The German Blitz on London, 1940—1941

rescued from collapsed building

This smiling girl, dirtied but apparently not injured, was assisted across a London street on October 23, 1940, after she was rescued from the debris of a building damaged by a bomb attack in a German daylight raid. (AP Photo)

Nazi Germany’s air force conducted a massive terror bombing campaign against London in what as know as “the Blitz.” 

Beginning on 7 September 1940, the German Luftwaffe bombed London fifty-seven nights in a row. By the time the Blitz ended in May of 1941, London had been bombed seventy-one times. German bombs destroyed or damaged more than a million homes in Metropolitan London and killed more than 20,000 Londoners.

 

s_w21_00725131

A shopkeeper in London displays famous British stiff upper lip by chalking “business as usual” on a piece of what appears to be corrugated paper or tin on the front of his shop. The windows have been blown out by a concussion wave from a bomb blast nearby. The two men in helmets are from the Air Raid Precaution (ARP), a largely voluntary group of Air Raid wardens. They would have been a familiar sight to Londoners during the war. (photo courtesy of AP)

Determined to show the world they would not succumb to Hitler, Londoners carried on in spite of all the destruction. Photographs such as the one above show their spirit of defiance which won them sympathy throughout the free world. And while many Londoners did carry on no matter what the Luftwaffe did, a goodly portion of those with the financial means decamped to hotels in provincial cities to get away from the bombing.

Those who stayed suffered from a loss of sleep, of energy. People displayed nervous symptoms of various sorts, drank a lot and were very scared. Yet there was a feeling during the Blitz that “we are all in this together” which united Londoners of all classes. That feeling did not outlast the Blitz.

Even during the bombing, however, class barriers remained strong. While shelters were theoretically open to anyone, that was not the case in actual practice. So, as you might imagine, there was a great difference in spending nights in the bomb shelters of the Savoy or the Dorchester, than spending them on cement platforms in tube stations–which often smelt like latrines.

s_w19_00909175

Firemen spray water on damaged buildings, near London Bridge, in the City of London on September 9, 1940, after a recent set of weekend air raids. (AP Photo)

Eva Braun, my little honey-bun-bimbo

 

eva-braun-1

Come hither look by the prostitute Eva Braun, later Hitler’s mistress and finally, his wife. Fortunately, shortly after the happy couple wed, they killed themselves. Eva took poison because she said she wanted to leave a good looking corpse.

Hitler had old fashioned views on women.  His ideal woman was, “cute, cuddly, naïve little thing, tender, sweet and stupid.”  Eva fit this profile perfectly, if one can imagine cuddling with Hitler.

Der Fuhrer called Eva his “tarscheple.”  This is a Bavarian dialect word meaning “honey bun” with the connotation of “bimbo.”

SHE WAS A WHORE. Eva had done so modeling.  Rumors persist that she both posed for pornographic photographs—and was a whore. She was introduced to Hitler by Herr Hoffman, Hitler’s photographer, for whom she modeled. (And whose well known orgies Hoffman had throughout the war appalled Hitler although he didn’t do anything about it).

Although Hitler had not yet come to power when he met the charming prostitute, Eva, he was one of the most well known men in Germany.  In classic bimbo fashion, Eva did not know who he was. Well, no one ever accused her of having brains.

“…sometimes he doesn’t even take his boots off.  And sometimes we don’t get into the bed.  We stretch out onto the floor.  On the floor he is very erotic.” 

If you say so, Eva. Too bad you didn’t put an ice pick through the back of his neck. Several books say Hitler enjoyed having Eva piss on his face.

A REAL BIMBO “Eva’s clothes and her appearance were her consuming passion,” said Traudl Junge, one of Hitler’s secretaries.

BATHE IN OLIVE OIL :  In order to preserve her youth and beauty, Hitler advised her to bathe weekly in a tub of warm olive oil and sleep each night with a raw veal on her face. Bathing in warm olive oil sounds like it would be good for the skin. Sleeping with raw veal on one’s face sounds sort of disgusting.

eva braun

 The fetching Eva Braun. Obviously the beauty treatments did not work. And Eva, honey, for Pete’s sake, lay off those pastries! These were served each day during tea with Hitler when he was at home in Berchestgarten. Traudl Junge says the pastries came from a local bakery and were usually stale. That must not have stopped Eva from scarfing them down.

WOW, THIS IS A SURPRISE: “She was deeply neurotic and she did not strike me as particularly intelligent.”  So said medical doctor and war criminal, SS Standartenführer (or Colonel) Ernst-Guenther Schenck,  who observed her in her last days. Then again, as someone who did medical experiments on live concentration camp inmates, he was not the most sympathetic observer of humanity.

 

hitlera

A less than slender Eva sunning at Berchestgarten. Hopefully she’ll do a little exercise later.

BECAUSE IT’S WAR, EVA. “Why do so many people have to be killed?  It is all for nothing.”

Eva Braun to Albert Speer in the Fuhrer Bunker 24 April 1945. Well, Eva, it seems your husband to be had decided to conquer much of the world and murder millions of people he didn’t like. Those are a few reasons.

The final letter Eva Braun wrote in her lifetime was a letter to her sister, Gretl.  She gave it to Germany’s most famous test pilot, Hanna Reitsch, a dedicated Nazi who devoted herself to the Fuhrer. As depicted in the movie, Downfall, she flew a small plane into Berlin in the last few days and had landed on the street in front of the Reich’s Chancellery.

Unbelievably, after Hanna flew out of Berlin and got safely away, she  opened the letter, read it, then tore it up.

“So vulgar, so theatrical and in such poor adolescent taste”

Gee, Hanna, what did you expect?

 

 

 

Third Reich Humor

 

wehrmacht210

“so, did you hear the latest one about the Fuhrer?”

The following is from Berlin Embassy by William Russell. The author was studying German in the Third Reich when he was hired by the American Embassy as a visa clerk. This memoir, which I like a lot and have reviewed before, gives a discerning look at everyday life in the Third Reich before and for several months after, the breakout of World War Two. Russell had a good ear and caught a lot of interesting things people said.

In his memoir, which he wrote in 1940, immediately upon returning to the US, he writes:

 

“The following joke was popular in Germany for many months just before the outbreak of the war.

Adolf Hitler and Dr. Goebbels were out riding, when they accidently ran over a dog and killed him.

“Well,” said Goebbels, “think I should find the owner of the dog, and apologize.”

“Go on, then,” Hitler growled, “but see that you come right back.”

One hour later, Dr. Goebbels appeared at the car, much the worse for alcohol.

Seeing that Hitler was extremely angry, Goebbels hastened to explain his absence and his condition. “It was like this,” he said. “I found the house where the owner of the dog lived. I knocked at his door, and when he opened it, I simply said, ‘Heil Hitler; the dog is dead.’

 “Thank God,” the stranger said immediately, “let’s celebrate.”

 

About nine months ago, I received a letter from a fascinating woman in Texas who had lived in Berlin for several years as a young girl during the time Russell was there because her father was running the German division of an American company. She remembered William Russell quite well and said he was a nice young man who often gave candy to American children. She had googled him to discover if he were still alive (he isn’t) and came across a blog post I had written about him and his book. So she wrote me and told me the story of how she had met him and remembered him. I have had subsequent email conversations with her and she is most interesting.

You can find my original post on Berlin Embassy and William Russell here:

http://charlesmccain.com/2011/03/berlin-embassy-by-william-russell/