14 Harsh Realities Of Life In Germany After WWII

When Hitler was defeated by the Allies in WWII, he left behind almost no post-conflict plans. It had been tantamount to treason under the Third Reich to even mention the possibility of defeat, and by the end, practically every single resource available had been poured into the WWII effort. What remained after Germany's surrender was a grieving populace mourning the loss of millions of their people and a countryside that had been shelled, razed, and trampled by tanks and troops for years. 

In a speech on May 8, 1945, British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery described the situation that Germany faced:

"Displaced Persons" were roaming about the country, often looting as they went. Transportation and communication services had ceased to function. Agriculture and industry were largely at a standstill. Food was scarce and there was a serious risk of famine and disease during the coming months. And to crown it all there was no central government in being, and the machinery whereby a central government could function no longer existed.

Life in post-WWII Germany was very, very difficult for a very long time, and the country's rise out of that brutal era has its own word in the German language. They call it the "Wirtschaftswunder," which translates to the "economic miracle." Their situation after WWII was so dire that nothing short of a miracle - and the back-breaking efforts of the Allies and the hardy Berliners themselves - could have saved the country. It was also one of the most unprecedented situations in world history; no countries have been through anything quite like Germany after World War 2. Here are some of the unique, harsh, and ultimately triumphant realities of what life in Germany after WWII was like.