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The MAIN Reason Why Germany Lost WW2 - OIL

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  • The MAIN Reason Why Germany Lost WW2 - OIL


    Oil was in desperately short supply for the Axis powers in WW2. One historian describes it as 'The First War for Oil' - such was the severity of the shortage.

    Oil was probably the biggest factor that Germany lost world war 2, and it explains many of the previous reasons why the German Wehrmacht fought the way it did.

    Please see the pinned comment in the comment section for more information, including timestamps, links, additional notes, and the sources/biography I used. Special mention goes to Richard Stokes for providing several articles for this topic. Thank you Richard! Don't forget to subscribe if you like history or gaming! And hit the little bell icon to be notified when videos like this are uploaded. Please consider supporting me on Patreon and help make more videos like this possible https://www.patreon.com/TIKhistory As a follow up to this video, I highly recommend the Toprani video “Oil and Grand Strategy: Great Britain and Germany, 1918--1941” which can be found here - https://youtu.be/RgxEBGAXNRU
    I often hear the reasons why the axis lost and the allies won has less to do with military might and more to do with logistics:

    The natural resources in their holdings, the capability to transport those resources from their holdings to their factories and refineries, and the ability to crank out more bullets, beans, and bandages than their foe can.

    Also it appears that Hitler (at least in 1941-1942) knew more about economic and supply woes plaguing the Wehrmacht than his top officers did.
    Last edited by HisRoyalHighness; 29-05-2018, 01:00 PM.

  • #2
    In short : That and opening way too many fronts almost at the same time...

    Nazi Germany, when launching the Barbarossa offensive also had in mind and needed the Oil from the caucase hence Georgia, Chechnya and Dhagestan. The key defeat at Stalingrad in early 1943 was pretty much their last breath. D-day and the French front put an end to their conquest and racial «*cleansing*».

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    • #3
      Originally posted by HisRoyalHighness View Post
      ....

      Also it appears that Hitler (at least in 1941-1942) knew more about economic and supply woes plaguing the Wehrmacht than his top officers did.
      Hitler: ZOMFG, our economy is up the shitter. How could this have happened to us?

      Goering: (Remembers something about spending all Germany's money on tanks and aircraft). I have no idea mein Fuhrer. Certainly nothing you ordered done between 1933 and 1939 could have contributed to this.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TheKiwi View Post

        Hitler: ZOMFG, our economy is up the shitter. How could this have happened to us?

        Goering: (Remembers something about spending all Germany's money on tanks and aircraft). I have no idea mein Fuhrer. Certainly nothing you ordered done between 1933 and 1939 could have contributed to this.
        Touché.
        .........

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        • #5
          It's known that it was only thanks to the looting of the treasury's of Austria and Czechoslovakia that kept Germany afloat until September 1939. They were on the verge of an economic meltdown thanks to some very poor decision making.

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          • #6
            Where did all the synthetic oil technology the German's developed during the war go?

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            • #7
              No-where very far. It was expensive and inefficient to mine coal and then turn it into oil as opposed to the much easier system of buying oil. I think some of it ended up being used by East Germany to supplement their oil requirements. West Germany of course had full access to US/Saudi/Venezuelan oil and a working export-orientated economy.

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              • #8
                In 1940, Nazi Germany had the least mechanized of all belligerent armies. I think it was Patton who once said (albeit in a humorous fashion) that von Rundstedt had used bootlaces and horseshoes to beat Gamelin.
                I don't think it's the oil. The Nazi war machine didn't begin to run low on fuel until it'd reached the vastnesses of Russia were some form of motorization was vital to cover great distances in time.

                Opening that front was the biggest mistake the Nazis did and perhaps we should say – for all the destruction and suffering that came over Russia – thank God they did make it. Consider the military situation at the eve of the Nazi-Soviet war with WW1 in mind. Hitler had held complete sway over continental Europe either directly or through proxies. Had all the forces that were eventually sacrificed in Russia stayed behind to deny access to the continent, I shudder to think how long the Nazis might've stayed in power.

                There are some other strategic mistakes perhaps as impactful than the eventual shortages in fuel:

                Timing №1
                Many Wehrmacht officers thought starting any war so early into Hitler's bid to overturn Versailles were stupid. The military was especially incapable of fighting the war Hitler had had in mind.

                Timing №2
                I'm afraid it's not far-fetched to assume that within a couple of years, more countries could've become fascist or fascist-leaning if only the war had been postponed as military reason demanded; concquering them could've become unnecessary or controlling them more easy at the least. It doesn't seem all that intuitive given the apparent "successes" of fascism in 1939-42, but starting the war actually killed many a fascist movement that could've grown bigger. Switzerland is a good example. Their fascist movement came close to taking over before the war, but its support dwindled once the threat of invasion loomed.

                Allies (kinda timing №3)
                If we hear the term "Axis" we think of Germany, Japan and Italy – though it could be argued Romania and Hungary proved themselves more important for the European theater. I'd go as far as to say the alliance with Rome and Tokyo was a great strategic liability.

                Berlin was in the same situation it had been twenty years earlier. An alliance united to achieve a unified goal will always be stronger than an alliance formed to achieve the parties' individual goals.

                Here, there were no substantial overlaps, only momentary alignments of interests. Unlike the Western Allies, the Axis could never exert their theoretic military potential due to political caveats and the sheer distance to Japan. The alliance with that country – without Tojo's definite pledge to attack the Soviets – only served to make war with the US inevitable.

                The alliance with Italy, on the other hand, served only to bind forces needed elsewhere, as the Axis lacked not only moral but also military cohesion. The surprisingly positive outcome of WW1 for Italy meant its leaders hadn't had to address their doctrinal shortcomings. All in all, Italy's armies were not up to par and largely incapable of acting in concert with Germany’s.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by muck View Post
                  In 1940, Nazi Germany had the least mechanized of all belligerent armies. I think it was Patton who once said (albeit in a humorous fashion) that von Rundstedt had used bootlaces and horseshoes to beat Gamelin.

                  I don't think it's the oil. The Nazi war machine didn't begin to run low on fuel until it'd reached the vastnesses of Russia were some form of motorization was vital to cover great distances in time.
                  According to the bloke in the video (and his sources) the oil supply was getting quite critical by mid 1941. The estimate was that there was sufficient for a six month mechanised campaign with Germany's existing forces. Hence the desperate desire to take the USSR's primary source of oil.

                  Originally posted by Muck
                  There are some other strategic mistakes perhaps as impactful than the eventual shortages in fuel:

                  Timing №1
                  Many Wehrmacht officers thought starting any war so early into Hitler's bid to overturn Versailles were stupid. The military was especially incapable of fighting the war Hitler had had in mind.
                  The problem there being the imminent collapse of Germany's economy. That's not exactly conducive to running a large war against your enemies. It was a case of now... or never. Or at least as close to never as to be it for an impatient man like Hitler. The only realistic alternative would have been a massive demilitarisation to try to get the economy back on its feet.

                  Originally posted by Muck
                  Here, there were no substantial overlaps, only momentary alignments of interests. Unlike the Western Allies, the Axis could never exert their theoretic military potential due to political caveats and the sheer distance to Japan. The alliance with that country – without Tojo's definite pledge to attack the Soviets – only served to make war with the US inevitable.
                  The problem there being that Germany and the US were drifting close to war anyway, without any assistance from Japan. For want of an example, a U-Boot missed with a torpedo attack on the Battleship USS Texas in June of 1941. The Texas was an old battleship and a single torpedo hit could well have sunk her. That's a recipe for war right there. It was only going to take one bad piece of judgement like that to bring the US into the war with Germany. Something pretty much inevitable at that stage.

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                  • #10
                    No way no how could Germany have held Europe indefinitely, even with a successful invasion and surrender of the Soviet Union.

                    Germany’s tactical innovation was very real early in to war.

                    And Germany’s weapon system innovations were also real, but Hutler’s Germany wasted far too much resources on loser wonder weapons, and not enough on the genuine winners.

                    But mostly Germany never stood a change in terms of industrial output against the US.

                    Yes, Russian bodies ground down Germany’s Wehrmacht, but America’s massive industrial and innovation capacity combined with virtually unlimited energy, rolled Germany.

                    No amount of oil could have stopped that from happening to Germany.

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                    • #11
                      There were a few reasons why Germany lost WWII
                      1. Waiting to late to go into total war mode
                      2. lack of manpower
                      3. long supply lines on the eastern front
                      4. too many fronts
                      5. fighting pretty much the whole world.

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                      • #12
                        Looking at the wiki for German tank production during ww2 it's interesting to look at the increase in production which occurred all the way to the end with 44 marking top output. One can imagine the removal of some of the vanity tank projects and a focus on the regular tanks panzer 4 and 5 etc would have been better.

                        Looking at that massive rampup one must also critique the fact that they didn't go on a war economy sooner and do ass all other countries with regards to weapons procurement etc

                        In the end it is a question of resources and looking at the German partition levels it's also important to note the depletion of the officer core and NCOs. Very little of the manpower from the start of the war was left by the end only to be replaced by less skilled troops.

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                        • #13
                          Pretty much the case. With the 15th Air Force deployed to Foggia starting to conduct regular bombing raids against Romanian oil fields in spring 1944 and Ploesti itself being captured during Yassi-Kishinev Offensive in summer the Wehrmacht held territories began to shrink at unprecedented pace.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Negan View Post
                            There were a few reasons why Germany lost WWII
                            1. Waiting to late to go into total war mode
                            2. lack of manpower
                            3. long supply lines on the eastern front
                            4. too many fronts
                            5. fighting pretty much the whole world.
                            You can add another one. Concentrating on battles and not on the war.

                            The Nazis had devoted their power and prestige to rearming which meant warplanes, bombers, artillery, tanks, things you can run past civilians and foreign ambassadors in a massive parade and make them go OOOOH!

                            They had no decent investment in the infrastructure behind it, the Wehrmacht fuel supply problems were notable, they managed to get through France by raiding civilian petrol stations, they failed in the Ardennes because they couldn't capture allied fuel. The Wehrmacht just didn't have a solid way of getting fuel to units in bulk.

                            The US had the luxury of sitting back, sizing up what they would need and in a solid reliable truck, turning round to the factories and saying 'I'll have 30,000 light trucks, 20,000 mediums and 10,000 heavies, hers the three models you'll produce!'

                            The Wehrmacht had hundreds of different models including captured foreign models pressed into service because they didnt have enough of their own.

                            Once they hit Russia they had to run thousands of vehicles to combat units constantly over thousands of miles of mud track without letup and they just couldnt get the spares to the right units, conscripted civilian trucks couldnt take the pounding and fell apart, they just didn't have a solid support system.

                            Meanwhile the US can simply churn out 5,000 crank shafts or 4,000 radiators and could be relatively certain theyd get to the right vehicle at the right time. US supply is rocket fuelling with amphetamines its drivers on the redball express because the humans cant keep up with the machines capacity, the Germans on the Rollbahn are struggling to even get their vehicles moving.

                            As the war went badly people like Speer made an effort to limit production to standard types but the Germans still concentrated on war winning weapons like Tigers and Panthers then usually lost battles because the spare parts and fuel for those tanks werent available and they had to be abandoned and blown up.

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                            • #15
                              Yeah. Germany was being led by a drug addled lunatic who lived in a fantasy land, that didn’t help much. They over built great tanks designed to last for months/years instead of the days/weeks they actually lasted. Lots of reasons I suppose, but they never really had a chance.

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