German War Economy

Decent Essays
A war economy is reliant on three things man power, land and natural resources to function effectively. Although there is no doubt of Germany’s ground military forces capabilities the question of the existing economy, infrastructure behind it and its effectiveness in driving this force forward is what takes the focus of this essay. Social stability underpins these factors as a foundation to which they can thrive and in this nature takes just as much importance if not more in a war economies effectiveness.

The German war economy was never meant to be tested in any long conflict. The Schlieffen plan in its design was meant to Blitz through Paris in six weeks. Where France’s war economy could be utilised in further battles, however that was
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This is to say the longevity of Germany’s war economy was always going to be unlikely and therefore its effectiveness.

The idea of Total war is often used to sum up the German war effort at in terms of human lives lost the effect was indeed total. However in the instance of every last capable man and women being called to arms in the battlefield or to sustain the German war economy through conscription and nationalistic propaganda which is often referenced. This was not the case with only 40% of its annual output being directed into the war with the exception of 1917 where it grew to 60% (Ritschl, 45). This is lower than Britain’s 50-60% throughout the war (Ritschl, 45) and dispels such rumours of total war from Germany at least on an economic level in 1914-1916. Hence the effectiveness of the German war economy was severely impacted by the unwillingness of Germany to sacrifice economy in other aspects of its country. The failures of the Schlieffen plan made it hard to sell the idea of mass economic mobilisation to the Germans. Further exasperated by their lack of industrialisation in agricultural sectors labour intensive agricultural systems soon left to man shortages (although a
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