Opposition to the Nazi's 1933 - 1945

Looking at various oppostition groups, what they wanted and what they did throughtout Nazi Germany and how/why they faild to remove the party. 

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1933 - 1934

  • Munich opposition removed
  • Other political parties removed
  • Trade unions officials introduced
  • Dissidents - KPD (communists)
  • Jan 1934 - Hindenburg dies, Hitler's position is more secure and he gains the oath allegiance from the army
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1934 - 1939

Minimal resistance

  • The Nazi regime is seen to be a success by the majority (unemployment down, standard of living improved).
  • Foreign governments praise Hitlers for his successful economic policies in 1936/1937 (they were actually the policies of Bruning)
  • Foreign policy seen to be successful - Rhineland re militarised (1936), Anschluss (1938), Sudentenland taken in (sept 1938), Czechoslovakia taken (march 1938) and Poland (sept 1939)
  • German pride restored
  • Lebensraum (living space)
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1939- 1945

  • Increased problems in industry
  • Increased number of strikes - More striking about the war problems, not opposition to the regime 

1942 onwards

  • Increased low level opposition that was wide spread to the Nazi party
  • Increased refusal to conform, Hitler youth membership drops, less people willing to say "Heil Hitler" and less people do the Nazi salute
  • So, disorganised and individual oppostition
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The church

  • 2/3 of the church population is Protestant, 1/3 Catholics. 1933 Concordat with the Nazis, The catholics would not oppose the party if the party left Catholics alone
  • Reich church introduced, trying to spread Nazi ideology into religion - Failed


  • Confessional church - Protestant that but broke away from the Reich church, they then attacked the policies and the clergy got involved in resistance groups.
  • Dietrich Bonhoffer - Had links to resistance groups and contacted the allies. He was arrested in 1943 and executed in april 1945
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Church cont.


Pope XI - Letter to all Catholic churches, criticizing the Nazi attacks on catholic clergy 


Pope XII - Less likely to speak out, he was anti-semitic and sympathised with the Nazis

By 1939 most church schools had been replaced by state schools. 

Bulvaria was very catholic and remained catholic, resisting the attacks on religion. "God is good" was said more than "Heil Hitler"

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Youth groups


  • Hitler Youth was complusory 
  • Alternative groups were present.

Swing Youth - The members of this group were usually middle class, in cites, americanized, rejected traditional German culture and listened to jazz. They resisted conformity by smoking, drinking, etc 

White Rose - University students from Munich Uni, lead by Sophie and Hans Scholl. They printed and distributed anti-Nazi propaganda. They were later arrested, tortured and killed. 

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Youth groups cont.

Edelveisis Pirates (AKA Kittleback Pirates, Nevaches, etc) - usually working class in cities. They also liked to dress differently, drink, smoke and had links to the KPD and other resistence groups. They fought with Hitler Youth members and gave out allied propaganda. More common in industrial cities, like Cologne and Disseldorf. They expanded during the war into the thousands. By 1943 there were "no go zones" for Hitler Youth, because area's were controlled by these 'pirates'. 

March 1940 130 were arrested in Cologne. 
In dec 1942 700 were arrested in Disseldorf, some were executed for helping the resistance.
 Nov 1944 the leaders were hung for treason. 

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The Elites

Aristocracy, intellectuals and army officers. Some had always seen the Nazi's as a joke and as the war started to turn bad they began to act. 

Kreisau Circle - Members came and went, they were based at the country house of Von Moltke. They were set up in 1935 to prepare for a new Germany after the Nazi's. They planned for a equal society. They had links to high ranking people in the army, like General Beck and Oster, who were linked to the bomb plot of 1944 against Hitler. The bomb plot was carried out by Colonel Von Strauffenberg. The plan failed, 5,000 people connected to the plot were arrested. 

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Why opposition failed

  • Lack of organisation (Most)
  • Disunity, most resistance was done individually or in small groups. 
  • Many were afraid of getting caught, so didn't get involved
  • Many people reported information to secret organisations, like the Gestapo, so there a lack of trust in communities. The fear kept people in line.
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