The Nazis were a national socialist party which ruled
Germany from 1933-45. The party promoted
facism, scientific racism and antisemitism to create a (aryan) masterrace.
Moreover the Nazis wanted to make Germany a great, influential country again,
as Germany had lost most of ist pride in the first world war.
In the following paragraphs I am going to point out how much
opposition there was tot he Nazi regime.
The Nazi party was extremely right-wing party, and therefore
I think that they indeed had opponents, or people who disagreed with their
ideology, as communists or other left-wing still existed. However too little
stood up against Hitler, their attempts failed, Hitler’s propaganda even
convinced non-Nazis or the Nazis executed/dealt well with all their opponents.
This is because the Nazis were never effectively dealt with nor got overthrown
Hitler indeed had opponents. Groups of young people such as
the Edelweiss pirates or the white rose group opposed Hitler. The Edelweiss
pirates was a group of 14-17 year olds who conflicted with the Nazi regime by
attacking Nazi officials or by sheltering deserters. 1944 their leader, Barthel
Schink and 11 other Edelweiss were hanged publicly after a Gestapo chief was
killed. The white rose group was a group of munich college students which
opposed non-violently by printing anti-Nazi propaganda. They were tortured and
hanged too. This shows Hitler being extremely harsh with his opponents,
executing everyone who did not share his beliefs.
However it is arguable that Hitler had little opposition, as
he extremely threatened his opponents. An example are the Edelweiss pirates,
which were hanged publicly for opposing Hitler, or his SA leader Otto Röhm, who
was executed in the night of long knives for becoming for independent and
having his own ideas, which showed Hitler’s ruthlessness. Thus Hitler banned
all other political parties to make sure there were no opponents. Due to these
reasons Hitler had little to no resistance.
On the other hand also religious groups opposed him.
Dietrich Bonhöffer, a protestant minister and Von Galen, Münster’s catholic
archbishop did not agree with the Nazi ideals. Dietrich Bonhöffer helped 14
jews escape to Switzerland and then got executed in a concentration camp. Von
Galen criticized Hitler’s policy of killing people with mental illnesses and
was going to be executed after war, as Goebbels thought that killing a catholic
archbishop would cause unrest. Although most religious people (christians) such
as the pope supported the Regime, a few individuals such as just listed opposed
Notwithstanding the Nazis had little to no opposition
because most Germans, except for minorities, benefitted from the Nazi rule.
This is because the Nazis spoke to all classes. They created jobs for the working
class by building roads, as the number of unemployed people rose to 6 million
in 1932, and had fallen to 1 million in 1937! The Nazis appealed to the middle
class by protecting Germany from Communism, which was very feared at that time
and restored law and order. The Nazis appealed to the upper class by destroying
the treaty of Versailles bit by bit (remilitarising the Rhineland/ forming an
Anschluss with Austria). They spoke to industrialists by abolishing all trade
unions which made trade easier, quicker and cheaper. Farmers supported the
National socialists because the prices of their aggricultural goods increased
and businessmen profitted from the removal of jewish . Because of these points
the german majority supported Hitler.
Another piece of evidence towards the Nazis having oppositon
is that armed forces opposed the Nazis. General Ludwig Beck and Karl Gördeler
formed conspiracy theories and made an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate
Hitler in 1933. Operation valkyrie was an operation which took place in 1944
and aimed to bomb Hitler, but failed and Hitler got away with minor bruises.
5000 men who were suspected of being in on the plan were executed.
The majority of the germans supported the Nazis, and even if
some didn’t, they did not want to be excluded so they joined anyways. They
couldn’t stop it, so they joined it. An example from the book ‘Damals war es
Friedrich’ is the scene, where the father of the narrator joins the Nazi party,
eventhough he does not support them, because he is unemployed, and it is easier
to find a job when one is in the Nazi party. This is shown on page 83-84. This
shows that the Nazis had little opposition, as even the people who thought
critical of the Nazi concept sooner or later joined them.
Damals war er Friedrich-Book
On the other hand the Nazis were indeed opposed by ordinary
people, too. In the book ‘Tagebuch der Annefrank’ the friends and colleagues
Miep Geis, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl helped Anne Frank
and her jewish family hide in Amsterdam.
“Every day they come up to talk to
the gentlemen about business and politics, to the ladies about food and the
complaints of the war, to the children about books and newspapers.
–Anne Frank. Eventhough they did not
openly resist or fight the Nazi regime, they did not obey Nazi rule and helped
the jews flee. Throughout the entirity of the book they help Anne and her
Tagebuch der Anne Frank-Book
However Göbbels’ propaganda presented
Hitler as a godson, gaining more and more followers and minimalizing the amount
of hate by creating genius posters and pamphlets-creating propaganda where
possible; even in schools! In the book ‘Damals war es Friedrich’ the Hitler
youth is visited (pg 43-49) by a Gauleiter who preaches lies about the jews and
what they have done to Germany. This lets the kids be anti-Semitic from a young
age onward, and prevents them from opposing the Nazis when the kids grow up.
Damals war es Friedrich-Book
In the early stages of Hitler’s rule, communists and
left-wing parties such as the SDP opposed Hitler. However these left-wing
parties were annihilated by the security police