GHDI logo

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

Since the Nazi regime regarded the civilian population’s will to war as the crucial precondition for a final victory, various party and police authorities were involved in monitoring the general public mood. The extent to which the home front was controlled and surveyed can be seen in this November 29, 1943, report by the Security Service (SD) of the SS.

print version     return to document list previous document      first document in next chapter

page 1 of 2

[ . . . ]

The first serious shocks occurred with the reverses of the last two winters of the war in Russia. It was then that for the first time doubts emerged about whether the leadership was fully capable of grasping the enormous problems created by the war and of mastering them. In the course of this year's developments the question has been raised more frequently as to whether the leadership really 'made the right decisions' both in terms of military operations and as far as measures at home were concerned.

In such deliberations the population makes a clear distinction between the Führer and the other leading figures. Whereas a loss of trust in individual leading personalities or leading agencies occurs comparatively frequently, faith in the Führer is virtually unshaken. While it has certainly been subjected to various serious stresses, above all after the fall of Stalingrad, nevertheless recent months have seen a strengthening of trust in the Führer despite the setbacks on all fronts. Recently it reached a high point with the freeing of Mussolini and the Führer speech on the night before 9 November. 'Here the German people believed they were seeing the Führer once more in all his greatness.' Faith in him has been so steeled by the painful crises of the fourth year of the war that it can now hardly be shaken even by unfavorable political or military developments. Many people see in the Führer the only guarantee of a successful conclusion of the war. For our compatriots the idea that anything could happen to the Führer is unthinkable.

Thus, while the Führer is the only person who is considered capable of mastering the present situation and future problems, the remaining leadership of the Reich is no longer trusted unconditionally. In particular, the failure of promises and prophecies to be fulfilled has seriously undermined trust in individual leaders as far as many compatriots are concerned.

[ . . . ]

Above all, there is a marked reduction in trust in the media. The attempt from time to time to disguise the true picture when the situation was serious or to play down ominous military developments, for example 'by portraying withdrawal as a success' or 'portraying territory which previously was described as valuable as now being not so important after all' or 'thinking that periods of delay or quiet have to be filled up with flannel-type reports about events in India or plutocratic excesses in England or America', have largely undermined trust in the press and radio which previously existed.

Thus, in their desire for objectivity and openness and their dislike of attempts to portray things as better than they are the population has gradually begun to read between the lines and, in particular, increasingly to turn to the news from neutral and enemy states.

first page < previous   |   next > last page