Impact of War on Society


There were diverse views regarding the NAZI regime and various reasons for opposing it within the elite. Some felt that the regime was evil and others although patriotic, believed that Hitler was leading Germany to destruction. Many of those who opposed Nazism did so because they believed in personal freedom and individual responsibility.


When war broke out Hitler impose wage reductions and a ban on the payment of bonuses for overtime. This caused widespread discontent among the labour force and was reflected in an increased level of absenteeism. This led to the regime backing down and restoring the wage levels to their prewar levels. Total war measures impacted on workers as there was a ban on holidays and an increase to the hours worked in the working week. Although some workers did become absent from work, employers were able to remove their reserve status meaning they would be conscripted into the army. The increase in working hours and the pressure to produce more had an impact on workers’ health and welfare, accidents at work increased and their health deteriorated.


Women bore the brunt of the hardships endured on the home front. They were obliged to spend time queuing for supplies of vital food when shortages occurred, and had to shoulder all of the childcare when their husbands were away in the armed forces. As workers women played an increasingly vital role in the German war economy. By May 1944 over 50 per cent of women made up the total workforce. In June 1941 Goering issued a Decree that if women were in receipt of family allowance and had given up paid employment, but had not produce children, they should be forced to register for work or lose their benefit. When Germany were defeated at Stalingrad in 1943 the mobilisation of labour was essential. It made Hitler abandon his ideological objection to the employment of married women.


Membership of the Hitler youth and BDM had become compulsory in 1939 and felt that the young people could contribute to the war effort. The young people were increasingly militarise in the final stages of the more them in 1945 by the age at which youths could be conscripted was reduced to 16.

Why did the Elite oppose Hitler’s regime?
Your answer should include: Personal Freedom / Individual Responsibility
Explanation: Because they believed in personal freedom and individual responsibility.
How did life change for women during the war?
Your answer should include: Housewife / Childcare / Conscripted to Work / Lost Benefits / Children
Explanation: They had to do all of the housewife and childcare duties and were conscripted to work, they also lost benefits if they did not have children.
How were workers affected by the war?
Your answer should include: Conditions / Wages / Hours / Punishments
Explanation: Conditions were worse, wages were lower, hours were increased and punishments were higher.