How did the civilian population of Germany react when it became known that the Allies had finally launched their attack on the Atlantic Wall?

  • 2
    Seems too broad to provide a concise answer. An entire population doesn't behave in a single fashion, and much of this population had no real options on how they could behave. I think fight,flee,submit,die covers most civilians possible reactions.
    – justCal
    Jun 16, 2017 at 17:24
  • 2
    One useful starting point perhaps is determine when and how normal Germans might have found out in the first place.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 16, 2017 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


From "The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945" by Ian Kershaw:

... Viewed from Germany, it was a different matter. Here, attitudes about the state of the war and Germany’s prospects varied widely, whether at the elite level, among the civilian and military Reich leadership, or among the public on the ‘home front’ and the millions of men under arms. Defeatism, reluctant acceptance that the war was lost, realistic acknowledgement of overwhelming enemy strength, waning belief in Hitler, and fears for the future were more evident by the day. On the other hand, support for the regime, not just among Nazi fanatics, was still widespread. ... Among the mass of the population, however, the predominant feeling in mid-July 1944 was one of mounting worry and anxiety. Whatever their carefully couched criticisms of the regime’s leaders (including Hitler himself) and, in particular, of the Nazi Party and its representatives, the great majority of ordinary citizens were still unhesitatingly loyal in their support for the war effort. The mood was anxious, not rebellious. ... Regional reports of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst; Security Service) indicated an increasingly apprehensive mood, falling to ‘zero point’, producing ‘deep depression’, and amounting to an ‘anxiety psychosis’ and ‘creeping panic’, in the light of the Red Army’s advance in the east. Though overshadowed by events in the east, attitudes towards the western front were also gloomy, with widespread acknowledgement of the enemy’s overwhelming superiority in men and resources. There were still hopes of the promised ‘miracle weapons’, though earlier exaggerated expectations of the impact of the V1 missile in air raids on London had left disappointment and scepticism about propaganda claims. And the inability of the Luftwaffe to offer protection against the ‘terror raids’ which were taking place in broad daylight offered a constant source of anger, as well as constant and mounting anxiety...

Remark. Regarding events in the east mentioned above: Within two weeks after the allied landing in Normandy, German situation in the Eastern front became catastrophic: Essentially the entire German army group "Center" collapsed and by the end of August, Red Army moved about 600 km west, to Warsaw, where Wehrmacht (and Stalin) stopped the Soviet advance. (For comparison, the distance from Warsaw to Berlin is 570 km.)

  • IBYM "600km west"?
    – Marakai
    Jun 17, 2017 at 23:24
  • @Marakai: yes, of course (corrected). Jun 17, 2017 at 23:25

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