For Germans living in Hamburg, 1933 marked a profound shift in political, economic, and social conditions when the chaos and uncertainty of the Weimar Republic were replaced by the Third Reich. To begin with, the Nuremberg laws estranged every day the Hamburg people from their Jewish neighbors who were deprived of German citizenship in 1935. Increasingly, their neighbors who were considered not to be of pure German blood were rounded up and sent away from the city. Between 1933 and 1945, the government pervaded all aspects of life for Germans living in Hamburg, who had to contend with censorship of letters. However, although most Germans living in Hamburg were uncomfortable with the government’s domination of their lives, they all desired jobs, security, and order, which were sorely lacking in the previous government. This illusion was shattered in 1943 when the Allies began bombing Hamburg, which was virtually destroyed with the death of more than 50,000 people.
Once the Nazis surrendered and Germany was shared between the victorious powers in 1949, the people of Hamburg again witnessed profound changes in their social, economic, and political lives. Falling in the Western zone under the western alliance, Hamburg underwent rapid economic growth especially after West Germany joined the European Economic Community in 1957. The Deutsche Mark replaced the Reichsmark and economic reforms were implemented to resolve salary and price controls from the 1930s. During the 60s and 70s, Hamburg became a stronghold of the German student movement railing against America’s attitude due to the Vietnam War. Nevertheless, most people in Hamburg were not interested in politics, instead choosing to withdraw into their family and personal lives. As the economic situation improved, however, they became more interested and supportive of the western political system although there was no unified desire for the people of Hamburg to partake in the process of Democracy, which was evidenced by particularly low voter turnout.
By 1989, the people of Hamburg had fully bought into the western capitalist idea as one of the major centers of West Germany. When the Berlin wall fell, people from the former Eastern Germany flooded into West Germany, with Hamburg being one of the main destinations. In this case, Hamburg received more than 10,000 East Germans between 1989 and 1992, which affected the lives of people in Hamburg. By the year 2000, the immigrants from East Germany had strengthened the local Socialist Party, giving it seats in the local government for the first time. In addition, people in Hamburg were inconvenienced by this influx of East Germans as gyms, youth hostels, prisons, and ships were converted to emergency housing. Eventually, a backlash from the people of Hamburg caused the authorities to cut back acceptance of East Germans. In 2002, Germany replaced the Deutsche Mark with the Euro. With the accession of Baltic countries and Central European states to the EU in 2004, Hamburg began to pursue more trade as a deep-sea port.
The year 2005 marked the latest transformation for people living in Hamburg with the election of Angela Merkel who implemented substantial economic reform, which saw unemployment in Hamburg fall to below 7% for the first time in 10 years, while the overall German unemployment fell under four million for the first time in a decade. However, the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent recession hand a particularly negative impact on the city’s port and shipping industry, which saw a decline of 13% in total shipping volume. This decline in shipping specifically harmed the local population working in the docks. Simultaneously, the amount of agricultural exports from Hamburg also declined during this period, adding to the woes face by the people of Hamburg in 2010.