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Analyse and evaluate the validity of these two interpretations of the opposition to the Nazis in Germany during this period.

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Introduction

Analyse and evaluate the validity of these two interpretations of the opposition to the Nazis in Germany during this period. The two extracts address the issue of youth opposition to the Nazis during the period 1933-1945. Source A an extract from an analysis "What was the extent of the opposition to Hitler's regime?" by S. J. Lee (1998) suggests that despite a centralised youth movement, the Nazis failed to maintain complete control and influence of all of Germany's youth. One consequence of this was the emergence of "alternative" and even opposition cultures and groups" among Germany's youth. Source B by Collier and Pedley writing in the text book "Germany 1919-1945" (2000) also identifies elements of dissatisfaction with the regime but implies that the affinity of young people with the Nazi dictatorship was "sustained". Adolescents were not the only opposition provided by the youth, the students, especially those in Berlin and the major cities, where metropolitan lifestyles encouraged such behaviour were rife. The most notable was the White Rose movement, but there was numerous dissent from the ranks of the students, in the form of pamphlet distribution on the lines of anti-Nazism. The alternative groups that challenged the Hitler Youth did so out of resentment for the lack of liberty they had under the regime, and the emergence of the "jazz" and American trends such as swing and chewing gum made these people further affiliated with something other than Germany. ...read more.

Middle

These facts help show the validity of source A, they actually proved to be opposition to the Nazis, and as is explained partook in a wide range of acts to belittle the regime. One of the main goals of the Edelweiss pirates was to challenge the Hitler Youth, they didn't merely dislike it, and they despised the members of it. Source B takes a different view; it is clear that M. Collier and P. Pedley think that the youth of Germany remained true to Nazism. It is has been established that these are academic historians, and that it is a recent production. The first line is fact, by 1939 there were indeed 7.5 million Hitler Youth Members, claiming approximately 90% of the population of youths. It says that by 1939, The source mentions dissatisfaction with the Nazis with "young people became disaffected by growing regimentation, petty restriction and ineffective and ageing youth leaders. Also, the fact remains that these other groups remained a minority, as a whole representing only around ten percent of the population of the youth. Membership remained high in the Hitler Youth, through fear, both by parents and the children themselves, through them still being inspired due to the camaraderie in it, and by the fact that Hitler Youth members were far more employable in Germany by this time, especially in the civil service. So this shows that there was an "affinity of young people with the dictatorship" and it was upheld. ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude, I would like to point out that Hitler placed the utmost importance on controlling and converting the youth to the Nazi cause even going so far in one speech to say people hostile to the regime were unimportant as "your child belongs to us already", he saw them as the future of Nazism. The presence of these "counter-cultural" groups, (for example, the Edelweisspiraten), therefore, were seen as a failure to Hitler, and as they were deemed so important their opposition was dealt with brutally. This fact means that the youths were bold and brave in taking place in even the most trivial resistance. The fact that these youths counted for a substantial minority of the population, especially in large German cities such as Dusseldorf and Munich shows that there was more than an element of opposition, and this got worse as the war went on and the youths started to assist the allied war effort. The idea that the Nazis were achieving a Volksgemeinschaft falls down here as well, as these groups showed a desire to have a separate and individual cultural identity. This shows that there were non-conformists, and as source B says, even though there were 7.5 million Hitler Youth members in 1939, youth enthusiasm for the regime did fall, even before the collapse of the regime. So the sources are proven to be reliable to a certain extent and are to be trusted in an evaluation of the opposition that the Nazis faced; though more sources are needed to give a substantiated judgement on the opposition which will enable us to gain a fuller picture of the topic. ...read more.

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