Soviet Destruction

I am racing (blitzkrieg?) to finish The Wages of Destruction by Adam Tooze before it is due on Tuesday.  Today I read the chapter about Germany’s planning for and carrying out the invasion of the Soviet Union.  I had never read about the murderous extent of that campaign.  If you get a chance read the book yourself, but to give you a taste:

…it was the Soviet prisoners of war from whom the Hunger Plan exacted the heaviest toll.  In the first phase of Barbarossa [beginning in June 1941] no less than 3.3 million Red Army soldiers fell into the hands of the German army…Of these only 1.1 million were still alive and only 400,000 were in sufficiently good physical state to be capable of work [by December, 1941].

Part of the reason for the high death count were Nazi orders to shoot any representative of the Soviet government on sight.   Many other prisoners were deliberately starved to death.

I have sometimes wondered about what kind of economic impact the enormous death toll of World War II had (to say nothing of lost capital).  Of course, many of the dead were replaced rather quickly, but the time wasted while the children grew up as well as their educational costs were deadweight loss.  If World War II didn’t happen, would the human race have had the internet 20 years earlier in 1970?  Would the ipod have come out in 1980?  What would the world of 2008 have looked like?  I guess we will have to wait until 2028 to find out.


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