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Military production during World War II was the arms, ammunition, personnel and financing which were produced or mobilized by the belligerents of the war from the occupation of Austria in early 1938 to the surrender and occupation of Japan in late 1945.
The mobilization of funds, people, natural resources and materiel for the production and supply of military equipment and military forces during World War II was a critical component of the war effort. During the conflict, the Allies outpaced the Axis powers in most production categories. Access to the funding and industrial resources necessary to sustain the war effort was linked to their respective economic and political alliances. As formerly neutral powers, such as the United States, joined the escalating conflict, territory changed hands, combatants were defeated, and the balance of power shifted in favor of the Allies -- as did the means to sustain the military production required to win the war.
During the 1930s, political forces in Germany increased their financial investment in the military to develop the armed forces required to support near- and long-term political and territorial goals. Germany's economic, scientific, research and industrial capabilities were one of the most technically advanced in the world at the time and supported a rapidly growing, innovative military. However, access to (and control of) the resources and production capacity required to entertain long-term goals (such as European control, German territorial expansion and the destruction of the USSR) were limited. Political demands necessitated the expansion of Germany's control of natural and human resources, industrial capacity and farmland beyond its borders. Germany's military production was tied to resources outside its area of control, a dynamic not found amongst the Allies.
In 1938 Britain was a global superpower, with political and economic control of a quarter of the world's population, industry and resources, in addition to its close allies in the independent Dominion nations (such as Canada and South Africa). From 1938 to mid-1942, the British coordinated the Allied effort in all global theatres. They fought the German, Italian, Japanese and Vichy armies, air forces and navies across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, India, the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. British forces destroyed Italian armies in North and East Africa and occupied overseas colonies of occupied European nations. Following engagements with Axis forces, British Empire troops occupied Libya, Italian Somaliland, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran and Iraq. The Empire funded and delivered needed supplies by Arctic convoys to the USSR, and supported Free French forces to recapture French Equatorial Africa. Britain also established governments in exile in London to rally support in occupied Europe for the Allied effort. The British held back or slowed the Axis powers for three years while mobilising their globally integrated economy and industrial infrastructure to build what became, by 1942, the most extensive military apparatus of the war. This allowed their later allies (such as the United States) to mobilise their economies and develop the military forces required to play a role in the war effort, and for the British to go on the offensive in its theatres of operation.
The entry of the United States into the war in late 1941 injected financial, human and industrial resources into Allied operations. The US produced more than its own military forces required and armed itself and its allies for the most industrialized war in history. million tons of merchant shipping in two years. Adolf Hitler was told by his advisors that this was American propaganda; in 1939, annual aircraft production for the US military was less than 3,000 planes. By the end of the war US factories had produced 300,000 planes, and by 1944 had produced two-thirds of the Allied military equipment used in the war[ citation needed ] — bringing military forces into play in North and South America, the Caribbean, the Atlantic, Western Europe and the Pacific.At the beginning of the war, the British and French placed large orders for aircraft with American manufacturers and the US Congress approved plans to increase its air forces by 3,000 planes. In May 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt called for the production of 185,000 aeroplanes,120,000 tanks, 55,000 anti-aircraft guns and 18
The U.S. produced vast quantities of military equipment into late 1945, including nuclear weapons, and became the strongest, most technologically advanced military forces in the world. In addition to out-producing the Axis, the Allies produced technological innovations; through the Tizard Mission, British contributions included radar (instrumental in winning the Battle of Britain), sonar (improving their ability to sink U-boats), and the proximity fuze; the Americans led the Manhattan Project (which eliminated the need to invade Japan). The proximity fuze, for example, was five times as effective as contact or timed fuzes and was devastating in naval use against Japanese aircraft and so effective against German ground troops that General George S. Patton said it "won the Battle of the Bulge for us."
The human and social costs of the war on the population of the USSR were immense, with combat deaths alone in the millions. Recognising the importance of their population and industrial production to the war effort, the USSR evacuated the majority of its European territory—moving 2,500 factories, 17 million people and great quantities of resources to the east. Out of German reach, the USSR produced equipment and forces critical to the Axis defeat in Europe. Over one million women served in the Soviet armed forces.
The statistics below illustrate the extent to which the Allies outproduced the Axis. Production of machine tools tripled, and thousands of ships were built in shipyards which did not exist before the war.According to William S. Knudsen, "We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible."
Access to resources and large, controlled international labour pools and the ability to build arms in relative peace were critical to the eventual victory of the Allies. Donald Douglas (founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company) declared, "Here's proof that free men can out-produce slaves."
|Tanks, self-propelled artillery, vehicles||4,358,649||670,288|
|Artillery, mortars, guns||6,792,696||1,363,491|
|Missiles||(only for test)||45,458|
In thousands of international dollars, at 2014 prices.[ citation needed ]
|Power||Tanks & SPGs||Armoured vehicles||Other vehicles||Artillery||Mortars||Machine guns||Personnel|
|USA and territories||108,410||2,382,311||257,390||105,055||2,679,840||10,000,000|
(excluding 6 million
|Germany and territories||67,429||49,777||159,147||73,484||674,280||1,000,730||16,540,835|
|USA and territories||295,959||99,465||96,872||4,106||23,900||58,085||13,531||2,403,806|
|Germany and territories||133,387||57,653||8,991||28,577||5,025||8,396||14,311||11,361||3,402,200|
|Power||Total large ships||Carriers||Battleships||Cruisers||Destroyers||Frigates |
& Destroyer Escorts
|Corvettes||Sloops||Patrol boats||Submarines||De/ Mining||Landing craft||Personnel|
|USA and territories||1216||124(101)||23||72||377||440||245||35,000||x|
|Germany & territories||1||2||17||1,152||540||1,500,000|
Source: Goldsmith data in Harrison (1988) p. 172
|Cargo tonnage||12,823,942 [ citation needed ]||33,993,230||1,469,606 [ citation needed ]||4,152,361|
|Country||Coal||Iron ore||Crude oil||Steel||Aluminium||Nickel||Zinc|
|USA[ citation needed ]||2,149.7||396.9||833.2|
|Australia[ citation needed ]||83.1||1.56|
|Japan[ citation needed ]||184.5||21.0||5.2|
|Italy[ citation needed ]||16.9||4.4|
|Hungary[ citation needed ]||6.6||14.1||3.1|
|Romania[ citation needed ]||1.6||10.8||25.0|
All figures in millions of tonnes
GDP provides insight into the relative strength of the belligerents in the run up to, and during the conflict.
|Soviet Union Total||359||366||417||359||274||305||362||343|
|United States Total||824||893||968||1118||1259||1423||1523||1498|
|German Reich Total||351||461||817||1145||1150||856||681||310|
Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Albanian GDP calculated by multiplying the GDP per capita of the four countries in 1938 ($1,242 for Romania, $2,655 for Hungary, $1,595 for Bulgaria and over $900 for Albania)by their estimated populations in 1938: 19,750,000 for Romania, 9,082,400 for Hungary, 6,380,000 for Bulgaria and 1,040,400 for Albania.
Many concerns and political influence come from the price of war. While GDP can easily increase Federal expenditures, it also can influence political elections and government decision making. No matter how much percentages of GDP increase or decrease we need higher amounts of GDP in order to pay for more investments, one of those investments being more wars. To pay for these wars, taxes are held at a very high rate. For example, by the end of World War II tax rates went from 1.5% to 15%. Along with tax percentages reaching high amounts, spending on non-defense programs were cut in half during the period of World War II. Tax cuts allow one to see GDP in effect for the average American. Still, almost ten years after World War II, in 1950 and 1951 congress raised taxes close to 4% in order to pay for the Korean War. After the Korean War, in 1968 taxes again were raised 10% to pay for the Vietnam War. This caused GDP to raise 1%. Although research can support positive relationship between production and jobs with GDP, research can also show the negative relationship with tax increases and GDP.
Prior to the Second World War, the United States was cautious with regard to its manufacturing capabilities as the country was still recovering from the Great Depression. However, during the war, Franklin Roosevelt set ambitious production goals to fulfill. The early 1940s were set to have 60,000 aircraft increasing to 125,000 in 1943. In addition, targets for the production of 120,000 tanks and 55,000 aircraft were set during the same time period. The Ford Motor Company in Michigan built one motor car (comprising 15,000 parts) on the assembly lines every 69 seconds. Ford's production contributed to America's total production of vehicles totalling three million in 1941. American production numbers caused the US employed workforce to increase massively. America's yearly production exceeded Japan's production building more planes in 1944 than Japan built in all the war years combined. As a result, half of the world's war production came from America. The government paid for this production using techniques of selling war bonds to financial institutions, rationing household items and creating more tax revenues. Some contribution to the US wartime manufacturing boom can be ascribed to the prior creation of the Alcoa plant in the 1930s. The Alcoa plant prepared thousands of tons of aluminum used for the production of 304,000 aeroplanes during the war. The United States quickly adjusted to the levels of production required to equip its military with the millions of war products used during World War II.
Including all non-British subjects in British services.
|Army||Army (female)||Navy||Navy (female)||Marines||Air Force||Air Force (female)||Auxiliary||Merchant marine||Partisans||Total combat||Other labour|
|Free Belgian Forces||42,300||1,200||1,900||45,770||370|
|B. Indian Ocean||6,500||6,500|
|Caribbean / Bermuda||10,000|
|Free French Forces||3,700||20||3,720|
This includes all German and non-German subjects serving within German Reich forces.
|Army||Army (female)||Navy||Navy (female)||Marines||Air force||Air force (female)||Auxiliary||Merchant marine||Partisans||Total combat||Other labour|
|France & territories||8,000||4,500||5,080||17,580||348,500|
|Germany & territories||14,793,200||1,500,000||3,400,000||19,693,200|
Within the UK, initially aircraft production was very vulnerable to enemy bombing. To expand and diversify the production base the British set up "Shadow factories". These brought other manufacturing companies – such as vehicle manufacturers – into aircraft production, or aircraft parts production. These inexperienced companies were set up in groups under the guidance or control of the aircraft manufacturers. New factory buildings were provided with government money.
|Fighters||Australia||Britain||Canada||India||New Zealand||South Africa||Total|
|Boulton Paul Defiant||1,065||1065|
|de Havilland Hornet||60||60|
|de Havilland Vampire||244||244|
|Bombers||Australia||Britain||Canada||India||New Zealand||South Africa|
|Armstrong Whitworth Whitley||1,780||1,780|
|de Havilland Mosquito||212||6,199||1,134||7,545|
| Fairchild SBF &|
CCF SBW Helldiver
|Handley Page Halifax||6,178||6,178|
|Handley Page Hampden||152||152|
|Reconnaissance & patrol||Australia||Britain||Canada||India||New Zealand||South Africa|
|Supermarine Sea Otter||292||292|
|Transport||Australia||Britain||Canada||India||New Zealand||South Africa|
|Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle||602||602|
|Armstrong Whitworth Whitley||1,814||1,814|
|De Havilland Australia DHA-G1/G2||8||8|
|de Havilland Dragon Dominie||474||474|
|de Havilland Flamingo||14||14|
|General Aircraft Hamilcar||412||412|
|General Aircraft Hotspur||1,015||1,015|
|Trainers||Australia||Britain||Canada||India||New Zealand||South Africa|
|Avions Fairey Tipsy B||15||15|
|de Havilland Don||30||30|
|de Havilland Moth Minor||100||100|
|de Havilland Tiger Moth||1,080||5,738||1,748||150||8,716|
|Fairchild Cornell (PT-19/26)||1,642||1,642|
|North American Harvard||3,985||3,985|
|Other||Australia||Britain||Canada||India||New Zealand||South Africa||Empire|
Production numbers until the time of the German occupation of the respective country. Some types listed were in production before the war, those listed were still in production at the time of or after the Munich crisis.
|Avions Fairey Fox VI/VII||106|
|Hawker Hurricane I||15||20|
|Fairey Battle I||18|
|Fokker C.X/Fokker C.XI||53|
|Dornier Do 17K||70|
Occupied countries produced weapons for the Axis powers. Figures are for the period of occupation only.
|Mitsubishi A6M Zero||10,939|
|Arado Ar 240||14|
|Bachem Ba 349||36|
|Messerschmitt Bf 109||33,142||309||33,984|
|Messerschmitt Bf 110||6,170||6,170|
|Macchi C.200/Macchi C.202/Macchi C.205||2,766|
|Dornier Do 17Z-7/Z-10||12|
|Dornier Do 335||37|
|Caproni Vizzola F.5||14|
|Focke-Wulf Fw 190||20,000|
|Heinkel He 100||25|
|Heinkel He 112||60|
|Heinkel He 162||320|
|Heinkel He 219||300|
|Messerschmitt Me 163 /Mitsubishi J8M||370||7||377|
|Messerschmitt Me 262||1,430|
|Reggiane Re.2000, 2001, 2002 & 2005||204||531||735|
|Focke-Wulf Ta 152 & Focke-Wulf Ta 154||200||these are unrelated types.|
|Heinkel He 115||138|
|Heinkel He 118||15|
|Henschel Hs 123||250|
|Henschel Hs 129||865|
|Junkers Ju 87 Stuka||6,500|
|Messerschmitt Me 210||400||272||672|
|Messerschmitt Me 410||1,189|
|Arado Ar 234||210|
|Dornier Do 22||30|
|Dornier Do 17E/F||405|
|Dornier Do 17K||14|
|Dornier Do 17M/P/R/S/U||448|
|Dornier Do 17Z||875|
|Dornier Do 215||105|
|Dornier Do 217||1,025|
|Fieseler Fi 167||14|
|Focke-Wulf Fw 200||276|
|Heinkel He 111||7,300|
|Heinkel He 177||1,190|
|Junkers Ju 88/188/388||16,517|
|Mitsubishi Ki-67/Mitsubishi Ki-109||767|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Military industrial production during World War II .|
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, genocides, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The European theatre of World War II opened with the German invasion of Poland on Friday September 1, 1939, which was then followed by the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939. The Polish Army was defeated after approximately a month of fighting. Poland never officially capitulated. After Poland had been overrun, a government-in-exile, armed forces, and an intelligence service were established outside of Poland. These organizations contributed to the Allied effort throughout the war. The Polish Army was recreated in the West, as well as in the East.
The Lend-Lease policy, formally titled An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States, was a program under which the United States supplied the United Kingdom, Free France, the Republic of China, and later the Soviet Union and other Allied nations with food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and August 1945. This included warships and warplanes, along with other weaponry. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, and ended in September 1945. In general the aid was free, although some hardware were returned after the war. In return, the U.S. was given leases on army and naval bases in Allied territory during the war. Canada operated a similar smaller program called Mutual Aid.
Following the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, the Kingdom of Romania under King Carol II officially adopted a position of neutrality. However, the rapidly changing situation in Europe during 1940, as well as domestic political upheaval, undermined this stance. Fascist political forces such as the Iron Guard rose in popularity and power, urging an alliance with Nazi Germany and its allies. As the military fortunes of Romania's two main guarantors of territorial integrity—France and Britain—crumbled in the Fall of France, the government of Romania turned to Germany in hopes of a similar guarantee, unaware that the then dominant European power had already granted its consent to Soviet territorial claims in a secret protocol of 1939's Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
Technology played a significant role in World War II. Some of the technologies used during the war were developed during the interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s, much was developed in response to needs and lessons learned during the war, while others were beginning to be developed as the war ended. Many wars had major effects on the technologies that we use in our daily lives. However, compared to previous wars, World War II had the greatest effect on the technology and devices that are used today. Technology also played a greater role in the conduct of World War II than in any other war in history, and had a critical role in its final outcome.
The European theatre of World War II was an area of heavy fighting across Europe, starting with Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and ending with the United States, the United Kingdom and France conquering most of Western Europe, the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe and Germany's unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts as well as in a strategic bombing offensive and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.
The Italian campaign of World War II consisted of Allied and Axis operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945. The Joint Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre and it planned and led the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, followed in September by the invasion of the Italian mainland and the campaign in Italy until the surrender of the German Armed Forces in Italy in May 1945.
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (USSR), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.
Nearly every country and territory in the world participated in World War II. Most were neutral at the beginning, but only a few nations remained neutral to the end. The Second World War pitted two alliances against each other, the Axis powers and the Allied powers; the U.S having served 16 million men, Germany serving 13 million, the Soviet Union serving 35 million and Japan serving 6 million. With millions serving in other countries, an estimated 300 million soldiers saw combat. A total of 72 million people died with the lowest estimate being 40 million dead and the highest estimate being 120 million dead. The leading Axis powers were Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Japan; while the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and China to an extent were the "Big Four" Allied powers.
The Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre was a major theatre of operations during the Second World War. The vast size of the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre saw interconnected naval, land, and air campaigns fought for control of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe. The fighting in this theatre lasted from 10 June 1940, when Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, until 2 May 1945 when all Axis forces in Italy surrendered. However, fighting would continue in Greece – where British troops had been dispatched to aid the Greek government – during the early stages of the Greek Civil War.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The Allied leaders of World War II listed below comprise the important political and military figures who fought for or supported the Allies during World War II. Engaged in total war, they had to adapt to new types of modern warfare, on the military, psychological and economic fronts.
The neutral powers were countries that remained neutral during World War II. Some of these countries had large colonies abroad or had great economic power. Spain had just been through its civil war, which ended on April 1, 1939 —a war that involved several countries that subsequently participated in World War II.
Foreign relations of the Axis powers includes states which were not officially members of the Axis but had relations with one or more Axis members.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to World War II:
When the United Kingdom declared war on Nazi Germany at the outset of World War II it controlled to varying degrees numerous crown colonies, protectorates and the Indian Empire. It also maintained unique political ties to four semi-independent Dominions—Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand—as part of the Commonwealth. In 1939 the British Empire was a global power, with direct or de facto political and economic control of 25% of the world's population, and 30% of its land mass.
The article summarizes casualties in different theatres of World War II in Europe and North Africa. Only the military losses and civilian losses directly associated with hostilities are included into the article. The actions of the Axis' and Allied military or civilian authorities that fit the definition of genocide, or war crimes are left beyond the scope of the present article.
Azerbaijan, officially by its full name – the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, entered World War II alongside the Soviet Union, after the German declaration of war on June 22, 1941. Azerbaijan's oilfields were enticing to the Germans due to the USSR's heavy dependency on Caucasus oil – setting the scene for German campaigns attempting to capture and seize the oilfields in Baku during the Battle of the Caucasus. Azerbaijan’s oil was very decisive for Soviet victory.More than 600,000 people from Azerbaijan were conscripted to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army during World War II from 1941 to 1945.
The diplomatic history of World War II includes the major foreign policies and interactions inside the opposing coalitions, the Allies of World War II and the Axis powers. The military history of the war is covered at World War II. The prewar diplomacy is covered in Causes of World War II and International relations (1919–1939).