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Under the Bombs

The German Home Front, 1942-1945

Earl R. Beck

Publication Year: 2013

" Under the Bombs tells the story of the civilian population of German cities devastated by Allied bombing in World War II. These people went to work, tried to keep a home (though in many cases it was just a pile of rubble where a house once stood), and attempted to live life as normally as possible amid the chaos of war. Earl Beck also looks at the food and fuel rationing the German people endured and the problems of trying to make a public complaint while living in a totalitarian state.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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Under the Bombs

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pp. ix-xi

Early in 1946, I traveled by train from Bavaria to Bremerhaven to return home to the United States. As the train passed by the great cities along the Rhine and through northern Germany, I saw for the first time the full ...

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1. The End of Optimism: January-August 1942

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pp. 1-17

It was a warm Saturday evening in May in the great industrial city of Cologne. The people, as they strolled home, looked forward to a pleasant Sunday outside. The year was 1942. Germany was now well into its third year ...

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2. The Last (Somewhat) Merry Christmas

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pp. 18-32

By 1942, the words "merry Christmas" had lost much of their meaning in Germany. How could one be "merry" with the threat of bombing over one's head; with the news from the eastern front being dark and murky, portending difficulties which the army did not ...

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3. Stalingrad and All-Out Warfare: January-April 1943

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pp. 33-56

On February 2, 1943, the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad laid down its arms. After fighting and losing over half its personnel in the desperate effort to retain this farthest point of German advance into the seemingly endless reaches of ...

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4. Bombing Achieves Holocaust: May-August 1943

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pp. 57-82

The four months from May through August of 1943 were marked by a series of major setbacks for Germany's war efforts both at home and on the battle fronts. They began on May 12 and 13 as the German armies in North Africa surrendered ...

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5. A Joyless Victory: September-December 1943

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pp. 83-105

The fall and early winter of 1943 were marked by unusually cold weather. The cold of the weather was matched by the chill affecting German morale in this period. Before the year was out, the chill of the weather forced ...

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6. Life Goes On: January-April 1944

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pp. 106-128

On January 1, 1944, Hitler's customary New Year's greeting to the German people repeated much of what he had said at the party's meeting in Munich in November. Again there was the reference to the loss of homes, public ...

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7. The Bombs Still Fall: May-September 1944

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pp. 129-150

During the spring months of 1944, the Germans at home became increasingly aware that an invasion of Europe by the Western Allies was imminent. German civilians talked of potential naval attacks on...

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8. Germany's Darkest Winter: September-December 1944

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pp. 151-171

September 1944 marked the beginning of Germany's sixth year at war. A deep sense of gloom lay across the country. No longer was there any relief from the hardships of overly strenuous work, the fear ...

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9. The End Comes—With Death and Terror: January-May 1945

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pp. 172-197

Germany had suffered grievously in the years before 1945. The hail of bombs had taken a heavy toll on its cities. Buildings, homes, and people had shared the consequences of an unparalleled ...

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Postscript: Forty Years Later—In Retrospect

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pp. 198-200

T he travail of the Germans was not over with the end of the fighting. Those who had "survived" confronted new trials. Many who had trekked across snow and ice faced the permanent loss of ...


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pp. 201-230


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pp. 231-240


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pp. 241-252


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pp. 162-282

E-ISBN-13: 9780813143699
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813115672

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013