Statistical Analysis: How ready was Europe for war in 1939?

Analysis: How ready was Europe for war in 1939?

Statistics

Army Navy Airforce
Germany
  • 1.5 million men
  • 2 Battleships
  • 2 battlecruisers
  • 9 Cruisers
  • 22 Destroyers
  • 60 U Boats
  • 1750 bombers
  • 1200 fighters

(Numbers deployed in the Invasion of Poland)

Poland
  • 700,000
  • 164 fighters
USSR
  • 1.8 million
  • 2 battleships
  • 2 Cruisers
  • Submarines – many, I can’t find an exact number though.
18,000 (planes by 1941)
France
  • 900,000 men
  • 5 million reservists
  • 2 Battlecruisers
  • 7 Heavy Cruisers
  • 12 Light Cruisers
  • 71 Destroyers
  • 76 Submarines
  • 826 fighters
  • 250 bombers
Great Britain
  • 1.65 million following Dunkirk
  • 15 battleships
  • 7 carriers
  • 66 Cruisers
  • 184 Destroyers
  • 60 Submarines
  • 920 fighters
  • 600 bombers

Other factors:

Experience / Weaponry Other Factors
Germany
  • Sub machine guns were used by the Wehrmacht.
  • Panzer Tanks well armed and highly efficient
  • Luftwaffe experience in Spanish Civil War
  • Trained to combine forces in offensive operations (Paratroopers, Luftwaffe
    and Heer)
  • Technologically advanced
  • Politically motivated troops (Waffen SS)
  • Danger of fighting on two fronts
  • Kriegsmarine under developed
  • Potential supply problems in prolonged conflict
Poland
  • Polish army experienced as a result of border skirmishes following creation of USSR
  • Limited mechanisation of forces
  • Ability to decipher German encrypted messages
USSR
  • Brief war with Japan and veterans from the Russian Civil War
  • 4 engine bombers
  • Reliability of armaments an issue
  • Purges of armed forces leadership in 1936 / 1939
  • Availability of raw materials and manpower almost limitless
  • Industry relatively inefficient, goods produced of variable quality
France
  • Maginot Line considered impregnable
  • Technologically sound: Tanks produced by companies such as Renault
  • Defensive policy
  • Number of reservists
Great Britain
  • Experience of policing the Empire
  • Largest navy in the world
  • Problems with reliability of infantry rifles
  • Radar
  • Forces from Dominions and Empire

Other key questions to consider:

  1. Which nations are militarily capable of conducting a prolonged war?
  2. Which nations have superior weapons, training and leadership?
  3. Which nations have the means to supply their troops in the event of a sustained
    campaign?
  4. What economic, social and political factors need to be considered when assessing
    the readiness for war of the major European nations?
Second World War  
Causes of the Second World WarHow well prepared for war was Germany in 1939?How well prepared for war was Poland in 1939?
How well prepared for war was Britain in 1939?How well prepared was the Soviet Union for war in 1939?How well prepared for war was France in 1939?
Statistical analysis of Europe's readiness for war in 1939
Documents and Personal Histories of the Second World War
Battle of the Bulge. Diary EntriesAircraft Recognition SketchesAir Raid Roles and Precautions
Dealing with wartime bereavement

Second World War

Causes of the Second World War How well prepared for war was Germany in 1939? How well prepared for war was Poland in 1939?
How well prepared for war was Britain in 1939? How well prepared was the Soviet Union for war in 1939? How well prepared for war was France in 1939?
Statistical analysis of Europe’s readiness for war in 1939

Documents and Personal Histories of the Second World War

Battle of the Bulge. Diary Entries Aircraft Recognition Sketches Air Raid Roles and Precautions
Dealing with wartime bereavement