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How far and with what success did the Germans resist Hitler?

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How far and with what success did the Germans resist Hitler? The best chance of replacing Hitler's regime was at the beginning. Until his death in 1934 Hindenburg could have dismissed Hitler as chancellor. Alternatively opposition parties and trade unions might have organised action against him, for example, a general strike. However, unemployment was high, opposition elements were divided and many people did not expect Hitler to remain in power for long. The fact that that Hitler had been appointed legally reinforced the instinct to obey the government. The army was appeased by the Night of the long Knives, and then tied to Hitler by its oath. However, by the time the army did want to make significant opposition the Hitler in 1938 the prospect of war was imminent and so the army did not have the ability to oppose Hitler. After 1934 there was no legal way to remove Hitler. Hitler passed the Enabling Act which made all opposition activity banned. Critics who remained in Germany had to resort to clandestine activity. This made co-ordination virtually impossible. There were various acts of opposition but they remained isolated, partly because of massive support for the government. The early victims of the Third Reich were unpopular: for example Communists SA leaders, Jews, even political parties and trade unions. Hitler was also careful to control more radical Nazi ideas. ...read more.


The army was thus the only other institution in a position to mount a serious threat to Hitler but they chose to support him in 1934. The ambitious rearmament programme was divisive; older, more traditional officers were concerned with mass recruitment and remained suspicious of Hitler, until relations broke down as concern grew that his policies were becoming too radical, while younger officers welcomed the injection of more money into better and more plentiful equipment. The Night of the Long Knives was another of Hitler's plans in order to "buy off" the army. He used it a settling of old political scores whilst claiming that he had responded to a treason plot. Hitler was thanked for his "determined and courageous action". Thus, Hitler had succeeded in gaining the support and approval of the army, which was to be so crucial if he was to achieve his ambitious aims abroad. Rohm was assassinated in order to keep the SA under control. The SA ceased to be a serious military presence and became what Rohm feared - a propaganda show piece which could be displayed at events like the giant Nuremberg rallies. Their role as prime Para-military wing of the party was eclipsed by the SS, originally conceived as Hitler's personal bodyguards in 1925. However, this did not stop the High Command from plotting to assassinate Hitler, the most significant of which was the July Bomb Plot 1944. ...read more.


The Warsaw Uprising is an example of this. The Jews in Warsaw rose up against the SS in order to drive them out. However, 3000 Jews were killed along with 500 SS troops. The remaining survivors were taken to Auschwitz and gassed. Events like this created fear from the general people and so many individuals would not resist against the threat of the SS. However, there was a lack of apparatus to resist and only towards the end of the war, when Germany had lost, again, did the german people criticise and openly resist Hitler and the Nazis. The estimated 1.3 million Germans who were sent to the concentration camps and the 300 000 who left Germany between 1933 and 1939 are an indication of widespread opposition to the Nazis. However, throughout the regime active resistance was only a minority affair. Successful policies, first economic and then foreign, made it hard to gain support for opposition activities. The power of the police state backed up by informers, was a further major obstacle. Most opposition groups were isolated and unable to co-operate. The war made opposition harder, but the defeats after 1943 inspired more attempts to remove Hitler. Institutions such as the army and the churches provided the best opportunities for resistance but they would not and could not become the significant opposing group to the Nazis. Aside from assassination attempts, the Nazi regime was secure, with its use of the Gestapo and concentration camps, and was only brought down by a vast coalition of enemy powers. Kirsty Field 13C Resistance in Nazi Germany ...read more.

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