Life during WW2

Life during WW2 (1939-1945)

General Living Conditions

  • Life was heavily dominated by the war effort with food shortages, rationing and air raid precautions being a daily reality.
  • Extensive bombing (such as the Blitz) led to destruction of homes and infrastructure, resulting in displacement of many Germans.
  • Propaganda played a crucial role, painting a picture of a country united under Hitler, relentlessly fighting enemies, but the reality was often different.

Role of Women

  • The role of women significantly changed during the war. Often they had to replace men in various jobs because of the mobilisation of men for the war.
  • They were responsible for the household, their families, and had to cope with severe losses and mourning.

Impact on Children

  • More than a million children were evacuated from cities to the countryside to protect them from bombings.
  • They were often separated from their families and had to live with strangers, which had a significant psychological impact.
  • Education was disrupted significantly, with schools often being destroyed or used for war purposes.

Racial Policies and the Holocaust

  • WWII saw the intensification of the Nazi’s racial policies, culminating in the Holocaust when six million Jews were systematically murdered in concentration and extermination camps.
  • Other groups like Romani people, homosexuals and the disabled were also targeted for extermination or sterilisation.
  • This brutal racial policy was the darkest chapter of life during WWII in Germany.

The Home Front

  • The whole economy was geared towards the war effort, involving significant work for German civilians.
  • The focus was on producing war materials, which led to a scarcity of consumer goods and food, leading to rationing.
  • There was a Home Guard and regular air raid blackouts and precautions to deal with Allied bombings.

End of the War

  • The war ended in May 1945 with Hitler’s death and Germany’s unconditional surrender.
  • Post-war life was marked by destruction, displacement, loss and the start of occupation by Allied forces.
  • The need for reconciliation, justice (Nuremberg trials) and rebuilding the country marked the post-war period.

Remember, understanding life during WW2 requires understanding the wider societal, political and economic context of the era. Pay attention not just to key events, but also to daily life and the experiences of different groups within German society.