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SD Report to the Party Chancellery on "Basic Questions Regarding the Mood and Attitude of the German People" (November 29, 1943)

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A further factor leading to expressions of mistrust in the leadership is the behavior of individual local leading figures in the state and Party at the lower and middle levels. Although the measures of the Reich Government are basically approved of, much of what they see being done by the executive organs of the state and Party gives compatriots cause for thought. Thus, for example, the population notes that barter and illicit trading keep spreading or that the total war propagated by the leadership is not being fairly implemented (e.g. in the case of the deployment of women, the question of housemaids, the allocation of housing and, above all, in the granting of reserved worker status) and that some of the leading figures of the state and Party are not being fully affected by the restrictions which are imposed on everybody else. The observation that leading personalities are buying up agricultural land during the war or were able to expand their villas and country houses despite the shortage of building materials, as well as providing themselves with private air raid shelters and, finally, the sparing of members of the middle ranks or top leadership who have committed offenses, through the dismissal of court cases or their postponement for several months, which has allegedly occurred in individual cases, have led many to believe that the leadership does not always take its share of the nation's sacrifices. There are 'double standards' and 'they preach water but drink wine'.

Poor behavior by individual persons in authority in public life often damaged trust in the top leadership at the local level.

Workers' trust in the leadership of their plants, in the DAF and other organizations and authorities is also often subject to particular strain. Many workers are once more beginning to think in terms of classes and talk of classes [Schichten und Ständen] who would 'exploit' them.

As far as the Wehrmacht is concerned, the population is convinced of the professional and personal qualities of the German military leadership. [ . . . ] However, the excesses in the bases and to some extent in the home garrisons have been the subject of growing criticism. This culminates in the statement that the First World War conditions are being surpassed by the present situation. Reference is made, in particular, to the alleged growing gap between the officers and men among the troops behind the front and at home (special provisions for the messes, use of spirits, shopping trips to the occupied territories, the inappropriate use of soldiers who are capable of front-line service in messes, offices etc.).

To sum up, the reports reveal the following:

1. The population makes a distinction between the Führer and the rest of the leadership in its assessment of professional performance and personal behavior.

2. The criticism of individual leading figures and of measures ordered by leading agencies, which in some cases comes not just from opponents or the usual grumblers, but from wide circles of the population, indicates a certain reduction in trust in the leadership.

3. Fairness and the equal distribution of the burdens of war will determine the degree of trust in the leadership. This trust is shaken above all if measures are not applied equally or totally and when exceptions are made and when there are 'back doors' and when action is not taken irrespective of the person affected.

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 4: The German Home Front in World War II. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, pp. 550-51.

Source of original German text: Bericht an die Parteikanzlei vom 29. November 1943; reprinted in Heinz Boberach, ed., Meldungen aus dem Reich. Die geheimen Lageberichte des sicherheitsdienstes der SS 1938-1945. Vol. 15, Herrsching: Pawlak, 1984, pp. 6064-66.

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