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The Impact of the War on the German People

The Impact of the War on the German People

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The Impact of the War on the German People

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  1. The Impact of the War on the German People Changes in Attitudes and Daily Lives 1939 - 1945

  2. What we need to consider • The use of propaganda before and after the outbreak of war • Compare and contrast the German peoples attitudes and fears between 1939 and 1941 • Think about the term ‘reluctant loyalty’ towards the Nazi war effort

  3. The publics mood in 1939 • Helmut Krausnick described the general German attitude towards the war as a ‘Reluctant Loyalty’ • Bar a few fanatical Nazis, the most discerning perception of Nazi Foreign Policy successes were that they were achieved without war • Yet, through a number of factors (Hitler Myth and Personal Popularity) along with the restoration of German might and prestige on the international stage meant Hitler had the consent of the majority of the people • Yet William Shirer commented on the general glum mood in Berlin on the eve of war that was vastly different to the mood pre 1914 (Noakes Vol 4 – p510) • Effects of rationing and distribution of goods according on importance of workers (P510 – onwards Noakes)

  4. The benefits of the Phoney War • The Blitzkrieg successes in Poland saw Hitler’s popularity levels soar (Noakes – SD Reports – P528) • Propaganda machine went into overdrive portraying the British as unreasonable over their demands of peace • •

  5. Propaganda during the War • Propaganda on the Home Front increased dramatically on the outset of war • Interestingly the relief of the German people at the peaceful outcome of the Czech Crisis meant that much of the pre war propaganda that was devoted to instilling a military mood could perhaps be considered a failure or at least of limited success

  6. What were the functions of War Time Propaganda? • Mobilize the energy and commitment of the population for the war effort and to sustain its morale • Persuade the German population that military action was indeed needed • That pre-emptive military actions were necessary to neutralise the threat of aggressive intentions of her enemies • Portraying Germany as the defender of European Civilisation against the Bolshevik Barbarian Horde • Divide into 2 separate eras – 1939 – 1941 & 1942 – 1945, obviously second era became a lot more difficult

  7. The Initial Successes Turn Sour? • Noakes p.813 – Chapter 31 • Berlin – Rome Axis became problematic (Mussolini’s own imperial ambitions meant he became a thorn in Hitler’s strategic side (Research the Med War of 1940 / 41 for info)

  8. Operation Barbarossa • Look into the following areas – Propaganda during the War with specific attention paid to the following • The decision to invade Russia in 1941 • How German propaganda changed from 1939 onwards • What methods / tactics did German propaganda take during the war – what were the most popular types? • How did public opinion change during the war (how did it react to certain victories and defeats) • What do the SD reports suggest public opinion was like during the different stages of the war

  9. The problem • How do we find out about wartime public opinion in a totalitarian state? • Nazi state was extremely concerned about public attitudes – propaganda. • On the one hand might provide us with some useful information – SD reports –but as Goebbels remarked these were notoriously unreliable. • SOPADE reports – useful source. • Difficult to make generalisations – however, common theme that: • ‘Nazi regime was unable to create a uniform public opinion.’ • ‘Was constant criticism and complaint which became more pronounced as war continued.’ (Martin Kitchen)

  10. Growing dissatisfaction throughout the Reich over the war – encouraged Hitler to cease attacking the churches. This dissatisfaction came from soldiers letters or those returning from the front and the impact on public attitudes was far greater than propaganda churned out by the regime. Why? 1941

  11. Resistance offered by the Red Army contradicted the idea that it was a Bolshevik ‘rotten structure’. SD reports highlighted that the party was losing support during the war – with attendance at meetings, activities down. However, Hitler was able to stay immune from direct criticism – Hitler Myth (Kershaw). Propaganda/ideology vs. reality

  12. Hitler’s speech on Heroes’ Memorial Day – in which he claimed the ‘Bolshevik hordes’ will be destroyed over the course of the summer was well received. Also highlighting that he had the potential to galvanise the country. Thus making Stalingrad a focus for public opinion. 1942