Nazi Opposition

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  • Created by: Robyn
  • Created on: 22-05-14 09:22

Youth Opposition

The Edelweiss Pirates:

  • Originated mainly amongst working class communities of W. Germany
  • Opposition was mostly anti social rebelliousness (Smoking, drinking etc) and telling anti Nazi jokes and getting into fights with Hitler youths
  • As the war progressed, some became more political in their opposition (working with communist underground, Helping to smuggle out escaped POWs)
  • Leaders of the Pirates in Cologne were publically hanged in 1944

The Swing Youth:

  • Mostly middle class youths
  • Opposition took the form of listening to English and American dance music (Jazz and Swing)
  • Nazis regarded their behaviour as 'slovenly' or 'degenerate'
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Church opposition

Martin Niemoller set up the 'Confessing Church' in 1934.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer spoke out against the regime on several occassions. He was executed in April 1945.

Catholic resitance:

  • March 1937 encyclical 'With burning concern' Condemned the regime. It was a result of Nazis breaking the Concordat by murdering Minister Klausener in NOLK, Banning crucifixes in schools in 1935, and banning youth groups in 1936.
  • The encyclical is read out in Catholic pulpits everywhere
  • August 1941: Bishop Von Galen condemns the regime's euthanasia programme

The churches were the one key area Nazis failed to co ordinate.


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Wartime Opposition: Left wing

  • Operation Barbarossa led to an increase in Communist activity; Communist leaflets in circulation increased.
  • Robert Uhrig established resistance cells in factories. There were 89 of these in Berlin by 1941
  • Communist Network Rote Kapelle collected intelligence and engaged in the distribution of anti Nazi leaflets.  The network was uncovered and destroyed in 1942. Other communist groups led by Wilhelm Knochel were broken up in 1943
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Wartime Opposition: Conservative

Conservative opposition groups sought an end to the war

  • The Kreisau circle conservative group led by von Moltke which, by the end of the war, had contacts with left wing and military opposition
  • Klaus von Stauffenberg: July 1944 Bomb plot. the assassination attempt failed and around 1000 conspirators were executed or committed suicide

Reasons for the Bomb plot:

  • Many believed Hitler was leading Germany to utter destruction
  • Ethical considerations to put a stop to the holocaust
  • Belief in a likelihood of a more favourable negotiated peace if Hitler was dead
  • Many saw a leader who was losing touch with reality; he was starting to believe his own myth
  • Belief in Hitler amongst the population was diminishing, removal from power may have been favourable.
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Why did opposition fail to overthrow the regime?

  • Groups were too small in numbers to be effective
  • The terror state: there was an enormous risk of imprisonment or execution
  • They acted TOO LATE
  • Few shared goals amongst groups; if they had been able to come together, resistance may have been more effective.
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