Demystifying the German Armament Miracle During World War Ii: New Insights from the Annual Audits of German Aircraft Producers

41 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2005  

Jochen Streb

University of Mannheim

Jonas Scherner

University of Mannheim - Faculty of Law

Lutz Budrass

University of Bochum

Date Written: January 2005

Abstract

Armament minister Albert Speer is usually credited with causing the boom in German armament production after 1941. This paper uses the annual audit reports of the Deutsche Revisions - und Treuhand AG for seven firms which together represented about 50% of the German aircraft producers. We question the received view by showing that in the German aircraft industry the crucial changes that triggered the upswing in aircraft production already occurred before World War II. The government decided in 1938 that aircraft producers had to concentrate on a few different types, and in 1937 that cost-plus contracts were replaced with fixed price contracts. What followed was not a sudden production miracle but a continuous development which was fueled first by learning-by-doing and then by the ongoing growth of the capital and labor endowment.

Keywords: German armament miracle, World War II, Albert Speer, aircraft industry, learning-by-doing, fixed-price contract, labor productivity

JEL Classification: H57, L64, N44

Suggested Citation

Streb, Jochen and Scherner, Jonas and Budrass, Lutz, Demystifying the German Armament Miracle During World War Ii: New Insights from the Annual Audits of German Aircraft Producers (January 2005). Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 905. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=661102

Jochen Streb (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim ( email )

L7, 3-5
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Jonas Scherner

University of Mannheim - Faculty of Law ( email )

68131 Mannheim
Germany

Lutz Budrass

University of Bochum ( email )

Ruhr University of Bochum
Faculty of Economics
D-44780 Bochum, DE 44780
Germany

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