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Wartime Destruction in German Cities (Graphic Map from 1947)

At the end of the war, a great many German cities were in ruins from Allied bombing raids and ground fighting. The destruction and housing loss were especially severe in West Germany’s industrial centers along the Rhine, Ruhr, and Main rivers, as well as in nearly all major cities. The destruction was less extensive in southern Germany, Saxony, and Thuringia. Please note that this map was not based on a complete, uniform survey, and that the comparative data required qualification. Nonetheless, the map still makes clear the challenges of reconstruction.

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Explanatory key:

The black segment reflects the percentage of housing destroyed during the war.

Source: G.W. Harmssen, Reparationen, Sozialprodukt, Lebensstandard [Reparations, National Product, Standard of Living], Appendix VII. Bremen, 1947, p. 37; reprinted in Christoph Kleßmann, Die doppelte Staatsgründung. Deutsche Geschichte 1945-1955 [The Founding of Two German States: German History, 1945-1955]. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986, p. 354.

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