May 3, 2015
Translated by Kristina Rus
Soviet victory was achieved through the mobilization of all resources and effective management of the economy, says the author of a new study.
A new book “The sacrifices of nations. The battle of economies of the Soviet Union and Germany” («Жертвы народов. Битва экономик Советского Союза и Германии») by doctor of technical sciences, Professor Bulat Nigmatulin was released in the year of the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The author presented balanced statistics in an accessible, structured form accompanied by their analysis and conclusions.
The book consists of two parts. The first one talks about the losses of soldiers and civilians during the war from 1941 to 1945. The second compares the system of management of the economy of two countries, that clearly compares macroeconomic indicators, including the manufacture of armaments, assesses the contribution of the allies, performs analysis of the damage to the economies of both countries.
As noted in the book, in order to win the war, the leadership of the Soviet Union had to carry out a full mobilization of the industrial and labor resources of the country and create a super-efficient system of economic management. As a result, in the period of 1941-1944 nearly twice more major weapons and ammunition was produced than in Germany, and in 1942 – the most difficult for the Soviet Union — 3 times more.
Meanwhile, in this period the total economic and industrial potential of the Soviet Union was only 74% relative to Germany; GDP was only 77% of German; total volume of production of energy resources — 71% relative to Germany. Daily per capita consumption of food by civilians in the USSR was 66% lower than in Germany.
Analysis of the economic decisions of the country’s leadership in organizing the production of arms and ammunition on the home front opens a new understanding of the history of our victory over Germany. The secret of such success lies in mobilizing everyone working towards a common goal. Factories on the Soviet home front were open around the clock with 2-3 shifts lasting up to 11 hours. People worked without days off and holidays, and Germany practically operated in a peace-time regime until 1943.
Women occupied 50% of the workforce in Soviet factories, whereas in Germany the share of women in the workplace did not exceed 30 %. One more detail — next to adults worked about a million teenagers 14-17 years old on the Soviet home front.
KR: This efficient mobilization came at the sacrifice of consumer goods economy, forcing the Soviet population into survival mode. For example, my grandma had to walk barefoot in her village for lack of footwear. But it really was about survival, and the Soviet people did survive and persevered.