AT the beginning of the fourth year of the Second World War, Germany still holds the initiative on land and sea. Her legions are scattered from the North Cape to the Sahara, and from Brittany to the Caucasus, while her subsurface navy preys along the American coasts. The fundamental questions are still unanswered. How long can the German people and the Nazi economy stand the tremendous and ever-increasing strain? Where and when will the system begin to crack?
Once it was widely assumed that the deterioration of the European food economy would break German stamina and morale. So far this expectation has not been fulfilled. A host of analysts has long insisted that lack of motor fuel and high-grade lubricants would sooner or later halt Germany's mechanized divisions and air forces. The writer is convinced that she has solved her motor-fuel problems to such a degree that she is not in desperate need of the oil of the Caucasus. More recently it has been suggested that man power has become the most crucial commodity in Germany, that human reserves are more or less exhausted, and that as a result the production of war materials has passed its peak and must begin to decline. Let us see.
In the First World War the Central Powers actually did exhaust their man power resources within four years, or one year less than had been estimated by the United States Army. By the spring of 1918 Germany was forced to reduce the training period of recruits to six weeks and to lower the physical requirements so greatly that the quality of the troops was seriously impaired. In 1916 the army conscripted 1,443,000 men; but in 1917 it could get no more than 662,000 and in ten months of 1918 only 405,000, because the war industries claimed more and more draftees. The labor force, largely supplemented by women, aged people, and prisoners, was increasingly listless and tired from 1917 on, and efficiency fell off steadily toward the end of the war.
In 1914 Germany
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