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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of European economies during the Second World War, showing that total war affected all economies, yet in different ways. Mobilization presented massive challenges, and often led to labour shortages in other sectors. Resources proved to be a decisive factor in determining the outcome of the war, since richer nations were able to get more out of their economies and populations for the war effort. This chapter first considers Great Britain and Germany as comparable great powers dealing with the exigencies of total war, and then puts the spotlight on Switzerland, as a case study of a neutral nation during wartime, and Finland, a small state that was forced into the war. The comparison of different states during this conflict highlights the connections between large and small states, a perspective that has not been emphasized in earlier literature.

Keywords: wartime economies, total war, neutrality, small states, mobilization, trade, Switzerland, Britain, Germany, Finland

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