9. 7. 34
Air Bombardments of Western Germany.
The statements made in Allied broadcasts to the effect that German war production has dropped by 25 – 30% up to now as a result of bombardments of Germany's armament centres are entirely erroneous. The decline of production is relatively light. It appears that the aerial photographs brought back by Allied reconnaissance aircraft are used far more extensively as bases for the judgment of damage inflicted than first-hand reports. Such photographs may well show the destruction of entire work-shops, but they give no indication as to the actual extent of [the] destruction of machine equipment. It has been established that even when work-shops are completely smashed, the machine tool equipment generally suffers only minor damage unless destroyed by direct hits. The intact machines are then put back into operation 3 – 4 weeks after the bombardment, when the debris has been cleared away; while the shop-buildings themselves are reconstructed only so far as is necessary for the routine of production, in order to conserve the appearance to the aerial observer of heavy damage and stoppage of work. Exceptions to this rule are naturally those plants which from their character are paralyzed entirely by direct hits in any vital part, such as boiler houses, power stations, chemical factories, refineries, etc.
A circumstance that very seriously interferes with industrial production, and one that has not been fully appreciated as yet by the Allies, is the destruction of residences. As a result of the extensive destruction of workers' settlements and residential quarters in the Ruhr, housing accommodation for workers has become so scarce that a more appreciable direct effect in lowering rates of production is traceable to this circumstance than to any direct damage to centres of production. The acute shortage of building materials and construction workers makes it impossible to cope effectively with this situation. The remedy of evacuating from areas subject to air attack all inhabitants whose presence is not essential to armament production cannot be applied because it would involve other serious dislocations, especially of the transport system.
No Decentralization in Germany's Administrative System.
Contrary to the belief current among the Allies that German administration has been partially decentralized, it must be emphasized that the entire administrative mechanism of the Reich and the Nazi Party continues to be centred in Berlin and the other traditional administrative centres, and that, moreover, no preparations are being made for any future decentralization. The recurring remonstrances made by the High Command of the Wehrmacht are met by Party Headquarters with the argument that it would injure the prestige of the Party if the centres of administration were to be moved elsewhere, and that the potential influence of such preparatory measures upon the morale of the home front made it imperative to avoid them. Consequently, a concentrated bombardment and possible destruction of the central administrative authorities, which are all still housed in the traditional public buildings, would very effectively paralyze Germany's administrative system.
As regards the abortive Doenitz Offensive, it is true that it represents a major German defeat; but although the U-Boats were indeed recalled late in June this must not be regarded as a purely defensive measure, but must be interpreted in connection with the evolution of new offensive tactics as a rejoinder to the improved Allied defence. The OKW (High Command of the Wehrmacht) confidently anticipates new great U-boat successes in August as a result of a novel offensive strategy.