I just read *Germany 1945 *which covers the final period of the war and then the initial six plus months of the occupation.
As the 1945 dawned, it still seemed possible for Germans to hope the war could be fought to a standstill. Almost all of ‘Greater Germany’ and a fair amount of foreign territory was still in German hands. The German army was capable of mounting some tactical successes and so the leaders were out of touch with reality. Both the Battle of the Bulge and a similar offense in Hungary in February 1945 were planned with the idea that German successes would bring the Allies to the negotiating table.
The people didn’t really feel the effects as strong in 1944 as they would in '45. As an example, he author uses coal which was the main fuel for both German industry and domestic heating. In May 1944 monthly extraction of anthracite was 13.2 million tons but by January 1945 it had dropped to 6.6 million tons and then by April it was down to 715,000 tons.
The Allied bombing campaign was become larger and larger as time went along, so even by the end of 1944, they weren’t as crippled as they would be by the surrender. This is in contrast to Japan which was hurting much earlier in the war.
One preoccupation among the leaders was to ensure that another 1918 didn’t happen, that Nazi Germany didn’t suffer from the same popular protests and mutinies which plagued them at the end of WWII. They accomplished that very well.
It wasn’t until 1945 that the fighting came to Germany itself. The collapse came relatively quickly and by then it was too late for alternatives.