World War II: Balance of Power (1940)

American trucks Second World War
Figure 1.--Hitler launched World War II before German industry had the capacity to fully mechanize the Wehrmacht. This draft animals played an important role in German military operations. America on the other hand had a vast industrial capacity. American workers and farmers had cars and trucks at a time that this was very rare in Germany. It was an open question as to if or when America would enter the War and if its industrial and human resources could be converted to war production in time to save Western Civilization. Ironically, American trucks delivered under Lend Lease to the Red Army would provide the mobility to smash the Wehrmacht in a series of massive offenses on the Eastern Front.

World War II was the culmination of the greatest geo-political crisis in Western civilization--first World war I and second the rise of the totalitarians. Following World War I, three totalitarians groups seized controlled of some of the most important countries in the world. First the Communists seized control of Russia (1917). Then the Fascists seized control of Italy (1924) and subsequently German Fascists seized control of that country (1933). Japanese militarists a kind of Shinto Fascism seized control of Japan (1930s). These countries as a whole had enormous scientific, industrial, human, and natural resources. With the NAZI victories in Europe, especially the defeat of France (1940), the balance of world power swung to the totalitarian powers. The totalitarian powers in 1940 controlled almost all of Europe, wedding the industrial potential of Europe with the natural resources of the Soviet Union. As part of the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact, the Soviet Union shipped huge quantities of raw material, especially badly needed petroleum to fuel the NAZI war machine. Facing the totalitarians were the British and the Dominions backed by the resources and industrial potential of the United states. The RAF prevented the Germans from invading Britain and the much diminished and hard-pressed Royal Navy was struggling with the German U-boats to keep the sea lanes open, especially the vital sea lanes to America. The United States had an enormous industrial potential in 1940, but it was largely a potential. The U.S. Army was smaller than that of Romania and not equipped with modern weapons. And Americam industry was turning out mostly consumer products at a time when the future iof the Western world was being determined. It was an open question as to if or when America would enter the War and if its industrial and human resources could be converted to war production in time to save Western Civilization.






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Created: 5:55 AM 3/10/2010
Last updated: 5:55 AM 3/10/2010