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Nighthunter 02-20-2015 06:50 PM

Nazi History?!?!
Okay, so I'm working on on a (very large) research project for my History major. I'm hoping to show how Nazi officials (including Hitler and the inner circle) grossly mismanaged the German economy and war production; which ultimately made them lose the war more quickly than they should have.

I've got decent support for my other points, but I'm (among other things) trying to prove that the Vengeance weapons were a horrible waste of resources and manpower. While general encyclopedic information would already lead to this conclusion, I need data: production numbers; how many men were employed; if possible, even unit costs to make this stick.

So I'm asking for any references other history nuts might be able to give.
I don't turn this in until the end of the semester, so I'm not in a massive rush; but the sooner I can get my research finished, the better, obviously.

And yes, for anyone who thinks they're smart/cute, I have tried google searching, but I'd rather not drop cash on books that look useful and end up being a bust. That's already happened, and I don't have that much money left to burn.

Falcon16 02-20-2015 07:03 PM

You could try contacting the German government telling them you're doing a paper about it and see if they can put you in contact with anyone who might have documents containing the information you seek. I would imagine stuff like that even after denazification would be still around somewhere. Just a thought. Second thing I can think of is try and see if you can find any German vets that immigrated to your area after the war maybe speak to them as perhaps they may have some insights into this

Nighthunter 02-20-2015 10:26 PM

The libraries at my college and the local ones obviously don't carry that sort of detailed information. If I find something useful elsewhere, I could get the people at the college to help me with an inter-library loan.
I've had pretty good success hunting resources off the internet so far, just had a bit of a hiccup on this point.
One of the history professors is an expert on all things Hitler; so I'm going to get an appointment with him to see if he has any ideas.

As a side note, plenty of Germans served honourably during World War II, even though their government was totally off the rails. Otto Carius's Memoir: Tigers In Mud, is a pretty good book in that regard; and the stories recounted in A Higher Call are just downright epic. A shame the Germans are paranoid of discussing their own history: pretty or not, the people involved need to be remembered. A shame so many decent people were thrown away in that war...

Tick 02-21-2015 12:29 AM

I love the fact that you would think this is a forum for this type of question...I am history buff-ish and I am no help...try a WWII web uncle was on the Arizona and I know very little about him and what he did...sorry...tangent...alohs and good luck

Bow 02-21-2015 01:08 AM

Weren't most v weapons produced by slave labor? Like late model 262s and late model rifles? I'm German myself and had a German guy staying over at my place. He was stabbed on the strip and almost died, so I was showing him some funny pictures and a funny nazi one came up, and I kinda skipped over it. He was like " what was that one?" So I popped back to it and he busted out laughing. It was hitlers "mein komphy chair" and had him standing over a sofa. Not all of us are so taboo about it. Now German pride is coming back, just look at the last World Cup. Lots of happy people for once.

MarkT 02-21-2015 01:18 AM

Searching on "german economic data wwii" seems to produce results:

Christos military and intelligence corner: WWII Myths – The German war economy was mismanaged

Two-Gun 02-21-2015 02:40 AM

YMMV. I'll admit, I did this more a test of my Google-Fu than any first hand experience outside of a personal interest in general WWII History. If you've got access to a university library system, may want to see if you can get the books pulled to you via interlibrary loan . . .

There's 'Wages of Destruction', but I imagine you've got that, already.

The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison (Studies in Macroeconomic History) Paperback June 26, 2000
by Mark Harrison

The Collapse of the German War Economy, 1944-1945: Allied Air Power and the German National Railway
Alfred C. Mierzejewski (who also wrote a good many papers on the War Economy).

WWII Archives might have some stuff for you, such as the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, which is just a metric ton of papers containing various info relating to war production in Germany and the various factories, so as to better make them targets (number of people employed at factories, dispersal, role in production, etc), but I doubt it contains cash figures. U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey - European War - WWII Archives

And speaking of actual documents from the period, the vaunted German efficiency extended to their bureaucracy, including testing, documenting, and incrementally improving on its methods of war and extermination, so there should exist reams of Nazi documentation of the like you'd want. Finding it, and then reading it, might be a bit of a problem.

Two things you may not have thought of as sources - trade rags for the time, as well as information or histories of the key War production players, (Krupp et al)

I'd be interested in seeing the end results of your project - I'm familiar with Dr. Schach and his German Miracle prior to the war, and the gear up to total war footing for German Economy and industry, but never gave much thought to the drive towards Vengeance weapons or others of their ilk as particularly damaging to the war effort as whole. The Vengeance type stuff always seemed the last gasp of a dying, over extended empire to me - after the failure of Barbarossa, and the long march back, I don't think there was much Germany could have done to hamper the allies in any long term, meaningful way. Two front war, Allies controlling the skies, all that was left was the hard, bloody slog to Berlin. Their fighting men had been bled white in Russia, and they had to resort to slave labor to continue with industry (which IIRC, one Nazi minister regretted the efficient extermination of the Jews via the death camps, as it deprived Germany of much needed slave labor).

Maybe if Hitler had stopped using the Vengeance weapons as terror weapons, but put them to better, specific use as actual precision artillery support, or brought the experimental Messerschmitt Me 262 into actual production in quantity, or had managed to find the raw materials to mass produce King Tigers to stand against the T-34s . . .

Nighthunter 02-21-2015 03:59 PM

I just picked up "The Arms of Krupp," which hopefully should be helpful on some of my points.

On the topic of V-weapons, I see it this way: they cost a ton, and it actually took quite a few men to launch each one. If, instead of building missiles that may or may not actually make it across the channel and hurt someone, they had built, say, tanks or heavy artillery, then trained the men who would have been tasked with launching rockets to operate said equipment; there would most certainly have been a greater return, as far as tangible results go.

As an aside, (which I also plan to bring up elsewhere,) the Me-262 was through its testing and ready for production by mid-43, but since members of the high command thought they were still winning the war just fine with what they had; jet production was put on hold until 44. They didn't actually see significant use until very late in 44, by which point there were still too few jets to deter Allied strategic bombing.

Another great waste was the proliferation of armored fighting vehicles: Late model panzer IV was perfectly capable of dealing with T-34, as were Panther and Tiger I. Panzer IV's armour wasn't astonishing, but it was faster and more reliable than its larger brethren. I'd go so far as to say that if the Germans had focused on building either the Panzer IV or a fixed Panther as the main medium tank, with Tiger I's as a supplementary heavy, they could have cranked out far more vehicles than they did, simply by virtue of standardization. The monstrosities known as Tiger II and Jagdtiger may have had semi-impenetrable frontal armor; but they were heavy, slow, and maneuvered poorly. They may have scared the **** out of the people they faced, but they were too costly and time-consuming to make en-masse; and furthermore the vehicles themselves were too slow to push forward and take initiative during a counterattack.
Maus and Landkreuser... those two.... well, lucky for the Germans they never made it to the front.

dutchman 02-21-2015 04:48 PM

Tell me whart you need and I'll see if I can find it for you.
Hi Nighthunter, Your on the right track, but you might need to adjust your thoughts on the PZKW IV a little. The Iv was a s up armored and over worked as that original 25 ton chassis could go. The main gun was good, but the T-34 was being up gunned with the 85mm and it was soon to be more than a match for the IV. Now the IV was still a useful vehicle but the days of the great advantage were gone. It was easy to mass produce and should have never been reduced in production to make room for other vehicles which they did. The Panther, PZKW V was a potentially great tank, but was rushed into production about 6 months early and had problems that had to remedied on the fly. Never easy. Tiger I PZKW VI was a different animal. It was a "break through" vehicle. It was so heavily armored it was to make a hole in the defenses for the other tanks to pour through. In this design and use the weight and speed weren't real issues. But it was forced into use as a heavy tank and in open country and on firm ground was fine, but it had weaknesses in this roll and the Russians were notable for finding them. If you notice the 88mm gun of the Tiger I is used on no other vehicle. The King Tiger PZKW VIB used the big 88 and it was a beast. But so few were made and there bugs so they were better in defense then on the attack sometimes.
Now that covers the tanks, then you go into assault guns and tank destroyers. One of the things here to keep in mind was that due to a mistake in copying orders written by Hitler, the Assault guns were kept separate from tank production control. This caused a lot of problems in the production as they used the same chassis as the tanks and both arms competed for material and labor. Assault guns were easy, faster and cheaper to produce then a tank of their same weight but the tank was a better fighting unit. Example the PZKW III took about 41 tons of steel to produce a 23 ton tank. The Strg III which used the PZKW III chassis and weighed in at about 23 tons with a fixed 75mm gun mount could be produced with only 37 tons of steel. On paper the assault gun was a better choice, but in combat they saw losses at 2-1 times or more then there tank of that size had.

alkafluence 02-21-2015 05:20 PM

I highly recommend Albert Speer's book: "Inside the Third Reich". The memoirs of the Minister of Armaments might lend a few helpful insights.

Also, Guderian's "Panzer Leader" talks a great deal about the management and production problems of the armoured units.

There will also be a few useful tidbits in Manstein's "Lost Victories", but for your topic I recommend the other 2 first.

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