German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers for speeches on 8 June 1943 concerning the labor force available to the Axis forces. The basic claim is that although Germany’s enemies have more people, Germany and its allies have a much higher quality labor force.

The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 62, 8 June 1943.

Populations of the Axis and their Enemies

The following information provides our speakers with information about the military resources of the Three Powers Pact, and is an important supplement to the remarks of Reich Ministers Dr. Goebbels and Speer at the mass meeting in the Berlin Sport Palace on Sunday, 5 June 1943.The comparison of the strengths of the allied nations of the New Order and the representatives of the Jewish desire for world rule clearly shows the absolute superiority that guarantees our victory, just as does our military capacity.

Department of Propaganda Guidance

In the First World War Germany and its allies (Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey) had a population of 136,000,000 The enemies of the Axis, if one follows their figures and includes not only Central America and large parts of South America, but also even the various colonial regions, have about 1,100,000,000
Its opponents in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia had a population of 1,422,000,000 In contrast to the First World War, the balance has shifted clearly in our favor and is almost equal  
That gave them a population balance over Germany and its allies of 10:1 1. The relationship between the Axis powers and their enemies is about 9:11
In the Second World War the Axis has about 350,000,000 in Europe and about 500,000,000 in Japan and its area of influence, for a total of 850,000,000 2. While the population reservoir of our enemy has decreased by about 25%, the human potential available to us in Continental Europe alone has increased by a factor two-and-a-half. In the whole area of Axis influence, our enemies face a human potential over six times as large.  

The Labor Force in Continental Europe and Japan

Workers in:

  • Germany: 56,000,000
  • Italy: 19,000,000
  • Areas in Continental Europe under German and Italian influence: 115,000,000
  • Total: 190,000,000

Workers in:

  • Japan (Japan only): 30,000,000
  • Japanese area of influence: 160,000,000
  • Total: 190,000,000

The Axis powers together have a labor force of: 380,000,000.

The labor force of the Axis’s enemies is about:

  • Great Britain and Ireland: 22,000,000
  • The rest of the British Empire: 180,000,000
  • The United States: 49,000,000
  • Anglo-American area of influence about: 200,000,000
  • Soviet Russia (unoccupied) about: 85,000,000
  • The Axis’s enemies therefore have: 536,000,000

The ration of workers on both sides —the labor force — is numerically 4:5. That seems to suggest a certain advantage on the side of the Axis’s enemies. The Axis’s enemies gladly refer to this apparent superiority.

However, simply comparing the numbers gives an entirely false picture. The following circumstances prove that in reality the labor potential of the Axis is at least as high as its enemies:

1. The labor potential of Continental Europe is united in a single block. It can be used and directed from the center, both in organization and transportation. This is the advantage of “interior lines.” The third Axis partner, Japan, also has its labor potential within a relatively enclosed area of influence. The labor potential of the Axis’s enemies, on the other hand, is scattered and divided in all parts of the world. There are enormous difficulties in organization, technical aspects, and above all transportation to overcome, which makes practical use of the statistical superiority illusionary.

2. In Europe, the Axis has the best qualified, trained, and industrious workers, whose value is not determined solely by numbers. And one may not forget the large population reserves in the East. Besides the important agricultural workers, there are also highly capable experts in mining and industry. A strong system of organizing labor, ready for any task, increases the value of the available work force and contributes to maintaining the superiority of the workforce of Germany and the Axis.

3. An extraordinary number of workers on the side of the Axis’s enemies are practically useless because of climate or other natural factors (e.g., Indian farmworkers, Negroes on African farms, etc.). In Continental Europe and Mainland Japan, such categories simply are not present.

Population Density as an Economic Factor

(Continental Europe)

Continental Europe has the densest population in the world. It has (not including the territory of the Soviet Union) about 350,000,000 people in an area of about 4,600,000 square kilometers. With a population density of 72 people per square kilometer, Europe is far ahead of the other continents. Even Asia, overpopulated in some regions, has a population density of 29, America only 7, Africa only 5, and Australia only 1.3 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Organizing and coordinating these great masses in a relatively small area places enormous demands on the intellectual and material resources of our continent when it comes to forging these masses together into large political and economic units. The establishment of the large nation states and economies proved over time to be the decisive step for the economic rise of Continental Europe. Only after this historical task was achieved was there the prerequisite for transforming the wealth of humanity into economic blessings.

No less important for the economic potential of Continental Europe is the fact that the continent’s population is distributed relatively equally. There are some areas in Europe that are thickly settled and others that are almost empty, but in comparison with other continents the population is distributed relatively equally. The challenges that exist today, despite all the advances in technology, do not exist in Continental Europe. There are no cities of millions in the middle of almost unpopulated areas.

The Number of Workers and Occupational Training in Continental Europe

Population totals and density are useful, but not sufficient to understand the reservoir of human labor at the disposal of a country or a continent.

The decisive factor is the number of working people. One can estimate this number in Europe (without Soviet Russian areas) as about 190,000,000. A full third is concentrated in Central Europe, about a fifth in the East, the South, and Southeast, the rest in the North.

This total of 190,000,000 includes all occupations. We can group them into four major categories:

  • Agricultural and forest workers (including fishing),
  • Industry and mining,
  • Commerce and transportation, including restaurants and the alcohol trade,
  • The civil service, the professions, household servants, and personal services.

These are relatively equally distributed in our continent. About 70,000,000 are active in agriculture (about 45%), 46,000,000 in commerce and related fields (30%), Of the rest, about 38,000,000 (about a quarter) are in occupations that do not involve the production of goods, but rather services of every type.

There is some division of labor among the various parts of Continental Europe that has developed over the centuries between the individual national economies. Central and Western Europe are the centers of industry. The South and Southeast, on the other hand, are predominately agricultural.

Entire regions with a one-sided economic structure are scarcely present in Europe, aside from the Southeast.

This relative balance is particularly favorable for the economic strength of the continent. The industrial centers must be fed by the agricultural areas, and agricultural regions must be supplied with industrial products from industrial regions. Thanks to the balanced economic structures within a relatively small area, the need for transportation is not as great is in the huge spaces of other continents, whose production facilities are established in widely separated areas.

Labor Quality in Continental Europe

The European peoples have long been industrious and capable workers. Nature, primarily the climate, forced Europeans to face a hard struggle for existence, which over the course of history led to an increasing selection of the most capable and industrious.

The process of selection was encouraged through education and occupational training. The tradition of craftsmanship developed in nearly every European country, and has been maintained in today’s industrial economy. Nearly all Continental European countries have supported education and training through governmental measures, technical schools, legal organization of the job training system, continuing education, adult education, etc. As a result, Continental Europe today has among its industrial workforce the largest number of trained skilled workers.

Things are no different with the agricultural workforce. Europe is that part of the world with an agricultural system that — in contrast to normal farming and plantations — leads to high levels of intellectual and economic training.

Alongside the high professional abilities of Europe’s workers, there is also a high labor ethos that grew over the course of Europe’s cultural development, and is found in all European countries. It expresses itself outwardly in a love of one’s profession, in endurance, in intellectual flexibility, and in the drive for professional and social advancement.

Spiritual leadership is as least as important as job training and labor ethos are for productivity, which is shown by engineers, companies, and factory leaders. The universities and training schools have educated a large number of technicians in Europe. Over the course of generations in Europe, gifts have developed for creative manufacturing in the crafts and commerce, but also among the industrial labor force.

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