Die hier gezeigten Abzeichen sind zu edukativen Zwecken dargestellt, aus diesem Grund sind sie nicht abgedeckt. Weiterhin möchte ich auf den folgenden Discliamer aufmerksam machen:
Disclaimer: Die hier gezeigten Abbildungen aus der Zeit des "Dritten Reiches", u.a. mit dem damals obligatorischen "Hakenkreuz", dienen der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens, der staatsbürgerlichen Aufklärung sowie Forschung und Lehre (§ 86a, 86 StGB)
When the Nationalsocialists came to power, Germany counted six million unemployed souls. The remedy the NSDAP put into action from 1st June 1933 was called "Gesetz zur Minderung der Arbeitslosigkeit" – law for reduction of unemployment. It allowed the Reichsfinanzminister, the treasurer of the state, to spend up to one billion Reichsmark on renovating of buildings, the building of new housing estates and roads.
A man had to take the job he got offered, otherwise benefits were stopped. The Reichsarbeitsdienst, the RAD became compulsory and was not just a means to give work to the people, but already embodied a pre-military education.
"The most valuable motto is represented through you: help yourself then God will help you too!" (Hilf dir selbst, dann hilft dir auch Gott!) These words were chosen by Adolf Hitler in a speech on the annexion of Austria 1938 to praise 40.000 RAD men in a parade
A prestige object of the day was the "Unternehmen Autobahn", the building of motorways, employing ten thousands of men.
Small businesses were subsidised and within the shortest time period the NSDAP had achieved a recovery of the economy that so many had hoped for. The six million unemployed of 1933 were reduced by half in 1934 and with the war effort starting in 1938, unemployment was non existent in the Reich, with a shortage of workforce to follow end of 1938, beginning of 1939. Wages for metall workers and builders went up tremendously. With overtime a trained worker or farmer could bring home around 100 Reichsmark a month, while the average wage for a factory worker stayed as low as 30 to 40 Pfennigs an hour. The growth of the war industry resulted in the increase of hours men had to work. During the war years the weekly hours at work for men went from 49 hours in 1939 up to 52 hours in 1943 and finally up to 60 hours!The degeneration of health and increase of accidents at work was inevitable.
Within six years the Nationalsocialists had changed a weak democracy into a sturdy dictatorship, not simply based on power and bayonets, but the fundament being the trust and loyalty of the majority of the people."Zuckerbrot und Peitsche", sweetmeat and horsewhip ( a german saying ) describes the situation perfectly.The average citizen saw an influx in the economy, unemployment gone – "we are someone again" reflected the newly found pride. The people hoped for this situation of peace and security to stay, the gruesome times of WW I were not forgotten yet.
With the 1st September 1939 this hope for peace came to an end, shocking to most citizens in the Reich, but not as a surprise after weeks of anti Polish propaganda in the media. Man had to fight for home and Vaterland – put on a uniform, if not being employed in areas important to the war effort, as for example civil servants or minors.Even the last remaining male resource, the young and old, were to be drafted at the end of war.
On 25th September 1944, Hitler called all men at the age of 16 to 60 to do their duty in the Volkssturm. About six million men were to be drafted in four levies.
FIRST LEVY The first Levy were mostly uniformed as such, and could be expected to stay in service for about six to eight weeks and could be sent far outside their own areas. Some units within the first Levy could actually become an official part of a Wehrmacht unit.
SECOND LEVY The second Levy were called up two or three days before their towns or villages were threatened by an invading force, these were the men who were doing vital war work and could not be released until the last moment. They also included men of a lower physical standard or of the older or younger age groups.
THIRD LEVY The third Levy were activated hours before an enemy attacked their villages or towns. They would have no military uniforms or equipment, if they were lucky they would have been given weapons.
FORTH LEVY The forth Levy were the ones considered to be totally unfit for any military service at all. No training or weapons, most of these men would have registered on paper only.
The Volkssturm was ironically named the most valuable unit - they had silver hair, golden teeth and leaden feet!