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Nazi Opposition Extremism

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Introduction

Germany 1919-1945 - page 135,223 2. How effectively did the Nazis deal with their political opponents? Hitler didn't wait for after his consolidation of power to gather information about the Marxists. So by the time of the Reichstag fire [27th February 1933] he had all information about the communists, including their whereabouts and this made it easier for him to arrest all of them in one night. After the Reichstag fire, which was 'supposedly' a communist uprising started by Marinus van der Lubbe, was a two month purge of all communists. They were taken to local prisons, concentration camps or worst still, torture chambers set up by the SA [still in power before the Night of Long Knives] in homes. ...read more.

Middle

Hitler didn't get rid of only the communists, he also effectively dealt with the Social Democrats and accused them and the center party of being communists. Jews were also included in this purge. It's said that he sent out instructions to arrest those who have been especially active in the political scenario. By late 1933, the Nazis had wiped out strong opposition organization in addition to closing down trade unions. The KPD [communist party] was forcibly disbanded; other parties disbanded themselves for fear of being confronted by the Nazis. Seizing this opportunity, Hitler banned all parties and the creation of new parties. Having a political meeting was considered to be a criminal offense. ...read more.

Conclusion

The KPD was greatly weakened by the fact that they took orders from the Moscow communists who insisted on a passive policy towards the Nazis as they [especially Stalin] thought Nazi rule would collapse very soon, and the communists would be victorious in Germany. They didn't know how Hitler's dictatorship and policies operated and adopted a rather casual, passive attitude towards the Nazis. [The biggest blow to communists actually came with the [ironic] Nazi-Soviet Pact [1939]]. The Socialists were also weak and were easy prey for Hitler. After the depression, even trade unions were crippled and so the weapon of the socialists, a general strike, wasn't possible, so they couldn't use mass action against Hitler. Plus they had hardly any contacts with the establishment and were thus easily marginalized. Thus Hitler used clever manipulation, and played on the weak points his opposition, to ultimately get rid of them. ...read more.

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