• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month


Extracts from this document...


ANALYSIS: WHAT WAS THE EXTENT OF THE OPPOSITION TO HITLER'S REGIME? Much more attention has recently been focused by historians on opposition to the Hitler regime than was the case during the first three decades after 1945. This is due partly to the increase of specialist studies on all areas of the Third Reich and partly to the influential thesis that the Nazi system was less efficient than was originally thought. The incomplete nature of German totalitarianism meant that opposition was not only possible: it was a reality, and the Gestapo were fully aware of it. It took various forms, ranging, in order of seriousness, from every-day grumbling to complaints about specific issues, more general political activism and, most threatening of all, resistance. The authorities also became increasingly concerned about the growth of social deviance which threatened to undermine the re-education of Germany's youth. Grumbling and minor dissent were quite widespread. Kershaw has argued that 'The acute perception of social injustice, the class-conscious awareness of inequalities ... changed less in the Third Reich than is often supposed ... The extent of disillusionment and discontent in almost all sections of the population, rooted in the socio-economic experience of daily life, is remarkable.` There was considerable oral dissent about the lack of wage increases, or increased working hours, or compulsory activities within the KdF, or the increasing subordination of the consumer market to rearmament. Yet the type of discontent remained at a remarkably low key, certainly when compared with the resistance of the peasantry to collectivisation in the Soviet Union. ...read more.


The SPD, meanwhile, had been less directly involved in political activism. From its position in exile, SOPADE was organised by Ernst Schumacher, initially from Prague, then from Paris. They were generally more restrained and cautious than the KPD in their actions. They had the advantage of more accurate information on the state of support shown for the regime in the SOPADE reports. By and large neither they nor the Communists succeeded in making any major inroads into the working classes. As we have already seen, there was plenty of grumbling but little chance of persuading workers to risk their livelihood, families and lives in the expression of political opposition. There were, however, small groups who were prepared to make such a sacrifice. The strongest form of opposition took the form of resistance, an attempt to remove the regime altogether. Realistically this could be done only by a coup since all the constitutional channels had been blocked by Hitler's so-called 'legal revolution' between 1933 and 1934. The key to any chance of success was the army. This had, however, been won over by the process of gradual nazification during the 1930s. Hence the only possibility was the defection of disillusioned elements and their linking up with individuals and groups prepared to risk everything on a political substitution. The army elements were always there. Ironically, they were nearly always members of the Prussian aristocracy, deeply conservative in their outlook and, in some instances, former enemies of the Weimar Republic. ...read more.


In all cases the authorities were seriously concerned - but frequently did not know what to do - apart from the occasional salutary public hanging of Edelweiss Pirates. At the same time, the activities of the Edelweiss Pirates and Swing Movements lacked the organisational edge to be anything more than an embarrassment to the regime. Social deviance was, therefore, never likely to amount to serious political opposition. The overall deduction which can be drawn from these different strands is a complex one. In theory, the Nazi State was totalitarian in that it eradicated institutions allowing for the formal expression of dissent and opposition and then proceeded to use the SS and Gestapo to pick off individual manifestations of anti-Nazi behaviour. By and large this combined process was successful: there was, after all, never any real threat to the regime except for the occasional act of violence. And yet the fact that opposition did develop in such a variety of forms indicates that totalitarianism was only partly successful: perhaps this can be quantified as considerably more so than in Mussolini's Italy but somewhat less so than in Stalin's Russia. The regime frequently had to make concessions on specific is sues; it faced a general increase in deviant behaviour; and, during the war, it provoked the coalescence of normally incompatible groups. It is possible to go further. Peukert argues that the Volksgemeinschaft had not been achieved by 1939 and that the internal harmony of the system needed increasingly to be maintained by diverting public opinion against minority groups whether inside or outside Germany. 'Terror accordingly bit ever deeper ... from the margins of society into its heart. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Describe the main forms of opposition to the Nazi regime, 1933 - 1939/Why did ...

    The communists in theory should have been Hitler's fiercest opponents, but in reality they were ineffective. This was partly due to them being the most persecuted victims of the regime and also because their popularity meant most Germans were terrified by the prospect of a communist revolution and therefore welcomed the Nazi repression of the KPD.

  2. Causes of show trials + purges of 1930s.

    On some occasions the Red Army brought in. The peasant's opposition led to a temporary back down form Stalin. Some concessions were made to the peasantry. Members of the collectives could have some animals and a small garden plot of their own, but the programme of collectivisation continued to be passed.

  1. To what extent do you consider that Hitler and the Nazis had achieved their ...

    Looking at the Hitler youth I do think that they where over-all extremely successful in creating a Volksgemeinschaft for the youth; which is partially because they where very impressionable, and did create an obedient and health youth ready for war; although their disregard for intellect suggest they may be lacking in intelligence when it comes to war.

  2. Essay Plan - What was the main opposition to the Nazi regime, and why ...

    In my opinion the main opposition to the Nazi regime was the people. No major group or certain class were especially active opposing the Nazi's, it was a handful of misfits from all corners of Germany who shared the same view, that Nazism was evil and must be stopped.

  1. Hitler and the Nazi Regime - revision sheet.

    He just kinda implemented things as he went along. Men who conducted business within the party and state were efficient Special agencies got stuff done quickly Hitler wasn't a weak dictator bc he couldn't possibly concern himself with everything o He focused on what was vital o Others hammered out

  2. To What Extent was Self-Preservation the Prime Motive of the Catholic Church's subservience to ...

    The Church has, throughout modern history, been arguably the biggest obstacle to dictatorship. Whether it was Kulturkampf in Bismarck's Germany, War Communism in Lenin's Russia, or The Papal Land Seizures in Mussolini's Italy, the Catholic Church has proved to be an institution that has needed to be dealt with specifically, in order to successfully create a truly Totalitarianist state.

  1. Assess the relative importance of the reasons why the July 1944 Bomb Plot to ...

    The first of these conditions had already been invalidated but von Stauffenberg who left the Fuhrer's headquarters was oblivious to this and was in fact convinced that no one could have survived the explosion in the conference room. However shortly after 1pm, reports to the Benderstrasse confirmed, to the conspirators'

  2. The Impact of Stalins Leadership in the USSR, 1924 1941. Extensive notes

    Even during the peaceful 1920s, the party had used propaganda to justify its policies. Propaganda also had an ideological function: 1. Communist enthusiasts did not just want to win support for policy, but also wanted to coax the population into thinking in Marxist terms.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work