World War II, Volume 2, The Global War

CHAPTER 32 A Red Army troops attack during one of the murderous battles on the Eastern Front which transformed the whole conduct-and outcom e-of the war. In 1941 the war which had been confined mainly to Europe since September 1939 really became a world war. In the summer and autumn of 1940, German warships had cruised in the South Atlantic the Indian Ocean the Pacific, and even as far as the Antarctic ice barrier. But irritating as these pinpricks were their strategic effect was virtually nil the German Navy could not make much play with its naval forces even in home waters and in this war against mercantile tonnage the British Home Fleet did not bother with themas long as they kept clear of the British convoys. But when Hitler invaded Russia on June 221941 the war spread from the German-Soviet demarcation line drawn across Poland in September 1939 to Vladivistok and the Bering Strait. In December 1941 Japans entry into the war extended the war by land sea and air across the enormous area stretching from east to west between the Hawaiian Islands and Ceylon and from north to south between the Aleutian Islands and Guadal­canal. The war now became a direct sequel to the apparently endless war between China and Japan which had been in progress since 1932. From 1941 this series of bitter hostilities can be called "World War II” in every sense of the term. With the entry into the war of the United States and the Soviet Union both of them industrial giants the material and tech­nical aspects of the war now became more significant. Obviously not all the battles after 1941 were decided beforehand in the factories and the research laboratories. But it is certainly true to say that from 1941 every belligerent state was run on a war economy and an increasing mobilisa­ tion of industry as is reflected by the continually rising production of every type of armament in Germany Great Britain the United States and the Soviet Union. But the figures need close examina­tion. In Germany tank production in­creased twelve-fold (from 2235 to 27,345 tanks) between 1941 and 1944 the Pzkw I and II (5f and 10^ tons respectively) ceased production and were replaced by the Pzkw V -the Panther 45 tons -and the Pzkw VI -the Tiger 56 tons. American aircraft production underwent an even greater increase. In 1941317 four-engined bombers came off the assembly lines in 1943 and 194425946 were built including 422
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