The Wages of Destruction
|June 29th, 2006|
|LC Class||HC286.3 .T66 2006|
|Preceded by||Statistics and the German State 1900–1945: The Making of Modern Economic Knowledge|
|Followed by||The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931|
The Wages of Destruction won the Wolfson History Prize and the 2007 Longman/History Today Book of the Year Prize. It was published to critical praise from such authors as Michael Burleigh, Richard Overy and Niall Ferguson.
In the book, Tooze writes that after the Germans had failed to defeat Britain in 1940, the economic logic of the war drove them to an invasion of the Soviet Union. Hitler was constrained do so in 1941 to obtain the natural resources necessary to challenge two economic superpowers: the United States and the British Empire. That sealed the fate of the Third Reich because it was resource constraints that made victory against the Soviet Union impossible, especially when it received supplies from the Americans and the British to supplement the resources that remained under Soviet control.
The book makes the case for the economic impact of the British and then Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign, but it argues that the wrong targets were often selected. The book also challenges the idea of an economic miracle under Albert Speer, and rejects the idea that the Nazi economy could have mobilised significantly more women for the war economy.
The book was positively reviewed by History Today, which called it "an extraordinary achievement":
By thinking afresh about what Hitler’s war aims really were and how the Nazi leadership attempted first to win and then prolong a war for which they knew they never possessed sufficient resources, Tooze has produced the most striking history of German strategy in the Second World War that we possess.