True, German Wehrmacht was designed for one and only one kind of war – a lightning-fast all-out assault (blitzkrieg) by combined land and air forces. That had but one objective – destroy sufficient chunk of opponents’ armed forces and occupy sufficient territory to force the opponent to either unconditionally surrender or at least sue for peace on German terms.
However, the Wehrmacht was flexible enough to be adapted to the war of attrition – had Adolf Hitler agreed to do so. Unfortunately for him, Wehrmacht and Germany (and possibly for the whole world) he did not (and committed lots of other strategic blunders that I will cover a little later). Which ultimately cost him his war, his state and his life.
The armed forces by themselves can not and will not win the war. Only the military-industrial complex (armed forces + armaments industry + support industries) can.
Adolf Hitler led German rearmament effort that began in earnest in 1935 (although a lot has been done in 1920s and early-to-mid-1930s). Effort that created possibly not the most powerful, of course (the Soviet and especially U.S. counterpart were far more powerful) but definitely the most efficient armaments industry (and the support industry of course).
Industry that together with Wehrmacht was able (despite horrendous blunders committed by their commander-in-chief) to fight for 3.5 years a war of attrition with adversaries whose combined resources (military, human, material, industrial, financial, etc.) were far superior to the German ones.
Designing, developing, deploying and utilizing a whole array of genuinely revolutionary weapons in the process. Weapons that defined the future of warfare – and ultimately put a man on the Moon.
Thus Hitler created essentially invincible military-industrial complex. Contrary to a popular misconception, the Allies did not win the Second World War – Adolf Hitler lost it. Had he made the right decisions, no heroic effort would have saved the Allies – even if they had made the right decisions.
He promised to do away with unemployment (by far the worst economic and social problem in Germany those days) – and he triumphantly delivered on his promises. In 1932 (right before Hitler became Chancellor), unemployment rate in Germany stood at murderous 30% – almost every third German man was out of work.
When Hitler came to power in January of 1933 and especially when he acquired essentially absolute power in Germany two months later, getting German men back to work (and thus restoring their ability to feed their families) became his first priority, his Job #1.
His war on unemployment (being a quintessential Army man he treated it as a genuine battle) was an astounding, outstanding, unbelievable, genuinely miraculous success.
In five years unemployment fell by 15 times – to 2.1%. Given the fact that the natural rate of unemployment (when the workforce is considered to be fully employed) is generally accepted by economists to be around 4.5% (mostly comprising workers who are in transition from one job to the other), by 1938 in Nazi Germany there was a shortage of workers.
Franklin Roosevelt who incidentally became President of the United States on the same month Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany (and had to face almost identical economic problems) is generally hailed as a hero who got the USA out of Great Depression.
Yet in 1938 (five years after he came to power) unemployment in the good old USA stood at whopping 19.8% – almost ten times higher than in Nazi Germany (and the highest among major industrialized nations).
In five years, Roosevelt’s New Deal reduced unemployment in the country by 20%; Nazi reforms made it fall 15 times. Hitler engineered the drop in unemployment that was twice the world average; Roosevelt’s policies resulted in decline of unemployment that was half the world average.
The comparison is even more striking if one takes into account that Roosevelt had at his disposal almost unlimited financial and natural resources – while German resources were scarce (to put it mildly).
Which leads to but one conclusion – Adolf Hitler, his economic policies and his Führerstaat (which was at the same time Volksstaat – “People’s State”) were far, far more successful in combatting unemployment (and overcoming the Great Depression in general) than Western democracies.
Which becomes even more evident if you look at the following charts (the source for all numbers is the World Economic Survey of 1938/39 – an official publication of the League of Nations):
In spring of 1938 unemployment rate in Austria was seven times (!) higher than in Nazi Germany. Which makes the results of an Austrian plebiscite on unification with Nazi Germany very much predictable.
And Hitler delivered on his promises again – Nazi government brought Austrian unemployment to German levels within just a few months.