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Suicide in Nazi Germany$
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Christian Goeschel

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532568

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532568.001.0001

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Wartime suicides, 1939–1944

Wartime suicides, 1939–1944

Chapter:
(p.119) 4 Wartime suicides, 1939–1944
Source:
Suicide in Nazi Germany
Author(s):

Christian Goeschel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532568.003.0005

World War II began on September 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in a bloody campaign. The suicide rate closely mirrored Germany's fortunes in the war. When Germany's military fortunes turned in 1942, and Germans were increasingly subject to Allied bombings, more people committed suicide. The increasing difficulty of everyday life in this situation clearly played a role. In a sense, economic hardship was coming back into play. People were bombed out, their family and friends killed, their menfolk dead, missing, or captured in increasing numbers. Rations became tighter and food more difficult to obtain. But this was not all. The policies of the Nazi regime also played a role. This chapter tells the familiar story of the Third Reich at war from a different, individual perspective. Powerful, individual cases of suicide emphasize the significant role of legal terror, implemented largely by the Gestapo, in keeping the German population at bay.

Keywords:   World War II, legal terror, Gestapo, bombings, Nazi Germany, economic hardship

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