Trends in German Public Opinion
Sample: the number of respondents varied from 365 in the first survey to 3,500 interviewed in April 1947; the total number of persons interviewed was more than 75,000 in the American Zone and in the American and British Sectors of Berlin.
Interviewing dates: from 26 October 1945 to 7 April 1947 during which time forty complete studies of the American Zone were made as well as an additional 23 surveys of smaller size and in limited areas. (43 pp.)
This report summarizes in graphic form major trends of German opinion in the American occupied areas, covering seven major issues: economic affairs, food, the occupation, Nuremberg Trials, media, politics, and reorientation.
Economic Affairs. The proportion of the population who said that their incomes were adequate remained constant between November 1945 and July 1946 but then began to decline. General opinion that prices would rise increased sharply between January and June 1946; half the population believed that anti-inflationary measures would not succeed. In December 1945 nearly eight in ten people thought that conditions would improve within six months whereas in April 1947 only 45 per cent held this view. Confidence in the continued value of the Reichsmark suffered a constant decline after April 1946, when 54 per cent had such confidence; by October 1946, 43 per cent thought that its value would drop. Confidence in both Allied money and the German Reichsmark declined between April and October 1946, with over half saying that they saw no difference between the two.
Food. Although there was extensive complaining about the rationing of food, almost everyone agreed that the ration card system was being handled justly, with only a slight decrease between November 1945 and May 1946 from 93 to 88 per cent. Belief that the food ration was larger in some zones than in others gained less support in May 1946 (47%) than it did in March (60%). Between November 1945 and April 1947 people spoke of being worried about food more than about any other matter. Urban residents were three times as likely to mention it as were rural people; the latter, in turn, were twice as likely to complain about the lack of clothing and shoes as were city dwellers.
The Occupation. In November 1945, 70 per cent of those interviewed in AMZON said that the American occupation forces had furthered the reconstruction of Germany; by September 1946 this proportion had shrunk to 44 per cent of the population. At the same time there was a steady increase in the size of the group without an opinion on the issue and, in the last two surveys, there was a sharp increase in the proportion saying that the Americans were hindering that reconstruction.