University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Military government weekly information bulletin
No. 37 (April 1946)

German reactions,   pp. 11-12 PDF (775.5 KB)

Page 11

german 6Peactions
1000 Germans Ponder
The   black  market  is  getting  a
substantial share of blame for the current
shortages of consumer goods by Ger-
mans in the American Zone, but most of
them feel that the military and civil
authorities are doing everything possible
to eradicate the evil. This was one of
the main conclusions of an OMGUS
public opinion survey.
Almlost half the public thinks -that
there is some black marketing . in
'their community  although  most  of
these people do not regard it as
being serious. The study made by
Information Control's Surveys Unit
(ICSU) ion the basis of interviews with
1000 adult Germans carefully selected
from communities of all sizes also un-
covers important differences in attitudes
among different groups and areas in the
American Zone.
The report evaluating the survey
emphasizes that Germans generally
distinguish  between  organized  black
marketing, which is strongly condemned,
and, informal bartering between indivi-
duals to cover their own needs, which
is accepted and widely practiced. This
survey covers attitudes toward black
markets, not toward barter.
Despite specific aspects of black mar-
kets in larger cities, especially in Berlin,
there is little evidence to show that black
markets in Germany ever reached the
stage  'of  "institutional organization"
which they attained in other European
countries.  The   traditional  German:
respect for authority is one of the reasons
given for the limited number engaged in
flagrant types 'of illegality.
There is no widespead acceptance of:
the black. market as a 'way of life' ''"in
Germany. This basic attitude leads most
Germans to favor strict measures against
black marketers and makes the control
problem easier for the authorities," con-
cludes- ICSU.
-A  large  plurality 'of  the sample
population (45 percent) said that a -black
market is operating in their community.
One in every six people interviewed be-
lieve the -black 'market extensive, while
one in four think it is unimportant.
Residents 'of large cities report such
activities more frequently than residents
of small towns. For example, in Frank-
furt, Stuttgart and Munich -the three
largest cities in the Zone -96 percent
of those interviewed agree that illegal
trading exists in their cities. More Ba-
varians (55 percent) than residents 'of
the other two Lands (36 percent) say that
a black market is operating in their com-
The influence of the black market on
general economic conditions is recognized
by a solid majority (64 percent) 'of those
questioned. Only 13 percent assert that
there is no real influence; and about one
in five was too uninformed or unsophisti-
cated to make any reply. A majority
(56 percent) believes that the black

Go up to Top of Page