The extent of German resistance in 1939.

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  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 22-05-13 09:58


  • SPD was unprepared as they were a constituional party with a legal framework, they had no means of organising resistance.
  • SPD activitists continues to organise openly for the election campaign in March 1933, and were subjected to SA violence. 
  • The SPD deputies bravely defied the SA and SS intimidation to vote against the enabling act, but once it was passed, they were unprepared for underground illegal activity.
  • Thousands were murdered and put into labour camps.
  • The SPD established small, secret cells of supporters in factories. Propoganda pamphlets were smuggled across the border but most contact was word of mouth. Constant fear of arrest by the Gestapo limited these activities.
  • Their priority was to survive and be prepared for a collapse of the regime, rather than bring it down.
  • The KPD was much better prepared for underground, illegal activities, but they were devastated by the wave of repression. They were the first party to be banned, and their leader was arrested at an early stage.
  • Still succeeded in establishing an underground network in industrial areas, and revolutionary unions were set up to recruit new members and publish newspapers. All these networks were broken up by the gestapo, but was not completley eradicated, some factory cells still existed, although their priority shifted to survival like the SPD.
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  • Had been the largest and most unionised workforce in Europe, linked to the SPD. After Jan 1933, this crumbled quickly when the trade unions were replaced with the DAF and Nazi 'classless propoganda' became appealing.
  • Workers had cause for complaint but there were few outlets for this to be displayed, but it was possible.
  • The most effective resistance was striking, which was in reaction to poor working conditions or low wages. These were regarded as a challenge and some strikers spent short periods imprisioned.
  • Strikes were dangerous as it was easy to identify the culprits, but it was effective in displaying discontent. They could instead 'slack' at work to react against pressure for longer hours, although new labour regulations were introduced to lay down severe penalties for these individuals.
  • There was no evidence of passive resistance from the workers, and without an independant organisation linking them, the resistance could be no more than sporadic protest.
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  • Establishment of the Pastor's Emergancy League/Confessional Church.
  • This resistance was because they were trying to protect the independance of the protestant church, they were against the attempt to impose aryan paragraph on the church because it dismissed pastors, and they were trying to defend the sancitity of the bible. (Nazi's wanted to remove the old testament).
  • Some churches refused to display nazi flags on festival days
  • When two confessional church bishops were arrested, there were mass demonstrations in their support, so the Nazis increased repression. (Dissenting pastors had their salary stopped, and many were arrested.)
  • Failed to silence or crush the confessional church, although repression continued.
  • No coordinated challenge to the regime.
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  • It was only after the disobeying of the concordat that the church found itself in opposition to the regime.
  • Opposition was concerned with protecting the influence and independance of the church
  • The letter 'with burning concern' was the one time that the Catholic church put itself in opposition to the regime, and repression increased. Catholic Youth Groups were closed down and Catholic organisations came under great pressure.
  • The arrest on one priest led to noisy public demonstrations.
  • Some indivdual preists showed courage in opposing aspects of the Nazi Regime, but it did not pose a wide threat.
  • Resistance was ineffective
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  • At first, the Hitler Youth channelled the energies and rebelliousness of youth into Nazi-approved activities.
  • By the mid 1930s, there were growing signs of disillusionment due to compulsory membership and the growing regimentation of activities.
  • Many opted out, didn't pay membership and did not attend weekly parades.
  • Groups such as the White Rose movement, the Jazz Swingers and the actions of Sophie Scholl became apparent in regard to Youth resistance.
  • Resistance peaked during the war years.
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  • Some generals regarded Hitler with disdain and a threat to the old Germany. Senior figures in the army continued to have misgivings about the nazi regime. They did however share Hitlers aims, but not his methods.
  • The civil service and army had a strong tradition of serving the state whoever was in charge, and only a small number opposed to the Nazis. Because of their disdain for democracy, they had no prospect of leading a mass movement.
  • Opposition came to a head in 1938, as there had been rapid unease with the armament programme and the drift of Nazi foreign policy. They thought he was forcing Germany into war for which they were unprepared.
  • The imminent threat of war prompted an attempt on a military coup, but this was stifled by appeasement.
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