Impact of world war 2 1939-45

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Military Casualties

  • Between 1939 and 1945 16 million Germans served in the army - over 3 million died in battle, and 1.5 million were taken prisoner. The majority taken prisoner by Russians died in prison. 
  • Towards the end of the war numbers of military casualties increased - more Germans soldiers died in the last 4 months of war that the previous 2 years combined
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Hitler disappeared from public view

  • After the war he was seen in public less and less and spent most of his time at his military HQ
  • Did not visit troops, or go to those cities hit by Allied bombers
  • No longer made broadcast or speeches on the radio to help the morale of the people
  • Towards the end of the war was replaced my his Propaganda Minister, Goebbels
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  • German armies who captured Soviet Russia in 1941 treated Russian civilians terribly (resulted in the actions of the Russians in Berlin in 1945)
  • When Russians advanced on East Germany in 1945, many German civilians fled, scred of the Soviet army - betw. Jan and May 1945, approx 5 million Germans fled
  • Few returned as East Germany remained under communist control at the end of the war, so German authorities had to deal with a huge displacement of people
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German Women

  • As so many men were at war it was hard for women to hold their families together 
  • They faced the difficulties of foo, clothing and fuel being rationed
  • They were expected to help towards the war in any way that they could - working in factories or on the land
  • There was not a huge increase in the number of employed women during the war because it was quite high already
  • The end of the war brought one last horror for women: many Russian soldiers in advancing on East Germany in 1945 captured Berlin and approimately 100,000 German women were *****
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Economic Impacts

  • In 1937, there was a huge fall in consumer spending, meaning that Germans had nothing to spend their increasing wages on
  • As a result they saved their money and these savings were taken by the Nazis to py for the war
  • Work hours lengthened - in the aircraft industry it was normal to work a 72 hour week by 1944
  • Germany's economic resources between 1941-45 were nothing like those of others (such as the USA, who's economy was so strong it could lend supplies to its allies)
  • Germany had fewer and fewer people, factories and raw materials
  • This inability to match the resources of the Allies was the main reason for Germany's defeat.
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Resistance to the war

  • 'White-Rose' Group - based at Munich University; horrified by the Nazi's actions against the Jews. Gave out anti-nazi propaganda such as leaflets, and also did graffiti. It's leaders, e.g. Hans and Sophie Scholl, were arrested and executed in 1943
  • Communist Resistance - Old enemies of the Nazis and emerged in working class areas such as the Ruhr
  • 'Kreisau Circle' - a small group of upper-class, anti-Nazi political assosciates. Basically a discussion group who focused on making plans for a post-war democratic Germany
  • 'Beck-Goerdeler' group - old-fashioned, upper class nationalists who turned against Nazism when they realised Hitler was leading Germany to disaster. They planned to assassinate Hitler
  • 'July Plot', 1944 - Beck-Goerdeler group made their move to kill Hitler by planting a bomb in a conference room at Hitler's Military HQ. 4 were killed, but Hitler escaped without bad injuries, and those involved in the plot were executed.
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Foreign Resources

  • As a result of its conquests, Germany gained some food supplies and raw materials
    • E.G. France gave coal and iron ore, Romania provided oil, Southern Russia provided wheat
  • Germany captured lots of military equipment such as French tanks and artillary, which Germany used right up until 1945
  • Germany's conquered territories provided Germany with much needed supplies of labour - Nazis used French and Russian prisoners of war to work in factories
    • Millions of civilian were transportes from Poland, France and other occupied countries to work as slaves, which made up as approx. 1/5 of the German workforce. They were treated very poorly.
    • Prisoners held in concentration camps were also used as slaves - Himmler's ** built up a huge enterprise on the basis of concentration camp slavery - ran firms making things like clothes, furniture and arms
  • However, many slaves were unskilled, and Germany's economy was weakened by a lack of skilled workers. Oil was in short supply - synthetic fuel and Romanian loans could not keep up with demand. Hitler tried to sieze Baku in Russia to get oil from there, however the Nazis defeat at Stalingrad in 1943 blocked this idea
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