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Bombs, broadcasts and resistance: Allied intervention and domestic opposition to the Nazi regime during World War II


Adena, Maja; Enikolopov, Ruben; Petrova, Maria; Voth, Hans-Joachim (2020). Bombs, broadcasts and resistance: Allied intervention and domestic opposition to the Nazi regime during World War II. CEPR Discussion Papers 15292, Centre for Economic Policy Research.

Abstract

Can bombs and broadcasts instigate resistance against a foreign regime? In this paper, we examine the canonical case of bombing designed to undermine enemy morale - the Allied bomber offensive against Germany during World War II. Our evidence shows that air power and the airwaves indeed undermined regime support. We collect data on treason trials and combine it with information on the bombing of over 900 German towns and cities. Using plausibly exogenous variation in weather, we show that places that suffered more bombardment saw noticeably more opposition. Bombing also reduced the combat motivation of soldiers: fighter pilots from bombed-out cities performed markedly less well after raids.
We also provide evidence that exposure to BBC radio, especially together with bombing, increased the number of resistance cases. We corroborate these findings with the evidence on people’s opinions and behavior using unique survey data collected in 1945.

Abstract

Can bombs and broadcasts instigate resistance against a foreign regime? In this paper, we examine the canonical case of bombing designed to undermine enemy morale - the Allied bomber offensive against Germany during World War II. Our evidence shows that air power and the airwaves indeed undermined regime support. We collect data on treason trials and combine it with information on the bombing of over 900 German towns and cities. Using plausibly exogenous variation in weather, we show that places that suffered more bombardment saw noticeably more opposition. Bombing also reduced the combat motivation of soldiers: fighter pilots from bombed-out cities performed markedly less well after raids.
We also provide evidence that exposure to BBC radio, especially together with bombing, increased the number of resistance cases. We corroborate these findings with the evidence on people’s opinions and behavior using unique survey data collected in 1945.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D74, L82, N44
Uncontrolled Keywords:Media, BBC, bombing, resistance, WWII
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:20 November 2020
Deposited On:12 Feb 2021 15:10
Last Modified:06 Mar 2024 14:34
Series Name:CEPR Discussion Papers
Number of Pages:33
ISSN:0265-8003
Additional Information:Revised version
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15292#
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:20765
  • Content: Updated Version
  • Description: Revised version November 2020