Opposition to the Nazi Regime
Opposition to the Nazi can be categorised to opposition within the church, with the army, among youth groups and among the upper classes.
Church - Many Germans committed christians so opposition from church difficult to counter. 1937 Pope Pius XI denounced Nazism as anti-Christian. 1941 he sent a letter criticising the Nazis for their abuse to human rights. Hitler sent nuns and priests to labour camps.
Army - some army generals highly suspicious of Nazis; General Ludwig Beck disagreed with Hitler's expansionist foreign policy. Hitler sacked large numbers of generals in 1938.
Youth - around 1million youth refused to join the Hitler youth movements; didnt want training for the army or motherhood. Edelweiss pirates and Navajos gang (14-17) fought members of Hitler Youth and became major problems in some cities e.g. Cologne. Helmuth Hubener group handed out leaflets against Nazi Regime - he was executed in 1942.
Upper Classes - tired of Nazi brutality and feared aggressive foreign policy would ruin Germany. Kreisau Circle wanted Hitler overthrown but not men of violence - they were executed. Beck-Goerdeler group felt only way to rid Germany of Hitler was to assassinate him.
Methods of dealing with Political opponents
Enabling Act 1933 - made Germany a Totalitarian state; Hitler basically dissolved the Reichstag and could rule by himself.
July 1933 - Law passed against the establishment of parties. Only Nazi party allowed and other parties illegal.
The Night of the Long Knives
- opposition - Hitler concerned with this within Nazi party
- problem - SA
- rewards - SA expected this for their loyalty
- army - SA wanted to merge with them - under control of Rohm
- violent SA; their independence threat to Hitler's power
- annoy Merger would annoy leaders of the Reichswehr (official German army)
- Side Hitler needed army commanders on his side
Hitler also had issues with some SA leaders especially Rohm as many had very left wing views which would offend big business leaders. The Nazis had been funded by them up until 1933.
- 1934 Hitler ordered SS to arrest SA leaders
- Produced fake document showing Rohm planning to overthrow him
- Hitler used NLK to settle old grudges - Kahr found hacked to death
Control of Culture, Propaganda and the Media
- 1933 - Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment set up by Joseph Goebbels
- His duty was two-fold; get Nazi message across and ensure that any anti-Nazi views were suppressed
- MPE controlled radio, press, films, literature, art, cinema etc
- radio was important because it was cheap and so easily available to everyone
- Berlin Book Burning 1933 - books deemed inappropiate burnt
- used to promote German efficiency and supremacy of Aryan race
- foreign visitors highly impressed with the excellence of the facilities
Nazi Methods of Control and Repression
The SS - bodyguard for Hitler, after NLK split into three groups; section responsible for national security, The Waffen SS (highly skilled soldiers fought alongside army), The Death's Heads Unit - ran concentration and death camps
The Gestapo - 'discover enemies of the state, watch them and render them harmless' , could arrest and hold suspects without trial, employed agents and informers (no-one knew who they were), reputation for brutal interrogation methods
German Courts - judges were loyal Nazis who would give the 'right' verdict; less chance of proving your innocence
Concentration Camps - enemies of state sent here, discipline harsh, food poor, few survived in camps. During final solution many C camps became Death camps
Persecution of Jews
- SA organised a boycott of Jewish shops in Germany. By 1934 all Jewish shops marked with the Star of David or the word 'Juden.'
- Jewish businesses declines and other attacks by people who blame them
Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass)
- 1938 - Jewish student shot dead a German diplomat in Paris
- German authorities ordered attacks on Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues
- 8000 Jewish homes and shops attacked and synagogues burned to the ground
- Over 100 Jews were killed, thousands sent to concentration camps
-Jewish community had to pay 1billion marks for murder of diplomat
-Jewish children banned from schools
- Nazis herded Jews into Ghettos - conditions so bad thousands starved to death
- By end of 1941 half million Jews shot or poisoned by exhaust fumes from specially built vans
Jewish people of Europe rounded up and sent to extermination camps
- shooting - common but too slow
- gas chambers - within three minutes everyone dead, bodies burned
Himmler, head of SS demanded FS be kept secret
- propaganda showed good conditions in the camps - helped round up of Jews more smooth and lessened opposition
- allied governments aware something was happening but not aware of the scale of terror - little they could've done