Germany at war

Germany at war

  • With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Germany underwent significant changes to support the war effort.
  • Hitler declared a policy of total war in 1943, directing all resources and efforts towards the war.
  • Propaganda was heavily used to maintain morale and convince the public of eventual victory.

Life on the Home Front

  • Rationing was introduced with scarce resources redirected to the war effort, leading to a decline in living standards.
  • The workforce was mobilised for war production, with women and children playing an increasing role.
  • Large-scale evacuation of children to the countryside took place in anticipation of Allied bombing.

War economy

  • The war economy was dominated by the policy of autarky, aiming to make Germany self-sufficient and less vulnerable to blockades.
  • The Four Year Plan was launched to increase military production and prepare the economy for war.
  • Albert Speer was put in charge of war production in 1942 leading to significant increases, despite Allied bombing.

Holocaust and War Crimes

  • World War II provided the backdrop for the Nazis’ most heinous crimes, the Holocaust, resulting in the systematic murder of six million Jews.
  • Death camps and concentration camps like Auschwitz were established where mass murders occurred.
  • Non-Jewish populations were also targeted, especially Slavs, Romani people, the disabled, and homosexual individuals.

End of the War

  • As the tide of the war turned against Germany, Hitler’s leadership became increasingly erratic.
  • The failed July Bomb Plot in 1944 was a sign of the declining support for Hitler within the military.
  • The War ended with Hitler’s suicide in April 1945 and the unconditional surrender of Germany on VE Day, 8th May 1945.