Christmas in World War II

Harry Brighouse at Crookedtimber has this documentary video from the British National Archive (BFI) of Christmas 1940, the year of the German Blitzkrieg, in England. Despite the desperate situation, it was ‚business as usual‘ as England prepared for Christmas in this propaganda film intended for US audiences. It’s a Christmas of holly and barbed wire, guns and tinsel, yet the British, we are told, are determined to make it as cheerful as possible.

The German ARD has broadcast a documentary of Christmas 1945. Germany, having lost World War II that same year, was in a state of anarchy. Farmers were robbed by looters, people stood waiting in long queues in front of shops for a piece of bread and a few potatoes. Since the video shows the time right after the war in 1945 and before the Marshall plan was put into place in 1948, the allies considered 1200 calories a day enough for a German worker to survive, and money was basically worthless due to the scarcity of food. Both videos give an account of the immense human suffering of the civil population and people’s attempts to at least let their children experience a few hours of piece and joy, and they show the ugly consequences of any war to the present day.

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