Finns.

Why? Because the Finnish army had already advanced far beyond the 1939 frontiers, taking Petrozavodsk and Medvezhegyorsk, neither of which were ever Finnish. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Medve ... 34.4641113 Likewise the Finns began the process of "Finnicization" in Eastern Karelia, even confining non-Finns to camps from which their post-war deportation would take place. Are these the actions of a government constrained by the anti-expansionist scruples of socialists?

The member with the unnecessary "w" in his name would have us believe that the government didn't fall over taking dozens of Russian cities beyond the 1939 frontiers, but Belomorsk was a line in the sand. Maybe the SPD leaders had relatives in Belomorsk or something?

Of course not. The reason owes more to foreign politics than domestic: the U.S. exerted strong pressure against Finnland not to cut the Murmansk railway:
When, despite
this warning, the Finns continued their advance, the United States
adopted a stronger tone. On 25 October it required Finland to cease all
hostilities against the USSR immediately and to withdraw its troops
behind the 1939 border if it wished to continue to enjoy the friendship
of the United States ‘now and later’. If war material dispatched from
America via the Arctic Ocean to northern Russia were to be attacked en
route from Finnish territory, such an incident must be expected to
create an immediate crisis in American-Finnish relations.20 To reinforce
his warnings, Hull made them public.
President Ryti sharply rejected the demands. He said that the Finns
were prosecuting their own separate war in order to defend themselves
against Bolshevism and had no desire to die in the interests of Britain.
He could not understand how the Americans could speak without
cynicism of defending the principles of democracy at the same time as
they were in league with Bolshevism.21 The Finnish government
defended its policy on the grounds that it was imperative to occupy the
Soviet offensive bases. Of course there was another motive for not
wishing to break off operations: a desire to occupy an area which, it was
hoped, would be incorporated with Finland after the war. However, the
warnings of the Western powers did not go totally unheeded. On
5 November, Ryti wrote to Mannerheim asking him on political
grounds to halt the offensive along a line that would be advantageous
from the point of view of defence.22 Mannerheim accordingly gave the
order to cease hostile operations once Medvezhyegorsk had been taken.
Note that the Finns "sharply" rejected American demands when Germany's war was going well.

Then in November, when the Finns started to doubt German success, Ryti/Mannerheim stopped the army's advance but still refused the American demand to withdraw to 1939 borders.

The decision was, in other words, based on realpolitik and an assessment of German vs. Allied strength. Also relevant, of course, was stiffening Soviet resistance to the Finnish advance.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2020 12:14

Peter89 wrote:But you must admit that it was foolish by both the Germans and the Japanese that they had no grand strategy and no joint vision of the world after the war.
Of course it was. Hitler and [insert random Japanese decision-maker] made terrible strategic mistakes.

But wasn't it also foolish of the Americans, British, and Soviets to have fundamentally different visions of the post-war world and equally large disagreements over strategy?

Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin were all fools to varying degrees.
Peter89 wrote:1. Profit wasn't the primary objective for Germany's war industry.
Maybe? Depends on which industrialist? I don't know but I know this: The head of the German military's War and Economy office said "profit doesn't matter in war" while in America a cabinet member said "If we want to win, we have to let some industrialists get rich." [again I'm paraphrasing but again maybe you know the gist]
The world economy in 1940 was cornered around the colonial empires.
That's what they thought but it just wasn't true. Big topic again but the colonial empires had little economic rationale - they were poor and the world was moving towards an economy based on skills (industrial at that point but emerging knowledge skills economy as well). That's why the U.S.'s post-colonial (de jure) vision was correct.

Following the above quote is a bunch of things I mostly agree with and would be happy to discuss over a beer but staying on topic...
Well, to the best of my knowledge, the Germans never even considered a 2-3 years campaign in the Soviet Union.
Yeah but it's kinda my whole argument - my reason for being on this forum - to argue that this was a strategic mistake whose rectification could have changed world history.

And it's not far-fetched, IMO, that Hitler would have launched a long(er) eastern war. He planned the French campaign on a multi-year horizon, instructing Todt to plan an army munitions peak in Fall 1941. There were voices in the German state/Wehrmacht who properly gauged Barbarossa's problems and, IMO, had someone like Halder and Canaris properly collated these views and presented them to Hitler, he could have changed his mind.

Finally, if anything in history is contingent is one dude's foibles. Hitler fell flat on his face in judging the SU but lots of evil psychos wouldn't have made that mistake.
I am familiar with a few volumes, but
Indispensable IMO, especially v.5 part 1 on the pre-/early-war German economy. It's dreadfully boring in its discussion of the structure of Nazi bureaucracy though.
Germany had a mobilization plan for the Reich at best. We should not forget how much war materiel and production capabilities the Germans had found when they started to occupy their allies in 1943 / 1944.
Agreed re occupation of former allies but IMO it's not remotely fair to blame German administration for the mobilization levels of non-German lands.

Re the occupied enemies, Germany did decently IMO. Again the more-recent scholarship is showing this (Jonas Scherner again most prominently).
it depends on a lot of factors, not just the soil quality.
I get that there are a lot of factors. The point isn't the variance but the mean. Unless there's some reason to think that poorer Asiatic Soviet lands showed more improvement between '39 and '74 than did good Ukrainian land, then my assumption may actually understate my argument that Asiatic land was less efficient in 1942.
it's quite a complicated thing, and without hard numbers of the regional Soviet agricultural production in 1940/1941/1942, we are poking the mist here.
To a certain extent, yes.

But do you find it likely that evacuating refugee farmers from good Western land to poorer Asiatic land in 1941/2 would have yielded the SU more grain? We can disagree about the magnitude of the effect - if you have a better assumption than parity with '74 ratios then by all means - but is there really a disagreement about the direction of the effect?

If the magnitude of the effect on per-capita food production is at all significant, it's going to have dire implications because the 1942 SU was already starving.
But it is like "assming the Soviets lose everything with little to no damage to the Germans". Aren't you making the same fallacy here as the German planners of Barbarossa? If the Germans were somehow be able to crush-defeat the Soviets in 1942 and push them behind the A-A line, they must have lose some offensive capabilities while doing so, eh?
In my other ATL's I've specifically addressed this point. Short version is that Germany had ~700k dead in '41-'42 and that better Ostheer performance reduces that toll by ~40%. Call it 500k dead to push to/through the Urals. Does that fundamentally change the picture for a country of 80mil?
What do you mean by "can't stop the Germans"? The Soviets launched major offensives
OTL. Again, I've detailed elsewhere why the Soviets could have been made far weaker.
Why would they give peace? They were already allied with the two superpowers of the day; as long as they held out, they could win.
Again, I spelled out the rationale: keep fighting while the Germans pour through the Urals and Japan takes the east or agree a peace. You disagree with the premises underlying the choices presented but try accepting my premises for discussion of this point and attack the premises separately. If that's the Soviet choice then the Germans/Japanese eliminate significant resistance in a year or so. It hurts the Axis some but ends the Soviet regime. How is that a rational choice for the Soviets? Why do they care about the Allied cause so much as to trade their own extirpation for marginal benefit to their allies?
Moreover, they had nothing to lose, so they were a very dangerous enemy to begin with.
Have you heard about Stalin? He cared about nothing more than preservation of his power - he has everything to lose by continuing a losing war.
Besides, they had no means to successfully interdict the American shipping to the SU.
Taking Vladivostok?

Even if not that, no American ship is sailing through the Kuriles until at least 1944. They need to build a carrier force capable of confronting land-based airpower before that happens.
it only made sense if the Soviets remove a substantial number of their units from Vladivostok - and why would they be so stupid?
Again this is ATL-land where the SU is, say, 50% weaker. To maintain 1mil men in Primorskiye in that situation means weakening anti-German forces by more than 50%:

OTL 1942 SU had ~5.7mil facing Germany and ~1mil facing Japan. Divide by 2 and that's 2.9 against Germany and .5mil against Japan. To keep anti-Japan forces at 1mil means anti-German is now 2.4mil or only 42% of OTL.

And Japan doesn't need to invade SU. They just announce that the Sea of Japan is closed to shipping and dare the SU launch an offensive against them while fighting off Germany. OTL they feared Soviet invasion in '42, ATL they don't.
the Soviets would probably double their efforts to keep the Pacific route open; don't you agree?
I see the sense there but again this ATL-land where the Soviets are struggling to save the Urals, loss of which makes them a true third-rate power. What's worse - losing Urals or Vladivostok? Either is a death-blow.
They didn't let 50% of the Wallies' shipping through their porch because they were so good and honest guys. They did it because they couldn't afford to fight with the SU as well
OTL again. If the SU is weaker in the East then it's a different calculus. If the SU is weaker overall but not weaker in the East (i.e. strips the German front to protect the East), then Germany is strolling across Siberia.
They evacuate the most possible armies, production and people behind the Urals, and destroy production facilities and infrastructure west of the Urals.

Like we agreed before, they could be supplied by themselves and by the Pacific route.
The numbers matter. They could supply how many? I say no more than 60mil while they hold the Urals, but they wouldn't hold it for long.
I think you don't get it... even if the SU and China falls by some miracles by 1943, the A-bomb project produced convincing results already.
I don't think you get my broader point, though I didn't spell it out entirely.

I'm really not that interested in what, arguably, could have happened as a factual matter. I'm interested in the why of what could have happened.

These why's vary in their level of intellectual interest. It is not very interesting to me that the A-bomb might have saved the world from Nazi Germany. I mean good but what's the point of even discussing strategy if the answer is just "A-bomb"? A German strategic focus on bewegungskrieg or on knitting makes no difference. The A-bomb didn't influence any of Allied European war strategy...

What's more interesting is whether the Allies were strategically correct - on their own terms - in WW2. I don't think they were. I think they lucked out that Germany took the SU so lightly and lost a winnable war. Had Germany won they would have been truly F'd on their own terms, perhaps even so with the A-bomb.
By the start of 1944, the Wallies on their own had the power to finish off both Japan and Germany, and they had no means to stop that happening.
Again OTL. If Germany isn't fighting the biggest-ever land war, the LW is much stronger. The W.Allies weren't even close to being able to confront the German army absent the Eastern Front. Had they refocused on building an army equal to the Heer their aerial/sea production would have dropped significantly.

BTW - commendations on being an elegant writer in a non-native language.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Leprechaun » 22 Aug 2020 13:06

If Germany isn't fighting the biggest-ever land war, the LW is much stronger
The LW failed in 1940 to defeat the RAF while not taking part in any other land war or stop the RAF bombing Germany in 1940/early 41 but of course in your time lines only the LW gets stronger :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 22 Aug 2020 15:30

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 12:14

I don't think you get my broader point, though I didn't spell it out entirely.

I'm really not that interested in what, arguably, could have happened as a factual matter. I'm interested in the why of what could have happened.

These why's vary in their level of intellectual interest. It is not very interesting to me that the A-bomb might have saved the world from Nazi Germany. I mean good but what's the point of even discussing strategy if the answer is just "A-bomb"? A German strategic focus on bewegungskrieg or on knitting makes no difference. The A-bomb didn't influence any of Allied European war strategy...

What's more interesting is whether the Allies were strategically correct - on their own terms - in WW2. I don't think they were. I think they lucked out that Germany took the SU so lightly and lost a winnable war. Had Germany won they would have been truly F'd on their own terms, perhaps even so with the A-bomb.
Alright.

I get your point that it is really hard to raise up questions on this forum, because to question the decision making process of the Allies equals to earn a label of a Wehraboo. I got my fair share of that kind of a shitstorm when I tried to ask the beloved community about "what if the Japs conquer the Hawaii Islands in 1941", and enforcing the Kantai Kessen doctrine they were so eager to do. Nobody actually cared about the core of my question, which was: "could the Japanese grand strategy work on the long run?". And the decade old debate began about whether the Japanese were actually able to do it or not. Bottom line, they could, but people don't like to take a step forward.

So out of sheer intellectual solidarity, I will not question your premises in this thread anymore, okay? :milwink:

Besides, if there was no alternative in any point of history, then why do we think that people are responsible for the good or the bad? They were just instruments of the process, right? I think that's not the right way of thinking, and as students of history, we must examine the possible outcomes.

I think we must listen a bit to Dr. Robert Citino here ( https://youtu.be/UNDhswF1GKk?t=852 ):
Prussian officiers over time internalized a series of relatively controversial notions. That they could not win long, drawn-out wars of attrition. And in fact, getting into one was a bad idea. And in fact, getting into one was just a slower way of losing.
That was exactly the situation of Germany in 1942.

If they could not finish off the SU in a short, sharp campaign, they've lost the entire war. So even if they win the Ostfront, but the victory comes too late - as it did in 1917 - it is over. "It's just a slower way of losing." The main difference between 1914 and 1941 was that the SU was neutral or friendly with the Germans, and at the very least, not directly hostile.

I think the general staff and senior officiers of the Wehrmacht thought that they should attack relentlessly, so the Soviets will be crushed, and finally, they could finish off the Brits before the US enters into the war.

What you propose here is that the German territorial gains in the SU could have a crippling effect. Well, I think it is possible that the Germans could have defeated the Soviets in 1942, and bled them white by 1943. With proper strategy and preparations, they might have crushed the Soviets in a multi-year campaign. Especially if they cooperate better with Japan, their European allies and the local anti-Soviet population. But again, that is just a slower way of losing, and I'm not talking about the A-bomb.

The Reich made a strategic choice in 1941 (actually in 1940) to attack its ally, the Soviet Union. The SU fielded the biggest and most mechanized army in the world, it provided an invaluable trading partner, a cross-continental link to Asia and a diplomatic chance to defeat the British Empire on many fronts. In November 1940, there were even negotiations about the terms for the SU to join the Axis. These terms were unacceptable for the Germans, so they decided to attack.

It was a question of grand strategy. Instead of focusing on the British Empire and defeat it, the German leadership decided to attack the Soviet Union in a moment when their ally, the Japanese Empire was interested in ceasefire with the Soviets. This makes the whole "Ostfront issue" a very much pressing one, because even if the Germans win that unnecessary war, they will not end the war as victors. They still have to defeat the British Empire, and if they are not careful and fast enough, they have to defeat the US, too (almost impossible).

Long story short, I believe that the Germans had no means to capture large Soviet territories and hold them in 1942, only if they plan the whole attack against the SU very differently. If the Germans attack with a methodical approach, defeating the Soviets in the frontiers, push forward and establish good defensive positions, then continue the attack next year and again, defeating the Soviets near the frontline and again, push deep into Soviet territories, then their conquests could have a crippling effect on the Soviets. But if we take a look at the numbers at the end of 1943, the Wallies could have won the war, if Britain is not knocked out. And why would they be knocked out, if the Germans would focus on their ongoing campaign in the SU?

What we know for 100% sure is that the Axis had no means to change the naval power ratio. And control of the seas meant the control of the world trade. It also meant the the Americas couldn't be attacked... so it was imperative to keep them out of the war.

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