Life During the Second World War

Life During the Second World War

Impact of Bombing Raids

  • The bombing of German cities by RAF and USAF was a major feature of the war, with some cities left 90% destroyed.
  • Millions were left homeless, and there was huge loss of life.
  • Resources needed for the war effort were redirected to provide emergency housing and supplies.
  • Healthy men, including soldiers, were recalled from the front line to rescue survivors and clear rubble, impacting Germany’s military capacity.

Rationing and Shortages

  • Food and essential items were in short supply due to the war effort and blockades restricting imports.
  • A rationing system was put in place in 1942, covering items such as meat, cheese, fats, sugar, eggs, & coffee.
  • Rationing led to a black market, which introduced new social disparities.
  • Germans were expected to contribute to the Winter Relief and War Relief efforts to support the war effort and the less fortunate.

Mobilisation for War

  • Hitler introduced a total war policy in 1943, in an attempt to maximise the resources available for the war effort.
  • All aspects of society were directed towards the war effort, including individuals and private businesses.
  • All men between 16 and 60 and all women between 17 and 45 were required to work, leading to a mass mobilisation of labour.

The Holocaust

  • The Holocaust was the systematic mass murder of six million Jews during the Second World War by Nazi Germany.
  • Jews in Germany were subject to increasingly severe persecution.
  • Anti-Semitic policies were justified with propaganda blaming Jews for Germany’s misfortunes and painting them as an enemy undermining the war effort.

Changes at Home

  • Women’s roles in society changed as they took on previously male roles, including work in factories.
  • Due to bombing raids and the potential for invasion, children were often evacuated to safer rural areas.
  • The war brought about significant loss and hardship, with the loss of family members, homes and possessions.

End of the War

  • As the war turned against Germany, more cities were bombed and conquered by the Allies.
  • Germany officially surrendered on 8 May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
  • After the war Germany was in ruins, with millions dead and homeless, a broken economy, and the country divided into zones controlled by the Allies.

Remember Life during the Second World War in Germany was marked by extreme hardship, fear and uncertainty. The war not only affected the soldiers fighting at the front but also had a dramatic impact on the lives of the civilians back home.