The Second World War affected the lives and shaped the experience of millions of individuals in Germany--soldiers at the front, women, children and the elderly sheltering in cellars, slave laborers toiling in factories, and concentration-camp prisoners and POWs clearing rubble in the Reich's devastated cities.
Taking a "history from below" approach, the volume examines how the minds and behaviour of individuals were moulded by the Party as the Reich took the road to Total War. The ever-increasing numbers of German workers conscripted into the Wehrmacht were replaced with forced foreign workers and slave labourers and concentration camp prisoners. The interaction in everyday life between German civilian society and these coerced groups is explored, as is that society's relationship to the Holocaust.
From early 1943, the war on the home front was increasingly dominated by attack from the air. The role of the Party, administration, police, and courts in providing for the vast numbers of those rendered homeless, in bolstering civilian morale with "miracle revenge weapons" propaganda, and in maintaining order in a society in disintegration is reviewed in detail.
For society in uniform, the war in the east was one of ideology and annihilation, with intensified indoctrination of the troops after Stalingrad. The social profile of this army is analysed through study of a typical infantry division. The volume concludes with an account of the various forms of resistance to Hitler's regime, in society and the military, culminating in the failed attempt on his life in July 1944.