Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Kai-Petri, Sep 7, 2007.
I saw this book at the Half Price bookstore. How is it?
Nothing earth-shaking but I liked it as it gave the explanation to several of my "why?" questions....worth reading in my opinion.
I got mine at the discount store as well. It is good as it explains teh economy going on behind the curtains. I would recomend it.
mine was cheap too... the public library.
I can't see myself reading it from start to finish. It's a huge work, you need a degree just to puruse the bibliography...
The idea that Hitler waged war because German was economically weak (only half of the GDP of the British & French empires) doesn't immediately strike me as being a great revelation - isn't this what was at the heart of the need for Lebensraum as revealed in 'Mein Kampf' ....
"The idea that Hitler waged war because German was economically weak (only half of the GDP of the British & French empires) doesn't immediately strike me as being a great revelation - isn't this what was at the heart of the need for Lebensraum as revealed in 'Mein Kampf' ...."
To a certain extant that's true but more to the point Tooze does a great job of demonstrating how much lebensraum was based upon creating a continental empire more for challenging the US than Britain and France. In fact, Tooze argues (among many other things) that lebensraum was meant to be another version of "manifest destiny" with, for example, the Volga representing Germany's version of the Mississippi once GeneralplanOst was carried to its vile end result.
I reviewed Wages at The Globe At War and can't say enough about the book - it's long but a tremendous read with new insights for even the serious world war two reader.
P.S. Sorry I got the quote thing wrong - I realized it after I posted but just for clarification I was responding to what "FalkeEins" said.
Yes, definitely worth reading for anyone interested in ww2. It´s amazing how Germany could build the army during the 1930´s with so little money especially as all the money went into the Army, and it was Schacht who made it possible. Hitler just kept requesting things and Schacht managed to deliver. Like I´ve said earlier it´d have brought the nazis down if all the Jews had left with their wealth so it was a bit "go-don´t go" situation which makes it a bit an absurd situation...
Interesting fact from the book:
" In 1918, Imperial Germany had produced 13,600 tons of high explosives and 13,250 tons of gunpowder per month. In the summer of 1938 the Third Reich´s capacity was no more than 5,400 tons of either. "
In my reading today it was discussing that even the average worker could not afford a private bathroom or kitchen, and most times not even running water.
Ford when trying to equalize the lifestyles of all of its employees world wide found that in Germany this was all but impossible.
The other thing was that with all of the government subsidies and programs that were being run drove the German economy under, and the Wiemar Republic to destruction. Then as unemployment went up and thus so the demands on welfare drove the government programs further into the red.
Read history and be warned.
Yes Schacht was a miracle worker. The author alludes to the point that no one other than him could have gotten done what he did. For good or bad.
Oh and on the note of cost got mine at the bargain store (as noted) for the lofty sum of $2 for the hardback. I think I am adding this because I love the library and did not get mine there. On the plus side though this book is now in my library.
..yes, thanks Steve. That'll teach me to offer a comment when I'm still in the Foreword...
No worries - it happens to all of us.
..well the US didn't join the war until December 1941 of course. It wasn't so much about 'challenging the US' as carving out a European empire that could face up to the US -already embarked on ramping up war production for the benefit of the British- in terms of production. The fact that Britain couldn't be forced to sue for peace and that the Germans didn't have the economic/military resources to undertake an invasion meant that Hitler faced a strategic dilemma; Britain would become a springboard for American military might. Over-running France- Europe's third biggest economy- proved more burdensome to German production and more a drain on German resources than anything else, since the Germans would still be chronically short of oil, coal & food. France's huge aircraft industry produced a paltry 2,000 a/c for the Germans in four years, while America, by December 1941, had already supplied the British with 11,000 a/c - and wasn't even at war with Germany. Just some of the factors that helped precipitate the invasion of the Soviet Union. Tooze posits that Hitler would have been far better off adopting a defensive posture at this stage; and/or continuing to prosecute the war with Stalin as an ally..(which he still was..)
What he means by challenge is economically challenging the US. The broad expanse and vast natural resources of the US meant that under the current (1930s) situation Germany could never be player in a Global economy.
This is why the living space was needed.
In my reading last week, he talks about how in 1936 Germany committed itself to war, or a failed economy by 1940. In private meetings there was no secret that the goal was to go to war. This was even written down in one of the few memorandums written by Hitler, only 10 copies (or so) were made and not revealed to the public. No one in the world should have been surprised by what happened in 1939 or there after if they had just listened to Hitler and believed him. Despite all of the rhetoric spewed forth by Nazis about peace and the people, the real truth could be seen in the comments and actions of the German government.
To this end, learning from the past, look at what Obama wants done in the forth coming 'stimulus package'. Then you will know what Obama is really about.
PS I am not intending to sidetrack the thread, so if you feel that you need to reply to the non- Wages of Destruction parts of my post please make a new thread. http://www.ww2f.com/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=61
The last thing I read that I thought was insightful was that during the anti-Jewish mess on 9 Nov 38 (Kristallnacht)1 Billion Riechsmarks of plate glass were destroyed.
Well according to Uncle Goering this was worse than killing 200 Jews. Why? Because the glass had to come from Belgium and Germany was out of foreign currency.
I think this is odd for two reasons. 1) Germany could not make plate glass? and 2) That 1 Jew was worth 5 million Riechsmarks. Odd but interesting
The JAT also shows the phalacy of the anti-semetism in Germany was not based in fact but simply rooted in hate.
Goering just told the German people that in an economy like Germany's there was no room for events like Kristtallnacht. Odd dont you think, considering that the Germans would go on to build camps and the like to kill Jews....
Also FYI the Army did not even get 1/4 of the steel in Germany per annum until Jan 1942.
In the Industrial planning after the BoB only the army was tasked with ordering items particularly for Barbarossa. The Belief was that Russia would be a quick war and then the Kreigsmarine and Luftwaffe could turn their attention to GB and America.
Wow... didn't even give credit to the Russians to hold out for a year.
This is a must read for everyone.
I am 60 pages from being done and it is a very insightful read. Unless you knew that most everyone in the German Government including Hitler admitted that the war was lost in '41, and even more so in December '42. And that Speer did good work but most of the increase in those years had nothing to do with him. And that the biggest killer of the Jews, starvation, was intended for all of the people in Poland in 42-43, but because of a better crop year most of them were saved. I could go on and on. Read the book!
A book to read on Germany´s true economy:
The Wages of Destruction - Adam Tooze - Penguin UK
On the other hand for an economic historian the question is not why did Hitler not win World War II, but how Nazi Germany ever managed to get as far as it did.
What are the new conclusions?
Well, we have fundamentally dismantled the propagandistic myths, which continue to surround Hitler’s work creation programme and such public relations stunts as the Volkswagen project. Goering’s Four Year Plan, of 1936 also appears as less significant than it was once thought to be. By contrast, what has emerged as crucial for the entire period between 1933 and 1940 is the management of Germany’s cripplingly inadequate foreign exchange reserves. In 1934 this problem was so severe that Hitler’s regime came very close to economic meltdown, a crisis which has been grossly underrated in the literature. And even after that crisis was overcome, every aspect of Hitler’s economic policy whether with regard to armaments, the forced expulsion of the German and Austrian Jews, or the maintenance of the domestic standard of living, was dictated by the difficulty of managing the balance of payments.
Just as the international crisis was reaching its climax, Hitler was forced to face the fact that his armaments effort was set to decelerate. He knew by the summer of 1939 that he would be unable to match the renewed efforts of Britain and France. This throws dramatic new light on his decision to start the war a few months later.