History

Life in the Third Reich as told by Hans Schmidt

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You asked for someone who had lived in Hitler’s Germany to tell you what it was like. Permit me, someone, who lived under the Swastika flag from 1935, when the Saar was reunited with Germany, to 1945, to give a short answer. 

To be a boy or girl at that time was wonderful. In the Hitler Youth, the differences between Christian denominations or the different German states didn’t count. We all truly felt that we were members of one body of people, one nation.

Youth hostels were opened all over the Reich, enabling us to hike from one beautiful town to another seeing our fatherland. Every effort was made to strengthen our minds and bodies. Contrary to what is said today, we were encouraged to become free in spirit, and not to succumb to peer pressure. In peacetime, no military training was allowed by the Hitler Youth leadership; scouting yes. Incidentally, to ‘snitch on our parents’ was frowned upon.

Germany was National-Socialist, but free enterprise flourished during the entire Hitler years. No company was nationalised. No small businessman was stopped from opening up his own store. I myself worked during the war for a company that can only be called part of international capitalism. If you owned shares, nobody confiscated them, as the allies did in 1945.

The accomplishments of the ‘Nazis’ were incredible. Starting without money and with six million unemployed (a third of the workforce), they constructed the entire German Autobahn Road network in a short span of six years, almost without corruption, while seeing to it that the new road system did not unnecessarily destroy either the German landscape or wildlife habitats and forests. Two years after the NS were elected to power, conditions were so improved that workers had to be hired in nearby friendly countries to help alleviate the worker shortage in Germany.

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Germany was booming while Britain, France and the U.S were in the depths of depression. To help the workers get cheap transportation, the VW was designed and a factory was being built for their manufacture when the war started. Also, for the common people, villages of small single-family homes were erected. The monthly payments were set so low that almost anyone could afford his own house. In Hitler’s Germany there were no homeless; no beggars. Crime was almost non-existent because habitual criminals were in concentration camps.

All this was reported in the newspapers and was known by everybody. The German press during the Third Reich had fewer taboos than the American press today. The only taboo I can think of evolved around Hitler, and, during the war, there was a law that prohibited ‘defeatism’. This was because of the negative role the German press played in the German defeat of 1918. It bears remembering that the European Economic Community was first coined by the Third Reich government.

I remember many articles, both pros and cons about this subject. One should also not forget that during the war at least seven million foreign nationals (nearly 10% of the population) worked in Germany, either as voluntary workers (Dutch, Danes, French, Poles, and Ukrainians come to mind) or as forced labourers or as prisoners. I know of no instance where foreigners were attacked or molested (much less killed) because they were foreigners.

Speaking of the press, I have an article from 1943 in my possession that spells out how necessary friendship is between the German and Russian peoples.

Between 1933 and 1945 there was a tremendous emphasis on culture: theatres flourished; the German movie industry produced about 100 feature films per year (of which not one was anti-American. Only 50 of them can be considered pure propaganda movies). Some of the best classical recordings still extant were made in Hitler’s Germany. Actors from all over Europe, but mainly from France, Sweden and Italy were stars in German movies.

Germany always loved sports, and there was no lack of opportunities to partake in any sport one liked. The 1936 Berlin Olympics was merely a showcase of what transpired all over the Reich. In a book on these Olympics issued by the Hitler Youth that is still in my possession, Jesse Owens is shown several times and mentioned favourably. During the Max Schmeling boxing fights, we kids all knew of Joe Louis, the brown bomber. Nowhere did I ever read derogatory remarks about other races.

Certainly, the accomplishments of Germany and the Germans were given prominence, similar to ‘the ad nauseum’ statements of today that the U.S. is the land of the free, etc. In my ten years in the Hitler Youth (actually eight, since I obviously couldn’t attend while a soldier), the Jews were never mentioned.  Another sport that gripped our attention was flying. There was Hitler Youth flying training with their own sailplanes; car races (British and Italian drivers dominated) and riding.

Furthermore, Germany was always a country with many excellent gunsmiths. It is Frequently I am asked about gun control during the Hitler era. Claims are made that Hitler could take power because he disarmed the German people.

That is nonsense. In Germany gun ownership was never as prevalent as it is in America. I would say that for hundreds of years one needed a gun license in order to keep a weapon. On the other hand, my father owned an old pistol clandestinely (about which we children knew), and there were gun clubs all over the Reich.

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It is doubtful that they could stay in business if the laws were too stringent. I would surmise that while Germany was Germany (before it was ‘liberated’ by the allies) gun ownership probably was far more widespread than is acknowledged today.

Laws on the books were mainly to give the police a handle to arrest criminals with guns, not ordinary citizens. Incidentally, just as Hitler had forbidden so-called ‘punishment exercises’ in the army (the brutal methods still employed in the American army), so had he forbidden the use of clubs by the police. He considered it demeaning to the German people.

Volkstrauertag für die Gefallenen im Weltkrieg im Plenarsitzungssaal des Reichstages unter Anwesenheit des Reichspräsidenten von Hindenburg sowie der Reichs- und Staatsregierung. Blick in den feierlich geschmückten Plenarsitzungssaal des Reichstages mit den Abordnungen der siegreichen Fahnen alter Regimenter während der Trauerkundgebung.

Finally, this: I don’t believe I’ll ever see again a people as happy and content as the great majority of Germans were under Hitler, especially in peacetime.

Certainly, some minorities suffered: former parliamentary politicians because they couldn’t play their political games; the Jews because they lost their power over Germany; the gipsies because during the war they were required to work, and crooked union bosses because they lost their parasitical positions. To this day I believe that the happiness of the majority of a people is more important than the well-being of a few spoiled minorities.

In school, there should be an emphasis on promoting the best and the intelligent, as was done in Germany during the Hitler years, a fact that contributed after the war to the rapid German reconstruction.

That Hitler was loved by his people, there can be no question. Even a few weeks before the war’s end and his death, he was able to drive to the front and mingle among the combat soldiers with only minimum security. None of the soldiers had to unload their weapons before meeting with the Fuhrer (as was required when President Bush met with American soldiers during the Gulf War). Germany under Hitler was quite different from what the media would have you believe. Sincerely Hans Schmidt. Related book Reich and Wrong by Mike Walsh.

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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of WITNESS TO HISTORY, RISE OF THE SUN WHEELEUROPE ARISE, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROESMEGACAUST,  DEATH OF A CITY,  MY LAST TESTAMENT LET GOD JUDGE ME, THE BUSINESS BOOSTERDEBTOR’S REVENGE,  IMMORTAL BELOVEDTHE THE ALL LIES INVASION Volume I (Paperback / Ebook), and THE ALL LIES INVASION Volume II (Paperback / Ebook), Odyssey Adolf Hitler, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I and II,  SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY, REICH AND WRONG, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME II Josef Thorak and Reich Sculptors, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors, The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise, THE DOVETAILS, SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S, THE PHANTOM OF OPHELIA, A Leopard In Liverpool, The Stigma Enigma (Paperback / Ebook), The Souls Meet, All I Ask Is a Tall Ship, The Leaving of Liverpool (Paperback/Ebook), Britannic Waives the Rules (Paperback/Ebook), UNTOLD SAGAS OF THE SEA Volume I (Paperback / Ebook), FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, and other book titles. These best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.

MICHAEL WALSH is an Irish British-born journalist. His 70 books include best-selling historical books THE ALL LIES INVASION (Paperback / Ebook), THE All LIES INVASION II (Paperback / Ebook), Odyssey Adolf Hitler, MY LAST TESTAMENT LET GOD JUDGE ME,  WITNESS TO HISTORYTESTIGO DE LA HISTORIA: HISTORIA SIN CENSURA (SPANISH EDITION),  REICH AND WRONG,  HEROES HANG WHEN TRAITORS TRIUMPH, HEROES OF THE REICH, THE HOLY BOOK of ADOLF HITLER, The Reich Declaration of War on the USSR, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH Volume II Josef Thorak and Reich Sculptors, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUME III Porcelain and Reich Sculptors and  DEATH OF A CITY.  Click REAL HISTORY.

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2 replies »

  1. I don’t wish to upset you but I would like to ask you if you are not making a mistake : the article you say is from Karl Schmidt is in my opinion that of Hans Schmidt, whom I knew well. I hope you won’t be cross but I would really appreciate if you could correct that name… Actually I could recognize quite a few sentences written by Hans but have no time to check if all the sentences are his…
    Bye and thank you for answering
    Yvonne

    Liked by 1 person

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