We know about the famous Manhattan Project in USA and the involvement of certain scientists (in a couple of years time though). However, I’m more interested if there were other consequences of the ‘brain drain’ that directly impacted the war up to and including just the present date of June 1941.
I’m gonna be the bestest internet commentator ever, but on the surface, I’d say no. I’m gonna link this video from Time Ghost
Now I hope that’s the right one, but Indy mentions in the right one the relative lack of German innovation in the 1920 and how the Germans were mostly playing catch up.
Also a link here to a modern echo:
I think the basic problem with the Germans, then and now is that…well, Europe is far more…hierarchical in it’s social and work relations. American work culture is brutal and often unfair but there’s often greater freedom to defy conventions and rules and mandates…because Americans are optimists and believe good things come from risks and Europeans, certainly Brits, French, and Germans aren’t.
There’s a real fear of failure, best summarized by the guy who does Military History Visualized (I think he’s German but might be Austrian) where he says kids in America are told if you do well in school you could be president and kids in Germany are told if you do bad in school you will be a bum in the streets.
Germans, in positions of power at least, aren’t very creative and even when classically educated, lack interdisciplinary skills. Mind you I say this as an American and the way Americans fight wars is painfully unimaginative, which is to go for the jugular, in the most simple and direct manner possible,
Also, the thing that hurt German nuclear development was not the Jewish brain drain. It was the fact the Wehrmacht conscripted the physicists at the outbreak of the war. Hopefully, they didn’t send them combat roles. Until 1942 the Reich had no nuclear program because it was canceled in 1939 because they thought whatever was gonna happen, it was gonna be a short war and nuclear research in the critical period was wasted.
And then there’s the fact the V-2 program was as expensive as the Manhatten project. Hitler bet on the wrong Wunderwaffe because sadist that he was, Hitler never understood the difference between fear and hate, and that bombing civilians only makes you HATED, and not feared.
And while I don’t want to disparage the genius of many Jewish scientists who emigrated from Hungary and Germany to get away from the Nazis and the storm cloud of war, few scientists are instrumental in getting technology made, not in the 20th century. For all the hate Edison gets, his invention of the research lab made the lone amateur genius like Darwin or Victor Frankenstein or Emment Brown, a thing of the past.
No single scientist or scientist cadre is instrumental to technological development if the funding is in place and the political will is there. The failure to develop technology is a lack of capital and will. If you want I can give you three interbellum scientists who could have revolutionized warfare if anyone had given them funding. And I’m talking potentially war-winning tech if the Germans poached them. Imagine breakthrough mechanized infantry riding over every river and creek and the whole of the Reputina in 1941 on hovercraft. Finish dude laid out the concept exactly like the Chris Cockerell did, but did it in 1931, 25 years before Cockerell. But there was never any funding. And before then there was an Austrian officer who almost had the hovercraft going in 1917 but the Austrian government canceled it because they couldn’t build a fleet big enough to make a difference in the east, and in the West, well, there’s not a lot of use for hovercraft in the mountains.
And then you get to my current fangirl obsession, the merchant sub. World War I invention, built on private funds, brought back 15 million dollars worth of industrial goods and kept the German economy from collapse for a year on three trips in 1916. Then the Germans stupidly converted them to attack subs, which they did very well in, instead of sailing them to Mexico or Argentina or the Dominican Republic to get more supplies. Probably not as effective as buying from American ports, but it would have helped a great deal.
So, brain drains are less of an issue for developed great powers like Germany and more failures of imagination.
Thank you for your terrific answer! Very insightful and you’ve definitely changed my view and forced me to re-evaluate certain preconceptions I had re development of technologies and innovations in the early 20th century.
The war-winning tech stuff sounds really interesting. I would love to know more about it. We know how important rivers are going to be in the Soviet-German War in terms of slowing the German advance down and buying the Soviets precious time. It seems crazy to think that the Germans would not want every possible tactical and strategic advantage over their enemies.
Well, something to consider about hovercraft is that in modern times they are more versatile than boats and less expensive than helicopters and if that’s true you certainly can’t replace every opel truck with a hovercraft, even if the Germans don’t invade Holland and can extort all the rubber it needs from the Dutch .
I’ve been researching this kind of stuff, badly, for like 10 years and it’s taken me a great deal of focus to come across novel ideas, even in the age of the wiki and multiple history YouTubers.
Conventional thinking is rampant EVERYWHERE, I’m politically conservative and I’m shocked at the unwillingness to experiment among all people, including people who call themselves innovators and liberals. I’ve been called insane and a Wehrboo for pointing that what Rommel needed in North Africa were not more tanks but railroad engineers and basically build a railine connecting Tobruk and Tripoli so he’s not burning up almost all his fuel supplying his tanks via trucks. And this is before I found out about land trains, which I’ve NEVER seen discussed in anything about the failings of German logistics.
Also, have you ever seen THIS map in a discussion of North African Logistics:
This is an easy thing to fix, easier than taking Malta, which should be done in 1941, but even land trains would have done a LOT to allow Rommel to do more than retreat gracefully.
I don’t have numbers readily available but I remember hearing something about hundreds of miles of rail track being built in the south during the civil war to connect and repair damaged rail lines, and I’m pretty sure the Germans could have done a LOT more to make sure their investment in Italian Libya paid dividends.
So, there’s sutff that properly deployed could have been war winners, or at least war stalematers, used properly:
- Underwater rockets, as mentioned here by Mark Felton:
they had stand off missiles for subs from 1943 but no guidance systems because electronics were primitive and this is where you have one of history’s greatest missed opportunities:
Yes Project Pigeon was an American project. but the Germans could have done something similar. Now you put that on anti aircraft missiles and have those birds peck and peck and peck at B-17s you might not have enough to deploy to protect the rail lines in France but there will be NO strategic bombing of Germany by 1944
There’s also the the most stupidly dangerous chemical incendiary known to man N-Sotff:
War winner: even if you don’t want to use them, give it to the Japanese. Let them use it as kamazee ordnance. Any ship with a direct hit is going to sink. Because, as the eye witness to an N-Stoff fire in the 1950s put it: “The concrete…was on FIRE!”
If you are psycho enough to use it, and I am, then you launch Sealion as a feint and the Home Fleet is gonna get in range to blow up all those German soldiers on barges as any good naysayer of German victory will tell you. Let them. Then you stuka them with N-Stoff. No more Home Fleet! Repeat in Sicily, There will be NO naval support gunfire at Selanro nor at D-Day. In fact, you end the concept of a capital ship because if a tone of N-Stoff can eat through a concrete floor and burn for days and end up eating through a meter of solid gravel under the concrete floor, a 500 pound bomb of the stuff is gonna eat through the hull of a warship like xenomorph blood.
And the best part? Legally like White Phosphorous, which is similar in every way except for being the Devil’s favorite condiment, as long as you use it as an incendiary and not as a chemical weapon, it’s totally legal under the rules of war!
Also rans due to lack of information despite my best efforts:
beachable subs as Spec force landing craft
And in that sci show video above:
Dimethyl Cadmium Peroxide 6:55 as the great booby trap to terrify front line units into inaction during the “unstoppable” Bagration to delay the offensive and keep AGC alive without more troops and war material. One show scuff and KABLMO!
Also if you really wanna be a 1940s edgelord there’s Thioacetone, video 7:12.
Technically it’s a war crime and you will be hung for using it BUT, but because it only temporarily incapacitates with no risk of death directly, short term or long term, and this has been known since the 1880s, the Allies aren’t gonna retaliate with anything other than tear gas, cause anything more lethal and you have Sarin, and they know it, and if you you use Sarin they will use anthrax and you know it. and well nobody wins if everyone in Europe starves to death.
Also, while not within actual WW2 ops, there’s the Fernsahlen:
Use this these guys deep DEEP into Russian lines like suicide missions to blow up parts of the Siberian railway and Zukiov can’t ave the day at Moscow, which could win the war all bu itself but certainly reduce the horrific casualties of the Winer 41-42
Or look up my profile and look for the one about the Finland one, which was trying to assess how many Soviet soldiers could be starved to death by cutting the Murmansk railway in 1939. Use elite recon AND hovercraft you could potentially kill, spitballing 100,000 men every winter from 41-43, possibly also 44 if you can convince the Finns you’re the real deal and they stay into winter 1944. Either that you take Murmansk, which while it doesn’t cut off all lend-lease, it cripples the easiest means of getting it there.
But here I don’t know how much lend-lease could be transported via Iranian ports but it couldn’t have been too much because if I were the allies I would NEVER have done Arctic convoys past Norway if I could possibly avoid it. That’s like playing against the Harlem Globetrotter in Harlem, and also they have powered exoskeletons.
A better run German railway service organized along the lines of the United States Military Railroad from the Civil War 80 years earlier could have won(/stalemated) the war, properly supplied:
The German Rail System had less rail stock in 1939 than in 1914 cause Hitler liked cars.
And then we get to the political stuff. If you want I have a back of the envelope calculations on German merchant subs I posted for a Youtube Comment and you can look at it and see if I’m crazy or not. But it’s a VERY long post, so I won’t include it here.