Germany: the Victors and the Vanquished
Many Germans thought of killing Adolf Hitler but the eventual assassin turned out to be the Führer himself, on 30 April 1945 in Berlin. Symbolically he was executing himself for the crime of having embroiled the world in a bloody conflict — it cost 55 million lives of which over 6 million were German — and for having lost. If death absolved him of the responsibility of healing the material and human wounds, the survivors were faced with this mammoth task. Germany was truly united in 1945, united in hunger, desperation and despair. Over one third of the national product and about 15 per cent of all dwellings had been destroyed; 25 million Germans had lost hearth and home, as refugees, evacuees or as those in search of somewhere new to live. The area conquered by the Red Army had suffered grievously and the battles there had been fierce. Reconstruction and renewal were not a matter of choice, they were imperative.
KeywordsTrade Union Democratic Party German Democratic Republic Land Reform Western Zone
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