PM correspondent Richard O. Boyer (1903 – 1973) was in Berlin in June of 1940 when Paris fell to the German Army. He was dumbstruck by the surprising gloominess that hung heavily upon the German people the week of that great victory:
"I could not understand it all and could scarcely believe the testimony of my own eyes. The scarlet banners with their black swastikas that garlanded the city everywhere in response to Hitler's orders seemed only to emphasize the worried melancholy. The victory bells that rang each day at noon acquired the sound of a funeral dirge when one looked at the tired, pinched faces of the Germans hurrying along the pavements ... When I expressed surprise to a glum man sitting near me he glanced impatiently up and only said, 'We celebrated once in 1914'."
The Japanese home front suffered from tuberculosis - click here to read about it...
This Newsweek article reported on the first Red Air Force bombing raid on the city of Berlin (August 11, 1941). The Soviets kept the pressure up for a few more weeks until their airfield was overrun in September.
"Berliners with an ear cocked to the cold east wind could hear the drums of doom: The heavy roll of Russian artillery along the Oder River. By night, flares from Soviet planes bombing the Berlin-Frankfurt highway lit up the eastern horizon."
Here is one of the reviews of Pattern of Conquest, a book by Joseph C. Harsch (1905 – 1998) - a CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR correspondent who had been posted to Germany during the earliest years of the war:
"Harsch says that German morale is 'fundamentally unsound' however, and that it took a bad beating when the RAF first bombed Berlin, which Marshal Goering had said would happen only 'over his dead body'. ('Have you heard the news?' Berliners asked each other, after the first raids. 'Goering's dead.')"
Click here to read about the 1943 bombing campaign against Germany.
Throughout the course of the Second World War, the city of Munich was bombed seventy-four times by both the Royal Air Force as well as the U.S. Army Air Corps. The attached article gives an account of the third of these attacks.
"Giant four-motored planes flew in over their targets so low that they could clearly see the Brown House and the Beer Hall where Hitler organized his 1923 putsch... The citizens of Munich will, no doubt, be thinking of their Fuehrer today as they survey the bombed-out buildings and piles of rubble in the streets where Hitler first harangued them about his political ideas."
The misery that lingered over the W.W. II German home front is well documented and many of the issues concerning melancholy, hunger and thirst can be read in the attached assortment of letters that were pulled from the bloodied uniforms of the thousands of dead Nazi soldiers that surrounded the city of Stalingrad in 1943. These personal correspondences by German parents, wives and sweethearts present a thorough look at the dreariness that lingered over the German home front.