Berlin – The Second World War


Berliners welcomed the outbreak of World War II with little enthusiasm, despite German victories in Poland. According to the then-resident American journalist William Shirer, there were few signs of patriotic fervor in the streets, and Hitler, offended by his pride, canceled further parades. 11 October erupted in joy, when announced by radio on the Berlin wavelength, that the British Government had collapsed and an immediate ceasefire was proclaimed. Shirer says, that greater enthusiasm was also apparent during the military parade in honor of the fall of France (18 July 1940), when German troops marched to the Brandenburg Gate for the first time since 1871 year. However, he believes, that crowds of Berliners then took to the streets more because of the spectacle, than for patriotic reasons.

Initially, the war did not affect Berlin much. Although the inhabitants have already started to complain about the meager food rations, delicatessen and luxury goods flowed into the Reich from occupied Europe. The remnants of the international diplomatic and press colony as well as the Nazi tycoons with their glamorous lifestyle were considered high life. Open opposition seemed impossible, for it was judged, that Gestapo informants are lurking around every corner. The severity of the war austerity program was mitigated by Nazi social organizations and propaganda.

Bombs raids

Goring declared, that if even one bomb hits Berlin, The Germans may call him “Meyer” (Jewish surname). Yet the RAF dropped the first bombs 23 of August 1940 year. In the next raid 28/29 August died 10 people - the first civilian victims of the war in Germany.

These raids lowered morale among Berliners. who hoped for a quick end to the war and Hitler was forced to give a speech at Sportpalast. Bedeker's UK guide thundered as he lifted upward, that the Luftwagffe would raze all British cities to the ground.

However, these early bombing raids did not do much real damage, and so on 1 brand 1943 year, when the defeat in the Western Sahara and the problems on the Eastern Front made many realize, that Germany is not invincible, The Berliners experienced their first heavy raid.

The RAF bombed at night, and the Americans by day and as time passed, Berlin was methodically ruined. “We can completely destroy Berlin, if only U. S. A. A. F. will decide. It will cost us from 400 do 500 aircraft, and Germany will cost the war”, wrote in a letter to Churchill v 1943 roku Sir Arthur „Bombardier” Harris, chief of staff of the bombers. The first buildings to be demolished were the Staatsoper and Alte Bibliothek on Unter den Linden. 22 December, only the shell remained from the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche. At the end of the year, the bombing continued day and night, and have become a permanent part of life.

By the end of the war, it was done 363 air raids. 75.000 tons of exploding and incendiary bombs have killed life since 35.000 do 50.000 people and picked up 1.500.000 A roof over their heads for Berliners. However, despite the enormous damage, left in the streets 100.000.000 tons of rubble, it was still in operation at the end of the war 70% industrial plants.


The resistance movement was less conspicuous in Germany than in the occupied countries, however, it existed throughout the war, especially in Berlin. A group of communist cells led by members of the former KPD created an underground information network and organized isolated actions of resistance and sabotage. However, the cells had little chance of survival and only a few survived. Rote Kapelle's actions were more successful (The Red Orchestra”), headed by Harold Schulze-Boysen. pre-war aristocrat and member of the bohemian, who worked at the Air Ministry at Wilhelmstrasse and had agents in most military offices, providing information to the Soviet Union. However, this organization was also investigated and liquidated by the SD and the Gestapo.