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Information bulletin
No. 145 (October 5, 1948)

US zone Germans optimistic on future,   p. 26 PDF (618.9 KB)


Page 26

US ZONE GERMANS OPTIMISTIC ON FUTURE
Survey Shows Three Out of Five Persons Believe Their Situation
Will Improve in 1949; Currency Reform Overwhelmingly Approved
G   ERMANS in the US Zone have
considerable confidence in the
future-three persons in five believing
they will be better off in 1949- ac-
cording to the results of a public
opinion survey released by the In-
formation Services Division, OMGUS.
Moreover, the Germans have given
overwhelming approval to the recent
currency reform measures instituted
by the three Western Powers, the
survey revealed.
The study, conducted in the US
Zone, including the Bremen-Bremer-
haven area, by ISD's Opinion Surveys
Branch to measure public reaction to
monetary reform, disclosed that 90
percent of the southern zonal residents
and 96 percent of the Bremen area
citizens recognized its necessity.
However, 57 percent of those who
voiced approval criticized its timing,
the majority believing that the cor-
rective action should have been taken
earlier than  the date of its . in-
auguration on June 20. The division
of German opinion on the matter is
indicated in the. following table of
percentages:
Best time   South States Bremen
When it took place  27      39
Sooner .... .    .  53      53
Later . - . . .      4       4
No opinion . .. .    6      -
An indication of German confidence
in the immediate economic futurewas
the expressed  intention  of seven
persons in every 10 to buy more
clothing, shoes, household utensils
and furniture than they had.bought in
the six months preceding currency
reform. In addition, the study dis-
closed that 55 percent of the southern
state residents and 77 percent of. the
Germans in the Bremen area con-
templated no reduction,; in purchases
of any sort within a six-month period.
Despite!:. the  general feeling  of
optimism, 38 percent of the zonal
Germans.and 23 percent of those in
the Bremen area admitted planning to
cut down purchases of certain items,
including coffee, spices, beer, ex-
pensive foods and ersatz products.
This, according to MG analysts, in-
dicated an intention to buy more
discriminately with the new "hard"
currency than with the old, more
plentiful Reichsmark.
THE SURVEY further indicated that
a large majority of Germans ex-
pected currency reform to reduce the
black market appreciably. Along with
general questions regarding the ex-
istence of a black market, interviewers
made this inquiry: "In your opinion,
will the black market be overcome by
currency reform, will it be somewhat
limited, or will it continue on un-
checked?" The percentage of opinions
of the German respondents was:
South States Bremen
Overcome .14                 8
Limited.            71      73
Continue as before .  9      18
No opinion . . . .   6       1
Evidence of the effect of cur-
rency reform on the black market was
found, the  survey   explained, in
opinions concerning the existence of
local illegal trading. Only one-half of
those interviewed after the currency
change stated that such trading existed
locally, while three persons in four
held such belief before the advent of
reform. The majority of those replying
affirmatively to the question, "Do you
believe there is a black market in this
community?" held that iIt was un-
important in extent.
One. of-the significant aspects of the
survey concerned Germans' opinions
.on the food situation in the first month
.following the change in German cur-
rency.- One-half of those interviewed
in' the southern states declared that
they were doing better than formerly
.in obtaining food supplies; 43 percent
claimed to be getting along as usual,
:'while only six percent reported an
adverse food condition. In Bremen,
the figures were: "better," 78 percent;
"the same," 21 percent, and "worse,"
one percent.
Parallel evidence of the improved
food situation was provided in - the
INFORMATION BULLETIN
continous MG survey of trends in
German public opinion. Asked this
question, "What at present are your
chief cares and worries?" the pro-
portion of Germans mentioning food as
their chief anxiety dropped from more
than 50 percent to about 13 percent.
A ')DITIONALLY, the survey pointed
up the importance of food in
postwar German thinking. Thus, the
report explained, people who said
their rations had improved tended to
attribute it to changes brought on by
currency  reform  and  to  express
favorable attitudes. In contrast, con-
siderably fewer of the smaller group
whose rations had not improved were
inclined to view the changed con-
ditions with favor. The percentage of
relationship between food supplies,
and attitude toward currency reform
is shown in the accompanying per-
centage table:
-in Pa
Bette
Currency refoxm was:
Necessary   ...    .  53
Not necessary . . .   28
If necessary, currency
reform:
Came at right time .  49
Should have been done
sooner ..... .       58
Should have been post-
poned . ....          .  32
During comingnextyear
will:
Get along better . .  62
Get along worse . .   38
Get along the same .  33
Intend to buy certain
-goods .54
Do not intend to buy
more   ... .      .   .  42
Through currency reform,
black market will:
Be overcome   . . .   52
Be limited  ....      54
Go on as before . .   45
Food Supply
istPew Weeks Was:
r Worse Same
6      41
16     56
47
36
4
6
16       52
34
50
59
4
12
8
5         41
11         47
44
41
42
5
13
Spanish Consul In Frankfurt
An office of the Spanish consulate
general has been established at Frank'
ffurt with Don Eduardo Garcia Comfo,
in charge..
OCTOBER 5. 190
.26


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