Photographs of Berlin at the end of the World War II, 1945

Post-war Berlin was a post-apocalyptic world. One of Europe's largest and most modern cities was left a wasteland. There were huge piles of rubble everywhere. Other areas had rows of building walls with collapsed interiors—the skeletons of a destroyed city.

The irreplaceable architectural gems of Schlüter, Knobelsdorf, Schadow and Schinkel were annihilated. Palaces, museums, churches, monuments and cultural sites were subjected to bombs.

The city was bombed by RAF Bomber Command between 1940 and 1945, by USAAF Eighth Air Force between 1943 and 1945, and by the French Armée de l'Air between 1944 and 1945 as part of the Allied campaign of strategic bombing of Germany Went. It was also attacked by Red Air Force aircraft, especially in 1945 when Soviet forces closed in on the city.

British bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs; The Americans dropped 23,000 tons. About a third of the city, especially the inner city, was in ruins: 600,000 apartments were destroyed, and only 2.8 million of the city's original population of 4.5 million still lived in the city. Estimates of the total death toll from the airstrikes in Berlin range from 20,000 to 50,000.

When the Soviets (which had previously held power) arrived in Berlin, they saw a city devastated by air raids and street fighting. It was described as Geisterstad ("Ghost Town").

According to Soviet estimates, the cleaning campaign would last 12 years. On 29 May, all women aged 15 to 65 were appointed as Traumerfrauen (Women with Wreckage). In all, 60,000 women worked to rebuild Berlin.

The biggest problem the Berliners faced was the threat of starvation. German war-time ration cards were no longer valid. The remaining rations were either used to feed Russian soldiers or were stolen by the hungry Germans.

On 15 May, the Russians introduced a new five-tier ration-card system: the highest level was reserved for intellectuals and artists; Wrecker women and Schwererbeiter (hand-workers) received a second-class card, which was worth more than the 12 Reichsmarks they received for cleaning a thousand bricks; The lowest card, nicknamed the Friedhofskarte (Cemetery Stamp), was issued to housewives and the elderly. During this period, the average Berliner weighed about 6 to 9 kg (13 to 20 lb) less.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.