World War II Economy, finance and production.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Third Reich, WWII tours, Causes of WW2, Militaria Collectors, Third Reich in Ruins, WW2 coins, Forced Labor, Banks and Nazis.
1931: Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler â€“ Book Review
The 1931 German financial disaster sent shockwaves through the international financial system and paved the way for the ascent of Adolf Hitler.
Why Germany was always the underdog in World War II
While the German military was one of the most feared and successful in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Third Reich had a severe weakness that would hamper the military at any turn: economics.
Nazis planned to drop a large amount of counterfeit money over Britain to disrupt its economy
At the beginning of WWII, the Nazis sought to find ways to disrupt the British economy. In September of 1939, the head of the central criminal investigation department of Nazi Germany, Arthur Nebe, proposed a covert operation which would employ skilled counterfeiters to forge British pounds. A gargantuan amount of forged banknotes would be dropped over Britain, and, in Nebe's opinion, this would cause an economic collapse, the result of which would see the British pound lose its status as the world's reserve currency. Joseph Goebbel and Reinhard Heydrich, thought that the plan might work, so they presented it to Hitler himself. Hitler approved the plan and Heydrich appointed SS Major Alfred Naujocks as the head of the counterfeiting operation, codenamed 'Andreas.'
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Lend-Lease Saved Countless Lives - But Probably Didn't Win the Eastern Front
80% of the more than 5 million German military deaths in WWII occurred on the Eastern Front. As the war progressed, the two sides traded places, with the Red Army honing a mechanized 'deep battle' doctrine that more closely resembled earlier German tacticsâ€Š—â€Šas the German army fell into disarray as casualties took their toll. All the while, the Western Allies provided enormous quantities of supplies and other aid under the Lend-Lease policy. The United States and the United Kingdom supplied more than 21 million tons of aid to the Soviet Union during the war, including thousands of tanks and warplanes. But the question of how much this aid affected the outcome of the war would become important not only for historians, but as a matter of national pride, as the Soviet Union went on to diminish Lend-Lease's role in helping turn the tide of battle. Western historians would, perhaps for similar reasons, overstate the role of the aid in Soviet success.
The Epic Gold Heists that Financed the War for Hitler
Much has been written about World War II, and yet there are some stories that haven't been told when it comes to the Nazi war strategy: Adolf Hitler's war machine would have collapsed if Germany hadn't financed it with some of the biggest gold heists in history. According to George M. Taber, author of Chasing Gold: The Incredible Story of How the Nazis Stole Europe's Bullion, what Hitler looted from several countries would be worth $19 billion today.
World War II started due to misconceptions regarding economics?
Goebbels: A Biography shows how much damage can be done by misconceptions regarding economics. The private diaries of Goebbels indicate that the National Socialist leaders of Germany believed that natural resources were the only and/or primary foundation for a nation's wealth. For people coming of age in the early part of the 20th century, this made sense. The modern examples of resource-poor countries becoming rich via intelligence, education, and hard work did not exist.
Tanks, turrets, airplanes, and Power Wagons - Chrysler revisits its involvement in World War II
A video posted on FCA's YouTube page recounts Chrysler's involvement in World War II, when the U.S. government commissioned the automaker to contribute to the war effort by building military vehicles. As part of a short documentary called 'Automakers and the Arsenal of Democracy,' FCA looks back in time and takes a look at Chrysler's wartime activities. Narrator and FCA US historian Brandt Rosenbusch explains that the U.S. government initially approached Chrysler with a tank and asked if the corporation could build it in mass production, which it eventually did after winning a contract.
Excerpted from Hitler's Shadow Empire: Nazi Economics and the Spanish Civil War
Excerpted from Hitler's Shadow Empire: Nazi Economics and the Spanish Civil War.
An Austrian Analysis of Hitler's Economy
The Nazis had a very centralized economy, with basically one man running the show, Adolf Hitler. Since all Hitler's economic ideas are still alive and well in every major country it is of interest to see how successful Hitler was implementing them. (1) Hitler decided the country needs an ultra modern highway system. And what he wants gets done. There is just a bit of a fly in the ointment though. Nobody had a car to drive on those highways as "Germany was one of the least motorized societies in Europe." This might just explain why the free market didn't want to build those awesome highways.
Records reveal how Bank of England helped Nazis sell gold stolen from Czechs
Bank of England records detailing its involvement in the transfer and sale of gold stolen by Nazis after the invasion of Czechoslovakia were revealed recently. The gold had been deposited during the 1930s with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the so-called Central Banker's bank, as the Czechoslovak government faced a growing threat from Nazi Germany. The document goes on to detail how a request was made in March 1939 to transfer gold, then worth £5.6m, from a Czech National Bank account at the BIS to an account operated by Germany's Reichsbank. Some £4m of the gold went to banks in the Netherlands and Belgium, while the rest was sold in London.
WWII Myths - The German war economy was mismanaged
The idea that the Germans mismanaged their war economy is one of the most enduring myths of WWII. This idea is strange considering that everyone acknowledges the 'economic miracles' of the period 1933-39 and of the postwar recovery. Why would the Germans do things right up to 1939 and after 1945 but mess things up in between?
Lawsuit claims Swiss banks destroyed records of Jews' bank accounts
Swiss banks systematically hid and destroyed records of bank accounts from the Holocaust period, thus preventing their owners from claiming their money and assets, according to a lawsuit set to be filed soon. During the Nazi regime in 1933-1945 some 7 million bank accounts were created in Switzerland. 60,000 of them were opened by Jews in a bid to salvage their property from the Nazis, with the intention of reclaiming it after World War II. Years later it emerged that the records of some 3 million of these accounts had disappeared and been destroyed.
Nazi forgers destroyed confidence in British currency by flooding Europe with forged Bank of England notes
Nazi forgers destroyed confidence in British currency by flooding Europe with forged Bank of England notes, the MI5 files reveal. Thanks to the Operation Bernhard there were so many counterfeits in circulation that officials even considered recalling all British bank notes and starting afresh. At first, few of the fake notes reached Britain, but all that changed after D-Day when they began appearing in large numbers. Soon the British authorities were so alarmed at the impact that they informed the Spanish government, which seized £20,000 in British notes from German agents - all of which turned out to be forged.
Albert Speer: Hitler would never have considered invading Poland without technology provided by U.S. Industry
American support for Hitler and Nazism was not limited to eugenics. The cream of American industry generously provided the financial and technical knowhow that enabled Hitler to raise the Third Reich from deep economic depression into a full employment and modern industrial economy. According to his armaments chief Albert Speer, Hitler "would never have considered invading Poland without synthetic fuel technology provided by [DuPont-Standard Oil-] General Motors." Without the assistance of American industry had the Holocaust been attempted it would likely have been limited to one-on-one murders by einsatsgruppen, limited by a far shorter war.
Pharmaceutical giant Bayer and the holocaust
Many people remain unaware of the key role of companies like Bayer and BASF in the holocaust. Their role was so critical that it led the Chief Prosecutor at Nuremburg to warn: "These companies, not the lunatic Nazi fanatics, are the main war criminals. If the guilt of these criminals is not brought to daylight and if they are not punished, they will pose a much greater threat to the future peace of the world than Hitler if he were still alive." But despite the enormity of their crimes, their guilt has remained largely hidden and by the early 1950s a number of those convicted of slavery, looting and mass murder were back at the helm of Bayer, Hoechst and BASF.
German currencies in Nazi-occupied countries
A report called "German currencies in occupied countries" by Tactical and Technical Trends (Military Intelligence Division, U.S. War Department - November 4, 1943).
"One of the most interesting German innovations in this war was the development of special itinerant banks of issue to follow the invading German columns and establish themselves in the principal cities in the occupied areas. These banks, the so-called Reichskreditkassen (Reich Credit Offices), were introduced in the Polish campaign, where they worked in particularly close conjunction with the army. ... The Reichskreditkassen were responsible for the issuance of special notes (Reichskreditkassenscheine) to the armed forces in occupied areas. The notes were legal tender only in the country in which they were issued and were not negotiable in other occupied territories or the Reich."
How Cannabis helped America win World War II
Stretched thin against Axis powers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released arguably the direst American wartime propaganda film ever. If we really wanted to smash the fascists into oblivion, the reel argued, we needed a whole bunch of Cannabis. And quick. From the outset of WWII, in 1939, Japan cut off American supplies of Filipino hemp and Indian jute. "Hemp for Victory" was an urgent appeal: We needed rope for naval towlines, webbing for parachutes, thread for shoes!
Economically, World War II was stimulus on steroids
WWII was many things, and one hesitates to write about it as an economic phenomenon for fear of being misinterpreted. What were the macroeconomics of WWII? Government spent money on aircraft, ships, landing-craft, tanks, trucks, jeeps and so forth. Indeed, while critical for winning the war, these did not have lasting economic value per se, as compared, for example, to the Grand Coulee dam which still provides irrigation and electricity for tens of thousands of people. Unemployment, as a percentage of the civilian labor force, declined from 15% (down from a high of 25% as the Great Depression took root) to less than 2%.
Britain's War Machine: Weapons, Resources, and Experts in the Second World War by David Edgerton
Historian David Edgerton likes statistics and technical details and worships machines. "Britain's War Machine" - a study of British science and industry in the second world war - provides an unfamiliar picture of the war, one commanded by backroom boys: grey men with slide rules, workers working through the night shift in Orwellian arms factories, chemists in laboratories and civil servants on committees.
In Graphs: WWII Tank Production - Did Nazi Germany had a chance against the Soviet Union and the United States
People like to think that individuals can change the course of the history. That somehow Michael Wittman's actions with his Tiger tank in June 1944 when he took out 14 Allied tanks in 15 minutes, or Erich von Manstein's counterstrike during the Third Battle of Kharkov in 1943 when it for a moment seemed that the Red Army will wrap up the entire eastern front after their victory in Stalingrad, make a major difference in the outcome. However, in most wars, the reasons for victory come down to a significant economic advantage, as the following graphs about the Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) production during the Second World War reveals.
Study of the German Finance Ministry: Confiscations financed 30% of the costs of the Nazi invasions
Historians working on the study of the German Finance Ministry under the Nazis 1933-1945 have discovered evidence of how the Third Reich's tax authorities ruined Jews and financed up to 30% of expenditure of the German armed forces.
How Allies used serial numbers in Nazi tanks to figure out the German tank production per month
In WWII Allied forces admitted that Nazi tanks were superior to their own tanks. The key question was: how many tanks Nazi Germany was able to produce per month. The Allies tried intelligence gathering: POWs, spying, etc. Via this method, they estimated that from June 1940 to September 1942, the Third Reich manufactured 1,400 tanks each month. Ridiculous number, because the Axis powers had only 1,200 tanks during the Battle of Stalingrad. Then Allied intelligence noticed each German tank contained a unique serial number. Using this, the Allies created a mathematical model, which suggested the Germans produced 255 tanks per month.
Famous B17 factory "Boeing's Plant 2" - the building that won WWII - to be demolished (photo gallery)
Rosie the Riveter was made famous here. Boeing learned how to build airplanes here. This factory produced 12 B-17's a day during the height of the Second World War. "It's fair to say that Boeing's Plant 2 is the building that won World War II," stated Leonard Garfield, the executive director of Seattle's Museum of Science and Industry. The B-17, the B-29, the B-52, and the precursor of the 737 were built inside the plant that is located along the Duwamish River. Plant 2 was so crucial to the war effort that Boeing set up a fake city on the roof to hide its location. (Article includes photo gallery, 14 pics)
Worthless or worth millions? Hitler stopped paying for bonds sold to U.S. purchasers after the First World War
Germany must face a lawsuit over bonds that were not paid up in the 1930s, a U.S. appeals court ruled, saying that American courts have jurisdiction to decide whether the bonds are enforceable. World Holdings LLC says it owns a "significant number" of $208 million in bonds sold to U.S. purchasers after WW1. By the mid-1930s the Third Reich stopped making payments on the bonds in the build up to WW2. Germany claims that under a 1953 treaty, the bondholder must show the bonds were outside Germany as of Jan. 1, 1945, to ensure repayment - and that the 1953 treaty precludes the lawsuit in a U.S. court.
IG Farben - How the huge corporation supporting Nazi war machine was protected by John D. Rockefeller
After WW2 Nazi war criminals were prosecuted, and among the industrial prisoners charged with crimes against humanity were 24 managers of IG Farben, a company without whom, according to U.S. Chief Prosecutor General Telford Taylor, WWII would not have been possible. The IG Farben was crucial to the Nazi war effort by making synthetic fuel, rubber, and other chemicals like Zyklon-B. In 1938-1939 Luftwaffe needed tetraethyl lead for aviation fuel to start the World War II. John D. Rockefeller delivered the badly needed lead to the IG Farben - and he also used his influence to prevent Allied bombing raids against IG Farben's assets.
B24 Liberator bombers and Willow Run - one of the biggest bomber factories
World War II changed the operations of Detroit automotive plants in the early 1940's. Factories were taken over by the war effort to build jeeps, tanks, and bombers. But this didn't happen easily. Only the 1940 Luftwaffe "Blitz" of England set things off. FDR tripled the military budget, gave massive aid to UK, and authored the production of 50,000 military aircraft, more than existed in the world. The Willow Run Factory near Detroit opened in August 1942 and began mass production in August 1943. It had the largest assembly line in the world, and at its peak the plant produced 428 B-24's per month.
Declassified files reveal how Bush family helped Adolf Hitler's rise to power
The files in the US National Archives confirm that a firm of which George Bush's grandfather Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazi Germany. His business dealings continued even after the Third Reich invaded Poland in 1939 -only stopping after his company's assets were seized in 1942 (the Trading with the Enemy Act). This has led to a billion dollar civil action against the Bush family by Auschwitz slave labourers. Bush family's dealings with the Nazis has got little publicity, partly due to the secret status of the files about the late US senator Prescott Bush.
How oil baron Sir Henri's Royal Dutch Shell company saved the Nazi Party from collapse
Revealed: The role of Royal Dutch Shell as a collaborator and financial supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party via its founder, Sir Henri Deterding. Research has uncovered evidence that Royal Dutch Shell funds by Sir Henri, saved the Nazi Party from collapse. Oil baron Sir Henri - once called "the Most Powerful Man in the World" - had a 4-day meeting with Adolf Hitler at the Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden. And both Hitler and Hermann Goering sent wreaths to Deterding's funeral when he died just before the start of World War II. Declassified US intelligence records talk about Royal Dutch Shell as "a Nazi collaborator that used Hitler's slave laborers".
Swedes approved secret Nazi loan in 1941: report
New documents reveal that Swedish finance minister, Ernst Wigforss, approved secret Swedish bank credits to Nazi Germany in 1941. The documents were uncovered among the finance ministry archives. Historian and ambassador Krister Wahlbäck and archivist Bo Hammarlund reveal the existence of the documents, which indicate Wigforss' approval of loans to Hitler's Third Reich. The loans served to increase Swedish exports to Nazi Germany, of far greater importance, the pair argue, than opening the country's borders and train lines for the use of Wehrmacht movements. The loans totaled to 40 million kronor.
Hell's Cartel: I.G. Farben and the Making of Hitler's War Machine by Diarmuid Jeffreys
A sweet stench filled the site in Nazi-occupied Poland where I.G. Farbenindustrie AG was building a factory to make synthetic rubber and fuel for Adolf Hitler's tanks and bombers. Amid the hammering and shouting kapos, inmates died like animals. All around were I.G. Farben men: "in impeccable civilian clothes, picking their way through corpses they did not want to see, measuring timbers with bright yellow folding rules," one survivor recalled. This was Buna-Werke, aka I.G. Auschwitz, and the smell came from the Birkenau crematoriums. Buna-Werke was I.G. Farben's single biggest investment ever, "a carefully planned process of extermination through labor."
Interview of Adolf Burger, who counterfeited 133 million pounds sterling
Between 1944-1945 bags of fake dollars, pounds and rubles passed through Adolf Burger's hands. The Nazis forced the prisoners from all over Europe to make the counterfeit money to destabilise the British economy. Burger, the only living worker of "Operation Bernhard", wrote "The Devil's Workshop" about his experience, and it was the basis for the film "Counterfeiters". --- (Q): Who was in charge? (Burger): SS Officer Bernard Kruger ran the counterfeit-money operations and reported to Heinrich Himmler. (Q): What happened to the counterfeit money? (Burger): The Nazis drowned the printing presses, boxes of money in Lake Toplitz.
Historian Gerald Feldman: The role of big business during the Nazi era
The first major work of the historian Gerald D Feldman, who has passed away aged 70, was "Army, Industry and Labour in Germany 1914-1918". It revolutionized our knowledge of the German economy in WWI. After a biography of Hugo Stinnes, he focused writing the history of business under nazism. During the 1990s, many large German firms began to commission independent histories of themselves, concerned that the accusation of covering up their part in nazism might damage their business. Gerry wrote a balanced but crushing history of the Allianz Insurance Company, whose chief executive Kurt Schmitt was for a time Adolf Hitler's economics minister.
Third Reich to Fortune 500: 5 Popular Brands the Nazis Gave Us
Hugo Boss made the sleek all-black uniforms for the SS. While today Boss uses black for slimming effects, in the SS uniforms it was used to command fear. While their guns and tendency for genocide probably handled all needed respect commanding just fine, the black uniforms did absorb sunlight during the summer, causing the wearer to stink. Members of the Hitler Youth were also decked out in Boss wear: an early lesson in looking good when beating up minorities. -- American groups funded Nazi eugenics projects in the 1930s, but once the war began, most cut ties, except IBM which decided to stick around and see where Hitler was going with this final solution thing.
Roosevelt seizes control of Montgomery Ward Dec. 27, 1944
On Dec. 27, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered Secretary of War Henry Stimson to take over all of Montgomery Ward’s properties after the company declined to comply with labor agreements. Montgomery Ward, on its way to becoming the 3rd largest department store chain, supplied the Allies and planners viewed their mundane items as vital to prosecuting the war as tanks and planes. But chairman Sewell Avery resisted: "To hell with the government!" he shouted in April 1944 at Francis Biddle. "I want none of your damned advice." Biddle ordered two National Guardsmen to lift Avery out of his office chair and carry him out of the building.
Mixing oil and war - Energy Victory by Robert Zubrin (Article no longer available from the original source)
"...control of oil has been the decisive factor determining victory or defeat in the struggle for world dominance." In WWI... "The crack German infantry were as tough as they come, but there was no way they could cope with ... fleets of rampaging gasoline-powered land battleships and assisted by unmatched swarms of fighter aircraft." In 1918 Lord Curzon declared: "The Allied cause had floated to victory upon a wave of oil." Adolf Hitler learned from the Kaiser's mistakes - A few decades later he had panzers. With Nazi fuel needs in mind the Germans set their sights on Baku. "Unless we get the Baku oil, the war is lost," Hitler said. They didn't and it was.
Bomber Command's mission: Efficient bombing stopped Nazi production
Some claim the resources expended by Bomber Command were wasted. But Richard Overy maintains the resources used by Bomber Command were modest: "Measured against the totals for the entire war effort, bombing absorbed 7%, rising to 12% in 1944-1945." The bombing destroyed all of Nazi Germany's coke, ferroalloy and synthetic rubber industries, 95% of its fuel, hard coal and rubber capacity, 75% of its truck producing, and 70% of its tire production. It also generated huge aircraft and armoured vehicle production losses. Because of bombing oil targets German pilot training suffered, and eventually there was no fuel to power aircrafts or battle tanks.
Allies in Wartime: The Alaska-Siberia Airway During World War II
During WWII, Soviet Army officer Boris Dolitsky in Siberia and couldn't help but notice the influx of American goods pouring into the country. But he was like many of the Soviet people, who knew little about the scope of the 4-year Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease Program, which shuttled 8,000 aircraft and billions of dollars' worth of goods during its 31-month run 1942-1945. Much of that was the raw material that enabled the Soviet military's mobility. "This chapter of history was sort of forgotten," said Alexander Dolitsky, Boris' son, and the author of "Allies in Wartime: The Alaska-Siberia Airway During World War II."
Hitler's Beneficiaries: The economic workings of the Third Reich
Hitler’s Beneficiaries caused a controversy because Götz Aly called his wartime countrymen "well-fed parasites" - depicting German working class as the beneficiaries of egalitarian welfare policies that were funded by Hitler’s conquests. Wartime separation payments to soldiers’ wives were so generous (at 85% of the husband’s earnings, compared with 38% in UK) that many working-class women could give up factory work. Aly shows the crushing costs that the Nazis imposed on occupied regions: Belgium’s state revenue was 11-16 billion francs per annum; the Nazis levied 25 billion a year, as well as stealing 18,500 vehicles and 41 tons of gold reserves.
Wages of Destruction: rearmament, strategic thinking, Lebensraum
"The Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze is not simply an economic history of Nazi Germany. It is a study of German rearmament beginning in 1933, the preparations for war prior to 1939, and conduct of the war until its end in 1945. It focuses on the role of Adolf Hitler, who came to power with an already developed agenda for Germany's future that aimed at a racial empire in the East and the capacity for the Nazis to challenge America. Germany before the war was a modest power that could not rival America's industrial and military strength. At the same time, however, Hitler recognized America as the great barrier to their quest for Lebensraum and worldpower status.
Beneficiaries of Nazi regime: Profits from Third Reich's war machine
The "beneficiaries" of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime that come to mind are the industrialists and the bankers and the military suppliers who reaped a dozen years of profits from the Third Reich's war machine. But German historian Götz Aly lays out a much broader field of people in his study, "Hitler's Beneficiaries"-- the "ordinary Germans" whose complicity in Hitler's war, right up to its death throes is still mystifying. In analyzing the economic benefits received by those middle- and working-class Germans, Aly suggests an answer to why they supported the nazi regime and its war, tacitly, if not ardently.
Adolf Hitler's plundering helped Germans live the good life
How was it that "the majority of Germans bore virtually none of the costs" of "the most expensive war in world history"? According to the German historian Gotz Aly, "The Holocaust will never be properly understood until it is seen as the most single-mindedly pursued campaign of murderous larceny..." For Aly, the key word is "larceny." The mechanics and motives of Nazi plunder, he maintains in his study "Hitler's Beneficiaries," have never been sufficiently examined. His emphasis is on the socialism in National Socialism, and historians have been arguing about it since 2005, when the book came out in Germany.
UK settles WWII debts to the US and Canada
Britain will settle its World War II debts to the US and Canada when it pays two final instalments before the close of 2006. The payments of $83.25m to the US and US$22.7m to Canada are the last of 50 instalments since 1950. The amount paid back is nearly double that loaned in 1945 and 1946. "It was vital support which helped Britain defeat Nazi Germany and secure peace and prosperity in the post-war period." Under the lend-lease programme, which began in March 1941, the then neutral US could provide countries fighting Adolf Hitler with war material.
General Motors and FÃ¼hrer worship: Hitler's carmaker - Part II (Article no longer available from the original source)
GM knew what was happening in Nazi Germany. Nonetheless, GM and Third Reich began a strategic relationship. Nazi Germany needed to rise above the horse-drawn divisions. GM Opel built the 3-ton truck named "Blitz" for the Blitzkrieg. In 1937, 17% of Blitz trucks were sold directly to the Nazi military, increasing to 29% in 1938. The Wehrmacht soon became Opel's No. 1 customer by far. GM Opel participated in cultic Fuhrer worship as a part of its daily corporate ethic. Great swastika-bedecked company events were commonplace, as Nazi gauleiters spurred employees to work hard for the Fuhrer and his Thousand-Year Reich.
Poor Brazilians were dragooned into service as rubber soldiers
Alcidino dos Santos was on his way to buy vegetables in 1942 when a Brazilian Army officer stopped him and told him he was being drafted as a "rubber soldier." Men were needed to harvest rubber for the Allied war effort, and it was his patriotic duty to serve. More than 60 years after World War 2 ended, hundreds of poor Brazilians who were dragooned into service are still in the Amazon. The rubber soldier program originated in an agreement between the U.S. and Brazil. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had cut the U.S. off from its main source of rubber, in Malaysia.
Nazi counterfeit operation by SS officer Bernard Krueger
The book "Krueger's Men" by Lawrence Malkin, tells the story of the prisoners of Block 19 of Sachsenhausen. The men worked to counterfeit millions of British pounds. The Nazi regime planned to use the counterfeited bills to cripple the British economy. The idea came to the Nazis only weeks into World War II. And it wasn't unique. At one point, U.S. considered counterfeiting German marks. The project was abandoned for about a year, until it was revived by Heinrich Himmler in 1942. Bernard Krueger, an SS officer who had experience forging papers, was put in charge of the new operation.
UK finally pays off World War II lend-lease
Britain is to make its final payment on Hogmanay for the food, tanks, aircraft and ships it acquired from America to defeat Nazi Germany under the lend-lease scheme in the World War II. While most of the £20bn of equipment and munitions shipped across the Atlantic 1941-1945 was effectively a gift, the US demanded basing rights in the Caribbean and Newfoundland in return for 50 ageing destroyers in 1940. The destroyers were vital for convoy escort duties to counter the U-boat menace at a time when the Royal Navy was overstretched. One-quarter of all munitions and aircraft used by British forces 1941-1944 came from US.
How the Nazis lost the economy
Economic view produces insights of Hitler’s motivations, like the timing of his military adventures. Adam Tooze challenges the notion of a Nazi economic miracle in the 1930s. Clearly unemployment fell sharply and inflation was contained as Nazi Germany benefited from the world recovery, as did Britain. By the time of the Anschluss, the Nazi Government had all but exhausted its foreign exchange reserves. The need to seize Austrian gold was important in the timing. Dönitz argued that with 300 U-boats he could achieve decisive success, but Nazi Germany started WWII with just 32 U-boats capable of operating in the North Atlantic.
How Hitler Lost a Wager Made in Money, Guns and Blood
Adam Tooze's mammoth study "The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy" reveals the financial side of WWII. Seen in an economic light, Adolf Hitler's behavior becomes more intelligible. Nazi Germany was hampered by shortages of raw materials: crude oil, rubber, iron ore, coal, animal feed, foreign currency and even labour. In 1938, German industry consumed twice as much metal and oil as in the previous year. The Luftwaffe was key. In 1932 the aircraft-building industry employed 3,200 people; 9 years later it was 250,000. Speer kept aircraft manufacturing going, even producing hundreds of Me 262 jet fighters in the chaos of 1945.
Among the Dead Cities - Bombing Third Reich
Among many Germans the bombing campaign waged against the Third Reich by the RAF in 1942-45 is regarded as a war crime. Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris insisted that his bombers could not hit targets accurately without suffering heavy losses. Yet, the American air force used precision bombing. When it wanted to the RAF could hit "pinpoint" targets. Surely bombing tied up German military resources and damaged production. Not so, says Grayling. He claims that the same resources would have been diverted if the British had bombed industrial, fuel or transport targets. Nazi Germany collapsed only after US targeted fuel and transport.
UK is to pay off the last of its World War II loans from the US
The UK is about to pay off the last of its World War II loans from the US. On 31 Dec, the UK will make a payment of about $83m to the US and so discharge the last of its loans from WWII from its transatlantic ally. It is hard to appreciate the immense costs and economic damage caused by this conflict. In 1945, Britain badly needed money to pay for reconstruction and also to import food for a nation worn down after years of rationing. The loan was really to help Britain through the consequences of post-war era, rather than the war itself. UK took a loan for $586m, and a further $3,750m line of credit.
Britain In praise of lend-lease
Britain owes its survival in the WW2 to many causes. A list might include the bravery of our Battle of Britain pilots, the leadership of Winston Churchill, the resilience of the people - and the sacrifices of the Red Army. But there is little doubt that Britain would not have survived without lend-lease either. Between March 1941 and Sep 1945, the US lend-lease transferred some $48bn worth of war material to other nations, the largest part of it ($21bn) to Britain. This was an enormous sum, nearly equal to an entire year's UK gross national product. At one point Washington pressed for the transfer of the British West Indies in return.
The Myth of US Prosperity During World War II
The main reason most people, including economists, think that the U.S. entry into WWII was good for the economy is that they compare the economy during the war with the economy during the Great Depression. On its face, this reasoning is plausible. But let's look more carefully at those numbers, beginning with the unemployment rate. The U.S. government imposed military conscription in 1940 and got the draft machinery moving early in 1942. Of the 16 million people who were in uniform at some time during WWII, fully 10 million were conscripted.
WWII: Creation of Synthetic Rubber Plant Was Exciting
Nearly 65 years ago I was practicing a little chemical engineering to help start a large rubber plant in early 1943. Few of us at the time realized how important this plant was for the American economy and the war effort. The program created a huge industry in an unbelievably short period. It was the outstanding chemical engineering project in WWII. Without its success, the war would not have been won. When Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, the US and its allies lost 95% of their source of natural rubber.
Bush - Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951 - Federal Documents
Newly discovered US government documents suggest that the relationship of the Bush family to Nazi Germany continued until 1951, nine years after the assets of Prescott Bush were seized in late 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1942. Prescott Bush managed five U.S. enterprises on behalf of Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen. Furthermore, the records show that Prescott Bush - the grandfather of President George W. Bush - and his colleagues routinely attempted to conceal their activities from government investigators.