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

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2020 21:50

Peter89 wrote:Robert Citino
I'm familiar but IMO Citino is squeezing far too much from a decent insight.

Yes, the Prussian military tradition so held. No, the descendants of that tradition did not set German grand strategy.

So the WW2 Heer should have had the best of both worlds: an operational/tactical concept based on aggression backed by deep logistics/production set at the strategic level. It's what they had in France even though the latter part turned out to be unnecessary.

As previously noted - and there's IMO no reasonable grounds for debate - Hitler planned a long war. The Soviet portion of this long war was the only part planned as a Blitzkrieg.

Had Hitler planned the Eastern campaign to be long(er), the Heer would have been appropriately backed logistically and economically; the Prussian tradition had no relevance to those factors in WW2.
Peter89 wrote:when I tried to ask the beloved community about "what if the Japs conquer the Hawaii Islands in 1941"
For far too many folks here, the only intellectual satisfaction available to them is to point out something they think somebody else doesn't know. The pleasure of concept formation/analysis/revision in a dialectical exchange is entirely foreign to them.
Peter89 wrote:The SU fielded the biggest and most mechanized army in the world
Biggest yes, most mechanized no. Red Army had fewer trucks than Ostheer (400k vs. 600k) for more men. It was more horse-reliant than Ostheer and the bulk of it remained so through 1945:
From a transport perspective, the field army in the later war years did not improve its level of motorization — rifle divisions remained largely horse-drawn, and additional vehicles were used to pull a greater quantity of supporting artillery.
https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2020/1/2/ ... -transport
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 numbers? If the Axis conquers or "Vichy's" the SU, it controls more of the world's 1938 GDP than the Allies. The population of Germany, Japan, and lesser Axis was about the same as US, UK+Dominions (both ~200mil).
It also meant the the Americas couldn't be attacked... so it was imperative to keep them out of the war.
Again big topic but short version:

You're assuming that Germany can't "win" the war simply by being unassailable on the continent. I disagree. If the Germans demonstrate that (conventional) bombing won't end the war (something I think would be true), then the W.Allies have to put hundreds of divisions into Europe. IMO it's far from clear that we'd have had the stomach for the ensuing millions of dead. Especially if the European theater comes to be viewed as a war of choice.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
FDR: "The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians."

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

Post by Peter89 » 23 Aug 2020 09:48

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 21:50
Peter89 wrote:Robert Citino
I'm familiar but IMO Citino is squeezing far too much from a decent insight.

Yes, the Prussian military tradition so held. No, the descendants of that tradition did not set German grand strategy.

So the WW2 Heer should have had the best of both worlds: an operational/tactical concept based on aggression backed by deep logistics/production set at the strategic level. It's what they had in France even though the latter part turned out to be unnecessary.

As previously noted - and there's IMO no reasonable grounds for debate - Hitler planned a long war. The Soviet portion of this long war was the only part planned as a Blitzkrieg.

Had Hitler planned the Eastern campaign to be long(er), the Heer would have been appropriately backed logistically and economically; the Prussian tradition had no relevance to those factors in WW2.
Peter89 wrote:when I tried to ask the beloved community about "what if the Japs conquer the Hawaii Islands in 1941"
For far too many folks here, the only intellectual satisfaction available to them is to point out something they think somebody else doesn't know. The pleasure of concept formation/analysis/revision in a dialectical exchange is entirely foreign to them.
Peter89 wrote:The SU fielded the biggest and most mechanized army in the world
Biggest yes, most mechanized no. Red Army had fewer trucks than Ostheer (400k vs. 600k) for more men. It was more horse-reliant than Ostheer and the bulk of it remained so through 1945:
From a transport perspective, the field army in the later war years did not improve its level of motorization — rifle divisions remained largely horse-drawn, and additional vehicles were used to pull a greater quantity of supporting artillery.
https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2020/1/2/ ... -transport
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 numbers? If the Axis conquers or "Vichy's" the SU, it controls more of the world's 1938 GDP than the Allies. The population of Germany, Japan, and lesser Axis was about the same as US, UK+Dominions (both ~200mil).
It also meant the the Americas couldn't be attacked... so it was imperative to keep them out of the war.
Again big topic but short version:

You're assuming that Germany can't "win" the war simply by being unassailable on the continent. I disagree. If the Germans demonstrate that (conventional) bombing won't end the war (something I think would be true), then the W.Allies have to put hundreds of divisions into Europe. IMO it's far from clear that we'd have had the stomach for the ensuing millions of dead. Especially if the European theater comes to be viewed as a war of choice.
I think I am not really assuming too much.

The Germans had to defeat the British Empire in order to end the war, can we agree on that?

They did not have the naval power to effectively stand up against the British in a fleet-to-fleet action, so their only hope was the achieve aerial supremacy. But they couldn't do it - the defense of the British Isles was very well organized, and the aircraft production of the British was always enough to counter the LW.

Unassailable is an interesting thing. If the Germans win in the SU, the superior aerial and naval power of the Wallies would pulverize the Axis. Not to mention the soft underbelly of Europe, where resupply was difficult for the Germans with Wallied naval and aerial supremacy.

Even if there was no A-bomb, the aerial and naval power of the US / BE could open up the continent for invasion. Also, we should not think that the Wehrmacht would suffer little to no casualties when they defeat the Soviets.

The Wallies achieved not only the numerical superiority, but the technological and doctrinal superiority too. They had perfected their amphibitious assults, their strategic bombing doctrine, etc. etc. They had more and better aircraft, better trained pilots, etc. etc. It's simply not plausible to think that they'd just abandon their grand strategy if the Soviets get defeated.

Also, referencing the 1938 GDP numbers is somewhat incorrect for many reasons. First, because of the rapid expansion of GDP on the Allied side, and second, the fact that one cannot add the pre-war Soviet GDP to the Reich's GDP, after the titans have clashed.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2020 03:37

Peter89 wrote:The Germans had to defeat the British Empire in order to end the war, can we agree on that?
Depends what defeat means. I don't think Germany has to conquer London. At a certain point it could be a stalemate across the Channel. I don't think Britain stays at war indefinitely (setting A-bomb aside for now).

If Germany/Japan have taken and/or are credibly threatening the Mid-East and India then Britain probably prefers a peace that maintains the Empire to an indefinite stalemate that loses it.
They did not have the naval power to effectively stand up against the British in a fleet-to-fleet action, so their only hope was the achieve aerial supremacy
Last paragraph is my response plus:

German V1's produced at >10x the historical rate (easily doable absent eastern front) would add a lot of pressure to end things.
But they couldn't do it - the defense of the British Isles was very well organized, and the aircraft production of the British was always enough to counter the LW.
Agreed about aerial defense of Britain vs. a second BoB. W.Allies could probably stop even a much-bigger LW with Flak alone, given their gun-laying tech.

But likewise Germany can stop an Allied air offensive with cheap interceptors like Me109, also relevant to this point:
the superior aerial and naval power of the Wallies would pulverize the Axis.
This is another big topic but short answers:

1. Heavy bombers cost >10x a German fighter while being exchanged at ~1:1 attrition ratios until later '44.

2. Given (1), the W.Allies don't have sufficient resources to win at 10:1 attrition ratio if the LW doesn't collapse as in OTL.

3. The LW wouldn't collapse as in OTL because (a) they'd have far more planes and pilots, (b) training standards would be higher in '44 due to better fuel supply situation.

4. Naval power is practically useless against Germany's continental empire. Plus Axis would control Med and Black Seas (see below).
Not to mention the soft underbelly of Europe, where resupply was difficult for the Germans with Wallied naval and aerial supremacy.
1. Resupply isn't difficult if the LW isn't dominated as in OTL.

2. The W.Allies will have their supply problems in the Med when Spain either joins the Axis or steamrolled by 100 German divisions after Russia's fall (If the Wallies want to lose 30-40 divisions in that fight as well, let them). With the Strait of Gibraltar effectively closed there could be no serious W.Allied military effort in the Med.
Also, we should not think that the Wehrmacht would suffer little to no casualties when they defeat the Soviets.
I gave you a specific non-zero number (500k). That's a lot fewer than OTL but still more than American dead in the whole war.
It's simply not plausible to think that they'd just abandon their grand strategy if the Soviets get defeated.
Then they lose. I agree they probably don't abandon their grand strategy, which had too much industrial momentum to be switched except on a timeline of years.
Also, referencing the 1938 GDP numbers is somewhat incorrect for many reasons. First, because of the rapid expansion of GDP on the Allied side
It makes only a marginal difference. An attacker usually needs a great preponderance of strength. Were the economic picture in the vicinity of parity the W.Allies would be out of luck besides the A-bomb.
second, the fact that one cannot add the pre-war Soviet GDP to the Reich's GDP, after the titans have clashed.
Why not? The pre-war titan of Western Europe contributed billions in RM to Germany's war.

OTL millions of Soviets helped the German war effort as police, anti-partisan forces, field combat units, HiWi's, war workers, and food-producers. Can't imagine why fewer would do so for a victorious, rather than embattled, Germany.

-------------------------------------------------------

At base your intuition is the old economic determinist reading of the war. Richard Overy wrote a great book, Why the Allies Won, debunking that determinism.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
FDR: "The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians."

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

Post by Avalancheon » 24 Aug 2020 06:43

Peter89 wrote:
22 Aug 2020 07:09
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?
TheMarcksPlan already explained the reason why they would face mass starvation. The Soviets weren't achieving the same levels of agricultural productivity as they were in 1940, before they were invaded. The war brought with it disruptions to the bureaucracy, chaos to the supply chains, conscription of labourers into the military, etc. The Soviets also had to cultivate new lands, which must have consumed alot of labour. And some of these lands may not have been as rich as the Ukraine. This has a significant effect on agricultural productivity.

If we go by Katkoffs figures, their 1940 grain harvest was 118.8 million tons on 110.6 million hectares of land. Thats a yield of 1.07 tons per hectare. Their 1942 grain harvest was 53.1 million tons on 70.8 million hectares. Thats a yield of .75 tons per hectare.

If we go by Harrisons figures, their 1940 vegetable harvest was 13.7 million tons on 1.5 million hectares of land. Thats a yield of 9.1 tons per hectare. Their 1942 vegetable harvest was 4.3 million tons on 0.8 million hectares. Thats a yield of 5.4 tons per hectare.


In the winter of 1942 and the spring of 1943, Lend Lease deliverys made the difference between life and death for the Soviet people. They were able to avoid starvation due to American food aid. In this scenario, those deliverys might not be enough to cut it, especially if the Arctic ports and Persian corridor get shut down by the Germans. That will be a long, cold, hungry winter for the Russians. It may be one they never recover from.

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

Post by Avalancheon » 24 Aug 2020 10:12

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 05:02
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.
There may be other reasons for differences between Katkoff and Harrisons figures. Perhaps Katkoff was including the grain that was harvested in the newly annexed provinces of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bukovina and Bessarabia, and Karelia? That could add a few million tons of grain to the total.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Aug 2020 05:02
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.
While their figures vary somewhat, both Katkoff and Harrison agree that there was a dramatic reduction in grain harvests by 1942. The Soviets lost a huge amount of arable land to the German invaders. Worse yet, the newly cultivated land was yielding smaller harvests. These two factors put them at risk of famine, as you pointed out before.

Harrison offers some estimates on the Soviet population loss. He places their 1938 population at 167 million, and their 1942 population at 104.6 million. If these figures are roughly accurate, then we can only conclude that the Soviets were harvesting smaller crops [per capita] by 1942. They were thus dependent on Lend Lease to avoid collapse from famine.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2020 11:22

Avalancheon wrote:Perhaps Katkoff was including the grain that was harvested in the newly annexed provinces
Interesting. Do you know offhand whether Harrison specified the boundaries of his 1940 calculations in Accounting for War? I'll dig but figured I'd ask if you know the answer. Harrison is assiduous about boundaries in Economics of World War 2 and assiduous generally, so I'd be surprised if he didn't provide a definition.

Harrison shows a greater proportional fall in foodstuffs than Kotkoff. Were Harrison using 1939 boundaries and Kotkoff 1940, the discrepancy would only loom larger.

There's also the difference in 1942 figures, which is even larger than for the baseline and can't be attributable to different boundaries.

One possibility is that they're using different definitions of production. Soviets had a concept of "biological yield" - measured by sampling the crops in the field - and of "barnyard yield," which measured grain actually put into stores. Kotkoff specifies his measure but I'll have to check Harrison's, if any. Unfortunately most of the latter's sources are in Russian so if he's imported from those I can't dig any deeper.
If these figures are roughly accurate, then we can only conclude that the Soviets were harvesting smaller crops [per capita] by 1942. They were thus dependent on Lend Lease to avoid collapse from famine.
There's no serious debate, IMJ, over whether the per-capita harvest declined during the war. (though surely some here would debate it)

The only issue is by how much and - for our hypothetical - how much more deprivation would have been strategically catastrophic.

On LL food aid it's sometimes pointed out that ~5% of wartime calories came from it. Folks implicitly shrug and say that's not a big deal. This fundamentally misunderstands the problem, however, which was one of accumulated caloric/protein deficit not of acute starvation (discussed in Hunger and War and in another thread extensively - viewtopic.php?f=76&t=246246&p=2248718&h ... r#p2248718)

Per Hunger and War, p.30, German workers consumed ~11% fewer calories than Soviet in 1943. Yet German workers did not see significant malnutrition deaths. So the margin between a healthy workforce and Soviet starvation mortality is <11% of calories. Adding another 5% to the caloric deficit could easily have been ruinous.

Just some quick math:
  • the heaviest-working Soviets consumed ~4,000 calories/day (miners, heavy industry)
  • A 5% deficit is 200 calories.
  • As humans lose a pound for each ~3,500 calorie deficit, heavy workers would be losing 1.7lbs/month additional to OTL weight loss.
If that deficit continues for 6 months, that's 10 lbs lost. It was a very rare Soviet worker who had 10lbs extra; their bodies would have started consuming vital tissues, likely resulting in death.

...and that's even before considering the impact of feasible historical outcomes such as the permanent loss of more good cropland like the Kuban or the Chernozem areas just east of the Don. As loss of those areas would have decreased per-capita food supply by at least another several percentage points, I find it impossible that the Soviets could have avoided catastrophic starvation levels absent LL and/or with further territorial losses.

...UNLESS they simply refused permission for more evacuees and/or forced some to return behind enemy lines, which seems implausible. It also puts a very hard limit on the population that could be evacuated with further retreats.

I'm increasingly convinced, btw, that the SU would have collapsed had the Germans held the Blau territories through 1943.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2020 12:45

A couple other aspects of Soviet food supply vulnerability:

Fish

Per Harrison, the SU harvested 926,000t of fish in 1942. At 800 calories and 100g protein per pound (assuming Russian fish was cold-water and therefore fattier), that harvest would provided 120mil Soviets with 37 calories per day and 4.7g protein. The protein is the most important, as this was most lacking in the meat/dairy-starved diet of the wartime SU and protein deficiency caused non-acute starvation mortality faster than caloric deficit.

Soviets average 2,555 cal/day in 1942. If we assume 10% of calories came from protein, that's 64g protein daily.

My estimate of fish's protein is ~7% of daily Soviet protein consumption.

As with analyzing LL's 5% calorie share, we have to look at the accumulation of deficit - a 7% daily protein deficit over OTL would effects more ruinous than an additional 5% calorie deficit (also we should consider the protein, rather than caloric, content of LL as well - lots of canned meat and dried milk was shipped).

The SU's marine fisheries were concentrated in the Barents/Black Seas and the Pacific. Japan can obviously end most of the latter; advance to the AA line closes the former.

Earlier capture in '41 via faster Ostheer advance

Moskoff's Bread of Affliction mentions the harvest and evacuation of 2/3's of Western Ukraine's grain crop during July-August 1941 (8mil tons IIRC but don't have the book at hand). This was possible only because the German/Romanian advance in Ukraine was the slowest. Ostheer advanced about twice as quickly north of the Pripyat.

Had the SU lost another 8mil tons of grain to a quicker Army Group South advance, that's roughly 8% of the Union-wide crop. I don't have stats on vegetable crops evacuated but many livestock were evacuated as well. So 8% of food supply saved is probably a decent approximation.

Again we have to analyze that 8% hypothetical food loss in terms of accumulated caloric/protein deficit and the onset of non-acute starvation mortality. It also could have been potentially ruinous.

Perhaps Kirponos's greatest achievement was not safely guiding his forces across the Dniepr and forcing AGC's Kiev diversion - maybe he effectively saved the SU from starvation in 1942.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by BDV » 24 Aug 2020 20:44

A small question on the foodstuffs question.

What is available (if any) for importation from Turkey, Mesopotamia, and from Iran/Afghanistan?

Can the populace of these countries absorb a decrease in consumption of 100-200 calories/person, so as to increase a rump Sovjetunion's with 100 cal/person?
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2020 21:47

BDV wrote:
24 Aug 2020 20:44

What is available (if any) for importation from Turkey, Mesopotamia, and from Iran/Afghanistan?
Basically nothing. Turkey had bread riots during WW2. The rest of the Mideat was pre-industrial with very little food surplus. I'm sure the decline in world trade sent their food supplies below their already-tenuous pre-war norm.

Plus these countries had maybe 30mil population so any daily caloric deficit for them would yield a fraction of surplus for the SU.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by BDV » 24 Aug 2020 22:05

The total population of those countries in 1941 was ~45 million, which would be comparable to a rump Sovjetunion of say 50 million.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2020 22:34

BDV wrote:
24 Aug 2020 22:05
The total population of those countries in 1941 was ~45 million, which would be comparable to a rump Sovjetunion of say 50 million.
Re a rump SU Turkey is irrelevant as it's either cut off from SU or, more likely, has invaded the Caucasus during as the Soviet armies retreated from there.

That leaves ~25mil in the other countries but it might as well be 200mil: These were subsistence agricultural economies with negligible food surplus and also lacked the strong administrative apparatus to force peasants to surrender food and go hungry - as virtually all states did until quite recently (see Germany, Austria, Russia in WW1).
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Oct 2020 04:48

The topic of post-SU W.Allies v. Germany war came up in this thread. It does often in my threads and I always wish I had at hand some quotes on the contemporaneous evaluations of W.Allied chances absent the SU. Here's some:

FDR:
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war
depends on the Russians." Recorded in Morgenthau's diary on June 15, 1942.
FDR:
Russia alone possesses the manpower potentially able to defeat Germany in Europe. ‘‘Brief Joint Estimate of the Military Situation of the Associated Powers,’’ memo, Dec. 21, 1941, JB 325, serial 729, RG 225, NA
Excerpts from Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. Strategy in World War II by Mark Stoler:
Germany would become invulnerable
were she able to defeat Russia and subsequently exploit the resources of the Eurasian land mass.
As noted above, Roosevelt realized this by September, perhaps
as a result of reading ‘‘between the lines’’ of the Victory Program in that month,
and in October the Army wpd openly admitted it. If Russia were defeated, it
warned, Germany’s war effort would ‘‘not be decisively affected by the tightest sea
blockade.’’ Economically and militarily, Germany’s position would become ‘‘practically invulnerable.’
The army, on the
other hand, insisted that Britain and Russia were incapable of defeating Germany
alone
and viewed all such assistance [LL and peripheral operations] as a method of extending their military
resistance long enough to allow for full U.S. rearmament, entry into the war, and
deployment of major forces into Europe from the English ‘‘launching pad.
Thus, if the naval Victory Program estimate had been ‘‘fundamentally unsound,’’ as
army planners claimed, because of its lack of emphasis on the creation
of large ground forces, the army estimate was equally unsound because it did not
recognize the political impediments to the creation of such a force, Roosevelt’s
unwillingness to do so, or the impossibility of ever creating one large enough to
defeat the Wehrmacht unsupported. On the basis of both political and military
realities, Germany simply could not be defeated without continued Russian participation in the war.
Five days earlier the jussc had bluntly stated that ‘‘Russia must be supported
now by every possible means’’ because the absence of a Russian front
would postpone ‘‘indefinitely’’ the end of the war.
The retention of Russia in the war as an active participant is vital
to Allied victory,’’ now acting chief of staff McNarney had emphasized on April 12 [1942].
if German armies were allowed to turn west, ‘‘any opportunity for a successful
offensive against the European Axis would be virtually eliminated.’’
As early as April–May, OPD, G-2, and the joint committees had begun to explore
the appropriate response should this ‘‘desperate situation’’ result in a Soviet collapse, and in early August
the JSSC completed and forwarded to the JPS a massive
study of such a contingency. This study indicated that Russian collapse would be
a ‘‘catastrophe’’ of such magnitude as to put the United States in a ‘‘desperate’’
situation too, one in which it ‘‘would be forced to consider courses of action
which would primarily benefit the United States rather than the United Nations.’’

We live in a postwar world built on Germany's defeat; the victors wrote a popular narrative in which Allied victory was always inevitable once the USA finally did the right thing.

It wasn't inevitable; everything turned on Germany bungling its war against Russia.

I suspect the victors' narrative is preferred because it makes the universe comprehensible: we don't live in a world where incomprehensible evil could have prevailed. In a Cold War context, it also hid the fact that the liberal democracies prevailed only because of communist heroism.

The narrative has the ideological and propaganda backing of a military, economic, and media superpower. Removing it from one's mind takes effort. Maybe these quotes will help recover some of the real, contingent history. In any event, we already know that a nihilistic/racist agenda can destroy half the world, legitimize genocides, and/or ruin centuries of human progress. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_ ... e_Americas

----------------------------
EDIT:
This post doesn't assume, btw, that contemporary strategic appraisals can be offered uncritically to establish the matter asserted. They are probative of the matter, however. What's more, they can illuminate strategic conundrums obscured by what history one has been taught.

More importantly, political leaders' perception of political constraints are - functionally - the same thing as the actual political constraints. W.Allied leaders apparently believed voters wouldn't abide a bloody, multi-million-death invasion of Europe, or wouldn't abide indefinite siege warfare against an invulnerable Germany. That's a real constraint.
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 13 Oct 2020 12:29

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Oct 2020 04:48
The topic of post-SU W.Allies v. Germany war came up in this thread. ...

We live in a postwar world built on Germany's defeat; the victors wrote a popular narrative in which Allied victory was always inevitable once the USA finally did the right thing.

It wasn't inevitable; everything turned on Germany bungling its war against Russia.
How much of the perceived ‘bungling’ can be ascribed to lack of hindsight?
If actual circumstances were not reasonably evident at the time, then resulting actions can hardly be described as bungling.
Germany could have been triumphant in the East had Stavka more enthusiastically cooperated in facilitating a Soviet defeat, or to paraphrase a previous contributor, if Germany had done everything right and the Soviets had done everything wrong. The issue has been discussed in various guises before-
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Etc, etc

My reading of the consensus of all this (and more) is that, given German priorities and assumptions with regard to the SU in 1941, the outcome from the invasion in any likely alternative deployment would not have been much more beneficial to Germany. Consequently, an Allied victory was pretty much inevitable.
And the more inevitable it was, the more esoteric becomes the “topic of post-SU W.Allies v. Germany”.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Oct 2020 03:41

Max Payload wrote: given German priorities and assumptions with regard to the SU in 1941, the outcome from the invasion ... would not have been much more beneficial to Germany.
Max... that German assumptions regarding the SU dictated the outcome of the war is the central point I make on this board.

I.e. Germany would have won had it taken the SU seriously; it lost because it did not.
The issue has been discussed in various guises before-
Obviously I disagree with the various guises of AHF wisdom so there's not much point in citing it to me.
How much of the perceived ‘bungling’ can be ascribed to lack of hindsight?
What do people on AHF really mean by hindsight?

The term has valid meaning, IMO, only insofar as it describes a statement such as "X should have behaved differently given knowledge Y" where Y is something that X didn't have and couldn't reasonably be expected to have had.

There is no valid hindsight allegation against the statement "Germany would have won had it taken the SU seriously."

A hindsight allegation could be valid against the statement "Germany should have taken the SU more seriously."

Evaluating the "should" requires a substantive discussion for determining whether it's hindsight. Evaluating the "would" is a value-neutral analytical process in which hindsight can't figure.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
FDR: "The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians."

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

Post by Max Payload » 14 Oct 2020 10:31

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2020 03:41
Max Payload wrote: given German priorities and assumptions with regard to the SU in 1941, the outcome from the invasion ... would not have been much more beneficial to Germany.
Max... that German assumptions regarding the SU dictated the outcome of the war is the central point I make on this board.

I.e. Germany would have won had it taken the SU seriously; it lost because it did not.
German assumptions were based in part on hard and accurate information, including that from their own combat experience, and in part on estimations built from less accurate or fragmentary information. The latter was heavily influenced by an inherent arrogant bias as to capabilities. But that was baked into Hitler’s belief system and into Nazi ethos. To suggest it could have been otherwise is like suggesting history would have been different if Genghis Khan had been more in touch with his feminine side.
But even if the potential of Soviet resistance had been taken more ‘seriously’ and if somehow German assumptions could have been more realistic, for an invasion to be conducted in 1941 it is an unsubstantiated leap to suggest that in consequence the SU would have been defeated. More realistic German assumptions, even assuming they would have been possible, would not necessarily have changed German priorities and objectives.
As previously indicated, this is itself a topic that has been exhaustively discussed on this forum and elsewhere with no convincing route map to a German victory being advanced.

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