Gaining Strength from Nature
Munich’s transition from the war-ravaged ruin of 1945 to today’s prosperous cultural capital demanded that its residents endure many hardships, adapt, and find the strength to rebuild. This essay considers the sources of this resilience from the perspective of environmental history, finding them in the experiences of the war years, when the city was subject to increasing damage and disruption from bombing raids. Instead of giving up, Müncheners proved that they could adapt and survive the forces of nature the attacks exposed them to. They turned back the clock to a preindustrial age, showing that years of city life had not weakened their relationship to nature. This quality would serve them well in the difficult years of occupation and recovery to come.