German material stockpiles and shortages

General WWII era German military discussion that doesn't fit someplace more specific.
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Post by sid guttridge » Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:53 am

Hi Phylo,

Did Germany have to repay the outstanding von Papen loans after the war?

Germany rearmed more than even the most optimistic German general thought possible. In late 1936 or 1937, General Fromm was asked to work out what was the maximum theoretical number of divisions Germany could field by October 1939. He estimated just over 100. Hitler ordered Fromm's theoretical programme put into practice and Germany actually entered the war with one more than Fromm's estimate.

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Post by Reb » Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:36 am

Phylo

Ahem...bought and paid for? What was the price of a Czech T-35 in those days? :D

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Post by Qvist » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:59 pm

Yes, Germany entered the war with all the intent of fast quick victories - AND all those first victories of course put the native raw materials of the occupied countries at her disposal. (Didn't include any more oil - France's Algerian fields hadn't been discovered of course) There was no overall centralised planning of the economy purely for war aims or materiel - it was still being organised and financed on the pre-war model,
This is not actually accurate - there wasn't any particularly effective central direction of the economy for war purposes, but that wasn't for lack of trying. :) The problem seems to rather have been that there were too many hands on the wheel, who all had in common a rather unimaginative approach to the problem, largely failing to consider the benefits that could be gained from rationalisation, incentives and so forth and regarding the problem instead, it seems, rather purely in terms of expansion of industrial capacity, raw materials and labor force. But they hardly approached the situation in terms of complacency or in the belief that the war could be prosecuted along peacetime lines. There's a fairly constant note of urgency evident in the constant institutional infighting (which clearly contributed greatly to the lack of results), and the well-publicised ammunition crisis of 39-40 was taken so seriously that it played an important part in the Army's determination to postpose the campaign in the West to 1940. Also, the army did not actually expect the western camapign to be brief, as it was - on the contrary, it expected it to be drawn out, hence their notable nervousness about the ability of German industry to support it - and hence the far-reaching measures to improve it, which included among other things short term release of numerous army personell who were industrially important to help the armaments sector at a time when they were badly needed in the army to bring their divisions up to scratch training-wise, and could only be replaced by untrained men.

Manpower appears generally to have been as much an industrial constraint as raw materials - Germany simply did not have the men to maintain both armed forces as large as they needed and simultaneously support a buoyant aramaments sector. There was a constant wrangle over men between the army and industry. The situation was spoken of in terms of crisis as early as 1939, and that continued to be the case for the remainder of the war. I recently read the speaking points for a conference Fromm held with the chiefs of the Wehrkreise in February 1941, in which his opening statement was that the general availability of manpower only had an influence on the war when it became the case that there were not enough men to meet all essential needs, and that this was, in fact, Germany's position. The rest of the conference centered on various far-reaching measures to comb out personell, trim non-essential functions and tighten the criteria for exemption from army service - and this was 4 months before the start of Barbarossa, which the army did expect to be a brief camapign.

How did this come to pass, after less than 18 months of war in which no very serious losses had been incurred? Between the reintroduction of conscription and the outbreak of war, it had only been possible to train two year classes of reservists. This was not sufficient as a numerical basis for the Wehrmacht. There was no other choice than to make use of the roughly 1.2 million men with WWI service experience who were still available. The great mass of JG01-13 had not been trained at the outbreak of war (the so-called white year-groups). After the quick victory in Poland, the focus shifted to mobilising the economy for war, which also entailed the release of men from the armed forces to industry. These were attempted replaced with men less useful to the economy, but these had for the most part first to be trained. Fromm here uses the word “Völkerwanderung” to describe the two-way flow of personnell between the Polish and Western campaigns, before devoting considerable space to a perhaps not fully objective description of the protracted manpower tug-of-war with industry during that period.

By the time this meeting took place (sadly it is not possible to quote the figures Fromm speak about, as this documentation has evidently not survived), the number of UK-gestellte (ie, men who had had their military service deferred due to war-important functions in the economy) was almost as large as the strength of the Wehrmacht. At that time, the Ersatzheer (who was responsible for providing manpower both for replacements and for the establishment of new units) had 150,000 men JG00-07 available, and around 100,000 from 08-21. JG22, a very strong year group, were to have their call-up deferred for as long as possible – possibly until autumn, again out of consideration for industry. Additionally, there were some 90,000 trained men in the pools of the Wehrersatzdienststellen. Fromm's summation: Die Darstellung zeigt, dass die Ersatzlage sehr angespannt ist und für das Kampfjahr 1941 noch nur sehr geringe verfügbare Reserven vorhanden sind. The „white year groups“ of 1900-1912 were already largely expended.
and a percentage of industry was still producing consumer goods etc.
Well, a percentage of everybody's industry was still producing consumer goods - people had to live, clothe themselves and so on, after all.
The idea of "totalische krieg" and 100% mobilization of the economy for war production only came when they developed SOME inkling of how the USSR could and would outproduce Germany. And as Allied bombing started to disrupt industry.
Yes, but that's not so much a question of beginning to attempt to mobilise industry for the war as the willingness to directly and overtly demand greater sacrifices from the civilian sector. The limitations on that willingness previously was certainly one break on the mobilisation process, but it was not the largest one. And it is not actually the case that German civilian consumption trubndles along until 43 and then dives. As Werner Abelshauser shows in his chapter on Germany in MArk Harrison's "The Economics of World War 2", Consumption and Retail sales in Germany dropped steadily from the beginning of the war, and most of the drop came before 1943. While the production of consumer goods did not drop markedly before 1942, the army was already taking 40 to 50% of the output of many branches of that sector as early as 1940. Abelshauser's main point is that the biggest shift from civilian to military production took place, in fact, on the outbreak of war, already in in 1939. By 1941, statistical measures of real consumption per capita were at least one fifth below the prewar benchmark. In 1939, 12.2% of the consumer sector was producing for the military, while roughly 20-30% of industry, raw materials, manufacturing and construction went to military purposes. In 1940, 26% of the consumer goods sector and 50-60% of the other sectors were so devoted. The increase from that point to 1943 is indignificant by comparison, although the consumer sector continued to shift more strongly to military needs, devoting 38% of its output to military needs by 1943. But at that point, Germany also had the benefit of the conquered economies, which were being utilised extensively exactly to fill civilian needs, thus freeing up German production for military purposes. In short - Abelshauser effectifvely dismisses the "peacetime economy in war" hypothesis.
The industry of occupied countries did produce SOME output for the war effort; heavy industry - vehicle manufacturing, aircraft production etc. began producing German models and types, or parts that were sent to germany, but between sabotage and go-slows in factories (which increased exponentially as the various resistance organisations mobilised properly) transport, raw materials shortage, overt Resistance action (cutting the power supply for three months to three major factories producing aircraft parts, the SOE's first such operation in France, comes to mind) and of course as German factories were destroyed and production was ramped up anyway hundreds of thousands of "volunteer workers" were shipped to Germany away from factories in the rest of Europe......production in occupied countries only ever ran at around 40% at best of what was hoped for.
See baove, and, there was also no shortage of attempts and planning to mobilise the economies of the occupied territories for the German war effort, but there were many limiting factors. Lack of ambition was not however one of them. :)

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:24 am

there was also no shortage of attempts and planning to mobilise the economies of the occupied territories for the German war effort, but there were many limiting factors. Lack of ambition was not however one of them. :)
Certainly ambition was there! LOL
Ahem...bought and paid for? What was the price of a Czech T-35 in those days?
They'd only have taken "ownership" of vehicles in service :wink: I'd assume that anything produced from the factories after invasion would have had a "cost" price. After all - how many tanks for the cost of a pocket batleship - or vice versa? :D
Did Germany have to repay the outstanding von Papen loans after the war?
Sid, I honestly don't know. IF so, then it wouldn't have been til after the currency reorganisation - and the U.S. reconstruction plans and Marshall Aid etc. were firmly in place then. I'd guess not, though.
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Manpower

Post by timobrienwells » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:25 am

Albert Speer in his book commented on pictures taken at closing time at an armaments factory in 1917,and again in 1943.In the 1917 picture,90% of the workers were women,whereas in the 1943 picture only 10% were women.Hitler was strongly opposed to the mobilisation of German women for the war effort.
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Post by phylo_roadking » Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:35 am

Mobilise women for industry and you have to provide nursery care or encourage it to be provided, you have to issue ration coupons up to the calorie mark for industrial labour, you have to train, provide clothing...it hits home in all sorts of ways. Then also factor in things you've read about about - taking time off to look for accomodation for your family after an air raid, or even just look for your family....

With labour transportees from other conquered countries you get at least partially if not fully trained male labourers, easier to billet in barracks-style accomodation on levied civilian billets. With slave labour from the camps you don't even have to worry very much about accomodation. Or food... Just a ready-made and continuing supply to fill "natural wastage". Probably a lot more easier.
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Post by Qvist » Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:09 am

Albert Speer in his book commented on pictures taken at closing time at an armaments factory in 1917,and again in 1943.In the 1917 picture,90% of the workers were women,whereas in the 1943 picture only 10% were women.Hitler was strongly opposed to the mobilisation of German women for the war effort.
Well, if that was meant to convey a representative image of the state of affairs, it doesn't. It is correct that Germany did not significantly increase the number of women in the workforce through the war, but this must also be seen against the background that this percentage was very high already in 1939. They made up 37.4% of the German workforce in 1939, and 51.1% of it in 1944. In Industry, the percentages were 25.5 and 35.6 respectively. Already the 1939 level is very high, and higher than f.e. the US at any point of the war. So while it is true that there was, unlike most other combatants, no significant growth in the number of employed women it is also true that the German economy utilised women to a greater extent than that of most other combatants.
Mobilise women for industry and you have to provide nursery care or encourage it to be provided, you have to issue ration coupons up to the calorie mark for industrial labour, you have to train, provide clothing...it hits home in all sorts of ways. Then also factor in things you've read about about - taking time off to look for accomodation for your family after an air raid, or even just look for your family....

With labour transportees from other conquered countries you get at least partially if not fully trained male labourers, easier to billet in barracks-style accomodation on levied civilian billets. With slave labour from the camps you don't even have to worry very much about accomodation. Or food... Just a ready-made and continuing supply to fill "natural wastage". Probably a lot more easier.
It is not however the case that the influx of forced foreign labor (which certainly was hugely important) did not make it particularly neccessary to mobilise labor from elsewhere. There was never enough.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:31 am

It is not however the case that the influx of forced foreign labor (which certainly was hugely important) did not make it particularly neccessary to mobilise labor from elsewhere. There was never enough.
Certainly. there was never enough of either Slave labour is only the answer for heavy repetitive labour....because THEN youre back into the equation of training etc. Better to scour Europe for manpower with some engineering background and make use of them....seeing as you couldn't put a gun in their hands! :D
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Post by Qvist » Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:07 pm

Certainly. there was never enough of either Slave labour is only the answer for heavy repetitive labour....because THEN youre back into the equation of training etc. Better to scour Europe for manpower with some engineering background and make use of them....seeing as you couldn't put a gun in their hands! Very Happy
Foreign labor, skilled or unskilled, forced or voluntary, was simply not something that could remove the German manpower problem. The Germans made a sustained, major effort to procure as much of it as at all possible, and what they had was very probably essentially all they could realistically get.

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Women

Post by timobrienwells » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:14 am

Well qvist,the large scale figures are misleading.The reason being is that hundreds of thousands of german women registered as 'working'were actually just domestic servants.Germany had the hightest percentage per capita of this type of labour of any of the belligerents.Speer also comments on this in his book.And Speer actually does assert that it was "a representative image of the state of affairs".He goes on to say that the failure to mobilise German women,and therefore the need to rely on imported 'slave' labour,cost the Reich greatly in terms of productivity.
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Labour

Post by timobrienwells » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:31 am

Phylo-roadking wrote:"Mobilise women for industry and you have to provide nursery care......"

I would suggest that all of those things you mentioned would be far,far easier to provide than having to feed,clothe,house,and guard hundreds of housands of foreign workers.Speer also talks about the far lower efficiency of these workers because with many of them coming from eastern europe,their educationaland or skills level was generally very low.On top of that was the need for thousands of translators of different languages that would be required for the training in various specialised tasks of a modern armaments industry.None of these things were needed for workforce of german women.Once again Hitler's rediculous antiquated ideology created a massive problem for the german war effort.
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Wastage

Post by timobrienwells » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:58 am

Phylo-roadking wrote:" Or food...Just a ready made and continuing supply to fill "natural wastage".Probably a lot easier."
No,actually a lot harder!Speer spells out the short-sightedness of this kind of policy in his book,noting that now matter how easy the job,it was always a lot simpler[and cheaper] to retain the workers you've got, than to have to replace them.The idea that you could 'work them to death' was shown to be counter-produtive at a very early stage.One other reason why Speer was quite successful in raising the armaments output for german industry,was the protected factory system established in the occupied countries.This meant that workers in those factories had no fear of being dragged off to the Fatherland for slave labour,and would therefore also be less likely to take to the forests to join a partisan band.But over and above having a more enlightened approach to foreign workers,Speer still maintained that the best solution to the labour problem was the mobilisation of german women.
Regards Tim Wells
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Re: Women

Post by Rich » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:45 am

timobrienwells wrote:Well qvist,the large scale figures are misleading.The reason being is that hundreds of thousands of german women registered as 'working'were actually just domestic servants.Germany had the hightest percentage per capita of this type of labour of any of the belligerents.Speer also comments on this in his book.And Speer actually does assert that it was "a representative image of the state of affairs".He goes on to say that the failure to mobilise German women,and therefore the need to rely on imported 'slave' labour,cost the Reich greatly in terms of productivity.
Regards Tim Wells
No Tim, sorry, Qvist's figures aren't misleading, your assumptions regarding the domestic workforce in Germany have misled you. :D The census of 1933 reported 9.342-million working in agriculture, 29 percent of the workforce of 32.2-million. In 1937 it was 9.388-million (Statistiches Jahrbuch fuer das Deutsches Reich 1937). As of 1939 the workforce was 24.5-million men, 14.6-million women, and 300,000 'foreigners and Jews'. Women accounted for almost 6-million of the 10.4-million agricultural workers, which is where the largest proportion of female workers were (41 percent), by far. The next largest portion of women workers, the number of which I have somehow mislaid :( , was in retail and office administrative work (secretaries as they used to be called), while the number of domestic workers, although large compared to other countries, was actually quite small in proportion to the total number of women workers, which was proportionately much higher than other countries, thus the apparent but not actual view that the 'majority' were 'just domestic servants'. But somehow that view, plus the idea that Germany didn't 'really' mobilize, because of 'Hitler's antique views about women', plus Speer's 'role' as the 'saviour' of the German mobilization effort (a view that Speer of course proselitized so ably postwar and which was mostly accepted hook, line, and sinker by his interogators and then historians in general) has become the accepted view, I suspect mostly because the idea that such a heinous government couldn't get it right well us rightous 'western' governments did, is comforting.

BTW 18.2 percent of workers in Germany were dependent on farming and were mostly small farmers, who made up the bulk of agricultural production. And one of the big problems was that by May 1940 the Wehrmacht had called up 750,000 farmers, 1.3-million industrial workers, 930,000 craftsmen, 600,000 shopworkers, 600,000 clerks and civil servants, and 220,000 transport workers. From that point there was a continuous tug of war between needs of industry and agriculture, and the needs of the armed forces, as Qvist already ably pointed out.

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Women

Post by timobrienwells » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:31 am

Hi Rich,in reply to your post.
Again I would suggest that the large scale figures can be misleading.Agriculture is a prime example.By it's nature Farming is a seasonal activity,and therefore the large % of women employed in that sector were by no means either 'fully' employed or employed all year round.This pool of labour was barely touched during the war.
As for maid servants,Speer claims that 1.4 million women were in this kind of employment,and that atleast 70% of them could have been used in armaments or related industry.
But as to the general question of women in the workforce in Germany,Speer in his book says that when Gauleiter Sauckel was appointed "Commissioner General" for labour,he[Sauckel]had a decree authorised by Hitler in April 1942 to restrict the employment of german women.
BTW I would be interested in what evidence there is to back up those doubts you have about Speer's role in the German war effort.
Regards Tim Wells
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Re: Women

Post by Rich » Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:44 am

timobrienwells wrote:Hi Rich,in reply to your post.
Again I would suggest that the large scale figures can be misleading.Agriculture is a prime example.By it's nature Farming is a seasonal activity,and therefore the large % of women employed in that sector were by no means either 'fully' employed or employed all year round.This pool of labour was barely touched during the war.
Something tells me you've never worked on a farm? Or are you seriously of the belief that the workers could just 'up sticks' and march off to a factory to "continue" to "work" in the off season? :D In fact, farming is a full time, year-round endevor and is "seasonal" only in the sense that the nature of the work changes by season. In this respect note that the vast majority of German farms were small family free-holds mandy of them primitive in the extreme, but given the spector of the starvation of 1917-1918 there simply was no way for the government to advocate reducing farm capacity and in fact spent a good amount of time trying to expand it - thus the whole raison d'etree for the Generalgouverment in Poland and occupation of Ukraine.
As for maid servants,Speer claims that 1.4 million women were in this kind of employment,and that atleast 70% of them could have been used in armaments or related industry.
Speer liked to spend a lot of time making statements that at best were only partly true or at worst were completely untrue. But in this case part of it is a linguistic misunderstanding. The figure speer refers to a 1.7-million "maid servants" is actually partly subsumed into the number of agricultural workers, since in German reckoning a farm of 2-20 hectares was a family farm reliant mainly on the full-time work of a single family group and seasonal parttime labor, which often were Gastarbeiter from other countries, while a farm of 20-100 hectares was too large for a family to work alone, so employed "farm servants" - Knechte - who were both male and female, and the women were usally counted as "domestics" or "maids" but in this case they were "milkmaids" rather than house servants or domestics in that sense.
But as to the general question of women in the workforce in Germany,Speer in his book says that when Gauleiter Sauckel was appointed "Commissioner General" for labour,he[Sauckel]had a decree authorised by Hitler in April 1942 to restrict the employment of german women.
Speer and Sauckel were never on the best of terms and in fact Speer tried to get him fired as GBA. I wouldn't be surprised if as part of Speer's self-hagiography he denigrated Sauckel's efforts to make him look even more of a buffoon. And, given that Sauckel as GBA was primarily responsible for foreign labor I am unsure why such a decree was needed? Of course, given that it simply flies in the face of the growth of women labor, I would be curious to find out what it was really all about?
BTW I would be interested in what evidence there is to back up those doubts you have about Speer's role in the German war effort.
Regards Tim Wells
Er, Mark Harrison and Adam Tooze, are the two most prominent of a majority of modern economic historians who have conclusively shown Speer's self-aggrandizement for what it was. And I have little doubts as to his real role, which was significant, but just not as he would have had us believe.

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