One of the most enduring myths associated with history The Third Reich is a myth about the "society of happiness" in Germany, which arose under the rule of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. In Germany, the myth of creating “a beautiful, orderly, socially equitable world, which may still suffer from some flaws, but generally happy, beautiful world ...” (from Heinrich Himmler’s speech to the SS forces from 13 July 1941 of the year) .
In the propaganda brochures of "Hitler the Liberator", which were distributed in the occupied territories of the USSR, it was reported that under the "ingenious leadership of Adolf Hitler" and the "friendly work of the whole nation" Germany had become a flourishing and happy country. It was proposed to “believe Adolf Hitler and execute the orders of his appointed leaders” in order to live as well as the German people. The reality is very much at variance with the propaganda.
Obviously, good results were achieved in a number of areas in the Third Reich (especially in the military-industrial complex). However, it’s about the picture as a whole, and not about individual successes. So, just a year after Hitler came to power, about 100 thousand people, mostly members of the German Social-Democratic and Communist parties, fell into concentration camps. Of the 300 thousands of members of the Communist Party, more than half were under arrest. In the autumn of 1944, over a thousand KKE leaders and activists were seized and tortured. Priests and believers were subjected to serious repression. During the war years alone, 9 thousand cases were investigated against Catholics for anti-state activities, and thousand people were executed and tortured by 4.
These and other repressions were justified by the myth of the “society of happiness” that was created in Germany. Social democrats, communists, priests and monks were “enemies” because they hindered the construction of a “society of happiness.” Hitler at a meeting of the Reichstag 10 January 1939 of the year said that there can be no pity and compassion for the persecuted ministers of the Church, because they reflect the interests of the enemies of the German state.
How to create a "society of happiness" in Germany?
Eliminated unemployment, having entered general labor service with sending in labor camps. Already in 1933, thousands of people were sent to the construction of autobahns (wide motorways). They worked mostly without equipment, manual labor prevailed, payment was low, they lived in barracks. Industrial injuries were very high. The living conditions, work and injury rate did not actually differ from the construction sites of the GULAG in the USSR. Before the beginning of World War II, 3 thousand kilometers of roads were built. He headed the program for the construction of autobahns Fritz Todt. Later he became the head of the military construction organization (the Todt organization), which was engaged in the construction of important military facilities, railways and highways. It should be noted that the idea of building new highways appeared as early as in the Weimar Republic: the Cologne-Bonn road with a length of 20 km was opened in August of the 1932 year.
26 June 1935 was introduced labor service for boys and girls 18-25 years. Authorities of their own arbitrariness could set as the number of contingent sent to labor camps, and the length of stay there. Before the outbreak of World War II, more than 2,8 million youths and girls went through labor camps. Basically, their work was used for the construction of transport communications and border fortifications, like the Western Wall (Siegfried Line) along the western border of the Third Reich from Luxembourg in the north to Switzerland in the south. Particularly interesting is the fact that girls are sent to work (young people in almost any society in one way or another perform various duties, such as serving in the army, working in construction teams, etc.), and constantly increasing their number in labor camps. So, by April 1939, there were already more than 800 camps, where the girls were serving labor service.
The work of girls was part of the system for educating women and was combined with training in housekeeping, physical culture and political activities. There was also a strict daily routine, a system of rituals and a uniform with insignia. Life in labor camps was "Spartan." So, the girls lived wooden barracks, with bunk beds and straw mattresses instead of mattresses. The work was very hard, "peasant", with the 8-hour working day. Since the beginning of World War II, the passage of 6-month labor service became mandatory, and in July 1941, it was decided that girls would go on a semi-annual auxiliary military service (QCD) immediately after their dismissal from the Imperial Service of Labor (RAD). Over the 12 years of being in power of the Nazis, 1 million young German women passed through the Imperial Labor Service.
The problem of food security. This problem in the Reich was pretty serious. Only in 1938, after the annexation of Austria with its economic potential (gold was also taken to Berlin), the General Commissioner for the Third Reich’s four-year development plan, Hermann Goering, said that from October 1 Germans will be able to buy white fresh bread (without admixture of corn flour) and will succeed reduce the percentage of bran in rye bread. The Germans experienced a constant shortage of butter and meat. Between 1927 and 1939 in working families in Germany, meat consumption decreased by 18%, fats - 37%, white bread - by 44%. The western neighbors of the Germans ate more meat, white bread, fruit, sugar and eggs. In Germany, they tried to replace these products with others and consumed more potatoes, cabbage, rye bread (with a significant admixture of bran), margarine, and fruit marmalade-ersatz.
Because of the shortage of products, Germans had to be supplied according to the rationing system, as during the war. So, from the beginning of 1937, cards for butter, margarine and lard were introduced. There was a rule for other products, in particular, for meat.
Researchers note that food problems in Germany were due to several reasons: the lack of southern colonies available to France and the UK (this made it possible to obtain a number of cheap products and raw materials), poor harvests, unsuccessful market regulation policies from the Imperial food class, rising prices for food on the world market with low currency reserves. In addition, the currency saved to send it to military programs. It is noted that in fact food problems have been programmed by the entire Nazi food policy since 1933. Having come to power, the NSDAP almost immediately sharply reduced purchases of food products, consumer goods and raw materials abroad. Currency began to be sent to the purchase of strategic raw materials. For example, the amount allocated for the purchase of butter abroad in one year was reduced from 106 million marks to 70 million. In the crisis year for the country 1932, Germany bought 4,4 million tons of food abroad; in 1934, they bought 3,2 million . tons, in 1935 year - 2,9 million tons. For the period from 1933 to 1939. the volume of purchases of wheat and eggs fell by a third, fat - three times. Almost completely stopped the purchase of fodder, as a result, the number of livestock in the Reich fell dramatically, thereby reducing the production of milk, meat and butter.
In September 1938, Goring reported, as a great achievement, about the abolition of cards for bread and some other products. However, a year later they had to be entered again. Introduced cards for food, soap, shoes, textiles and coal. For example, the norm for meat was 700 g per week, sugar - 280 g, cereal - 150 g, fat - 340 g, marmalade - 110 g, coffee or its substitutes - 56 g. When World War II began, rationing was issued on all kinds of goods. German citizens received weekly: meat - 450 g, bread - 2250 g, fat - 340 g, sugar - 340 g, coffee surrogate (made from barley) - 450 g, butter - 110 g, margarine - 100 g, cheese - 62,5 g and one egg. During the holidays, the norms increased slightly, so, for Christmas, four eggs were given instead of one and additional 100 of meat were given.
Capturing the countries of Europe, the occupiers subjected them to merciless plunder and impose a contribution on them. Only Denmark in the first year of occupation was supposed to supply 83 thousand tons of oil, about 257 thousand tons of meat, 60 thousand tons of eggs, 73 thousand tons of herring and other products. Such robberies allowed to temporarily improve the food situation in the Reich. The standards for issuing products temporarily increased.
By September 1941 of the year (the third year of the war), grain stocks came to an end. The rapid disappearance of food stocks and the difficulties in the occupied territories led to the fact that in 1941, the year had to resort to even more stringent restrictions. Even the successes in the Balkans did not help. The leaders of the Reich believed that the food crisis could only be overcome by breaking through to the food bases of the Soviet Union. This indicates the failure of the NSDAP food policy. The Nazis acknowledged that the only way to meet the needs of the population is to seize the "living space" in the East, to plunder the population of the USSR. 2 May 1941 at a meeting on targets in the war with the USSR, it was stated that the war should be continued only if in the third year of military operations all armed forces will be supplied with food from Russia. Otherwise, the Wehrmacht simply will have nothing to feed, as the population of Germany.
Providing Germany with food from the captured regions of the USSR was one of the main policies of the occupation administration in the East. There was a merciless robbery of the occupied Russian territories. At the same time, Goebbels noted: "We do not undertake any obligation to feed the Russian people with products from these areas of abundance." Thus, even the Nazis recognized that under the “bloody” Stalinist regime, the food situation in the USSR was better than in Germany. In September 1941, the German press announced the arrival of the first food echelons from the Soviet-occupied areas in Berlin. About a year later, the Reich Minister of the Eastern occupied territories, Alfred Rosenberg, reported on the arrival of a three thousandth echelon of food. Without these supplies, it was impossible to provide food supply to the population of the Third Reich during the war years. In 1941-1943 25 million tons of foodstuffs were shipped to Germany. The stocks stolen in the summer - autumn 1941 of the year in the USSR did not last long; in the spring of 1942, it was necessary to reduce the distribution of products by cards again.
This situation with foodstuffs had a very negative effect on the psychological state of the population, it was extremely oppressive to people. The security service reported discontent and envy of people towards other Europeans who ate better than the winners. In the spring of 1942, German citizens began sowing vegetable beds instead of flower beds and lawns near houses. On the verandas and balconies, people bred chickens, geese, ducks, and rabbits.
The situation was again temporarily improved in the autumn of 1942, when the grain harvest and meat of slaughtered cattle were removed from the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1943, the issue rates dropped again. In June, the 1943 of the year, the rates of issue of meat decreased by half, potatoes - three times (it was the basic food for the Germans). In the winter of 1944-1945. the daily rate of issue of food reached a minimum level, and in the spring of 1945, the regular supply of food to the population stopped altogether. 5 April 1945 was sent a directive on life “under the simplest conditions” around the departments of the Nazi Party, where people were recommended to switch to rapeseed, chestnuts, woody bark, coffee from acorns. Tips were given on collecting and eating wild plants, berries, roots, mushrooms, frogs, etc.
The problem of clothing and footwear. It should also be noted that soldiers from the occupied areas of Western Europe sent home packages not only with food, but also clothes and shoes. They were also given ration cards in the Reich, there was a constant shortage. Before the beginning of World War II, the Germans massively dressed in dresses made from cellulosic raw materials (artificial fabric derived from wood pulp). This was also due to the lack of financial resources that were used to purchase strategic raw materials, military technologies, and the development of military programs. Germany practically did not have its own cotton, wool and tanned leather were mainly imported from abroad. The following speaks very well about the situation in this area news. October 30 1939 was announced that only 5% of the population will be able to buy overshoes and bots. Available stocks were first of all issued to postmen, newspaper workers and street cleaners. In early November, 1939 of the year cards were introduced for shoes and clothes. Separate cards were for men, women, children and babies. On the card, everyone except babies received 100 coupons. For example, socks or stockings cost 5 coupons, but you could buy no more than 5 pairs per year. Pajamas cost 30 coupons, a suit or coat 60 coupons.
In Germany, there was a massive training of women "autarky". Various courses, exhibitions, brochures, magazines, posters were supposed to train women to make food from surrogate products, needlework, mending clothes and shoes at home, building a new piece of clothing from several old ones, etc.
In Goebbels diary for April - May 1941, it was noted that a catastrophic situation has developed in the footwear market. With the continuation of the war the situation only worsened. Since August 1942, coupons for textiles have been issued only to “bomb victims”. It is hard to believe in this situation, because it is known that the clothing and fabric manufacturing industry, the fashion industry, was one of the most developed industries in Germany between the two world wars.
Therefore, it is not surprising that during the occupation of any country, the German soldiers literally “demolished” not only food, but essential things, textile and shoe products. They had to think about family, relatives, friends in Germany. Thus, in the French cities, the invaders dared coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, alcohol, perfume, cosmetics, soap, underwear, silk stockings, etc. After the occupation, France Germany was literally inundated with silk stockings. In the Reich, there was no such abundance for a long time; real coffee or tobacco could only be dreamed of. In the winter of 1942, tobacco and cigarette cards were introduced. In Germany, there was a serious shortage of soap.
It must be said that in the Soviet and Russian films these problems of the Third Reich were bypassed. On the contrary, there was a good supply of German soldiers and officers (as we remember, at the expense of the occupied countries). Army supplied in the first place, while the population was in need. The films do not see long lines for food, clothing, shoes and other goods; German women in dresses from scraps of old clothes; making shoes using wooden and straw soles, etc.
The program failed - "Car for every family"announced in 1938 year. German workers paid tens of millions of marks for the cars offered to them, but by the beginning of the war Volkswagen’s factories built with their money were converted into military products. Simple Germans were simply deceived by collecting money from them for the “people's car”.
The housing program has also failed. The Nazis promised to provide each German with an apartment corresponding to their level of income. In the Weimar Republic in 1928-1930 on average, 313 units of thousands of new housing units were built. Then, due to the crisis, the level dropped to 141 thousand in 1932 year. From 1936-1937 the level of construction in the Reich rose to the level of the Weimar Republic 1928-1930. From 1938 (285 thousand) went down. And then a landslide: 1939 year - 206, 1940 - 105, 1941 - 62, 1944 - 30. In Berlin, in the years of the Weimar Republic, 230 thousand apartments were built, during the years of the NSDAP rule - 102 thousand (some of them were laid before the crisis, and then mothballed).
Behind the ceremonial picture of the Third Reich there was a catastrophic situation in the field of supplying the population, solving their immediate problems, there was a shortage of the most necessary goods for life.