Opposition to the Nazis

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In the period 1933-43 the party could be said to have had virtually total control of germany. There were no attempts to overthrow the , few incidents of public opposition to Nazi policy and little in the way of political pressure groups opposing policies.
This suggests that and the Nazis had total control of Germany during this period. It is however a slightly misleading image. There was some underground resistance to Nazi measures, some anti government pamphlets were produced and there were certainly instances of members of the public refusing to join the or make the Nazi . There is evidence to show that some people were for failing to comply with these regulations.
It must also be remembered that the Nazi party employed a very forceful approach to opposition and that the Nazi machine was such that opposing views would rarely have been visible publicly. Therefore it is hard to judge the scale of opposition. It is true though that the majority of people within Hitler's third Reich were either supportive or sympathetic towards the regime. The most obvious opposition was from the , yet this was not on a scale large enough to worry the government and wasn't pointed enough to have any great impact upon popular beliefs.
In general it can be said that the Nazis, until the first in the east, were very much in control of the people. They didn't pacify all Germans and there were occasions when policy would be grumbled about. Complaints were crushed quickly and effectively through propaganda, the people would see benefits in other aspects of their lives and those who had more hard line views about the Nazi leadership would be removed from public circulation, either through imprisonment or .

Both the SPD and KPD had opposed Hitler in 1932-33 and were clearly going to be a nuisance. The government therefore took several measures. The two parties were along with others in july 1933. Both parties had strong connections with unions so they were also banned. Some opposition did continue with groups distributing anti-nazi propaganda. However the weakness was that the two groups hated each other and this reduced their effectiveness. The Communist Red (Rote Kapelle) group also passed military secrets to the Soviet Union until members were betrayed by the .

Intellectuals and artists saw the Nazi regime as repressive as it undermined high standards in art, and science. Some spoke out but many avoided any political statement. Their literature was heavily censored and most writers who had thrived during found themselves banned. Many intellectuals therefore either emigrated or they stayed in Germany and adapted.

Youth groups were indoctrinated by the Nazi state. In 1936 the Law Concerning the Hitler was introduced which aimed at increasing the numbers of people enrolling. There were, however, individuals and groups who continued to resist e.g. the Edelweiss . They ambushed and beat up Hitler Youth Patrols and later during world War Two they collected propaganda dropped from Allied aircraft and even helped airmen to escape. Some even joined political resistance movements. Many of these Pirates were publicly in 1944.

At first the churches were prepared to live with the Nazi regime. In 1933 the Catholic Church and Nazi government signed a whereby the church agreed to stay out of politics if Hitler left the Catholics alone. However the Nazis the agreement and interfered increasingly. The Catholic Church spoke up and in 1937 Pope Pius XI protested. In 1941 a letter was read from the pulpits criticizing the Nazi abuse of human and policy of euthanasia. Th Nazis tried to set up the Reich Church with a strongly Nazified structure and leaders throughout Germany were opposed to this. The Nazis tried to replace Christianity altogether by introducing a Movement based on pagan ideas but this had no effect.
The Peoples Court

Army officers and men swore an of allegiance to Hitler in 1934. But some remained suspicious of him. General Ludwig Beck secretly tried to encourage britain and France to resist Hitler’s ambitions abroad. Hitler brought three measures to ensure the total of the army’s high command. First he Nazified it adding Nazi insignia to uniforms. Second, he placed the Waffen ss at its head ensuring they would be in control. Lastly, in 1938, he retired or sacked large numbers of generals and set up a new army high command, the Oberkommando Wehrmacht. Hitler was now responsible for all decisions.

During the first two years of the war there was little opposition but from 1941 it re-emerged and was aimed at overthrowing the Nazi regime altogether - therefore stronger resistance rather than opposition was seen.

Student resistance was seen in the Rose movement. They were a group of students at the University of Munich led by Hans and Sophie Scholl and Professor Kurt Huber. They spread leaflets and posters appealing for passive resistance to the Nazi regime. However they were eventually and their leaders were guillotined in 1944.

Conservative resistance came from groups of people who once tolerated the Nazis but had now become disillusioned by Hitler’s policies. One elite group was the Kreisau - most of this group were executed in 1944.

Military resistance increased. In July1944 Count Von Stauffenberg placed a in Hitler’s military headquarters in East Prussia. The bomb exploded but Hitler escaped with minor . All those involved with the conspiracy were hanged with piano wire.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor of the protestant church and from 1934 onwards opposed Hitler’s policies towards churches and minority groups. During World War II he collaborated with other opponents and tried to gain the co-operation of the Allies in a plot against Hitler. He was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Flossenberg camp where he was executed in 1945.