Support, Opposition and Resistance in the Third Reich 1933-1945

Detailed revision notes for Nazi Germany 1933-1945 for A2 WJEC. These have been checked by my Head of History lecturer and she said they didn't need changing. H! stands for However.

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Support, Opposition & Resistance within the Third Reich 1933-1945
Rise of the Nazi 1928-1932 May 1928 September 1930 July 1932
Vote 810,127 6,379,672 13,765,781
% of total 2.6% 18.3% 37.3%
Members 100,000 300,000 800,000
Seats 12 107 230
Rise of Nazis: Depression years ­ Weimar political system was under significant pressure. Coalition governments were unable
to offer stability. January 1933 ­ Von Schleicher, who had attempted to draw both centre and left of Weimar politics, resigned.
Unable to secure a workable majority in the Reichstag, its demise allowed an alternative government to rise in its place.
Weeks before: Former Chancellor Von Papen had been involved in secret negotiations with Hitler + NSDAP about the
possibility of forming a right wing coalition. 1938 - Nazis = now largest party in the Reichstag. As social and economic
conditions deteriorated, membership of the NSDAP increased although not to the same extent as the Nazi vote.
Oct 1938 ­ Nazi membership = 100,000, Sept 1930 ­ Nazi Membership = 300,000, End of 1931 ­ Nazi Membership = 800,000.
1938 ­ 810,127 electors voted for NSDAP. July 1932 (4 years later) ­ increased to 13,765,781. Support for the Nazis in National
elections between May 1928 and September 1930 increased from 810,127 (2.6%) to 6,379,672 (18.3%) ­ an 8 fold increase.
July 1932 ­ NSDAP = Largest part in Reichstag with 37.3% of the total vote & 230 seats, almost 100 more than SPD (socialists).
Even at the peak of the NSDAP'S popularity about 63% of the German electorate voted for another party. H! Democracies very
rarely turn out thumping majorities, & Weimar in this period was struggling with that. Therefore, the combined electoral
successes of 1932 helped pave the way for Hitler's assumption of power in January 30th 1933.
Before 1932, Hitler had been reluctant to join any coalition which he did not lead. Hindenburg (President) was reluctant to
appoint Hitler as Chancellor because of the Party's rather lukewarm commitment to democracy. Many had not forgiven the
party for attempting to seize power in 1923 ­ the Munich Putsch. March election 1933 ­ 43.9%!
Hitler's rise to power was to do with the favourable attitude of Hindenburg and right wing politicians, at the time of political
and economic crisis. Nazis, not considered for traditional mainstream ­ embarked on coalition. There was certainly significant
popular support for the Nazi's appeal by 1933, both in terms of voters and on a much lesser scale, members.
Who supported them after 1930?
NSDAP remained more youthful than any other except KPD. Average age = 30 in 1930 ­ 32 in 1932. Youthful nature of
the party can be explained the perception that it was a radical party. This would be attractive to younger people who
wanted action to solve the country's problems.
Number of women joining the NSDAP increased after the election of September 1930. Female activists became more
prominent and encouraged others to join;
During 1930-1933 the NSDAP succeeded in building a truly mass movement. H?! Although more working class people
joined they were still underrepresented.

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Social Classes 1930-1933
Some Working classes remained loyal to left wing parties ­ SDP & KPA (Marxist) ­ a significant number began to
support NSDAP! This was due to; effectiveness of Nazi propaganda, which was grounded in practical suggestions for
current problems; the party's welfare for the support for the unemployed e.g. soup kitchens; and the party's support
for strokes. Membership of the Nazi union grew from 39,000 in December 1931 ­ 400,000 in January 1933.…read more

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There was also a sense of nationalism & mass movement in amongst the
promises of `work and bread'. These more generalised themes were continued in power.…read more

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Art & Music ­ Censored through the Reich Chamber of Culture. All art and music which did not conform to
the spiritual values of the Reich was considered to be Degenerate ­ content/ composers & artists. Art &
Music by Jews or Jazz = banned. Prohibited works were publicised in the degenerate art and music
Literature ­ regime made its position clear with the burning of the books ceremony held in Berlin May 1933.
20,000 books by variety of left wing/Jewish/Other = publicly destroyed.…read more

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Main functions:
To gather intelligence regarding ant potential threats to the regime
& deal with the vast number of denunciations which were received ever day ­ these were filled and recorded.
3. Security Service of the Reichsfuhrer-SS = SD: was established to keep the opponents of the NSDAP under surveillance
& to fend off possible dangers from within the party.…read more

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Opposition & Resistance in the 3rd Reich
Communist & Socialist opposition to Left wing political opposition 1933-45 Émigré opposition & `hibernation'
the Nazis in the Reichstag and the
implications of the Reichstag fire
Hitler = Chancellor Jan 1933. There was 2nd to the Jews in the Nazi Hit-list. 1939, Some Socialists fled abroad. Prominent e.g.
still opposition in his way of absolute rule 150,000 communists and social democrats Rinner & Geyer. They utilised European
of G.…read more

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SPD + KPD opposition in the
Reichstag. H planned to introduce an
Enabling law altering the constitution so
the government could pass legislation
without the consent of the Reichstag but
needed 2/3 majority. KPD deputies had
been rounded up and arrested with SPD &
CP. Remaining ­ intimidation by the SA ­
Enabling Law passed with an
overwhelming majority. H could now pass
emergency legislation without the
consent of the Reichstag, making him
independent of the parliament and
President.…read more

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German population = Before 1933: Had religious freedom
Protestant = dominant religion. Majority and a political voice. They were not
of the clergy and the laity were not opposed to Hitler but feared a return to
anti-Nazi, in fact Protestants were a the persecution of the Bismarckian era.
major source of electoral support in July 1933 Catholic church agreed to a
1920's & 1930's. Many resented the concordat with Hitler.…read more

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Conservative Opposition 1933-1945
Hitler achieved office through collusion with Germany's conservative elite. Initially there was a DNVP-NSDAP coalition
government was formed. Some leaders e.g. Minister Hugenburg (DNVP leader) thought they could tame Hitler and harness his
popularity to establish conservative dictatorship, but others had doubts from the beginning.
Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen hoped to turn his ministry into a bastion of resistance by filling it with young
conservative/catholic aristocrats, most notable lawyer = Jung.…read more

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Hitler's problems mounted with the failures of the Russian front and North Africa, as well as the
growing threat of the Allied bombing campaign. Germans began to openly criticise Hitler at home.
H! There was still faith in the Fuhrer ­ and it was still strong!
Many of the younger generation
Ordinary soldiers fighting on the various fronts
Party activists.
Autumn 1943 ­ Hitler's speeches = positive to the public. Destroyed promises would be rebuilt ­ which was well received in the
devastated areas.…read more


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