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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Ivanov said:

He starts the video with a sentence: "why Germany lost the war? It can be summed up with one word: oil". This is a gross oversimplification. I understand that Youtube needs simple, catchy answers, but in reality the lack of oil was one of few significant reasons why Germans couldn't win. Incoherent German leadership, bad management of it's available resources and industry, strategic and operational errors, logistics and vast material superiority of the Allies, were equally important. Selecting one decisive factor ( in this case oil ) is absurd and naive.

In theory taking the Caucasus could be a decisive problem for Soviet Union. The thing is, that the Germans could never succeed in this task, because they had never enough forces, to seriously contemplate a success there. The forces forces of Army Group A were absurdly small for the task. A quick look on the map reveals it all. Caucasus offensive failed, because there were insufficient forces allocated to the task and because of the logistics. Not because the panzers didn't have enough of fuel. Another issue is bad management of the conquered resources. In theory by 1942 the territories that Nazis had under their control, could allow them to match the production of United States ( Tooze, The Wages of Destruction ). They never came close.

Unfortunately what Hitler thought was decisive. Many of modern commentators apply a hindsight and current day, rational thinking to the Nazi leadership of the WW2 period, which is a mistake. Nazis were shooting and gassing Jewish women and children, because according to their ideology it was acting "in self defence". Jurgen Stroop said, that he had to liquidate the Jews "for honey and milk of Ukraine". How could anyone expect a rational thinking from that kind of people? From the other hand, in theory the food supplies and oil were both indispensable for waging a prolonged war. Bad management of the war effort and atrocious policies towards the conquered peoples, assured that the Nazis could never get hold and take a full advantage of either.

Did you watch the whole video? Because I think you've been misrepresenting some of his arguments. I agree that he used a bit of a clickbait title, and yeah he started off with an attention-grabbing simple one-liner like that, but he goes into detail about all those points for the next 45 minutes. For instance, not having enough troops to take and hold the Caucasus. Yes, but why did they not have enough troops? Because of oil. They were in an oil crisis and were on a time limit so to speak. They needed to capture the oil fields as quickly as possible in an all-or-nothing effort, but did not have enough armored and motorized divisions to make it work. Marching on foot or bicycles across the vast expanse of the USSR was never going to work. Oil was absolutely necessary. If Germany was a big oil power and they had dozens of large, well-supplied motorized and tank divisions then yeah, maybe they could've done it, but they didn't, because Germany didn't have enough oil to maintain such a large motorized force. Meanwhile, they were now at war with the United States, the largest oil power in the world. Up until 1945, the USA had produced over 60% of all the oil in human history. Bad management, incoherent German leadership, strategic or operational errors in this campaign or that, in the end, didn't really matter toward the outcome of the war, because Germany was doomed right from the very beginning. Germany needed to become an oil power in order to win, gambled on it, and lost.

And you didn't answer my question about why you think Hitler thought grain was more important than oil. Where did Hitler say that? Food is important yes, and they would have needed to take Ukraine before the Caucasus (because it's right in the way for one thing), but the logistics network needed to bring food, gasoline and other supplies back and forth across vast conquered territories with poor infrastructure and rapidly changing front lines also depends on oil. The "logistics and vast material superiority of the Allies," as you said, also depends on oil. Oil is the underlying resource that makes everything work. Without the oil, you're not even gonna get the food. I'm not saying you're wrong, but the guy in the video posted a bibliography including about 13 books and 4 articles, along with a lecture about the importance of oil in grand strategy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Edited by Bozowans

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Posted (edited)

Mad Addy always considered the western part of the old Russian Empire as a "bread basket" for German "Lebensraum". Hence his emphasis on it's importance. Also, the plonker thought that he "only had to kick in the door for the whole edifice to come crashing down" i.e. the war in the East would be over by the autumn of '41, and there would be no reason to capture the southern oil fields as they would pass to him on the surrender he envisaged. The need for more oil than he could get from Romania only came after the Russian counter-attack in the winter of '41/42.

As the old saying goes, never trust a man who spends all his time in Bierkellers, and only drinks mineral water.

Edited by Warts 'n' all

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2 hours ago, Ivanov said:

All theatres were important and contributed to the German defeat overall. I'm not ignoring them but the indisputable fact is, that the Germans suffered 90% of their loses in the east and they got defeated well before the Red Army become "lend-leased". In 1941 and 1942 the Allied help didn't play a significant role. It really helped the Soviets in the later years to conduct the massive offensives. But by that time the outcome of the war was already decided. 

US has been supplying Red Army with ammunition, tanks and trucks since june 22 1941. In fact every second bullet fired by the soviets has been of american make. And all the supplies moved here and there were almost exclusively by american trucks. If not for this and Germans being so tied down in 3 other theaters - it would've been a short fight for USSR. War is not just shooting - it's also about logistics. As US has shown in its direct involvement in the war from 1941 till 1945 - logistics reduce casualties greatly, while defeating a superior force (like Japan, which outright ruled the sea military-brute-force-wise). Now compare that to 27 mln soviet losses (or 42 mln according to current russian officials) - germans just got stuck in dead bodies.

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Posted (edited)

You don't think the fact that the war was fought largely on Soviet territory might have affected those casualty figures at all?  :rolleyes:

I'm pretty sure that if the Wehrmacht had been marching across New-England or the Japanese were in California US losses would have been considerably higher.  :lol:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Posted (edited)

I won't say I have a hand in this discussion, but it's worth noting that 3 to 3.5 million of the Red Army's "casualties" were murdered, worked-to-death or starved-to-death POWs. Try to remember that a racially and politically charged war of annihilation was being fought. The losses were always going to be heavier, and the fatality figures almost certainly take that into account (re.: Civilians).

As for lend lease, yes; I am in the party that believes it was decisive to the Soviet Union's survival. No one can convince me that a nation can re-locate and re-organize its industry under fire and have provision of non-lethal and lethal aid 'merely be a help.' That the Russians even recognize it is admirable, but the typical language ("we dont really know how helpful it was" or "it was helpful, but....") is to me, shoddy post-war revisionism. 

Edited by Rinaldi

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12 minutes ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Mad Addy always considered the western part of the old Russian Empire as a "bread basket" for German "Lebensraum". Hence his emphasis on it's importance. Also, the plonker thought that he "only had to kick in the door for the whole edifice to come crashing down" i.e. the war in the East would be over by the autumn of '41, and there would be no reason to capture the southern oil fields as they would pass to him on the surrender he envisaged. The need for more oil than he could get from Romania only came after the Russian counter-attack in the winter of '41/42.

As the old saying goes, never trust a man who spends all his time in Bierkellers, and only drinks mineral water.

Yes, you're right, but you're getting into Hitler's long-term goals for invading the USSR, when the topic of the thread is not necessarily why the Germans invaded the USSR, but why the Germans lost the war. Yes, they wanted to turn themselves into a settler-colonialist state, turning Ukraine into a bread basket for the German people, but that would have taken many years and decades to accomplish -- "Thousand Year Reich" and all. With the British blockade, the lack of oil was a far more pressing and immediate concern. The German economy was receiving less than 18 percent of its peacetime oil quantities, and suddenly had to meet demand not just for Germany, but for all the new territories it just conquered as well. Several German generals estimated that they had only a few months of oil left, and needed to act fast to capture more.

"The occupied territories would drain Germany's meager petroleum reserves within a year unless the Third Reich took immediate action to expand its supplies by invading the Soviet Union" according to the author of "The First War for Oil: The Caucasus, German Strategy, and the Turning Point of the War on the Eastern Front, 1942."

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kraze said:

US has been supplying Red Army with ammunition, tanks and trucks since june 22 1941. In fact every second bullet fired by the soviets has been of american make. And all the supplies moved here and there were almost exclusively by american trucks. If not for this and Germans being so tied down in 3 other theaters - it would've been a short fight for USSR. War is not just shooting - it's also about logistics. As US has shown in its direct involvement in the war from 1941 till 1945 - logistics reduce casualties greatly, while defeating a superior force (like Japan, which outright ruled the sea military-brute-force-wise). Now compare that to 27 mln soviet losses (or 42 mln according to current russian officials) - germans just got stuck in dead bodies.

Where did you get this information from? On 22nd of June 1941, USA wasn't involved in the war and it's industry wasn't fully switched to the war production. The first significant weapon deliveries to USSR took place in the autumn of 1941 and it were the British who delivered to the Matilda tanks and Hurricane fighters. They were distributed to the combat units in small numbers in the winter of 1941/42. Overall, the 1941-42 Lend-Lease deliveries comprised of about 15% of the whole materiel delivered during the war. The remaining 85% was delivered in 1943-45, which means that it helped the Soviets to conduct the offensives, when the outcome of the war was already decided. By the way, more important than the weapons, were the deliveries of raw materials and machines. It's worth noting than after the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, US introduced an embargo on sales of industrial machinery to USSR which significantly hurt Soviet industry.

Edited by Ivanov

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Posted (edited)

@Bozowans Hitler wasn't preoccupied with the oil because the war with USSR was supposed to be over by the end of 1941. The only mention of oil during the planning of Barbarossa, was curiously enough in the context of Crimea, which was supposed to be captured in order to prevent Soviets from bombing of the Romanian oilfields. I'm not saying that oil was unimportant. I'm just opposed to a simplification, that it was the main reason why Germany lost the war. And yes, I've watched the whole video and I think the author contradicts himself. The source he quotes most often is: "The First War for Oil: The Caucasus, German Strategy, and the Turning Point of the War on the Eastern Front, 1942", which I think is an article. To me it seems like a "one source syndrome": an enthusiastic amateur gets excited over one, maybe a little revisionist source and starts constructing his own narration. 

Back to Hitler - Kershaw or Snyder write at length about his aims for the upcoming war. It was an autarkic, agrarian empire in the east, that would allow Germany to be immune to the British or US naval blockades. He was too chaotic to be seriously preoccupied by some practical considerations, like getting enough of oil for his armed forces. Again, in the long run lack of oil was one of the biggest issues, that were affecting war waging capacity of the Third Reich. But there were few other, at least equally important issues. They assured German defeat, long before the oil shortages became critical. For example at least equally serious was the small pool of trained reserves, caused by the fact that until 1935 ( only 4 years before the outbreak of a major, world war against major powers ), there was no conscription in Germany. This lack of trained reserves ( especially in comparison to the Soviet Union ) was at least equally crippling as the lack of oil. Hell, I think I should grab now my camera now and make a video, claiming that Hitler lost the war because of insufficient reserves of trained manpower: "TIK destroyed - the shocking, real reason why Germany lost revealed" ;)

Edited by Ivanov

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Posted (edited)

From probably the most boring book ever on WW2, and via my collection of bookmarks on WW2 "numbers" (many links broken, though :-( )

World War II: A Statistical Survey: The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants

 
Quote

________HomeCrude__HomeSynthetic____import____total___used_in_year 
1939____888_________2200______________5165_____8353___________? 
1940___1465_________3348______________2075_____6888_______5856 
1941___1562_________4116______________2807_____8485_______7305 
1942___1686_________4920______________2359_____8965_______6483 
1943___1883_________5748______________2766____10497_______6971 
1944___1681_________3962_______________961_____6504___________? 
1945_______? ____________?__________________?_________?___________? 

 

Figures given in 1,000s of tons, so 888 = 888,000 tons of oil. For an indirect confirmation of the above there's this short article from a journal published by the University of  Kentucky 

http://www.caer.uky.edu/energeia/PDF/vol12_5.pdf

that cites a total synthetic fuel production of 18,000,000 tons for the period of 1939 to 1945. There used to a huge site devoted to document German synthetic oil  production, but it seems to be down these days. So the above may be a bit off, but it is in the same order of magnitude.

You can see that total net production of fuel - both from inside the Reich own oil wells and its synthetic fuel plants. You can see a very clear dip between 1943 and 1944 due to the Romanian fields being goners as Romania switched sides, and the contraband of Venezuelan oil through Spain stopping due to the liberation of France. The Reich production declined due to the very active aerial campaign against the fields and the synthetic fuel plants.  No data I can found on 1945, but my guess is that the collapse of German railroads as the Allied air force focused on the German bridges and rolling stock during 1945 pretty much rendered irrelevant any production by the Spring.

We can see that oil production at the peak of the Axis war fortunes was significantly smaller than during  1943, the actual turning point of the fortunes of the Axis.

It's still a tiny volume compared with the production of the US or the Soviet Union even, but certainly it was sufficient to clobber into submission Western Europe, and almost cripple the Soviet Union.

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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I think that @Ivanov has been carrying here on this thread the flag of Reason. I salute you friend! I hope you're taking good care of the fort at the homeland for me.

Given the recent flare up of militancy against content posted on these boards that may be intellectually or factually unsound I'd advise some of the posters here to reflect on the saying about people in glass houses etc.

Some observations about some of the statements on this thread:

  1. The Soviet Union did manage to evacuate a great deal of machine tools and heavy equipment beyond the reach of the Axis armies, not the factories themselves. That is historical fact. Nevertheless, there is a difference between being able to evacuate, and being able to resume production instantly. Another historical fact is that it did really take a long time sometimes to set up production thousands of miles from the original site. You can check the bibliography on Gary Grigsby's War In The East manual for more details, and also the section of the manual on the industry relocation rules will prove a good read, as it tries to account for the process. The Germans were also quite good at doing "impossible" stuff and rebuild their nation (or use the rubble to setup hills in parks, even). Not to mention the Japanese herculean efforts.  
  2. Lend Lease was very important for the Soviet Union, way more than the Soviet propaganda wanted to admit from 1943 onwards. Stalin and Molotov "game plan" was to play the victim at the negotiation table in Tehran and Yalta. Richard Atkinson "Army at Dawn" and "Guns at Last Light", goes to the nitty gritty details of both conferences. For a treatment from the Soviet point of view, Ewan Madsley "Thunder in the East" is very good at reconstructing the beliefs and intentions of the Soviet leadership.
  3. The consensus amongst historians regarding "when Germany lost the war" as in unable to win is to put it at some point during September and October 1941, when it became apparent that the Soviet Union would not collapse like France a year and a half before, even in the face of crushing defeats in the Ukraine and right in front of Moscow. That's an assessment with the benefit of hindsight, the combatants certainly didn't feel like that at the time.
  4. More interesting is, in my opinion, the question of "was the utter destruction of Germany an unavoidable outcome?". On that, the jury is still out. My personal opinion is that there were a number of checkpoints throughout the war where they could have settled for a status quo, and possibly prepare for the next round, like Napoleonic France did 140 years before. The die was cast probably when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, or even, when GROFAZ decided to jump on the Japanese bandwagon and declare war on the US. The stupidity of the latter, and utter lack of basic understanding of the United States, will confound many generations to come.

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10 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

I think that @Ivanov has been carrying here on this thread the flag of Reason. I salute you friend! I hope you're taking good care of the fort at the homeland for me.

Given the recent flare up of militancy against content posted on these boards that may be intellectually or factually unsound I'd advise some of the posters here to reflect on the saying about people in glass houses etc.

Some observations about some of the statements on this thread:

  1. The Soviet Union did manage to evacuate a great deal of machine tools and heavy equipment beyond the reach of the Axis armies, not the factories themselves. That is historical fact. Nevertheless, there is a difference between being able to evacuate, and being able to resume production instantly. Another historical fact is that it did really take a long time sometimes to set up production thousands of miles from the original site. You can check the bibliography on Gary Grigsby's War In The East manual for more details, and also the section of the manual on the industry relocation rules will prove a good read, as it tries to account for the process. The Germans were also quite good at doing "impossible" stuff and rebuild their nation (or use the rubble to setup hills in parks, even). Not to mention the Japanese herculean efforts.  
  2. Lend Lease was very important for the Soviet Union, way more than the Soviet propaganda wanted to admit from 1943 onwards. Stalin and Molotov "game plan" was to play the victim at the negotiation table in Tehran and Yalta. Richard Atkinson "Army at Dawn" and "Guns at Last Light", goes to the nitty gritty details of both conferences. For a treatment from the Soviet point of view, Ewan Madsley "Thunder in the East" is very good at reconstructing the beliefs and intentions of the Soviet leadership.
  3. The consensus amongst historians regarding "when Germany lost the war" as in unable to win is to put it at some point during September and October 1941, when it became apparent that the Soviet Union would not collapse like France a year and a half before, even in the face of crushing defeats in the Ukraine and right in front of Moscow. That's an assessment with the benefit of hindsight, the combatants certainly didn't feel like that at the time.
  4. More interesting is, in my opinion, the question of "was the utter destruction of Germany an unavoidable outcome?". On that, the jury is still out. My personal opinion is that there were a number of checkpoints throughout the war where they could have settled for a status quo, and possibly prepare for the next round, like Napoleonic France did 140 years before. The die was cast probably when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, or even, when GROFAZ decided to jump on the Japanese bandwagon and declare war on the US. The stupidity of the latter, and utter lack of basic understanding of the United States, will confound many generations to come.

If I'm one of those throwing stones, not my intention. Just a bit allergic to flawed reasoning lately due to professional related stress. Especially clickbait reasoning LD

Anyway, thanks for the interesting observations. For 3.): after reading Guderian's Panzer Leader a couple of years ago, while realizing the anecdotal aspect, I was under the impression that a better grasp of the frontline situation at highest command stations might have made a massive difference in the campaign towards Moscow. The same goes for Dunkirk, to name two checkpoints out of many in the war. 
It's comforting to know that lunatic despots usually make plenty of unsound decisions, especially on the more conceptual / higher levels of the decision aiding/making processes.
At the same time, from a military historic view, I think it's interesting to wonder what the outcome would be if the Pz / Mot Divisions would have been allowed towards Dunkirk. Or what if more appreciation would have been given to the consequences of deep armored combat in the strike towards Moscow and the terrain in Russia (Napoleon left some notes). With the limited available resources, more could have been done towards a decisive strike around Moscow. The diversion in Ukraine was costly with regards to both casualties (material and experienced personnel) and time/initiative, even though a military success itself. For me those are some of the 'checkpoints' in the war, where given the known constraints (as was the fuel situation), the Axis lost the war they started. 
Because morale is a sketchy thing, I'm personally of the opinion that things could have turned out very differently if the German leadership acted more competent versus the Allied leadership acted less competent. The Red Army was crumbling but held out, the Brits had their 'finest hour' and stood strong in uncertain times. I think it's interesting to see the importance of individuals on world events. If one would stripe away one of Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, Mao, Chiang Kai-shek, Guderian, any military important figure, etc, events would have probably turned out significantly different. At least, that's my impression.
Personally I'm intrigued by Guderian, who after observing the concepts of radio and tanks during WWI, seemingly came to concept of the Pz Div and after writing Achtung Panzer, took his theories into practice as described in Pz Leader. Even if most of what he wrote was exaggerated: how much of our history comes down to the doings and decisions of individuals? 

Anyway decisions win or lose wars, not oil. Simply because oil itself doesn't start wars, neither loses them ;-P.

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49 minutes ago, Lethaface said:


Personally I'm intrigued by Guderian, who after observing the concepts of radio and tanks during WWI, seemingly came to concept of the Pz Div and after writing Achtung Panzer, took his theories into practice as described in Pz Leader. Even if most of what he wrote was exaggerated: how much of our history comes down to the doings and decisions of individuals? 

 

He read Liddell Harts transcripts and examined detailed notes of his from when he carried out training exercises in regards to the use of 'armour'.  So no Guderian didnt conceive the idea he just built on the original idea.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Doc844 said:

He read Liddell Harts transcripts and examined detailed notes of his from when he carried out training exercises in regards to the use of 'armour'.  So no Guderian didnt conceive the idea he just built on the original idea.

Well, opinions of researchers differ on this subject but that doesn't really matter in the end: how much comes down to a few.

Edit: in the (recent) version of Achtung Panzer I have read, the liddel Heart issue is addressed and the outcome is different to your view. Anyway Guderian doesn't claim anymore than just building further on idea's of others. Personally I don't care, idea's dont have 'owners' (apart from legal fiction). At the same time they are often only grasped by a few.

Edited by Lethaface

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2 hours ago, Lethaface said:

Or what if more appreciation would have been given to the consequences of deep armored combat in the strike towards Moscow and the terrain in Russia (Napoleon left some notes). With the limited available resources, more could have been done towards a decisive strike around Moscow. The diversion in Ukraine was costly with regards to both casualties (material and experienced personnel) and time/initiative, even though a military success itself. For me those are some of the 'checkpoints' in the war, where given the known constraints (as was the fuel situation), the Axis lost the war they started. 

No worries @Lethaface  that comment wasn't directed at you.

The push onto Moscow was motivated by one big assumption: that the grip Stalin and his clique had on the Soviet Union would loosen up and disorganise the war effort. That wasn't a far fetched idea entirely. In Glantz's Stumbling Colossus it is discussed to great extent that the NKVD had about 1 million personnel deployed throughout the Soviet Union, in a variety of tasks, from beating the bush for conscripts (draft evasion was pretty massive in some areas of the Soviet Union) to policing "wreckers" (anybody showing some sort of discontent). Those security troops stayed in place throughout the worst of 1941... so one can tell that Stalin was worried about something untoward happening. But he was paranoid and maybe just imagining an opposition which I think it would have been hard to exist after 5 or 6 years of purges.

On the other hand, would it have been possible for the Germans to get over the Red Army and on to Moscow with two or three weeks more available? Maybe, but AGC was weakened and needed rest and refit anyways. Would have that toppled the Soviet Union? Probably not, but it may have weakened it enough so as to create the conditions for an armistice.

The "diversion" to the Ukraine was borne out of necessity. The Red Army had managed to bog down the push of AGC, and it was necessary to reorganise, replenish and consolidate the lines of communication. The pigheaded resistance of the Southwestern Front along the Dnepr created the conditions to dislocate the two main groupings of the Red Army (around Vyazma and Kiev), and eliminate the southern one. Distracting the freshest formations of AGC to strike, and help the AGS - which was suffering also a bit trying to get a bridgehead over the Dnepr - was less of a gamble than to press on.

David Stahel's first book on this matter was very illuminating. Afterwards I think he got a bit too distracted by the anecdote of the experience of the German soldiers and lost sight of the scope. But that's personal assessment.

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22 hours ago, Ivanov said:

@Bozowans Hitler wasn't preoccupied with the oil because the war with USSR was supposed to be over by the end of 1941. The only mention of oil during the planning of Barbarossa, was curiously enough in the context of Crimea, which was supposed to be captured in order to prevent Soviets from bombing of the Romanian oilfields. I'm not saying that oil was unimportant. I'm just opposed to a simplification, that it was the main reason why Germany lost the war. And yes, I've watched the whole video and I think the author contradicts himself. The source he quotes most often is: "The First War for Oil: The Caucasus, German Strategy, and the Turning Point of the War on the Eastern Front, 1942", which I think is an article. To me it seems like a "one source syndrome": an enthusiastic amateur gets excited over one, maybe a little revisionist source and starts constructing his own narration. 

Back to Hitler - Kershaw or Snyder write at length about his aims for the upcoming war. It was an autarkic, agrarian empire in the east, that would allow Germany to be immune to the British or US naval blockades. He was too chaotic to be seriously preoccupied by some practical considerations, like getting enough of oil for his armed forces. Again, in the long run lack of oil was one of the biggest issues, that were affecting war waging capacity of the Third Reich. But there were few other, at least equally important issues. They assured German defeat, long before the oil shortages became critical. For example at least equally serious was the small pool of trained reserves, caused by the fact that until 1935 ( only 4 years before the outbreak of a major, world war against major powers ), there was no conscription in Germany. This lack of trained reserves ( especially in comparison to the Soviet Union ) was at least equally crippling as the lack of oil. Hell, I think I should grab now my camera now and make a video, claiming that Hitler lost the war because of insufficient reserves of trained manpower: "TIK destroyed - the shocking, real reason why Germany lost revealed" ;)

Go ahead and make that video, I'll watch it. :D I'm having trouble buying this. You're saying that a lack of reserves, essentially lack of manpower, was as equally important as oil? Why? The German army outnumbered the Soviet army in 1941 -- the most critical year of the war. And I don't believe superior numbers in raw manpower are anywhere near as important as the ability to field large numbers of armored and motorized divisions. Not in a war like WW2.

I'd like to read that "The First War for Oil" article myself, but it seems to be locked away in one of those scholarly journal databases you have to pay a subscription for. Maybe I can get access to it from my university.

It's an interesting discussion but I'm having a hard time buying a lot of the arguments in this thread. Like "decisions win or lose wars, not oil." Really? Okay, well the decisions one makes depends on the economics of the situation. The reason Britain was able to maintain such a huge empire in the 19th century was because of coal. They were like the Saudi Arabia of coal at the time. They were the only country capable of powering such a huge fleet. They didn't just decide to be a big empire all of a sudden. WW2 was the age of oil.

You might ask, "If oil is so important then why did the Germans not go straight for the Caucasus from the very beginning? Why advance on a broad front and go to Moscow?" As someone else mentioned in this thread, Hitler believed that if you kicked in the door the whole rotten structure would come crashing down. They weren't planning on a long war and having to make a specific thrust toward the Caucasus like they did. They didn't plan that far ahead, but they still needed oil to win the war, and it would have been impossible to win a massive, years-long industrialized war of annihilation without it. Again, as Hitler himself said, “Either I get the oil of Maikop and Grozny, or I must put an end to this war.”

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18 minutes ago, Bozowans said:

You're saying that a lack of reserves, essentially lack of manpower, was as equally important as oil? Why? The German army outnumbered the Soviet army in 1941 -- the most critical year of the war. And I don't believe superior numbers in raw manpower are anywhere near as important as the ability to field large numbers of armored and motorized divisions. Not in a war like WW2.

Lack of sufficiently big pool of trained reserves, impedes the ability of waging a long, attritional war in a comparable way, as lack of sufficient oil reserves hampers the war effort in the long term. They both didn't have impact during the decisive campaigns of 1941-42, but from 1943 onward ( lack of reserves was actually felt quicker than the lack of oil ), when the war entered in the attritional phase. But don't cling to my my reserves theory - I made it up just to imitate the shallow oil theory from the video. War is just too complex to be explained it in such a simple way ( and "it's too important to be left to generals" ). You have to see it through in a multidimensional way, as a sum of factors that act simultaneously. One stop shop theory is laughable.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

image.png.39e0d70afcd657779458f07fd043ab8e.png

OK, I think we can wrap up the discussion about oil. If somebody is still unconvinced, well there's nothing to be added from me in this matter. Back to gaming.

Edited by Ivanov

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4 hours ago, Ivanov said:

Lack of sufficiently big pool of trained reserves, impedes the ability of waging a long, attritional war in a comparable way, as lack of sufficient oil reserves hampers the war effort in the long term. They both didn't have impact during the decisive campaigns of 1941-42, but from 1943 onward ( lack of reserves was actually felt quicker than the lack of oil ), when the war entered in the attritional phase. But don't cling to my my reserves theory - I made it up just to imitate the shallow oil theory from the video. War is just too complex to be explained it in such a simple way ( and "it's too important to be left to generals" ). You have to see it through in a multidimensional way, as a sum of factors that act simultaneously. One stop shop theory is laughable.

Ok, watch this video:

 

This is a seminar by the same guy who wrote "The First War for Oil: The Caucasus, German Strategy, and the Turning Point of the War on the Eastern Front, 1942." That was written in 2016, and he wrote his Ph.D dissertation on this, so he's not just some internet Youtube guy. I found it to be pretty interesting. He's a specialist in energy geopolitics and served as a historian with the US State Department and US Central Command. 

He argues that yes, Germany lost mainly due to oil, and the turning point of the war was not Stalingrad, not Moscow in 1941, or anything like that, but that Germany lost the war right when it was winning -- in the middle of 1940, when Britain refused to surrender and end the blockade. WW2 was an industrialized war of production, not of manpower. In fact, the numbers between the Allies and Axis were not really all that different. But comparing the economies between Germany and both the US, Britain and the Soviet Union, it is by no means a contest of equals. It's like comparing an 800 lb gorilla with a chimpanzee. It was never going to be a fair fight in any way. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that the Allies were able to massively out-produce the Germans, producing several times the number of tanks, planes, artillery shells, ships, and so on. Why? Oil. Germany was, of course, a mostly horse-drawn infantry army and had relatively tiny numbers of tanks. From June 1941 to the beginning of 1943, what weapon did the Soviets massively increase production of more than anything else? Mortars. Because they were facing an army of mostly infantry and didn't feel the need to massively increase production of tanks and anti-tank weapons, because the Germans were never able to produce tanks in significant numbers (because of, again, oil). The Germans had loads of men already. Nazi Germany was one of the most militarized countries in all of human history.

When looking at it in terms of oil, it's remarkable that the Germans managed to even last as long as they did, but this was because of their synthetic fuel plants. They allowed the Germans to fight the war, to tread water so to speak, but not to win it. When those were bombed to oblivion in 1944, Nazi Germany collapsed along with it.

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2 hours ago, Bozowans said:

Ok, watch this video:

 

This is a seminar by the same guy who wrote "The First War for Oil: The Caucasus, German Strategy, and the Turning Point of the War on the Eastern Front, 1942." That was written in 2016, and he wrote his Ph.D dissertation on this, so he's not just some internet Youtube guy. I found it to be pretty interesting. He's a specialist in energy geopolitics and served as a historian with the US State Department and US Central Command. 

He argues that yes, Germany lost mainly due to oil, and the turning point of the war was not Stalingrad, not Moscow in 1941, or anything like that, but that Germany lost the war right when it was winning -- in the middle of 1940, when Britain refused to surrender and end the blockade. WW2 was an industrialized war of production, not of manpower. In fact, the numbers between the Allies and Axis were not really all that different. But comparing the economies between Germany and both the US, Britain and the Soviet Union, it is by no means a contest of equals. It's like comparing an 800 lb gorilla with a chimpanzee. It was never going to be a fair fight in any way. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that the Allies were able to massively out-produce the Germans, producing several times the number of tanks, planes, artillery shells, ships, and so on. Why? Oil. Germany was, of course, a mostly horse-drawn infantry army and had relatively tiny numbers of tanks. From June 1941 to the beginning of 1943, what weapon did the Soviets massively increase production of more than anything else? Mortars. Because they were facing an army of mostly infantry and didn't feel the need to massively increase production of tanks and anti-tank weapons, because the Germans were never able to produce tanks in significant numbers (because of, again, oil). The Germans had loads of men already. Nazi Germany was one of the most militarized countries in all of human history.

When looking at it in terms of oil, it's remarkable that the Germans managed to even last as long as they did, but this was because of their synthetic fuel plants. They allowed the Germans to fight the war, to tread water so to speak, but not to win it. When those were bombed to oblivion in 1944, Nazi Germany collapsed along with it.

Exactly. This is essentially the point TIK makes. 

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3 hours ago, Bozowans said:

I thought it was pretty common knowledge that the Allies were able to massively out-produce the Germans, producing several times the number of tanks, planes, artillery shells, ships, and so on. Why? Oil.

Check. I agree.

Quote

Why? Oil.

Now this is the part I don't get. Why is oil singled out as the causative factor in Germany's inability to match American production? Germany's prewar automotive industry was never a match for the US and did not have the other industries that could be converted to the production of tanks, APCs (in this era usually halftracks), and trucks and other miscellaneous vehicles required by a modern mechanized army.

Michael

 

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Interesting discussion, for those that have not seen "Darkest Hour" and want a pretty interesting insight into the decision making process to keep fighting despite it looking quite grim it is well worth seeing.

It chimes with the importance of strong leadership during moments of unimaginable darkness, Stalin was perhaps in right place at right time?

Of course you then also have to have the means to follow up any political will, but without the initial will you have nothing....

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Bozowans said:

He argues that yes, Germany lost mainly due to oil, and the turning point of the war was not Stalingrad, not Moscow in 1941, or anything like that, but that Germany lost the war right when it was winning -- in the middle of 1940, when Britain refused to surrender and end the blockade. WW2 was an industrialized war of production, not of manpower. In fact, the numbers between the Allies and Axis were not really all that different. But comparing the economies between Germany and both the US, Britain and the Soviet Union, it is by no means a contest of equals. It's like comparing an 800 lb gorilla with a chimpanzee. It was never going to be a fair fight in any way. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that the Allies were able to massively out-produce the Germans, producing several times the number of tanks, planes, artillery shells, ships, and so on. Why? Oil. Germany was, of course, a mostly horse-drawn infantry army and had relatively tiny numbers of tanks. From June 1941 to the beginning of 1943, what weapon did the Soviets massively increase production of more than anything else? Mortars. Because they were facing an army of mostly infantry and didn't feel the need to massively increase production of tanks and anti-tank weapons, because the Germans were never able to produce tanks in significant numbers (because of, again, oil). The Germans had loads of men already. Nazi Germany was one of the most militarized countries in all of human history.

Oh boy... I don't have time now to see the video but after your summary, I'm not sure if I want to devote 50 minutes of my life to it. This guy has to be some mad scientist :blink:

Few quick points.

Even in 1941 German industry wasn't fully mobilized for war and there was no rationing of oil for the civilian use. At that time, the restrictions imposed on German civilians were much less severe, than the restrictions imposed on the British civilians. German military production peaked in 1944, just as the oil production dropped for the first time during the war. So it's hard to back up the claim, that Germany couldn't produce enough of armaments because of lack of oil. In this case, the bad management of industry and bad policies in general were the key factors.

The claim about the production of Soviet mortars vs tank is ludicrous. At the end of 1941 and through the first months of 1942, Soviet tank production dropped because of the industry relocation. Also ( surprise, surprise ), the production of mortars is much less costly and complex than the production of tanks, so they could produce them in larger numbers. The whole notion, that  the Soviets preferred one type of weapon over the other ( completely different type of weapon, built for a different purpose ) pretty much explains to me, that this guy is an amateur if it comes to the military matters.

Edited by Ivanov

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ivanov said:

Oh boy... I don't have time now to see the video but after your summary, I'm not sure if I want to devote 50 minutes of my life to it. This guy has to be some mad scientist :blink:

Few quick points.

Even in 1941 German industry wasn't fully mobilized for war and there was no rationing of oil for the civilian use. At that time, the restrictions imposed on German civilians were much less severe, than the restrictions imposed on the British civilians. German military production peaked in 1944, just as the oil production dropped for the first time during the war. So it's hard to back up the claim, that Germany couldn't produce enough of armaments because of lack of oil. In this case, the bad management of industry and bad policies in general were the key factors.

The claim about the production of Soviet mortars vs tank is ludicrous. At the end of 1941 and through the first months of 1942, Soviet tank production dropped because of the industry relocation. Also ( surprise, surprise ), the production of mortars is much less costly and complex than the production of tanks, so they could produce them in larger numbers. The whole notion, that  the Soviets preferred one type of weapon over the other ( completely different type of weapon, built for a different purpose ) pretty much explains to me, that this guy is an amateur if it comes to the military matters.

Do you have a source for your claim that Germany didn't ration oil in 1941? You put that claim in bold even. You've been vague with the sources you've been using in this entire thread so far. According to the sources I've seen (In TIK's videos, he's mostly just quoting directly from books as far as I can tell. He uses the money he makes from videos to buy more books, then makes videos on those books.) Hitler himself ordered severe rationing of oil in 1941. Their economics minister said the economy was receiving less than 18 percent of its peacetime oil quantities. Before that even, in the early days of the war it seems you needed ration stamps to get access to any kind of oil (like cooking oil). And what exactly do you mean by not being "fully mobilized for war" even in 1941? Germany had already conquered most of Europe by that point. You make it sound like Germany was in happy peacetime mode with few problems at all. You mean not fully mobilized compared to the Total-War-Entire-Country-At-Arms-Facing-Complete-Annihilation Mode they were on later? And what do you mean by "bad management of industry and bad policies in general"? That's very vague. What policies?

You're also comparing Germany to Britain, which is not a good comparison because Britain also lacked essential supplies of oil. At that time, almost all of the oil in the world was coming from the USA, Venezuela, and Russia. Anand Toprani argues that Britain ceased to be a great power not during WW2 or after, but before WW2 even began, due to their inability to achieve energy security with the dawn of the oil age. Britain had to import all of its oil, and was under U-Boat blockade itself. Nazi Germany, in order to win the war, had to defeat not only the Soviets, but the USA as well, which would have been impossible without Germany achieving its own energy security.

Now, with the claim I made on mortars, I got that from the thread's favorite Youtube guy. Look at the chart at the 21:40 mark:

 

9 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

Check. I agree.

Now this is the part I don't get. Why is oil singled out as the causative factor in Germany's inability to match American production? Germany's prewar automotive industry was never a match for the US and did not have the other industries that could be converted to the production of tanks, APCs (in this era usually halftracks), and trucks and other miscellaneous vehicles required by a modern mechanized army.

Michael

 

This is a pretty good question and I'd like to do more research on this myself when I have more time. Petroleum is found in practically everything today. The global economy is hopelessly dependent on it and would utterly collapse without it. I imagine it would be less so back in the 1940s, but to what extent exactly? For war production, oil would of course be very important, not just for gasoline for vehicles and tanks and planes, but for the production of the industrial infrastructure itself. For construction equipment, road building, for the production and maintaining of machines used for producing other machines, for machines for producing weapons, and for chemicals and explosives production and so on. Germany was probably the most powerful industrial country in the world in 1900. What changed from 1900 to WW2? Was it because Germany lost WW1? But Germany's infrastructure was pretty much intact after that war, and that war was devastating for the Allies just as it was the Germans. And then the Great Depression was a worldwide thing. So could it be the dawn of the oil age then? If Germany was awash in cheap oil like the USA was, I think things would have been very different.

Edited by Bozowans

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@Bozowans everything you'd like to know about the Nazi war economy ( but you were afraid to ask ) can be found in a book "Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy" by Adam Tooze. Achtung! There's no youtube, short version available. I'd recommend also Hitler's biography by Ian Kershaw. It's very good in showing the decision making proces and dynamism with the Nazi leadership. I'd recommend also "Why the Allies Won" by Richard Overy. it's a lighter book than the two previous ones, but Overy is a real historian.

I see that the internet personalities like Tik already do more harm than good. Well, the guy from Military History Visualised is more often right than wrong. He's just very boring and his accent makes it's hard to follow him. But he tends to see always more than one side of the coin and he seems to understand, that no easy answers are possible. I think he actually studied history and it shows in his critical and analytical way of thinking. My recommendation - start with some credible, mainstream historians. They will make you immune to the internet, then over the time, you may encounter something groundbreaking. But first you have to spent at least 20 years on reading. There's no workaround for it :(

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