Everyday life in the Third Reich

On this page we want to show examples of the ideological influence on the German population during the time of national socialism and the conditions of everyday life in wartime.
We know that we can only touch this complex topic.Therefore it seems necessary to us (with regard to the interest in a period of time which produced the German national socialism) to confess a genuinely declining attitude to the acting of the national socialists.

30th January 1933. The national socialists came to power. 

Life will change dramatically for people in Germany. Such incomprehensible things as the holocaust and World War II will happen. However, many don't recognize the intentions and the danger that radiates from Adolf Hitler and his supporters ...


The "people's community"

"Kraft durch Freude" (KDF=Strength by joy) ... now you can travel, too! 

A "journey trading stamp book" made it possible for the worker to take part in subsidized vacation journeys. The propagandistically skillful beginning of mass tourism was supposed to cover class differences and dissatisfaction without changing anything about the existing social conditions.

Vintage suitcase labels:

"NS Women viewpoint ", 
a magazine with tips for household, fashion, national traditions, child care ... 
The desired image of NS women is arranged. 

(Notice the typical family constellation: two (!)  boys, one girl. Behind this the message is of course: The country needs soldiers).

( clickable image )
"Fight against hunger and cold "

The "Winterhilfswerk" (WHW = winter care organization) was founded in 1933 as an additional social help organization to help the needy "national comrades". The organisation was done by the NSV (NS people's welfare) with support of the NSDAP (party of the national socialists). The goods were raised by voluntary deductions from wages, food donations on  "Stew Sundays" and by the sale of WHW tickets and small collector's items.  (Some collector's items at the clickable image)

The WHW collected over 1.9 billion Reichsmark.


You could buy something again
Let's do a 1930s window shopping (click image)

( clickable image )

You could foresee it!
(preparation for the war)

"German peoples 
gasmask - VM37 " 
of 1937 

( clickable image )
"This small book of 1938 conveys "practical" indications for the behavior during air-raids and gas alarm." 

( clickable image )


1st September 1939 - War!

( clickable image )

Poster for the black out campaign in 1940
(air-raid damage report form 
at the clickable image)

"Danger! - the enemy will hear your careless talk"

Taken from "the propeller", working newspaper of the Junkers airplane and engine works A.G. of 1939

Listen to a short air-raid message 
(in German):
Download im RealPlayer-Format
Voice: "Attention - There are no enemy bomber over the Reich."
Listen to "ghostly voices" (in German):
Download im RealPlayer-Format
The superimpositions over the Reich-broadcast by anti-war-propagandas (described in the peoples mouth as "ghostly voices") were produced by resistance groups during  World War II with secret jammers.


The youth is filled with enthusiasm about the war:
(Games - books - heroism)

( clickable image )

A war game (1940) 

Here the little boys (and adults, too) could fly without danger against England. 
The instruction points out the special "educational value" of the game . 

(link at the picture)
( clickable image )

Innumerable war histories were published to make the "adventure war" palatable to adolescents. Often a proclamtion was on the backpage with an admission to join the military service.
(link at the picture)


Use everything -- waste nothing!

( clickable image )
A rationing of raw materials immediately started from the beginning of the war. Essential everyday goods became available more and more frequently by ration cards. So-called "substitute substances" took the place of valuable raw materials. New recipes made a virtue from the need and propagated the simple, nourishing kitchen ...
More about
Dress-cards and
rationed fabrics here ...

( clickable image )


The swing-youth

(more about this, click image)
 "Swing-Heinis" from Hamburg

Diner, Dan: 
          Verkehrte Welten. Amerikanismus in Deutschland, 
          Frankfurt/M. 1993.
Klinkhardt und Biermann:
          Liebeskult und Liebeskitsch, Erotik im Dritten Reich, 
          München 1992
Kolloquien des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte: 
          Alltagsgeschichte der NS-Zeit, München 1984.
Lust, Gunter: 
          "The Flat Foot Floogee ... treudeutsch, treudeutsch", Erlebnisse 
          eines Swingheinis, Hamburg 1992.
Schäfer, Hans Dieter: 
          Das gespaltene Bewusstsein. Über deutsche Kultur und 
          Lebenswirklichkeit 1933-1945, München 1981.
Storjohann, Uwe: 
          "Hauptsache: Überleben" ein Junge im Krieg 1936-1945, 
          Hamburg 1993.
Weißler, Sabine:
          Design in Deutschland 1933-45, Giessen 1990