Labor and Resource Productivity in Nazi Germany

Linked is an interesting paper that hypothesizes that incentivizations built into armament contracts in Nazi Germany had a great deal to do with the patterns observed in German war production. Basically, that cost-plus contracts disincentivized efficiency compared to contracts where reduction of input costs could in part be added to profit, and that the phenomenon in large part lays behind Speer's 'production miracle.'

This raises other questions for me. I have it stuck in my mind that the assembly line was not in use at all there- is that true? What kept it out, the Nazi attitude towards artisanship, or just insulation from American competition? Besides cronyism and the love of slave labor, what problems dogged the Germans? What long-term planning decisions (besides, you know, rearmerment stealing from investment in basic industry) harmed the economic side of the war effort?

What are some things they got right (economically) OTL that they were more likely to screw up? What are some things they easily could have gotten right OTL (economically) but somehow did not?
 
If you haven't read it Tooze's Wages of Destruction on the Nazi economy is fascinating (and a good read). He also is very much less impressed with Speer's skills than has traditionally been the case.

His basic point was that the German economy all performed well in producing weapons for WWII. While there were some problems with mass production, lack of standardisation, etc they have been exagerated - it is just that Germany had put itself in an impossible situation and was having to make increasingly desparate gambles both on the production floor and battlefield by the end of the war.
 
Linked is an interesting paper that hypothesizes that incentivizations built into armament contracts in Nazi Germany had a great deal to do with the patterns observed in German war production. Basically, that cost-plus contracts disincentivized efficiency compared to contracts where reduction of input costs could in part be added to profit, and that the phenomenon in large part lays behind Speer's 'production miracle.'

This raises other questions for me. I have it stuck in my mind that the assembly line was not in use at all there- is that true? What kept it out, the Nazi attitude towards artisanship, or just insulation from American competition? Besides cronyism and the love of slave labor, what problems dogged the Germans? What long-term planning decisions (besides, you know, rearmerment stealing from investment in basic industry) harmed the economic side of the war effort?

What are some things they got right (economically) OTL that they were more likely to screw up? What are some things they easily could have gotten right OTL (economically) but somehow did not?

You are quite incorrect that the assembly line was not in use - indeed, the Nazi's happily showed pictures of them for propaganda purposes!

They didn 'love' slave labour, but they had no choice; they had maxed out their population resourse, either they use imported labour or either war production or the army collapse.

Reade Wages of Destruction.
 
I was hoping for more specific answers besides 'go read that book.' And really, the difference in production efficiency between Germany and the Allies is too large to in any way claim that they did a "good job" OTL.
 
they did use assembly lines for things like the kar 98 and the mp-40 which where very simple to mass produce; later in the war u-boats where built sectionally on assembly lines (albeit with severe quality control issues)

the main issues where they really needed assembly line type production where armored vehicles and aircraft... the problem was that German tanks where built with spot welding which requires ten's of thousands of manhours of highly skilled labor to build (as opposed to the simple, but expensive casting process used in the US and Russia after 1942)... admittedly spot welding produced armor of tremendous strength (the tiger's frontal armor was a borderline work of art) but heavily handicapped production

in terms of air frames... the germans built the frames and wings and all other associated parts on assembly lines with little more fuss or fanfare than their american or british counterparts... the problem was in the engines; bmw, daimler and junkers built engines that whilst they where amongst the best performers of their day, where extremely complicated/borderline handcrafted... ME-109 enthusiasts who try to rebuild them for museums have a damn ass difficult time trying to rebuild the engines TODAY (with complete production manuals, and modern production techniques assissted by computers)
 
I was hoping for more specific answers besides 'go read that book.' And really, the difference in production efficiency between Germany and the Allies is too large to in any way claim that they did a "good job" OTL.

If you cant be bothered to read a book that answers your questions, why should we bother to do all the work of telling you the facts?

And your statements on production efficiency, care to produce some evidence to back your assertions up?
 
If you cant be bothered to read a book that answers your questions, why should we bother to do all the work of telling you the facts?

And your statements on production efficiency, care to produce some evidence to back your assertions up?
If you didn't want to be informative you could have simply refrained from posting. Furthermore, I might not have the time or money to go read said tome, when some people appear happy to discuss some of its main arguments.


As far as production efficiency, look at the size of the German economy, its steel output, its coal output, etc. Then compare it to the actual amount of war-fighting material output. For the most part the hard data I've read on comparative German ineffectiveness in armament comes from The Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945. Among other topics, it compares Soviet and German efforts in various areas.
 
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If you cant be bothered to read a book that answers your questions, why should we bother to do all the work of telling you the facts?
Now, I don't know where Sol lives, but a 799 page book written in the UK may be nearly impossible to get outside of Anglo-Saxon countries. And while he could order it on the internet, 800 page books tend to be damn expensive.
-forget that-
Holy Crap! Just looked on Amazon, used from $4,89 with $3,99 shipping costs to Europe, how is that even possible for a specialised book that size:eek:
Seems like I should start looking around on Amazon from time to time!
 
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