Growing Opposition


Anti-Nazi Protest Movements

1. The Kreisau Circle was an anti-Nazi movement led by Helmuth von Moltke and Yorck von Wartenburg.

  • The group was against violence, so they didn't actively resist the Nazis. Instead they discussed how to make Germany a better country after the Nazis had fallen. Some members of the Circle tried to inform Allied governments about the dangers and weaknesses of Nazi control.
  • In 1944, members of the Kreisau Circle, including Moltke, were arrested and executed.

2. The Rosentrasse protest took place in Berlin after the authorities had rounded up some of the last Jewish men left in the city - many of them married to 'Aryan' German women.

  • When the men's wives discovered what had happened, they went to the building in Rosenstrasse ('Rose Street') where their husbands were being held.
  • For several days, the women gathered outside the building and protested. Eventually Goebbels ordered the Jewish men to be released.
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Anti-Nazi Protest Movements 2

This was one of few successful anti-nazi public protests. It's thought that the men were released because Goebbels saw it as the simplest way to quickly end the protest without attracting too much attention. He also thought the Jews would soon be killed anyway.

3. Underground networks of communists operated in Germany after 1941. They mostly gathered information about Nazi brutality and distributed leaflets.

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The White Rose group

1. The White Rose group (active between 1942 and 1943) was an opposition movement of students and lecturers from Munich University. Among the leaders were brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl.

2. Some male members of the group had served in the army and had been horrified by the atrocities carried out by the German army, including the mass killing of Jews.

3. The group used non-violent methods to protest against Nazi discrimination against minorities - they wrote anti-Nazi graffiti and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets to encourage opposition. In 1943, the group organised the first public anti-Nazi demonstration.

At her trial, Sophie Scholl stated that everything she had written in the leaflets was also known by many others, but they didn't dare to say anything about it.

4. Many of the group were later arrested by the Gestapo. Several were tortured and executed, including Hans and Sophie Scholl.

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Resistance in the Army

1. There had been plots against Hitler by army officers before the war. These became more serious when some became convinced Hitler was going to lead Germany to defeat.

2. One of the most famous army plots was the July plot of 1944. Claus von Stauffenberg (along with other German officers) planned to kill Hitler and install a moderate government, which would include members of the Kreisau Circle.

3. During a meeting, Stauffenberg left a bomb in a briefcase by Hitler's chair. However, someone moved the briefcase. The bomb exploded, but Hitler was unhurt.

4. Most of the plotters were quickly captured and executed.

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