Opposition to the Nazis and Religious Policy


Opposition to the Nazis and Nazi Religious Policy

Opposition to the Nazis

Who were the resisters?

·         The best chance of replacing the Hitler regime was before the death of Hindenburg. Despite this, high unemployment decreased the chances of Hindenburg dismissing Hitler and division in the opposition decreased the chances of a general strike.

·         The civil service was appeased by Hitler’s legal appointment and the army was appeased by their oath and the Night of the Long Knives. National unity kept the public on side.

·         After 1934, Hitler was legally immune from opposition. Critics had to operate in secrecy, making coordination difficult and opposition activity was banned.

·         Plebiscites after 1934 display how popular the Nazi regime was. The early victims of the Third Reich: the Communists, SA leaders, Jews etc., were unpopular with the public. Furthermore, Hitler’s policies on employment and foreign affairs were successful and he was able to control more radical Nazi ideas.

·         General opposition took place in non-cooperation rather than resistance. However, the totalitarian regime saw non-compliance as opposition. The Church and the Army gave opponents opportunities to meet.

·         The estimated 1.3 million Germans sent to concentration camps and the 300,000 who left Germany indicates a widespread opposition the regime.

The Churches

·         The Churches overall concentrated on protecting their own positions although they did remain an obstacle to a totalitarian state.

·         The Protestants were fairly successful in resisting nazification. The Catholic hierarchy initially cooperated but the clergy soon criticised sterilisation and euthanasia following mass opposition from the laity.

·         Some Christians, were able to block out or resist the penetration of Nazi ideas by examples such as trying to avoid giving the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute or hanging the swastika flag. In 1941, The Catholic Bishop




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