Ok lets take what we know about the major powers of World War II and create a “how could” and “what if” discussion out of it.
Main Axis Powers:
Germany, Italy, Japan
Main Allied Powers: USA, Britain, and the Red Army.
What do the allies have that the Axis does not? A hell of a lot more production and manpower. Maybe not Britain as much as Soviet Russia and the United States.
Soviet Russia and the USA’s industries were pumping out thousands of vehicles, and their populations supported large amounts of infantry, pilots, and vehicle crewman. Soviet Russia had moved its industries back further into Russia when they knew there was a possibility of invasion. United States was virtually in no threat of being invaded by either side and was probably fairly confident they could defend against a ground invasion from Japan/Germany if they were actually crazy enough to try it.
Britain’s industries were not as large as USA’s or Russia’s, but Britain was on a practically impregnable island that would of been a hell job for the Germans to take out. Also, Britain’s industry was being supported by the USA.
Take the contrast: The Axis Powers.
Germany and its industry was relatively small in comparison to the United States and Russia, both of which were already beasts in terms of manpower and industrial power. After Germany had control of mainland Europe, it provided a nice boost in industry to them, but most of it was being drained away on the Eastern front, because despite what the Germans could do in terms of manpower and industrial capacity, they still couldn’t match the Soviets who had practically every non-combat citizen working 16 hours a day making everything from small arms rifles to assembling tanks.
Italy was relatively small in terms of population and size compared to the rest of the major allies. Its army lacked motivation when it came to fighting, lost morale when it took a beating in North Africa, and had neither the civilian support, industrial capacity, nor population to manipulate in order to continue fighting a war over Africa.
Japan started fighting because it lacked resources to start with. Its primary goal was to build a war machine by conquering the resources of China, East Asia, and the Dutch East Indies. It was spread all over hell on islands, lacking both manpower and resources to properly supply all their forces. When in a conflict with the beast of manpower that China was able to summon (Not necessarily organized and/or equipped manpower, just pure manpower), and in a conflict with the United States which was now coming across the Pacific, what hope did the tiny Island nation really have to outproduce the USA?
My point being, could the Axis really have had any hope to actually win the war when the industrial capacity and manpower was favoring the allies? I mean, no one was touching the United States other than the Japs taking some islands, therefore the United States factories would’ve been operating at full capacity for years had the war dragged on that long. Germany started conscripting young boys and old men into its army for god’s sake while the United States was still receiving volunteers.
We never invaded Japan, but had we successfully landed on one the islands, and Japan not surrendered, we would’ve eventually been fighting Children and Old Men there as well, with fresh recruits pouring in from the states, being properly equipped by huge industry, and heading off to the fight.