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Demystifying the German "Armament Miracle" During World War II. New Insights from the Annual Audits of German Aircraft Producers

Author

Listed:
  • Lutz Budrab

    () (University of Bochum)

  • Jonas Scherner

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Jochen Streb

    () (University of Hohenheim)

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 fuelled first by learning-by-doing and then by the ongoing growth of the capital and labor endowment.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutz Budrab & Jonas Scherner & Jochen Streb, 2005. "Demystifying the German "Armament Miracle" During World War II. New Insights from the Annual Audits of German Aircraft Producers," Working Papers 905, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:905
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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp905.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kazuhiro Mishina, 1999. "Learning by New Experiences: Revisiting the Flying Fortress Learning Curve," NBER Chapters,in: Learning by Doing in Markets, Firms, and Countries, pages 145-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Blazek, David & Sickles, Robin C., 2010. "The impact of knowledge accumulation and geographical spillovers on productivity and efficiency: The case of U. S. shipbuilding during WWII," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1484-1497, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    German armament miracle; World War II; Albert Speer; Aircraft industry; Learning-by-doing; Fixed-price Contract; Labor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • L64 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Other Machinery; Business Equipment; Armaments
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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