Was life in the third reich nice?

Discussions on every day life in the Weimar Republic, pre-anschluss Austria, Third Reich and the occupied territories. Hosted by Vikki.
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Octotrooper
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Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Octotrooper » 11 Dec 2019 20:43

I have heard and seen conflicting reports on how life was under nazi rule, was it terrible with the economy in ruin or was life going or even thriving? Please help, thanks in advance!

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Sheldrake
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Dec 2019 00:41

Sureky if =t depends on who you were. Not so good if you were a Jew, gypsy, Jehovah's witness or homosexual

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Dec 2019 15:42

Hi Octotrooper,

In WWI Germany had suffered from terrible food shortages towards the end and this contributed greatly to internal collapse. The British blockade was heavily instrumental in this well into 1919.

Hitler knew this and Nazi Germany made great efforts to shield the Reich's population (and his own regime) from similar problems. This was often at the expense of occupied populations, such as the Greeks, who suffered mass deaths through starvation in 1941-42, even while Germany was exporting some of that country's food to the the Reich.

Life in the Reich was probably already increasingly unpleasant, but from February 1943, when Goebbels declared Total War, it was no longer possible to shield most of Germany's civilian population from some of the severer effects of the war.

Cheers,

Sid.

richcarrick
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by richcarrick » 23 Dec 2019 22:17

I'd say that life between 1933 and the outbreak of War was good for the majority of Germans. The Nazis were extremely popular to begin with, and this would be seen by many true believers as a golden period

AllenM
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by AllenM » 24 Dec 2019 19:10

From its start, the Third Reich provided better living conditions for most Germans and jobs. Germany's involvement in the Spanish Civil War is often overlooked. Rearmament became more and more open as war approached. The word Nazi derives from the German NSDAP, or National Socialist Democratic Workers Party.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Dec 2019 09:54

Hi Guys,

My impression was that, while employment improved under the Nazis in the 1930s, most wages did not. Generally Germans were prepared to temporarily sublimate their own personal desires during national reconstruction.

However, in order to achieve national reconstruction the Nazis to some degree mortgaged the country's future. For example, millions of German workers put down payments on Volkswagens. However, most of the money went into rearmament. Similarly, Germany got a lot of raw materials from South America in exchange for discounted trade Reichsmarks, which could later be exchanged exclusively for German products. However, few of these had been redeemed by the outbreak of war. Nor was unemployment as under control as it appeared. Many women had initially lost jobs and future work opportunities in order to get men re-engaged, while conscription and RAD service had absorbed at least a million men who would otherwise have had to be found commercial jobs.

However, generally life was OK, certainly compared with the preceding depression years, particularly if one was a conformist and prepared to rein in one's immediate expectations. However, if you were independent-minded life may well have been frustrating.

When war broke out in 1939 none of the financial and public expectation contradictions being stored up had yet to be faced and were then deferred by the necessities of war, for which people were generally prepared to make further short-term sacrifices.

I suspect that morale and optimism among Germans in the late 1930s had improved rather more than had their actual material conditions.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S "Those working in the rearmament industries aside, living standards did not really improve for German workers under the Nazis. From 1933 to 1939 wages fell, the number of hours worked rose by 15 per cent, serious accidents in factories increased and workers could be blacklisted by employers if they attempted to question their working conditions."

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 27 Dec 2019 18:10

Octotrooper wrote:
11 Dec 2019 20:43
I have heard and seen conflicting reports on how life was under nazi rule, was it terrible with the economy in ruin or was life going or even thriving? Please help, thanks in advance!
Overall, life was better for a common citizen. This is how Hitler kept the power. A common citizen had no reason to rebel, because simply life was better and safer.

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Gorque
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Gorque » 27 Dec 2019 18:43

I wouldn't say it was nice for any enemies of the State. Many people forget that some of the first victims of Nazism were certain Germans; e.g. members of the KDP, SPD, and labor unions.

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Mark in Cleveland, Tn.
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Mark in Cleveland, Tn. » 27 Dec 2019 19:45

I talked to my very old Aunt years ago about this.She was born and raised in Gewrmqany ( natural citizen, ) who married a US GI after the war and left for good in the late 40's for upstate NY. She wopuld tell me stories of everyda life, and then tell me about the final days when the Russians swept over the countryside where she lived.9Thats a different story) She said we(her family) lived ok, except for some food and staples shortages, life went on in her southern Germany area without any or much military stuff.Her family and others were farmers, had plenty of grains and meats from cattle and pigs, then massive rabbit raising..she said they were always guarding their livestock though, from town folk searching for a *stray* bahahaha.she said also in other talks that everyone in the REich knew about the extermation camps and what was happening, and were terrifiet of what was to happen if the Russianscaptured them..Latewr on years later she opened up as to what happened to herfamily and neightbors when the Russians showed up suddenly.She had the scars on her back as proof,, but that is another story for another thread..

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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by hambubger » 27 Jan 2020 02:00

Christmas of 1944 sounded like the most depressing holiday ever. Total War was in full effect. Civilians were using acorns as a coffee substitute and sawdust as a flour substitute. Very few families would have been united, as even the old/young males were busy with the Volkssturm, which had been set up in October of 1944. Any recent letters received from either front would have been really depressing to read. Morale was hitting rock bottom. Each Christmas during the war would have been progressively worse.

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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Georg_S » 19 Mar 2020 11:37

A post by Jeromewaf was deleted as it was out of topic.

//Georg
Waffen-SS, SS-TV, KZ/KL SS-Pz.A.A.
- http://wennallebruderschweigen.blogspot.com/

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Sarge3525
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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Sarge3525 » 28 Mar 2020 22:39

It was infinitely better than the Weimar Republic (post WW1 period).
The Nazis improved on nearly all metrics, brought full employment for all Germans, build housing, etc.
It was possibly the most advanced country in the world at the time.
I would say that Nazi Germany was not far off in standard of living, than West Germany in 1960s (post rebuild phase and economic boom).

Of course that's the peace period. During the war period, the dictatorship part of Nazi Germany intensified, and freedoms were heavily curtailed.
In peacetime, Nazi Germany was a kind of normal, albeit right wing, country. USA had segregation for Blacks, Germany had segregation for Jews.
They both similarly cracked down on communists.

I would say that you had a very bad time in Nazi Germany only if you actively opposed the regime before 1933 (actively involved with communist activity, etc). But if you are regular German citizen going to work every day as normal, then nothing really changes except:
1. You have a job or better job.
2. You have food on table.
3. Money isnt worthless.
4. Your kids might be in Hitler Youth which is equivalent of boy scout.

I'm not construing this post as being pro-Nazi.Just trying to be factual. Weird I have to post this but people will always believe anything.
Nazi Germany was far from a paradise in any way. But looking at the country compared to its contemporaries, it was definitely an advanced country.

Germans of the period almost unanimously say that when the Nazis/Hitler came to power, things initially were good.
That is up until the war started. Then the sentiment is unanimously negative.

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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Apr 2020 13:10

Hi sarge,

Almost every country "improved on nearly all metrics" in the second half of the 1930s, because the Depression was in decline, helped greatly by wisespread industrial reaction to German rearmament.

"Full employment" was also greatly helped by mobilizing manpower into the RAD and armed forces and sending women back to the kitchen. So, to a considerable degree, "full employment" in Germany was an illusion.

The standard of living, far from being "not far off" that of "West Germany in the 1960s", was stagnant in Germany in the late 1930s. By the 1960s every West German could reasonably expect a family car. Hitler promised a Volkswagen, took the advanced money for them off the workforce and delivered precisely none because most of the money was spent on armaments and the factory was turned over to war production. Another illusion.

You post, "In peacetime, Nazi Germany was a kind of normal, albeit right wing, country." Not by the standards of any liberal democracy, it wasn't "normal". However, by the standards of the USSR (one party state, state ideology, personality cult of the leader, no legal opposition, subordination of the judiciary, suppression of religious practice, monopolistic state trades unions, mass compulsory paramilitary youth organizations, arrest without charge, imprisioment without trial, etc., etc., etc.) Nazi Germany was entirely normal.

Yup, "the USA had segregation for Blacks" but Germany did not only have an equivalent "segregation for Jews.". It had confiscation without compensation or legaL recourse, restriction of professional practice, and a state backed hate campaign to force Jews out of the country. The US state may have been indifferent to the plight of its own black population, but it wasn't actively trying to ruin them and drive them out of the country.

There was nothing similar in the way Hitler and Roosevelt treated Communists. For example, how many US Communists were imprisoned without trial in the USA? Any?

The Hitler Youth was not "equivalent of boy scout". The Scouts were an independent international organization with entirely voluntary membership and were, incidentally, banned in all totalitarian countries, including Nazi Germany. The Hitler Youth was, by comparison, a nationalistic, state and Party-sponsored, compulsory mass youth organization that consciously was engaged in pre-military training. Grenade throwing practice was not on my Cub Scout curriculum, for a start! Nor do I recall a British 12th "Baden Powell" Division being raised from Scouts, or a US 103rd "Boy Scouts of America" Armoured Division being fielded by the USA. However, I do vaguely recall a 12th Waffen-SS "Hitler Jujend" Division!

You post, "I'm not construing this post as being pro-Nazi.Just trying to be factual." Well, I am, precisely because it is not being factual.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by ljadw » 03 Apr 2020 19:19

I have some objections
1 )) there was still a big unemployment in Britain at the start of the war, and there was a new recession in the US in 1938.
2) women were not sent back to the kitchen : there were more women doing a paid job in 1939 than in 1929 .The first Austrian female veterinarian finished her studies in 1938 after the Anschluss .On the average the working situation of women in Germany was better than in Britain, France, Belgium ,etc because there was in the countries still a shortage of jobs and men got priority,while in Germany there was a shortage of workers .

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Re: Was life in the third reich nice?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Apr 2020 08:28

Hi ljadw,

1) You object wrongly. The UK, like other countries, showed recovery during exactly the same years as Germany, but without a one party state, conscription, compulsory labour service, etc., etc.:

"Britain's world trade fell by half (1929–33), the output of heavy industry fell by a third, employment profits plunged in nearly all sectors. At the depth in summer 1932, registered unemployed numbered 3.5 million, and many more had only part-time employment."

"Unemployment began a modest fall in 1934 and fell further in 1935 and 1936....."

"The government’s policy of rearmament helped to revitalise industry, and by 1937 unemployment had dropped to 1.5 million. The outbreak of war saw unemployment rates drop again....."


2) Nazi policy for women was "Kinder, Küche, Kirche (Children, Kitchen, Church)". As a result, initially half a million women lost their jobs after the Nazis came to power to make way for unemployed men. You are right that female employment had recovered by 1939, but this was a matter of necessity rather than choice and one consequence was that the birth rate remained below what it had been in the Weimar Republic in the early 1920s. I would note that your example of Austria's first female vet finishing her studies in 1938 is a result of the policies of pre-Anschluss governments, not of post-Anschluss Nazi policy.

Cheers,

Sid.

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