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Primary Sources: Germany in World War II

Nazi Germany: Life in the Third Reich during World War II 

Life in Nazi Germany during World War II (1939-1945) was characterized by totalitarian control, widespread propaganda, and severe hardships. Under Adolf Hitler's regime, the state exerted pervasive influence over all aspects of daily life, aiming to shape German society according to Nazi ideology. The government's propaganda machine, led by Joseph Goebbels, saturated the media with messages glorifying the Führer, justifying the war, and promoting anti-Semitic and racist ideas.

The war effort required total mobilization of the German population. Men were conscripted into the Wehrmacht, leaving women and older citizens to work in factories, farms, and support roles. The economy shifted to a war footing, with resources and labor directed towards military production. Rationing of food, clothing, and other essentials became a daily reality, leading to shortages and a black market for goods.

Children and youth were indoctrinated through the Hitler Youth and League of German Girls, organizations designed to instill loyalty to the Nazi Party and prepare young people for service to the state. Education emphasized physical fitness, military training, and ideological conformity, while traditional academic subjects were downplayed.

The Nazi regime's persecution of Jews and other minorities intensified during the war. The implementation of the "Final Solution" led to the systematic genocide of six million Jews in concentration and extermination camps. Other targeted groups included Romani people, disabled individuals, political dissidents, and homosexuals, all facing imprisonment, forced labor, or execution.

Bombing raids by the Allies brought the war directly to German cities, causing widespread destruction and civilian casualties. Cities like Hamburg, Berlin, and Dresden suffered devastating air raids, leading to loss of life, homelessness, and further strain on the already struggling populace.

Despite the oppressive environment, some Germans engaged in resistance activities, ranging from covert efforts to aid persecuted individuals to active plots to overthrow Hitler. The most notable resistance was the failed July 20, 1944, assassination attempt on Hitler by a group of army officers.

By the war's end in 1945, Germany lay in ruins, its society shattered by years of totalitarian rule, relentless warfare, and the horrors of the Holocaust. The Nazi regime's fall brought an end to the pervasive fear and control but left a legacy of profound trauma and devastation.

Online Primary Sources - Nazi Germany: Life in the Third Reich during World War II 

Books Sources: Nazi Germany: Life in the Third Reich during World War II 

A select list of books from the Florida Atlantic University Libraries Collection.

Video Sources on Nazi Germany / Third Reich during World War II 

The Following Links are to videos from the FAU Libraries' Database Collection - You must log in using your FAU Username and Password.