Contents page 1 — Weird silence page 2 — they sat in front of their radios and listened to the “leader speech” On a page

Of a “gigantic Demonstration” read, as you haven’t seen Berlin since the war, the Newspapers the next Morning: 20,000 men of the SA, SS and steel helmets were on the evening of the 30. January, 1933, by the government district to celebrate with the countless spectators, the new Chancellor of the Reich Adolf Hitler and his right coalition government. Participants and observers at home and abroad gave the 30. January as a historic day, because the crowds reminded her of another event: The “mood”, the new Reich Minister, Hermann Göring announced in the evening on the Radio, to leave only “with those days in August, 1914,” to compare, as the “Nation’s uprising, to defend the most valuable asset of the Motherland, honor and freedom”.

already before 1933, much-touted “August experience”, the nationalist euphoria of a “United people”, with the help of the German troops in 1914, in world war II were drawn, was for the national socialists is of paramount importance. In him, expresses clearly what the Nazi Regime in the core targeted: the restoration of the unity of the Nation, which had been reached in 1914, before the “Jews”, “November criminals” and other “enemies of the people” destroyed it, and thus the war defeat sealed. Not the least of which that have become iconic images of the “leader” umjubelnden masses of the people, which spread the propaganda machinery after 1933, proof, witnesses, claimed to be based on how much the national socialists, a glorious reminder of the jubilant scenes at the beginning of the First world war.

As the Nazi Regime on 1. September 1939, unleashed a new war, it remained silent on the streets and squares. Neither in Berlin nor in other cities it was on this day or in the following weeks to casseroles Mass and rallies, as they had the appearance of the “third Reich” in the thirty years of so strongly. Political observers at home and abroad irritated. Many were surprised at the completely different mood, in which nothing was to be felt of a “war enthusiasm of 1914”. Foreign journalists scored the “big difference to the mood of the last war” as the “most Remarkable” of the situation in Germany: “There are no Cheers, parades, banners, or flowers, as in 1914”, held about the American Journalist Lothrop Stoddard to Joseph Goebbels in an Interview in January 1940. The Minister of propaganda couldn’t this surprise: the mood reports of the Nazi security agencies had widely documented the strange silence that prevailed after the beginning of the war on the streets.

historians have made this perception and from the observation of the “two-war beginnings” of 1914 and 1939, far-reaching conclusions can be drawn. In their eyes, in the autumn of 1939 “deep despondency” among the Germans prevailed, the were only “reluctantly” in the new war. Despite all the Propaganda, the Nazi Regime did not manage to unite the people behind. As measured by the self-imposed objective, “to kindle a the August of 1914, similar enthusiasm for war”, should be spoken “straight from a collapse of the regime,” the military historians Wolfram wette in a groundbreaking essay, 40 years ago, those of interpretation that still has stock. Instead of a unified “people’s community” had become at the beginning of the war, what the Germans and the NS-separated management from each other.

However, there are good reasons to reconsider this canonized interpretation of the outbreak of war in 1939. Among the most important is that the historical research has already drawn a few years ago, a significantly more diverse picture of the reactions in August 1914, as it claimed, a comparison of the two war beginnings. The analysis of personal letters and diaries has not only promoted enthusiasm is evident: On the Land, the peasants were whether the problems of the war-related absence of workers on the land would arise for their farms. In the cities of the Patriotic jubilation focused on the inner cities, while the working-class quarters, a rather subdued mood. Here, we responded in August 1914 dissociates to negative instead of the affirmative or enthusiastic. Were worn the enthusiastic demonstrations especially from the urban middle class, which also included those of journalists, whose articles and reports for a long time as evidence of a General eagerness for War were. But in the meantime, is clear: in these texts, expressed enthusiasm of the bourgeois Public sphere recognised other groups in society, only in a rather small degree.

This Text comes from the magazine of history no 2/2019. The current issue you can buy on newsstands or here.

the same can be said for the beginning of the Second world war. Here, too, diaries and letters to reveal, instead of cross-dejection, very different reactions. Some time reported enjoyed by the “dark cloud of war, the fear, the Trennungsnot” that have been placed on the minds of the Germans, showed a others “” and “pride” on a “campaign” as “the history of the world Yes not yet experienced” overwhelmed. It was “beautiful to be German,” wrote the student Lore Walb.

As an explanation for the seemingly poorer mood, again and again, the still guard the memory of the First world war. But they also didn’t stop his contemporaries to welcome the new war. A 1910-born accountant, for example, had lost in the First world war, his brother, extolling 1939 in his diary, the new war as proof of the now “United” to prepare all of the Victims of the people and the concept of the death of his brother as a special obligation: “brother, You replace, I’m ready for that.”

many Jewish Germans, which was not accomplished until the beginning of the war, the escape abroad, painted a completely different picture than the pull of a reluctantly engaged in the war Nation. The philologist Victor Klemperer, who tried in the first days of the war, to capture the vox populi in the diary, summed up his impressions with the words: “all in All messages and actions seriously, people’s mood to absolute victory, certainly. Ten thousand times pretentious than 1914.”

as well as in August 1914 respondedthe German also in the autumn of 1939 far from being uniform on the message from the beginning of the war. The in your records tangible spectrum of reactions does not differ from that of a quarter of a century earlier. Otherwise the public perception of the war was only the beginning. But as the cheering images of August 1914 is not easy to conclude that most of the Germans were actually with enthusiasm in the world war, is also due to the fact that it remained in 1939, still on the streets, not conclude that depressed mood be made.

Janosch Steuwer

is a historian at the University of Zurich.

The completely different appearance can be better understood, anyone who takes a closer look at the propagandistic staging of the outbreak of war in 1939. The empty streets and places added, in fact, extremely good in the official picture, which tried to draw the Nazi Regime from this event. Instead of a the August, 1914, comparable war, stir up enthusiasm, followed the public policy of the Nazi leadership in the autumn of 1939 the opposite aim: memories of the cheering crowds of the summer of 1914 should be avoided if possible.

This is shown by the fact that the NS-relinquished leadership to appeal directly to the people. Important political events had been accompanied during the previous years of rallies and speeches of Hitler or other representatives of the state, which had transferred the radio to the whole country. On these occasions, a majority of the pictures show the “leader” surrounded by an ecstatic crowd.

However, as the date for the attack on Poland came a step closer, renounced the Nazi Regime to this type of communication: There are no mass meetings were organized. The leading representatives of the state and the party, there were no people to talk to set the mood to heat up, on the contrary, The beginning of September-the Nazi party and one for the end of August, the planned Celebration of the 25. Anniversary of the battle of Tannenberg were to be cancelled. Both occasions would have provided the excellent opportunity, images of the ecstatic, the war prepare to produce people. Even the Nazi party relinquished in the August and September demonstrations, which could awaken a similar nationalist burst of Enthusiasm, as in August 1914.

One year previously this was still different. As the culmination of the national socialists provoked the Sudeten crisis, a war in Europe seemed imminent, had made a deal with Hitler, in a speech to the Germans. The large rally in the Berlin sports Palace on 26. In September 1938, had been prepared by propaganda Minister Goebbels-consuming: The audience was specifically selected for radio transmission with forward announced and the start of a speech on the best broadcasting time in the evening, so that “the whole people” was the “decisive hour” of the Nation, as Goebbels noted in his diary.


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