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Germany in the Second World War
It is important to remember that, at least from Germany's point of view, the Second World
War can be divided into two distinct phases. The first runs from 19391942, when Germany
experienced a series of military successes, and that the general population were not greatly
affected by the hardships of war. Key to the German battle plan was a great deal of support
from the folks at home, but this was not immediately forth coming at the outbreak of war.
Many people had memories of the horrors that had come during the First World War, and
were concerned about a second war. However, the success of the Blitzkrieg tactics helped
boost people's feelings.
The second of these phases, from 1942 to 1945, was less successful a series of military
defeats, misery for the German population and economic crises. Germany had overstretched
itself, and was now fighting too many enemies on too many fronts. In addition, these enemies
had now started to bomb the civilian populations of Germany, and by 1945 the country was
close to collapse.
Phase One, 19391941
Rearmament Key Dates
1934 Hitler orders rearmament on a massive scale, which directly went against the Treaty
1935 Military Service becomes compulsory
1938 The Wehrmacht had swollen to 900,000 men, the Kriegsmarine had also massively
expanded and the Luftwaffe was back.
1939 Many of the most modern and technologically advanced weapons belonged to
Göring introduced his Four Year Plan in 1936. Its aim was autarky. While Germany
expanded it's boarders in the war, they were able to take resources from new parts of the
Reich, sending back the luxury items to Germany itself to help with morale.
This was brought in from the very beginning of the war in Germany, and every effort was
made to make sure people had a balanced diet. For things that couldn't be gotten, there were
ersatz materials, for things like coffee. Clothes were rationed, and toilet paper was impossible
to get hold of. Hot water was only available two days in the week, and soap was also
rationed. But the Black Market flourished, and people started to barter.
Like in Britain, children were evacuated, but many returned home when the immediate attacks
did not arrive. It was 1943 before the mass evacuation occurred. Most children were sent to
Austria and Bavaria.
The Second Phase Total War
Total war was the phrase used by the Nazis which involved all sections of the economy and
society contributing to the war effort. It was an attempt to stop the Allied advance on
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Hitler began to direct the war effort from his bunker in Berlin from January 1945. The Allies
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