Anxiety about the Future
The “home front” wavered in the final months of the war, yet the Gestapo and judiciary ensured that it did not crumble. The system of terror on the one hand and anxiety about the future on the other paralyzed Germans.
Too many of them had knowledge of the atrocities against the Jews, other minorities and other peoples, or they suspected at least what their compatriots had gone and done inside and outside the borders of the Reich. Moreover, the regime systematically stoked fear of the “Bolshevists” (the Soviets).
The Germans were also afraid because of the numerous forced laborers. Their number had grown to over 7.5 million during the war. They had to perform slave labor in Germany under hardly imaginable conditions. While some of them were treated reasonably well, above all in the countryside, other laborers utilized in industry suffered untold hardship. The German populace viewed forced laborers as an army in waiting, as the Trojan horse of the present war.