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To what extent was the severity of Nazi repression an indication of the strength of the effectiveness of the opposition groups?

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Introduction

Question B: To what extent was the severity of Nazi repression an indication of the strength of the effectiveness of the opposition groups? The Opposition groups that existed in Hitler's regime ranged from opposition groups motivated by the desire for freedom, to resistance groups, motivated by riding Germany of Hitler at any cost. However, the Nazi regime was not willing to tolerate this, and in most cases, not all, the strength of the repression was an indication to the effectiveness of the opposition groups. The Swing and Jazz youth groups, consisted predominantly teenagers from upper middle class background, whose opposition consisted of listening to "Hot Jazz" and taking "uninhibited indulgence in swing" in illegal dances attended by up to 6,000. The Nazi's detested Jazz, as it was American ("mongrel" by being comprised of several different ethnic backgrounds which would go against the Nazis social standards) music and was concerned that the American stations would entice the youths with American propaganda. Therefore, the Gestapo issued strict clampdowns on the groups, with Himmler's suggested punishment to be "beaten, given the severest exercise and then put into hard labour". Nevertheless, it is probable that there was no political motivation, just the youthful desire to have a good time. It was quite apparent that they posed no real threat to the Nazis, and thus, their punishment was one of the least severe, throughout Hitler's regime. In comparison, the Edelweiss Pirates (who emerged in the late 1930's) were "working class" (source 3) and posed a slightly stronger threat. There was no political ideology, they held antipathy towards the uniformity towards the Hitler Youth and were motivated by the lack of freedom in Germany. They stressed their free-spirited individuality by wearing a distinctive uniform including a checked shirt and Edelweiss flower badge, which was used by the Gestapo as means of identification. They also held similarities with "Raving Dudes" and "Navajos". ...read more.

Middle

In this case it appears that the effectiveness of their resistance did not match their repression, especially as they posed no military threat and only opposed the Nazis on the grounds of being passifists. However, as the Jehovah's Witness was a minority religion, their murders would have been less opposed, making it more straightforward for the Nazi's. As well as youth and religious opposition there was also political opposition notably, from the Communist (KPD) and Socialist party (SPD). Hitler had banned both parties in the "Legal revolution" of 1933, it was consequently necessary for the parties to lead underground resistance. The KPD were the first party to experience the full potency of Nazi terror. All KPD activities were declared illegal and the SS launched brutal raids on working class suburbs in major German cities, seizing all propaganda material, in an attempt to demoralise and deter them from mounting resistance. In addition, pro-communist newspapers were closed down and thousands of Communists were put into concentration camps. The KPD had expected vicious repression, but not to this extent. In an attempt to save themselves the leaders of the KPD fled to Prague, Paris and finally Moscow after 1941. They were forced to change from the 360,000 mass party into a clandestine underground organisation. The most important underground activity was the distribution of anti-nazi literature, with newspapers such as Red Flag and the production of over one million leaflets in two years. Repression for these crimes was extremely fierce, From1933 to 1939, 150,000 Communists were detained in Nazi Concentration Camps and a further 30,000, were executed. The main reason for their rigorous repression against the KPD was because they had the potential of joining the Socialist Party. Combined it was very feasible that they could even overthrow the Nazis. Due to this the Socialist Party also faced harsh repression, they disbanded into exile to Prague, Paris and eventually London, where they continued a sophisticated exiled leadership. ...read more.

Conclusion

From source 2 and 5 we can also reveal about the nature of the opposition that there were inconsistencies and weaknesses that held up the progress of the rebellion. As found I sources 2, which illustrates the reasons as to why most German men were unwilling to take "participation In illegal activities" by outlining that "In the first instance men are fathers of families and have jobs" and further more that the along with their passionate patriotism is their compliance too the German Government. I would consider this source as a very valid point as the SPD reports would be paying particular attention to this issue at this time as they needed to know where they were going wrong. However it must be remembered that there were fathers who were willing to put their life on the line for their cause, such as, Christoph Probst, a member of the White Rose, who was married with two children but as a consequence of his illegal activities was sentenced to death. Supporting this in source 5, are the implications that the Shallowness of the resistance is to blame for the downfall of the opposition. The source states that there was simply "no depth" and that once the leaders of the group were gone there was consequently no one to replace them and carry the resistance on. In contrast to sources 2 and 5, source 3 highlights the opposition members who were making the opposition work; the youth groups. The source shows that the group "greatly puzzled the authorities" and narrows the resistance down to "working class...younger Germans." Who had opposed to the "bureaticratised and less imaginative" system of the Hitler Youth. The extract that has been shown in the text shows a significant date as in 1942 when the speech was made, was the same time that 739 Pirates were arrested and placed into re-education camps. These sources contrast as 2 and 5 mention the weakness in the opposition and source 3 refers to the strength. All of these sources offer an interesting and wider perspective on opposition to the regime. ...read more.

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