Tuesday assorted links

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#6 There was a great twitter thread about this, highlight was this chart:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EH02-e6X0AANWRS.jpg:large

Summers being a good Hayekian lately...

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Yep. The link definitely shows that point.

I am not sure that Warren and others really understand what Medicare is. I am retired and I contributed to my Medicare for decades before retiring. Somehow I don't believe that Warren intends that Medicare for all will require that they first pay into it for decades before they can sign up for it.
Once I retired and got Medicare the SS system takes about 10% of my SS check to pay for my Medicare. Again I don't see Warren talking about any automatic deduction from American's paychecks to pay their share of the Medicare insurance.

And lastly Medicare only pays 80% of my doctor bill and I must pay the other 20% out of pocket. Again Warren continues to say what she is proposing will require no out of pocket co-pay.

So she doesn't mean "Medicare" when she says "Medicare for all". She means socialized health care but she does not want to use that loaded phrase. In other words she is a liar.

Yes you paid in about a quarter of what it will cost the taxpayers over the rest of your life. You can thank us for the welfare.

And, that's exactly the fallacy of Medicare for All --- that, somehow, everyone can be a net receiver of benefits, no one a net payer. There's no such thing as Redistribution for All.

We spend 18% of GDP on health care but nobody wants to spend 18% of their paycheck on it.

No, it's more like we spend 18% on healthcare but workers don't want to be taxed at 27% to cover everybody else.

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If it is such a good idea why make it mandatory. Everyone should have the opportunity to sign up or not and to "cost share" health care with all the other signatories. The mandatory feature is what makes it socialism and socialism is what destroys countries and lives.

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I would disagree that I only pay in a quarter. BUT more importantly I DO PAY IN. Does anyone in the federal and state welfare health care programs pay even one red cent? As for the taxpayers paying for it to the extent that is true it is indicative of the inability for government to efficiently and economically manage health care. Most of the expenditures in most government programs goes to overstaffed and over paid government workers.

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The most powerful political argument against "Medicare for All" is that it is impossible to pull off without dramatically changing Medicare. So not only will people with employer-provided plans be losing those, but everyone on Medicare will see it change in unpredictable ways. Old people don't handle change well, and consistently vote against it.

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#2 Uhh everyone should just read the far, far better Adam Tooze's "Wages of Destruction" about this. No need for this propaganda from Victor Davis Hanson that actually Britain wasn't also completely ill-equipt to win a major war.

The Soviet Union had massive material and man power even not considering US and British aid. Nazi Germany was doomed from the beginning.

The fundamental weakness of the German economy is a central theme of Tooze’s book without the rah-rah imperialist cheerleading of VDH. Also the Tooze book has a dare I say gripping history of origins of the Nazi war economy.

There's always more to say on this. Here's another take:

https://www.amazon.com/Britains-War-Machine-Weapons-Resources/dp/0199832676

For more general context and background:
https://www.amazon.com/Military-Innovation-Interwar-Period-Williamson/dp/0521637600

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The fundamental weakness of the Nazi economy is a central theme of this book, written in 1939 by a German - https://mises.org/library/vampire-economy

On the other hand, the Nazis did demonstrate that a slave economy can work, at least in the short term, in an industrial context.

Short-term, at least: https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691002422/does-conquest-pay

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rah-rah imperialist cheerleading of VDH.

IOW, VDH has an emotional bias toward the country, whereas gentry liberals are emotionally biased toward people just like them.

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I suspect the fact that Britain was so ill-equipped in 1939 was part of what created the Myth of the Nazi War Machine in the first place.

One thing that does not appear anywhere in that numbered list, though, is artillery. The Arms of Krupp were still providing the Germans a nice little edge, in that arena, I believe.

American artillery, much like its tanks, was good enough in quality, and overwhelming in quantity. German soldiers commented that they could defend their positions against American infantry and amor attacks, but would eventually be overwhelmed after the Americans called in massive artillery support.

This article is annoyingly US-centric and rah-rah for the Americans, but makes the point. A typical US gun may have been nothing special but it was good enough, and supported by elaborate and crucial fire control and communications systems and very good mechanized mobility. (In contrast, as many observers have noted, the German army was dependent on horses for local transport.)
https://armyhistory.org/u-s-and-german-field-artillery-in-world-war-ii-a-comparison/

Makes sense. Thanks for the link.

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"very good mechanized mobility."

Particularly with respect to the supply train. The Allies had a mechanized supply chain that could provide a continuous supply of ordinance to a rapidly moving front.

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'was part of what created the Myth of the Nazi War Machine in the first place'

No, Blitzkreig is what made the reputation of what became considered the Nazi war machine.

indeed. The Germans spent 4 years fighting France in WW1 and never got beyond stalemate. It took them 6 weeks to conquer Paris in WW2.

In WWI due to French delusions that they should fight an offensive war, the Germans almost captured Paris within the first 6 weeks of that war too. The allies managed to clinch a major victory at the Marne which turned the way into a stalemate.

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That was because the French weren't prepared for war, either.

To the contrary, they were quite prepared and expecting to go on the offensive in Alsace-Lorraine. That this was utterly unrealistic can be chalked up to their being unprepared for the *actual* war.

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I have Wages of Destruction kicking around my office, but I haven't gotten to it.

I gather it's worth doing that?

Yeah, the whole trilogy of Wages of Destruction, The Deluge, and Crashed are definietly worth reading.

Thanks.

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Yeah... the UK was ill-equiped to win a major war. But why would the UK be prepared to win a major war? Especially a war of choice, as in, "Eh... rather than go to war over Poland, let's just write them a very stern letter."

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#2 The VDH book is not propaganda. It's a great book.

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#2 WWII was a war of intelligence (Enigma) and Logistics. Even from the early success Germany never had a snowball's chance in hell and I think some of their brightest leaders (Albert Speer) knew the jig was up much earlier on than is popularly accepted. The Nazi war machine basically gave the world huge quantities of high-tech military ideas and gear for free, their best scientists, and at the cost of about 5-6 million of their young men.

You have to be supermen with super intelligence to be that stupid I guess.

#4 I hate it. But then again I hate Facebook so I'm biased.

#6 So I've given it some more thought and I've decided her $52,000,000,000,000 idea could actually work. Here's what we do. So we should take all the student loan debt and re-finance it at a slightly lower APR and then dump it on retirees that are 55 years old or older because...I mean they'll die soon so that debt will be written off. Then, we should apply a new tax on the newly liberated young people who are no longer saddled with those loans to pay for the $52 trillion (which incidentally is only 4x more than their previous loans) which the USA can amortize over the lifetime of the cost by printing Hillary bucks, which will become money once she become POTUS on her 4th attempt in 2032.

And Epstein didn't kill himself....

#4: I like it. It keeps changing color, kind of like how Facebook keeps changing the way it harvests and exploits your personal information. Very communicative.

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Thanks for pointing out that Epstein didn’t kill himself. I know Tyler is trying to suppress this fact but we must keep truth alive.

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2. Germany’s real failures were diplomatic and shows the dangers of unconstrained aggression. If Germany didn’t attack the USSR or declare war on the USA in 1941, there’s a good chance it would have reached a peace with the UK and ruled the European continent for decades.

Germany also had terrible allies that cost it more resources than they provided. The worst of these allies was Japan, which got Germany to go to war with the US but didn’t reciprocate on the USSR when it might have made a difference. Germany would have done better if it had kept its pre-war cooperations with the USSR and China, as these countries could have supplied Germany with the raw materials it needed and at the same time helped de-colonize the Middle East and India, depriving Britain of needed oil and manpower.

If Nazi Germany didn't attack the Soviets, there's a good chance that the Soviets would have attacked them (after a few years to build up their relative advantage against Germany). The end state would be similar to today, but with more of Europe Communist-controlled.

This assumes a lot. Fighting on the defense is much easier than offence and the Soviets were, themselves, hopelessly incompetent. The bulk of their ultimate victory comes from the fact that Germany had to project power while the Soviets simply had to make them pay for it.

That, and had it been a straight up fight between the Nazis and the Soviets, its doubtful the US would have take a side. The USSR looks way worse without US lend lease support.

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Any analysis like this is totally wrong headed. It relies on the assumption that Hitler was "just another world leader" and the Nazis "just another government". The United States always figured in Nazi ideology as the main adversary and the driver of the need for Lebensraum. You cannot make a serious analysis based on Germany going to war with the US only because Japan dragged them in. Hitler always saw the US as the ideological adversary and you can't separate the actions of Nazi Germany for ideology.

No, the U.S was not the "main adversary". Hitler didn't expect a war with the U.S until after he was dead.

Sorry, you're wrong about that. The Nazi leadership expected war with the Uk and France to imply hostility from the US. The US involvement in the war was not at all unexpected. Seems like your history comes from History Channel documentaries.

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Totally correct. Germany: good at combat, bad at picking allies and enemies.

If you haven't read Wages of Destruction then this whole discussion is just the usual warmed-over WWII prattle from every History Channel documentary.

There are many dimensions to war. (Grand strategy, logistics, economic organization, intelligence, diplomacy, naval, varieties of airpower) Prussia/Germany had a history of excellence in one of these: large scale ground warfare. The Nazis benefitted from this advantage but overall did little to enhance it. In no other dimension were they better than other major powers; in most they were worse.

+1, Both the Germans and the Japanese relied on a big military and strategic surprise against neighbors that were mostly unprepared for a war. That was the one dimension they excelled at.

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To be honest, submarine warfare as practiced by the Germans in the Atlantic was about as effective as submarine warfare practiced by the Americans in the Pacific, at least until American naval strength and merchant shipping made up for the massive losses suffered by a European island nation that was pretty effectively cut off from its overseas resources for several years.

"...about as effective..." Hence my phrasing "no better than." The US submarine campaign was quite successful, largely because Japan put almost no resources into countermeasures. The U-boat war failed against British methods that were foreshadowed in WW1 and highly refined in WW2.

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Germany's real failure was horses. Did you read the article? You can't win mechanized war with horseys!

You can't win a mechanized war without oil either. Germany actually developed a hybrid tank in 1942, but it was rubbish.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VK_4501_(P)

'You can't win a mechanized war without oil either.'

Something that is fully understood by the U.S. military - for almost a century at this point. Which is always why it is so amusing to see ignorant Americans talk as if their military is not fully aware of the need to keep the oil flowing.

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#2. All points true

Yet, if Hitler had sent about 25,000 more men and a few hundred more tanks to Rommel, he still might have won. Or, if you prefer, not divert troops from Moscow at the cusp of victory. Or, if you prefer, start the invasion of Russia a month earlier.

It took maximum efforts by the 1, 2 and 5 powers to win.

We don't really know what the maximum effort from the US would have looked like given a couple more years. Production didn't stop increasing until it was clear the war was won. Also, the US had nuclear weapons. Would they have been hesitant to nuke German cities?

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Germany still wouldn't have had a long range bomber.

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#2 "The Mark 1 and 2 panzers that conquered France were actually less numerous and less technologically advanced than France’s. " BUT the panzers were equipped with radios, and most French tanks were not. The "technology" here is not the quality of the individual tanks, trucks and airplanes but Germany's ability to co-ordinate tanks, planes and infantry.

That said, much of this article read like a straw-man argument. Who doesn't know that the V2 was far from cost-effective? Its importance was in everyone's realization after the War that a longer-range and more accurate rocket missile, one that could carry a nuclear weapon over a greater distance, would be a weapon of truly annihilating power.

Who does not know that the USA was the Saudi Arabia of oil production at the time, or that toward the end of the War the German war machine ran out of the stuff?

Who does not realize that by 1944 the industrial capacity and human resources available to the Allies was vastly greater than that of the Axis? The real mystery is, why did Japan and Germany continue to fight a war long after it became obvious that defeat was certain?

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6. Buried lede:

I could easily imagine supporting a well-designed Medicare-for-all plan.

So how do we get there? Does it really matter that early proposals come with a pony too? I guess it's a question of politics. To get anything done you need enthusiasm, but then too a path to convert enthusiasm to pragmatism.

Still, the easiest thing given swing state polling is to support Biden and chill.

I messed up my block quote. It should only be the "I could easily imagine" line.

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It matters insofar as the leading Democrat issued her plan, and that plan calls for $52 trillion dollars in new taxes. Most of which would by necessity fall on the middle class.

Biden doesn’t look like he will make it past Iowa, if he can even stretch his $9 million that far. Unless some Super PAC rides to the rescue.

It’s a Sanders v Warren race now.

The average of the four most recent polls show:

Biden 30%
Sanders 20%
Warren 20%

Biden doesn't need to win Iowa.

He has less than half the cash on hand than even Buttigieg does.

Never say never I suppose, but I’d imagine a polling shift is likely if he loses Iowa and New Hampshire back to back.

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It is possible to view Medicare For All as a left-populist version of The Wall, and instead of "Mexico will pay for it," someone else will.

In that framework, I think Sanders and Warren are more aware of the legislative long shot, and less insisting that it will just happen.

Still, I hope they are looking and swing state polling, and they have their pivot for the general election ready.

As pundits have been pointing out, they don't really need more blue state votes - in the general, that is.

This is why the Democrat Party makes people vote against them.

Warren could stand up tomorrow and say “all you working class folks compete with the world. Let’s make Doctors compete with immigrants like the rest of us, until we pay normal healthcare costs!”

Instead it’s “let’s take away your benefits and raise $52 trillion in taxes on the middle class!”

The political ads are predictable and hilarious.

Warren wants to raise taxes on every American household by $410,000 (real numbers) over ten years to take away your health insurance and give illegal immigrants unlimited free benefits.

Clown world. For all of us that wanted a sober version of government in lieu of Trump we are instead confronted with insanity on an even grander scale.

Projections are that America's ten year medical costs will be $52T. Already. With no change.

Warren seeks to restructure the flow.

Anyone who tells us $52T is "new" is lying, and telling us that they have no better, more honest, argument.

Warren seeks to restructure the flow.

It is magical isn't it. She knows so much about medicine and it's delivery that she could wave her hands and restructure the flow and it will all work just fine.

Let me put it mildly. If you believe she could 'restructure the flow' without massive, and I mean people dying left and right massive disruption, you really should go take your meds.

I think this argument would be more forceful coming from a non-Canadian.

Or are you actually all dying up there?

Well, do they have a 6% wealth tax?

Cost may be $52T now but without the deadweight loss of $52T in new taxes. And they seem specially targeted to maximize economic disruption.

Fancy words, like deadweight loss, don't change the cross country comparisons, and that it is our choice to spend more for poorer results.

Words don't change the simple concrete example of US vs Canada.

A few people on the page mention this, but at this point, foes of government medicine just ignore it.

Interesting, that. It's like they have no aspirations to be world class, and just want to return to the subpar performance they know.

They defend a status quo while completely ignoring better examples.

So, how do we get to that better M4A that Larry Summers could support?

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I guess I refer to the previous page, "Can we spend another $52 trillion without raising middle class taxes?"

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It's not a question of whether the Canadian healthcare system works. It's a question of how to get from here to there in the 2020s, not in the much simpler system of the 1950s when Canada moved to a state run system (not fully completed until the 1980s, by the way). It makes far more sense to allow (or force) the uninsured to buy into Medicare, then gradually translate private provision to Medicare over the course of 20 years. Anything faster would cause enough disruption to be political suicide for the Democrats. Let's please remember what happened in 1994 and 2010 after health reform dominated the politics of the first two years of a new Democratic president's term. I bet you Democrats in Congress will remember (Nancy Pelosi certainly does).

I agree, and the smartest pivot Warren could take if, she is the nominee, is to start talking about a 30-year transition or something. Totally not scary.

Hey, the youngsters want to be socialists? Good news everyone, youngsters are cheap to cover. You can do them first.

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"The worst of these allies was Japan, which got Germany to go to war with the US but didn’t reciprocate on the USSR when it might have made a difference."

The Japanese only cared about themselves. They believe foreigners are beasts who must be enslaved or destroy.

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2. I think the real lesson is that an industrial war is very difficult and costly to win. Even if the Nazis were delusional, you win a war when the other side gives up or you kill them all. It is possible to go far with brazen attacks, then stop and depend on the unwillingness of your opponent to put everything, their lives, production and political structure on the line to stop you.

But once it is all in, the Nazis were doomed to lose, as were the Japanese. Trying to invade Russia was foolish, as was not stopping at the channel. The Japanese could have stopped before Pearl Harbor and dealt with the territories they conquered, but no they just had to poke the sleeping giant.

An interesting tidbit that I ran across describing the strategies for air power. I'm not sure if the Germans did the same, but the Japanese would put their best pilots into the air until they were killed. The US took their best pilots, shipped them home and had them train the next wave. So over time the quality of the airmen decreased for the Japanese, and increased or held steady for the Americans.

Yes, the Germans did the same. They actually started depleting their flight instruction staff by using them in combat in 1940. The IJN trained several hundred pilots to an extraordinary, but had no system for replacing them at wartime loss rates. They were mostly gone by the end of '42. The British set up large scale pilot training in a number of Commonwealth countries, the largest by far in Canada. Differences like these highlight the discrepancy in scale and war-making capacity between the Allies and the Axis.

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6. Larry Summers on financing the Warren plan.
---
Been there done this with Obamacare:

Step 1, pass the law and let taxes rise
2) Lose four elections in a row
3) Have a Republican president put the whole mess on credit card.
4) Enjoy 100 years of deflation and low growth.

5) The Bogeyman will eat anyone who thinks people shouldn't be bankrupted by healthcare in the richest nation in the world. Anyway, don't worry. Republicans will repeal and replace the whole thing soon enough. They promised that.

Yes, people who think that just because a person or a nation is "rich" entitles everyone to goodies paid for by the rich deserve to be eaten.

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1. IOW, anything but enforce the law and foster law enforcement in the source country. Gets rather tiresome.

The response to these constant streams of people from countries that are, as usual, failing should be that they grow up and become serious countries, or agree to annexation by other, serious countries.

Supposedly the serious country receiving the immigrants doesn't want them, doesn't need them, doesn't want to 'pay for' them. Why would that same country be interested in taking over the entire failing source country?

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Checkout Deathride, the 2015 quasi revisionist book for a different take to VDH. The Germans were closer to knocking out the Soviets than we realized...even up to 1945 they were inflicting 3:1 casualties...the same as in 1942.

I also noticed this:

".. and while German tanks outfought Soviet tanks roughly 4:1, by 1945 the Soviets still had 25,000 tanks against the Germans’ 6,000."

Um. At 4:1 you do need 24,000 tanks to counter the 6,000.

Not a real convincing piece.

Wrong again, Napoleon. Other stuff can destroy tanks besides other tanks. Anti-tank guns, for example. Bombs dropped out of airplanes, for another. So no, you do not need 24,000 tanks to counter the enemy's 6,000.

So, in your model only German tanks are destroyed by non-tanks?

You need a bigger model if you seriously want to calculate all attrition on all sides. You don't get to do it selectively.

Now I admit tank vs tank is a simple model, but it's a fair one. It doesn't say "but I attack your side with sea monsters, I win!"

"tank vs tank is a simple model, but it's a fair one."

Not in 1945, it's not. The Luftwaffe had been ground to dust by then. The Allies had air superiority and bombed anything that moved.

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In a way the Germans were victims of their own success on the eastern front. They got way ahead of the reach and capabilities of the logistics chain. The Russians were hampered by Stalin who would was obsessed with stomping on any perceived threats to his authority. It is hard to describe anything that happened there as victory; it was a bloody mess that almost broke both sides.

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"The Germans were closer to knocking out the Soviets than we realized...."

The Germans came very close in 1941. Indeed, if they had kicked the offensive off on time, they likely would have captured Moscow that year. If they had insisted that their railway construction crews work through December instead of getting the month off, they might well have managed to have had a good supply situation for the start of 1942. Then they would have been defending Moscow during the Winter offensive with ample supplies of food, ammunition and warm weather clothing, which would have been far easier than what they actually managed to do.

On the other hand that was a particularly brutal winter and perhaps God just didn't like Nazis.

If God liked the Nazis we are all f**ked in the afterlife

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Hasn't #2 been the conventional wisdom for a while now?

Well, they lost.

But we did pick up a lot of pieces of their tech over time. Down to little things, like giving up the .45 for a 9mm.

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2. Most interpretations of World War 2 in the West, are almost exclusively from (a) "Greatest Generation" pop historians and (b) Jewish academics. Both are eager to play up the angle of an unhinged, race-crazed Hitler, who invaded Russia on aryan hubris, which fits the narratives of the two groups, albeit for different reasons.

The most sober assessment is that the Nazis viewed Operation Barbarossa as a preemptive strike, while relying on faulty intelligence about the USSR's industrial capacity and invasion timeline. Key evidence: Hitler himself saying exactly this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oET1WaG5sFk

Additionally, there is substantial evidence of a Soviet preparation for an invasion of Germany. Viktor Suvorov would have us believe it was the Summer of 1941. That's speculative. But to think the USSR did not plan to invade Germany in the early 1940's is naive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy

A large conflict between the USSR and Germany was likely inevitable. In this country, we make WW2 about anti-Semitism and racism. But even if Germany had been a tolerant democracy, the conflict would have likely occurred later anyway, probably with atomic weapons, similar to how the USSR and USA nearly blew up the planet, multiple times, despite being separated by oceans.

It's really too bad that the big fight wasn't postponed until the sixties. The color war-porn on the history channel would have been amazing.

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To suggest the Soviet Union intended to invade Germany in 1941 is nonsense.

This doesn't mean Stalin wouldn't have invaded Germany if he was in position to and fully expected the USSR to win, but that is not reality as it existed.

German aircrews in Barbarossa: 5,000
Soviet aircrews in Europe at start of Barbarossa: 6,000

That makes for worst invasion ever when few are trained for modern aircraft and training is poor overall. (If a Soviet plane crashed during training the unit's commanding officer could be executed for sabotage.)

I'll also mention this is just a year and a half after the USSR made a complete dog's breakfast of the invasion of Finland. You don't go from Finnish grandads feeling bad if they'd managed to gun down less than a dozen Soviet soldiers to feeling up to invading Nazi Germany at their peak strength in that period of time.

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You are falsely attributing Anglo empiricism and competency to an early USSR. The USSR during this time was basically a utopian cult, which combined Czarist expansionism with Jewish-Marxist liberation theology. It was a combination of semi-sober Russian/Georgian bumpkins and Jewish fanatics, with the latter being ultimately purged.

Much in the same way the Nazis overestimated the importance of racial superiority, the USSR grossly overestimated the likelihood the European proletariat would rise up and be led by a predominantly Russian and Jewish vanguard. They viewed the fact that Germany was at war with the Allies as inevitable part of Capitalism’s ultimate collapse. They were very willing to invade, as declassified Kremlin docs revealed.

Let's try a little experiment. Let's take your sentence, "They viewed the fact that Germany was at war with the Allies as inevitable part of Capitalism’s ultimate collapse." And first try it with the sentence you put after it:

"They viewed the fact that Germany was at war with the Allies as inevitable part of Capitalism’s ultimate collapse. They were very willing to invade, as declassified Kremlin docs revealed."

Now we'll try it with another sentence afterwards:

"They viewed the fact that Germany was at war with the Allies as inevitable part of Capitalism’s ultimate collapse. So they were very willing to bide their time and strike after the capitalist nations had exhausted themselves."

I wonder which of those pairs of sentences more accurately reflected Stalin's thoughts?

There are two schools of thought on this. (1) Stalin was caught completely off guard by the German invasion, (2) Stalin was planning an invasion of his own. The more rational "Stalin biding his time" lacks evidence supporting it.

School (2) is revisionist, but has the stronger trail of evidence supporting it, much of it coming from the Kremlin, concerning troop deployments in 1941. School (1) is the most accepted, but for the most part, does not hold up in the face of new evidence.

For summaries:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance
- http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/1278/did-stalin-plan-to-attack-hitler-in-1941-the-historiographical-controversy-surrounding-the-origins-of-the-nazi-soviet-war

You do know that Soviet motorized divisions in 1941 weren't actually motorized, right? They didn't actually have trucks. Things like this have to be sorted out before invading a country with an effective and battle hardened seven million strong military with a poorly organized, trained, and equipped military that is under 6 million strong.

Stalin would not have been able to maintain his grip on power if he had ordered an attack in 1941 because it would have been obvious to his generals and the Politburo that he'd lost his marbles. You may not know this, but holding onto power was an important goal of Stalin's.

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Here ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariner%27s_cap#/media/File%3AJeremy_Corbyn_(405506730).jpg ) we can see Corbyn wearing a Lenin Cap. Coincidence?

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#2: " The V1 and V2 programs combined cost 50% more than the Manhattan project, and even compared to the US’s most expensive bombing program (developing the B29), the cost-per-explosives-delivered was thirty times higher for the V2."

I'd known about the huge effort required to design and manufacture the B-29, but not about how huge the costs of the V-1 and V-2 programs were.

I wonder how they measure those costs though? In terms of humans utilized, the V-1 and V-2 programs might have massive numbers -- but the Germans were using slave labor. Conversely, in terms of dollars or reichsmarks spent, the German figure might be small but misleadingly so again due to slave labor. I.e. the classic price index problem, the question of who's spending more can depend on which price index you use.

Still, if the evidence for huge resource costs is solid, it was an interesting strategic research question that the Germans -- and all WW II combatants -- faced: which technology to pour resources into?

If the German V-2 program had been a couple of years more advanced, it would've hurt the British severely. As it turned out, the Germans should've put more effort into keeping up with the Brits and Americans with respect to cryptography and radar, but there was no way to know that in advance.

The B-29 was a mighty and effective weapon and shortened the war in the Pacific by months. But even if there had been no B-29, the US would've won anyway, and in much the same fashion -- heavy bombers incinerating Japanese cities and industry. The B-17s and B-24 would've been less effective and capable, but they would've eventually done the job. (And British Lancasters, which were closer to the B-29 in bomb-carrying ability, would no doubt have been brought to the Pacific.)

Same for the atomic bomb. In retrospect, the US would've won the war even without the A-bomb. It simply did what the B-29s had already been doing for months, incinerate Japanese cities, albeit using just a single plane and bomb (but an extremely expensive bomb).

All of this is hindsight though. The Germans bet on missile technology that turned out to be too little too late to help them in WW II -- but it did turn out to be crucial technology after the war. Same with the atom bomb, the Allies would've won anyway even without the bomb, but it was crucial after the war, even without being used (so far).

"If the German V-2 program had been a couple of years more advanced, it would've hurt the British severely. "

No it wouldn't have. The V-2's were an expensive delivery system. Heavy bombers were always a cheaper delivery system, because they could be re-used. The only thing that would have made the V-2's effective is atomic warheads.

"Heavy bombers were always a cheaper delivery system, because they could be re-used. "

How are you measuring costs? The 8th Air Force alone suffered 26,000 men killed. Plus wounded, captured, and missing. And many of those were highly trained personnel: pilots and navigators.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Air_Force#Casualties_and_awards

Bombers can only be re-used if they return from the mission instead of being shot down. The only countries that made a successful go of this were the British, who limited their attacks to nighttime, and the Americans -- but only after they developed effective long-range escort fighters. By late 1943, they had to curtail their long-range missions because they were losing too many bombers to German air defenses.

Sounds like an expensive rather than a cheap delivery system. Too expensive for Germany, which could not maintain an effective air campaign against Britain. Way too expensive for Japan, whose bombers were so vulnerable (and lacking in numbers) that they didn't even try long-range bombing campaigns, except against China whose air force was not capable of defending against the Japanese bombers as long as they were escorted by fighters. Too expensive even for the Americans, until the Mustang arrived -- and even the Mustang would not have helped if it hadn't been upgraded with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.

"Bombers can only be re-used if they return from the mission instead of being shot down."

Bombers have a vastly higher mission survival rate than rockets.

"How are you measuring costs? .... "

Cost per bomb dropped.

"Bombers have a vastly higher mission survival rate than rockets."

Tell that to the dead crew-members, who were shot down in the hundreds of thousands, and killed in the tens of thousands, during WW II.

How many V-2 rocketmen were killed during their missions?

Do you think it would have been better to not send any of those bombers? Undoubtedly the casualty count among the Allied ground infantry would have been higher than the total number of bomber crews killed. Imagine fighting on the Japan home islands if there had been no strategic bombing campaign. Yes, tens of thousands died in the air, but millions were dying on the ground.

You're now asking a totally different question: should the US have engaged in a strategic bombing offensive? That's an interesting question itself (there's good evidence that it failed in its main aims of crippling German industry and demoralizing German citizens until the tide of the war had already turned, although its subsidiary effect of neutralizing the Luftwaffe was certainly a very useful effect).

But that's not what your original point was, which was about whether German missiles could have been a useful strategic weapon, or would they have been better off using bombers.

Well the Germans did try to use bombers, but the cost was too high: they were losing too many planes and aircrews and had to cease major strategic offensive air efforts due to the Battle of Britain.

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" the V-1 and V-2 programs might have massive numbers -- but the Germans were using slave labor." They were assembled using slave labor (and that was mostly worked to death), but making their alcohol fuel was derived from potatoes that Germans could have eaten, and it took electric power to produce the liquid oxygen, and (2) in any case, that same slave labor could have been used to build warplanes, tanks, trucks, and other more conventional weapons that might have done more for Germany militarily than the V-2s could.

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#2: Dualistic structure of the German economy with competitive industry, and non-competitive services and agriculture, and lack of convergence in GDP/cap with Britain and USA is well known.

The author seems to write as if this were a consequence of fascism, rather than a fact of the German economy which had long preceded fascism!

Much of the other content seems a footnote to the general thrust of on lower overall industrial capacity vis-a-vis the USA.

When it comes to claims such as "And maybe, if we dispel the myth of Nazi industry, we can head off any future experiments in fascism and give due recognition to the awe-inspiring productivity of systems that recognize the value of liberty" seems rather in keeping with the general smug liberal-centrist (and left wing) tendency to self congratulate that they and what they represent are really the smart, competent, well-balanced ones, and the fascists (or more generally illiberal, authoritarian capitalist regimes), far from being a frightening enemy, are simply a bunch of laughable incompetents with various pathetic personality flaws, insecurities and freakish traits (a la "The Authoritarian Personality"), to be duly mocking by the shining and perfect self secure and open liberal personality.

It seems a bit too conveniently to bookend with the narrative of a bunch whose claim to legitimacy in today's society tends to overwhelmingly focus on their competence (because surely its not because anyone actually likes and would choose them!), yet in practice and in the view of much of the population seem anything but competent (and certainly far from "well balanced").

It's all just derivative of Adam Tooze's book with a good helping of typical Victor Davis Hanson pro-Anglosphere imperialist rah-rah cheerleading. The VDH book is more appealing to the libertarians because he spins it as a victory for free markets vs. command economy rather than do a serious analysis like Tooze demonstrating that the weaknesses of the German economy stemmed from the 1920s and earlier.

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I'm a little suspicious of myth-busting discussions of WW2 (accurate as the overall claims are) that wrongly think the Czech made Pz35 and Pz38 were obsolete. They were useful and functional vehicles in the earliest phase of the war and were still viable on the Eastern Front. Only the heavier T34 and KV tanks in the USSR were clearly better than the German units. And it was the PzIII not the PzII that was the backbone of the German tank corps. A very good, detailed engineering level discussion of the pluses and minuses of Russian vs German tanks is in Boris Kavalerchik's book The Tanks of Operation Barbarossa.

"And it was the PzIII not the PzII that was the backbone of the German tank corps."

PzIII (16K) & Pz IV's (13K) were the backbone.

That's 29K out of the total of 49K.

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