Population and resource factors in WWII

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by vashstampede, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    We all know that the axis lost the war because they were outnumbered in manpower, productivity, etc.
    That's because we only count the population and the productivity of the Axis countries.

    When you consider the amount of countries being occupied by them, they really have a whole lot more resources than just their own home countries. Germany for example, they occupied much of the western Europe.

    I don't really have much information on this. Was German able to make good use of the newly occupied countries? Were the occupied countries productive during the occupation?

    I know the Germans lacked not only in population, but also in natural resources. The most critical would be oil. We have also heard they lacked certain metal for making high grade steel. With almost entire western Europe controlled by them, was there no oil in Europe? No needed metal mines? Or was it because the Germans never able to make good use of the resources they have newly acquired?
  2. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    It depended as much how willing the occupied were to cooperate with the Germans as the Germans ability and willingness to invest in developing those resources. In cases like Poland where the Germans were very hostile to the inhabitants and used them primarily as slave labor, it wasn't very efficient. Then, there were the Serbs, who though conquered, fought tooth and nail against the Germans. But, many more of the occupied nations were collaborating with the Germans, like the French, the Croats, and even some Ukrainians. In a once-powerful nation like France, the production didn't reach pre-war capacity, but very nearly and the French were very, very helpful to the German war effort.
  3. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Total population at the start of WW2:

    USSR: 168,524,000
    USA: 131,028,000
    China: 517,568,000
    UK: 47,760,000
    France: 41,700,000

    Germany: 69,850,000 (84 million including Austria + Volksdeutsche)
    Italy: 44,394,000
    Japan: 71,380,000
  4. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    It is obvious the Axis was outmatched in both manpower and production at the start of WWII, but they quickly captured large amount of resources of their enemies. German captured majority of the western Europe including the once mighty France. Japan took over lots of the more developed parts of China, including large cities like Shanghai, and resource rich north China Manchuria. Not to mention that the United States was not in the war until much later.

    If the Axis had treated the occupied people better and can have them collaborate well, the amount of resources (manpower, production, raw material, etc.) they had processed should be actually more than the allies had until the entry of the United States.
  5. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Axis succeeded in that to a good extent in France, Netherlands and Scandinavia. However, they treated the Eastern Europeans badly. Although the Nazis recruited large numbers of Balts, Croats and Muslims such as the Albanians, Goranis, Turks and Bosniaks in to their volunteer force, they hardly made any attempt to recruit the Slavs. Even the Cossacks who fought alongside the Nazis were treated badly by them.

    Hitler also tried to rally the Turkic Muslims behind him by creating the Turkestanisch Legion, Wolgatatarische Legion and the Mohammedan Legion. However these people numbered much lesser than the Orthodox Christians and their lack of inexperience in the war badly affected the German advance in the eastern theater.
  6. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    Total population at the start of WW2:

    USSR: 168,524,000
    USA: 131,028,000
    China: 517,568,000
    UK: 47,760,000

    Germany: 69,850,000 (84 million including Austria + Volksdeutsche)
    Italy: 44,394,000
    Japan: 71,380,00
    France: 41,700,000

    Should be more like this. Except the first few months of the war, or the "Phony War" as they called it, France contributed more to the Axis war effort than to the Allies. Especially so in terms of industrial production, but even in terms of manpower.
  7. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Peter, you can't add the population of France to that of Axis, since most of the French opposed the German invasion by participating in the resistance movement. (On the other hand, we can subtract the population of China from Allies, as the Chinese Army contributed hardly anything during the course of war).
  8. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    That would not be true. Just because many of the western propaganda do not really mention much about the detailed WWII battles in China, it doesn't mean those battles did not take place.

    If you actually take a good look at the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conflict started as early as early 1930s, and the full scale war started in 1937. We are talking about millions Chinese soldiers fighting against Japanese. Yes, the Chinese were under-equipped and many of them were not trained enough, thus they lost several times the number of their enemies in each engagement... but they threw in enough number to tie down majority of Japanese forces. In fact 70% of all Japanese military forces were tied up in China throughout entire WWII.

    Take a look at Battle of Shanghai for example. Up to 700,000 Chinese soldiers fought against 300,000 Japanese soldiers for almost 3 months. It didn't start on that scale, but both sides kept throwing in more and more reinforcement in order to win the battle. Jiang Kai Shek threw in majority of his best troops, some German trained divisions equipped with German weapons and even German helmet. Japan took almost about 70,000 casualty in just 3 months. That was only one of the dozens major campaigns took place in China.

    Total Japanese casualty resulted from hostile actions in China was numbered as high as 2 million.

    The Chinese not only fought the Japanese on their own land, they also contributed elsewhere such as Burma. Over 100,000 Chinese expedition forces were sent there to help out the British. They arrived just on time to punch an opening for the surrounded British forces to break free... but the British forces immediately ran like hell all the way to India and didn't even consider "teamwork" and left the Chinese to fend for themselves. It resulted heavy casualty on the Chinese who just saved their @sses.

    Once again, your point of view was a direct result of almost no mentioning of Chinese effort by the western media.

    There are some "unique situations". Such as Germany was in fact on the side of China at the beginning of the war. As I mentioned above, not only there were German trained German equipped Chinese divisions fighting against Japanese, there were also German military advisers there working for the Chinese until Hitler recalled them.

    On the other hand, the United States was selling weapons, providing steel and oil to the Japanese for years. The U.S. was in fact Japan's top oil supplier until a few months before Pearl Harbor. You don't consider the United States a part of the Axis for that, do you? Good old U.S. was just counting money by selling to both sides...until Japan blockaded entire Chinese coast which made it quite hard to do business there.
  9. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Can't agree with that one.

    According to John W. Dower, a total of 1,740,955 Japanese military personnel lost their lives from 1937 to 1945.

    Of this -

    Against China from 1937 to 1941: 185,647
    Against China from 1941 to 1945: 202,958
    Against US from 1941 to 1945: 485,717
    Against UK/Netherlands from 1941 to 1945:208,026
    Against Australia -199,511; French Indochina -2,803; Against USSR -7,483; Other overseas -23,388; Japan proper -10,543 (all 1941-45)

    Not included in Japanese war dead are 432,000 Chinese military forces collaborating with Japan.

    According to the Japanese WW2 memorial, some 2,325,128 Japanese servicemen lost their lives in WW2 (including Korean and Chinese collaborators).

    Additionally, some 380,000 after being taken as POW by the Soviets.
  10. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    I have heavily edited my last post. Yes, I agree the original number was confusing because it included the collaborators. So I changed the number. However, the number you provided couldn't be true either. It overstated the number of Japanese killed by US/UK, understated the number of Japanese died in China.

    For the record, UK did very little against the Japanese in Far East. They lost the battles quickly when the Japan moved south, some of their troops would be totally annihilated if wasn't for some 100,000 Chinese expedition troops broke them free. No way 200,000 Japanese died by UK/Netherlands.
    And how did Australia also kill almost 200,000 Japanese? In which battle?

    There were total 22 major engagements/campaigns took place in China which involved in up to a million soldiers from both sides. Yes, a general rule was for every 1 Japanese fell, 3 poorly equipped Chinese soldiers had to die, but there were millions of Chinese soldiers being sent into the battle in waves after waves throughout entire war.
  11. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    According to my source, a total of 1,555,308 Japanese soldiers died during the Pacific War. Out of that number, 199,511 died in territories administrated by Australia (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Admiralty Is., and the Bismarck Islands). A further 208,026 died in territories controlled by UK (Malaysia, India, Burma.etc) and Netherlands (Indonesia, Timor.etc).

  12. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    First, the number you provided is not accurate at all, far from it.
    Second, the way it counted was also totally wrong. UK hardly did any fighting in their "territory" in Far East. The Chinese expedition forces in Burma did the most of the fighting, after the Chinese expedition forces were defeated, a part of them retreated to India. After being reequipped with better weapons including tanks, they were sent back into Burma and they actually kicked Japanese pretty hard.

    Majority fighting in Australia's territory were also done by the U.S. forces. Can't give all the credit to the Australia. One of the major battles that actually involved Australia come to my mind was Battle of Coral Sea, still it was fought by the United States mostly.
  13. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    John W. Dower is regarded as one of the most accurate historians as far as WW2 is considered, at least in the West.

    British troops did most of the fighting in battles such as the Arakan Campaign, Malayan Campaign, Battle of Singapore, Battle of Imphal, and the Battle of Mandalay.

    Most of the fighting during the New Guinea campaign was carried out by the Australian troops. Includes the Salamaua–Lae campaign (10,000 Jap deaths), Huon Peninsula campaign (6,000), Battle of Buna–Gona (7,000 Jap deaths), Battle of Milne Bay (1,000), Battle of the Bismarck Sea (3,000), Aitape–Wewak campaign (9,000) and the Battle of Wau (1,000).
  14. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Those campaigns you mentioned about British with the exception of the last two, the others were all lost and only caused a few hundred Japanese causality each at most.

    As for the Australians involved campaigns you mentioned, even if the figures are true, the total Japanese causality would be only 37,000.

    Are there any more major engagements against Japan which involved UK and Australia not mentioned by you? If so, please list the Japanese casualty.

    It is understandable that major UK resources were in Europe, Africa etc. against Germany. Australia had such low population, they couldn't possibility having any huge impact on the war overall.

    If you take a good look at major engagements took place in China, it was generally agreed there were total 22 large campaigns. Just any 2~3 of those campaigns could exceed the credit you gave UK and Australia combined.
    Just Google a few,
    Battle of Shanghai 1937,
    Battle of Shangsha 1942, (the only major allied force victory in 1942 if I am not mistaken).

    Japan, well known for conceal their own causualty in order to not hurt the moral of their troops, have the official figure of 480,000 KIA in China. Several times of that number were wounded, missing, captured/surrendered, or died of "illness".

    The true figure could be several times of that.
  15. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Those battles which I mentioned were merely examples. They are part of the New Guinea Campaign. More than 80,000 Japanese were killed during the Solomon Islands campaign alone (although US troops also took part in it, in addition to the Australians). More than 30,000 were killed during the Guadalcanal campaign.

    According to Western experts, a total of 1,055,000 Japanese soldiers were killed during the Second Sino-Japanese War. However, my sources claim that most of them were ethnic Koreans or Han who fought for the Japanese.

    According to John W. Dower, around 22% of the 1,740,955 Japanese soldiers who died during World War II were killed in China.

    Official Japanese sources also claim that disease was the cause of death in more than 80% of the cases.
  16. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Well, for all the campaigns fought by the U.S. against the Japanese, many Japanese too were killed by diseases rather than military action. It is especially true because many battlefields outside China were on either islands, or in tropical forests where diseases are more common and medicare/supply was lacking. Several campaigns you mentioned were probably the ones where most Japanese were killed. The rest were not even close.

    I don't deny the fact China lone couldn't possibly win the war, and it would drag on forever. However, your statement of China shouldn't be counted as allied forces was too much an insult to the Chinese who lost tens millions people and tied down 70% of all Japanese forces...long before anyone else even entered the war.

    Yes, there were high casualty among Japanese collaborators, but Japan rarely used the collaborator troops on the frontline. Those troops were often placed on occupied areas to guard the rear supply lines and help the occupation, thus the collaborators saw way less actions than the frontal line Japanese troops. The two battles I mentioned earlier had 100% Japanese forces in it, and they took high casualty. Battle of Shanghai was one of the direct result for Japanese massacre at Nanking due to their frustration of high casualty.

    I took my high school in Buffalo, NY. Even the Global Study text book had mentioned that at the beginning of the war the U.S. was selling arms to both sides. There was critics of "we are selling bombs to the Japanese, and bandages to the Chinese"... It was all in Americans' own text book. After Japan successfully placed total blockade on entire Chinese coast, Japan was the only one getting stuff from the U.S.

    So should we also count the U.S. a member of Axis for the first a few years of WWII?
    I agree France shouldn't be counted toward the allied forces for much of the war. Since they only lasted for a month, and how much German casualty did their resistance actually cause throughout the war? Insignificant at most compare to how much their resources contributed to Germany.
  17. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    You seems to have misunderstood me there. I never meant that the Chinese shouldn't be counted as allied forces.

    What I was saying was:

    1. Although China had a population of 500+ million, they failed to make use of that. (Lack of experience, technology + Presence of collaborators). You can't add that 500+ million to the population of USA, USSR and UK and say that the Allies had 10 times as many resources as the Nazis had.

    2. The Chinese troops killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers. But the US / Australian / UK troops killed even more Japanese troops.
  18. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Can't add Australian and UK to the list of "killed more Japanese troops".
    Or we can also say "USSR/France/Norway troops killed even more German troops".
    Would that be fair?

    The two top countries resulted in most Japanese casualty during WWII were China and the United States. United States entered the war late, and engaged in more naval battles than ground campaigns where most engagements were fought between only tens thousands men. Chinese campaigns were all ground battles which involved in hundreds thousands men or even over a million each time.

    What I have problem with was you magnified the contribution of Australians and British in fighting the Japanese, while in fact they did very very little compare to what the Chinese had done. The British at one time even recognized Japan's conquest in China, while the U.S. was Japan's top supplier until a few months before Pearl Harbor.

    Since your latest post, I see your point of simple population shouldn't be a measurement of total strength. It is obviously true considered some of the countries are way more industrialized than some others. In such case, GDP might be applied for measurement of total strength. However, population is important too, since they can be used for both production and as troops if used correctly. If the Japanese had treated the Chinese better, maybe they could have had millions more Chinese troops fighting on their side and tens millions Chinese workers work for them...which wasn't the case, they didn't even trust the collaborators completely who were also poorly equipped so they could never be a challenge to the Japanese. Same with Germany who failed to win the heart of the conquered people, nor did they train and equip their allies and collaborators to the same level as their own troops.
  19. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Agree partially. UK and Australian troops killed tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers, but their contributions can't be compared to that of the US troops.


    The sources and references available to me, are those written by the British and American historians. Bias cannot be avoided. But at the same time, these sources are considered to be the most accurate around the world.

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