The German war economy in 1941 : a study of Germany's material and manpower problems in relation to the overall military effort / by William J. Fanning.
This study focuses on the German War economy in 1941 in an attempt to evaluate the significance of Germany's material and manpower problems and their impact on the overall military effort. On the basis of the documentation, Germany suffered from genuine shortages of such items as coal, aluminum, and fuel, whereas temporary deficiencies of materials like iron and steel could be attributed to indirect causes. An insufficient number of skilled workers also plagued the armaments industries, all the more so as high casualty rates on the Russian Front induced the German High Command to draft these men without replacing them with qualified substitutes. In addition to examining Germany's utilization of her own material and manpower resources during 1941, other aspects of her war machine are considered: organizational problems which led to overlapping jurisdictions and intense competition among the various agencies; the inadequate transport system; and the difficulties encountered by Germany in her attempt to exploit the occupied countries and to acquire strategic materials through foreign trade. Of considerable importance was Italy's almost total dependence on Germany for raw materials and fuel. This dissertation also offers an account of the Russian Campaign of 1941, pointing out its significance as a major turning point in the conflict. A discussion of the material and manpower shortages of the individual branches of the armed forces reveals the inadequate preparations taken by Germany to fight a sustained war on more than one front. Finally, the debilitating influence of the blitzkrieg philosophy constitutes the leitmotiv of this study. Hitler sought to avoid long conflicts that might impinge on the material well-being of the civilian population, and blitzkrieg offered him a means of achieving his military objectives without resorting to total mobilization. But it failed. By not devoting more of the nation's energies to the armed forces, German leaders, ironically, contributed to the defeats in Russia which plunged Germany into a costly war of attrition on several fronts. Despite this turn of events in late 1941, Hitler remained confident that the blitzkrieg would prevail and, consequently, took only token steps to gear for total war.
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