GCSE History: Nazi Germany 1918-1945 -> Nazi Opposition


Several reasons as to why there was a lack of opposition to the Nazis:

  • Many resisted privately and not openly --> terror
  • Nazi policies improved Germans' lives
  • Genuine support for Hitler and his ideals
  • Opposition groups were banned
  • Large number of informers (people who snitched)
  • People feared the **, the Gestapo and concentration camps

Church opposition

Nazis opposed to the beliefs of the Christian church, they believed that strong were more dominant than the weak --> whilst Christianity believed in love, tolerance and forgiveness. Nazism intended to replace the need for religion, so no one else could become more powerful (have more followers) than Hitler.


Catholic priests and Protestant ministers preached against Nazi policies, despite Hitler trying to suppress opposition --> thousands sent to concentration camps. For example...

- 1941 the T4 euthanasia programme ended when Cardinal Galen (Catholic) spoke out against it

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke out, particularly against Nazi Jewish policies. Consequently arrested, sent to a concentration camp and executed

- Protestants split into two churches: anti-Nazi (Confessional) and pro-Nazi (Reich)

Catholics and Nazis cooperated at first because both hated communism. 1933: Hitler signed Concordat (an agreement) promising not to interfere with the church and guaranteed them freedom. In return --> Catholics not to be involved in politics.

Catholics consistently supported the Central party who rival the Nazis, and Catholic parents preferred Catholic Youth instead of Hitler Youth --> children groomed to be loyal Nazis. Therefore, Catholic schools didn't subject to level of propaganda faced by state schools

Pope wanted to avoid any conflict with Nazis, however lost his patient in 1937 --> showed opposition to Nazis with his famous statement "With Burning Anxiety". 

As a response, Hitler attacked the Catholic church. Schools made to reomve Christian symbols (e.g crucifix), schools taken away from church control. In 1937, Catholic Youth made illegal. 

However --> Hitler's policies didn't destroy Catholic Church, as priests were sent to concentration camps and were seen as martyrs - church leaders applauded in public. Catholic churches packed with worshippers every Sunday --> thus infact increased opposition


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