Opposition to the Nazi Regime

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Opposition to the Nazi Regime
Left-Wing Opposition
All political parties banned after 1933.
SPD and Communists still function underground and actively resist the Nazi regime.
1. When Hitler claimed power they organised anti-Nazi marches.
2. Voted against the Enabling Act/Law despite threats and pressure. Leader of the SPD (Otto Wells)
even spoke out against it.
3. Leadership unfortunately exiled after 1933.
4. Undertook organised underground resistance in form of Red Shock Troop. This was made up
mostly university students and had 3,000 members.
5. They had a newspaper called the Red Shock Troop; which was published every ten days and
foretold of the overthrowing of the Nazi Regime by the German worker.
6. Leaders arrested by Gestapo in 1933.
7. SPD Berlin Regional Committee 1933-1937: Published an underground newspaper called Socialist
8. January 1935: Leaders arrested by Gestapo. Gestapo were very effective in uncovering SPD
underground movements.
9. By 1939: SPD had accepted Nazism as inevitable and many turned their attention inward
concentrating on family affairs and own lives.
10. Post 1939: The remaining SPD activists concentrated on publishing reports on the public opinion
within Germany.
New Beginning:
o A left-wing party inspired by Lenin (Leader of the Bolsheviks in 1917).
o Met in secret to discuss future of German Politics. Believed a left-wing coalition offered the best
way forward.
o Issued illegal pamphlets endorsing its ideas.
o Had limited support because other left-wing parties were against the idea of a coalition.
o 1935 and 1938: Leadership arrested by the Gestapo.
Involved in active underground movement against the Nazi Government.
Published anti-Nazi literature which was circulated in factories and beer halls amongst workers.
Organised industrial sabotage.
Anti-Nazi graffiti and posters.
Communist underground newspaper, Red Flag.
Numbers seriously depleted by concentrated Nazi attack. Many killed or arrested. Others fled
into exile.
By the late 1930s the number of active Communists vastly depleted so change in tactics needed.
Berne Conference 1939: Leadership decide on `Popular Front' coming all European anti-fascist
forces. The Nazi-Soviet Pact in August 1939 sets this back.
Resistance After 1942
Uhrig Group:

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Urged workers to sabotage German war effort against Russia.
Home Front:
· Circulated anti-Nazi propaganda.
Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle):
Communist sympathisers who worked in Nazi Ministries.
Passed German war secrets to Communists. Orchestra members were strongly against
anti-Semitism. They aided individual Jews when feasible.
Information thought useful to the Soviet Union, such as warnings about its planned invasion
(Operation Barbarossa ­ June 1941), was transmitted by those of the groups' members in a
position to do so.…read more

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Czech Crisis 1938: Beck was worried that Hitler would engineer a war over Czechoslovakia and
he was determined to organise a coup to prevent this. To this end, he sent emissaries to Britain
to warn the British government of Hitler's aggressive designs against Czechoslovakia, the
conspiracy failed to get off the ground because Beck received no encouragement whatsoever
from Neville Chamberlain, (British Prime Minister).…read more

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Many acts of defiance.
Worker protest over rises in food prices in 1935.
Deliberate slow working on production lines in armament factories.
Strikes by workers building motorways in mid1930s.
However vast majority were controlled effectively by the regime.
Evidence of a `reluctant loyalty' according to McDonough.
Von Stauffenberg and the failed Bomb Plot 20th July 1944
At the centre of this complex network of opposition were officers within the German army.…read more

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July 1944: Von Stauffenberg left a bomb in a suitcase under a table, while Hitler was
chairing a meeting, and sneaked away by car to Berlin. The bomb went off as planned, but Hitler
survived with only minor injuries. The coup failed and the conspirators were rounded up.
After the failed bomb plot, Hitler told German radio listeners that "a clique of ambitious,
conscienceless, and criminal and stupid officers" had endangered his life.…read more

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SA of the church. Adopted Nazistyle uniforms and salutes. Slogan ­ "The
Swastika on our breasts and the cross in our hearts." Leader of German Christians Reich
Bishop Ludwig Muller.
· The Confessional Church ­ Founded in 1934, broke away from the Reich church. Leader of the
Confessional Church ­ Bishop Martin Niemoller. Not based on opposition to Nazism but on
need to defend the Protestant Church against state interference and false theology of the
German Christians. 5,000 clergy involved in the Confessional Church.…read more

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University and Youth Opposition
University Students (White Rose Movement):
One of the most poignant attempts to protest openly against the Nazi regime was undertaken
by university students in Bavaria in 1943. The focus of student discontent against Hitler was the
University of Munich.
The protest was led by Sophie Scholl, a biology student, and her brother Hans, a medical
student.…read more

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This group was mainly uppermiddleclass youths. Swing groups mainly developed in large
cities. They rejected the Hitler Youth ideals, but were generally antipolitics. They expressed
their identity through forbidden music, American Black and Jewish Jazz and Swing.
They went to bars and nightclubs playing music, which was not the officially sanctioned German
folk music.
Nazis felt undermined by their activities at the Hamburg Music festival, "The dance music was
all English and American. Only swing dancing and jitterbugging took place.…read more


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