average height of WWII-era Germans

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Beppo Schmidt
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average height of WWII-era Germans

Post by Beppo Schmidt » 04 Oct 2006 01:30

Can anyone give me any information about the average height of German people in the 1930s-40s? Was it different than today?

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Scarey
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Post by Scarey » 04 Oct 2006 03:05

i think the average height would prob be around 5' 7"/ 5'8". I mean food standards and health standards are getting better and better people a growing better and living longer. Or i could be wrong .

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Beppo Schmidt
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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 04 Oct 2006 21:26

i think the average height would prob be around 5' 7"/ 5'8".
Well Erwin Rommel was 5'7, and he seems to be below average height in the footage and pictures I've seen of him, plus he is described as physically small. But I have also heard Hitler, who was 5'8 or slightly over, often described as being short, and he doesn't particularly seem short in comparison to the other people. I was just wondering if Hitler was actually below average or if he was normal height for the time.

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Post by nondescript handle » 05 Oct 2006 02:26

Well I've learned as a rule of thumb, that the average German hight increased at a rate of 1cm per ten years over the last 150 years.
According to the Federal Statistical Office males born 1985-1987 have an average hight of 181cm (~5'11").
So in 1935 the average young man of 18-20 (born 1915-1917) would be 7cm (~2 inch) shorter: 174cm (~5'8").

Regards and HTH
Mark

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Beppo Schmidt
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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 05 Oct 2006 12:47

Thanks Mark.

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Post by Truffelschwein » 06 Oct 2006 10:44

You have to remember that depending on the source the average height in Germany today ranges from 5'8" to 5'11". Most likely around 5'8"-5'9" in reality.

You also need to remember that compairing the heights of people like Hitler or Rommel only works if you actually know their actual heights in which we don't. We don't know if Hitler was 5'9" or 5'6". Most likely around 5'6"-5'7" though.

I would assume that the average height in Germany today is about 5'8.5" and was about 5'6.5"-5'7.5" then.

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Post by Matt » 15 Oct 2006 11:32

I would have thought German males today would be taller than an average of 5'8.5"
I believe they are the second tallest race in the world, with the Dutch being tallest.
A Dutch friend told me the average height of Dutch males 16-21 is 6'1",(not a reliable source - I know) - I do not think the Germans would be far behind.
I was in Germany 8 years ago, and noticed most males were taller than me. (I am 6')
Will do some research and see if I can get some information.

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Post by kahlo » 16 Oct 2006 17:40

well being german originally, and staying over there I found my self to be of average height at 6'1!

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Post by Nautilus » 17 Oct 2006 20:35

It appears that during the Third Reich ~6ft men were thought to be very imposing, as the rules for joining the military guards units asked for a height around this figure (LSSAH - minimum 180cm/5ft 11in, Führer-Begleit-Battalion - minimum 184cm/6ft 0.5in). Traditionally for this kind of units are selected large soldiers with impressive physical strength.

There was an anecdote of Adolf Hitler asking a soldier from his guard, much taller than himself, which was the minimum height for joining the unit. Upon hearing the answer, the Führer, himself 175cm/5ft 9in tall, said with a sigh: "Guess I wouldn't qualify... I'm to serve in the infantry again." :)

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Post by Truffelschwein » 18 Oct 2006 14:22

You just notice the taller one's than the average height one's.

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ancasta
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Post by ancasta » 11 Nov 2006 03:22

I'm a German/Dutch female and 6'2", and during the war a couple of my relatives were known to be 6'4" 8O

A simple SS Helferin recruiting poster (I have a copy) stipulates that female applicants to this service must be 5'7" and above.

Some period diaries mention the height thing a lot - it seems that some Germans were huge. However this is nothing - in 6th century AD Britain, Holland and North Germany (the Saxons and the Jutes) the average height of a man and woman turned out to be taller than today's average height! I think we have some catching up to do :P

Do look at photos of parade's and similar - look carefully and you will notice some height differences. I have some photos of female parades with huge differences in height between women.

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Re: average height of WWII-era Germans

Post by Nautilus » 25 Oct 2012 00:26

Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg (born 1847 and already retired by the beginning of WWI) had been a giant of a man at 196cm (almost 6ft 5in, just like Otto von Bismarck) and the difference between him and the Führer is visible:

Image

~Nautilus

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Re: average height of WWII-era Germans

Post by KaiserWolf » 25 Oct 2012 02:52

Last time I was in Berlin everyone seemed to be just as tall as me, I can't imaging it has changed THAT much. If they were too short, I'm sure they would have been issued some platform jack-boots. :lol:

I'm six foot two by the way.

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Re: average height of WWII-era Germans

Post by Wolfgang ski » 10 Nov 2012 01:16

I was in Berlin last year and Berliners are tall people. I am 6 ft. And most of the men were my height or taller. The women were all tall as well. I might add that they were mostly in very good shape. Like a skier or swimmer build. Just my observations. I am of German descent also.

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Re: average height of WWII-era Germans

Post by uhu » 10 Nov 2012 01:45

One has to take into account the circumstances they grew up in. My parents were both short having grown up during WWI and the post war blockade which affected them. My Mom would often talk about the years of not seeing an orange or a banana. Those living in the cities were even more affected. Same during WWII and after, a terrible time for a youngster or baby.

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