A female surplus

This article discusses the female surplus that prevailed in post-war Germany, not just on account of post-World War II Germany but in post-World War I Germany as well. “Female surplus” is of course relative.  It is a euphemism for a shortage of males, and that should give everyone something to think about, as it wasn’t and never is a triviality.

Demographics of death of the German people, death by war

Not so much a “population pyramid” but a snapshot of the demographics of a people ravaged by wars

The graphic and other German census information are shown at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_in_Germany#1871_-_1945_German_Empire

The population pyramid shown here was constructed from 1950 data and depicts the size of population age groups by year, size and sex, over time, as they were counted by the German Census Bureau for 1950 data on hand.  The population pyramid shows not all of the suffering the German population went through over time, on account of the wars its leaders decided to put it through.  It merely shows one of the consequences of the wars on the respective sizes of each  population age group, by year and sex.  It shows  how wars ravaged the German population.

For instance, the shortage of 1 to 9-year olds reflected in the pyramid is a result of men being away at war, in POW camps, in hospitals and dead or missing in action, as long as ten years earlier and even up to 1949. It shows the potential dads that were not around at the time of conception of the children that would have been. By 1949, not only had many of the men been long dead, but many of those who survived and for whom the war had ostensibly come to an end, still had not yet returned from the PoW camps in which they resided.

There is a reason for every one of the notches in the outline of the population pyramid. There are also various reasons for the surplus of women that is visible in dark (maroon) colour at the upper right of the population pyramid. If you know about European and German history, you will have no problem with relating causes to the various indentations in the population pyramid.

The Wikipedia article dismissed all of those causes via the caption for the population pyramid reflecting the 1946 data: “Population of Germany (excludes Saar) by аge and sex (demographic pyramid) as on October, 29, 1946. Many former German soldiers didn’t participate.” Guess why many of them did not participate. It was for much the same reason that so few of them had been around earlier, during the last year of the second world war and of its aftermath, to make babies.

Sign at entrance to air-raid shelter

Men aged 16 – 70 belong in action not in the bunker (Image, h/t to Ingrid Strand)



Non-participation in a census, if that is truly a consequence of voluntary decisions by many men, would not be a deterrent that prevent men from getting married, being at home with their wives, and fathering children.

Men up to 70-years-old served in the military: »Männer im Alter von 16 bis 70 gehören in den Einsatz und nicht in den Bunker« (“Men aged 16 to 70 belong in action not in the bunker”), read signs stenciled on walls of stair cases, entrances to air-raid shelters and other strategic public places. On account of having to serve in the military, millions of men of fertile age were forced to be absent from their families or from the families they would have had.

My youngest brother was 14 years old when he and his whole high-school class of boys “volunteered” to join the military (in his case as a helper at an anti-aircraft gun battery, near the City of Krefeld). When, in the summer of 1945, he escaped from a PoW train that was taking him and other prisoners of war from Italy to France, there to work in the mines (as he was led to believe – more about that here), he had by then just turned 18.

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