How did the axis powers last so long in WW2

I may have asked this question in the past. I can’t find it in search though. My question is how exactly did the axis powers last for 6 years in WW2?

The axis powers consisted mostly of Germany, Japan and Italy. Italy was a minor power. Japan had high motivation, but they were a newly industrialized nation. Technically wasn’t Germany the only industrialized nation in WW2 fighting for the axis?

The allies had pretty much every developed nation as well as every largely populated third world nation on their side. They had the UK, USSR, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, etc.

Looking at that map it looks like all of north america, south america, africa, asia and most of europe vs. Japan and Germany. How did the axis hold out so long?

Interior lines of communication.

The Axis powers had several years head start manufacturing arms, building and training armies, and practicing combat in Spain and China. Most of the Allies had convince themselves that they were prepared. Surprise!

The U.S. not only wasn’t prepared, it was under the impression that there would never be another world war and the two oceans would prevent invasion.

Once the Axis had gained ground, they built some very formidable defenses.

The Allies had to lick their wounds, rebuild their armies, probe for weaknesses, mount an offense, guess again, mount another offense, etc.

That’s not a specific answer but it takes time to build an army and a navy that could beat Germany’s and Japan’s best efforts.

Japan had beaten the Russians in 1905, and their industrial power during WWII could easily rival any in Europe. Don’t underestimate them just because they were a quick study. The US was late to enter the war, and was tied up fighting both-- as were several European powers (fighting both, that is). And don’t forget that Germany had the non aggression pact with Russia early on, which give them a lot of breathing room.

Germany had usurped a large portion of Europe’s industrial power before the war by the time the UK was full into the war, just as Japan had taken over much of Asia.

Well, the two biggest allied countries didn’t enter the war until mid to late 1941. And by that time several of the other major allies had been either knocked out of the war (France) or at least kicked off the Continent (UK). And neither the US or the USSR were really ready for the war when they entered, and the US had the added issue of being on the other side of the planet from where most of the fighting was.

And at the other end of the war, Germany was heavily invested in the idea that the surrender that had ended WWI was the worst thing ever, and so fought on long past the point where they’re defeat was a forgone conclusion.

So while the war lasted six years, the phase where the allied powers together fought Germany, and Germany still had a meaningful chance of winning only lasted two or so years.

Finland managed to beat back the Russians in 1939 so I don’t know if beating the Russians alone counts for much if a small but organized nation like Finland can do it.

Also according to this.

Japan’s GDP in 1913 was on par with Latin America, and about 1/3 the size of western Europe or the US. Japanese per capita income in 1950 was half that of Germany in 1950, and less than 1/3 of the UK in 1950, under 1/4 the US in 1950. So japanese GDP stats from both 1913 and 1950 show them having a per capita GDP about 1/2 to 1/4 the size of industrialized nations. Mexico’s per capita GDP was higher in 1913 and 1950 than Japan, and Mexico was not an industrialized nation.

I remember many years ago seeing a long and controversial study that analyzed WWII stats and came to the conclusion that, essentially, the Wehrmacht were man for man the best soldiers by a significant margin. Anyone know which study I’m remembering? The Googles fail me.

The russians were an inferior military for various reasons. Stalin purged the officer class, the soldiers were dysfunctional, the government didn’t care about casualties, etc. But I’m surprised if the German military was seen as innately better than the military in Canada, UK, Australia or US.

If so, I wonder why that would be. I’d assume technology and training was about equal in the developed world, but I’m not sure. The Germans may have been more heavily motivated because they knew what the Russians would do to them when they lost. Plus the Germans were fighting for their homeland while the Australians, US, Canada and (to a lesser extend) UK were not.

Not until 1945. Up to then, they were fighting for other people’s homelands.

Sounds like Trevor Dupuy and his Quantified Judgment Method.

I wouldn’t know for the UK or Canada, but it’s no secret that the US army in 1941 was unprepared to fight, training-wise.

Why? The Canadian and Australian Armies were glorified militia’s. The UK has always used its Army more as small force to attack on the periphery using its fanatstic and unbeatable Navy, and using colonial forces (from India) when necessary.

The German Army was and always has been one of the main innovaters of military thinking. They literally brought a style of warfare that [del] the British had used in WW1 and then forgotten about[/del] surprised everyone. Their tactics and strategy were streets ahead of everyone and people like Von Manstein and Guderian they had possibly the best military thinkers of the last century.

As mentioned, the armies of the Anglosphere had mostly fallen back to their pre-WW1 standard of a small standing force that would have time to call upon a large mobilization of volunteers and militias if war came (and in the case of Britain, use colonial regiments for the bulk of the manpower abroad). It took a while to get up to speed, you can only assemble planes, ships and tanks and train farmboys so fast. By the time everyone got its act together the European Axis was holding most of Europe and Japan most of the West Pacific Rim and SE Asia, and both in a good defensive posture.

While true, bear in mind Japan’s economy was devoted to waging war to an extent no more industrialized nation - except Germany - was. Sure, they had less money, but it was all going to weapons and soldiers.

It was certainly thought that way at the time, and at a tactical and operational level it was absolutely true. Speaking as a Canadian I’m very proud of Canada’s immense war effort to defeat Nazism, but it is a truth repeated in pretty much every Canadian history of WWII that the Canadian Army was noticeably inferior to its German counterpart. Canada succeeded in its offensives in Italy, France and the Low Countries largely through the approach of just pounding and pounding on an opponent that lacked our numbers and air/naval supremacy.

When you get up to the strategic level, clearly Germany was outsmarted past 1941. Below that, though, their soldiers and officers were of exceptional quality.

As to lasting so long, I would not underestimate the power of extreme fanaticism and fear in getting troops and civilians to endure extreme sacrifices.

Suicidal behavior (as in the case of Japan) doesn’t win wars, but it does make it take longer to lose them.

As I understand, Japan didn’t have the ‘deadwood’ of outdated industry to replace with new equipment and techniques to roll into wartime production, they had been isolationist until they got dragged kicking and screaming into the modern industrial age. The West, who controlled a fair amount of the East also more or less kept their controlled territories agricultural to give them a captive market for industrial goods and without military [so they didn’t have an armed uprising like the Boxer Revolution] so Japan and their Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere got a good rolling start.

I found it a kick that I could actually go into the room in Building 86 at Portsmouth Naval Yard in Kittery Maine where the Treaty of Portsmouth was negotiated and signed :smiley:

I’d assume the Nazi soldiers were better because the Nazis glorified miltarism over every human virtue, and military success as the defining criterion for a nation’s fitness to exist, and so poured emmense effort into promoting military matters - while the Western Allies, by and large, looked on it as a terrible necessity, something that they were reluctantly forced into doing much against their will.

Once D-Day happened, it took 9-10 months for Nazi Germany to break apart. Not so long.

Dude, you are more intelligent that that surely. The Nazi’s did not create the German military machine. The Germans had a military tradition and a very successful one, when the Nazi’s were just a bunch of Bavarian Beer Bullys. It was not “fanaticism” or “ideology” which won them so much success, it was that tradition, married with one of the worlds most advanced scientific and technological bases.

Ian Kershaw’s book The End will tell you. How and why Germany did, anyway. It’s a fascinating read.