The War Economy and Total War - Germany

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  • Created on: 19-05-18 15:16
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  • The War Economy and Total War
    • The growth of the Nazi economy
      • German victories at the beginning of the war (as a result of Blitzkrieg) suggested that the economy had not been overstrained
      • This has been challenged by Nazi aims and economic figures:
        • economic decrees were issued in December 1939, which outlined vast programmes for war production
        • Food rationing was introduced at the start of the war for some goods
        • German military expenditure more than doubled between 1939-41
        • Clothes rationing was introduced in November 1939
        • Soap was rationed and toilet paper was unavailable
        • The labour force was mobilised for war
        • Civilian consumption declined
        • Armament production was low
          • The number of planes increasedfrom 8,290 in 1939 to 10,780 in 1941
          • The number of tanks for the invasion of Russia in June 1941 was only 800 more than for the invasion of the west
      • Production was hit by inefficiency and poor coordination. The problem was made worse by the lack of central control
      • There were Ministries of Armaments, Economics, Labour and Finance, all with different interests - by 1941 economic mobalisation for total war had failed
    • Total War
      • Was Speer's policy a success?
        • Speer's policies initially seemed to be successful. In the first six moths:
          • Tank production rose by 25 per cent
          • Ammunition production rose by 97 per cent
          • Total arms production increased by 59 per cent
        • The economy could have produced more. It was crippled by war
          • Party Gauleiters had influence at local level and could prevent Speer's orders being carried out
          • The ** did as they wanted and exploited land for personal gain
          • Conquered territories were not exploited economically
          • The impact of Allied bombing
      • By the end of 1941, Germany was at war with Britain, the U**R and the USA
      • Armaments production was lower than Britain so Hitler issued the Rationalisation Decree in December 1941
      • Albert Speer, in February 1942, was appointed minister of armaments. He introduced a policy of "industrial self-responsibility" to ensure mass production
      • In April 1942 a Central Planning Board was set up. This was supported by a range of committees, which represented different parts of the economy
      • As a friend of Hitler's Speer had great influence. He introduced a number of important policies
        • Prisoners in concentration camps used as workers
        • Women employed in arms factories
        • Skilled workers no longer conscripted
        • Anything that did not contribute to the war effort was eliminated
          • Professional sport ended in March 1943
          • Magazines not essential to the war were closed
          • Non-essential businesses were shut


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