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Why was opposition to Nazi persecution of minorities so unsuccessful in the years 1933-45?

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Introduction

Why was opposition to Nazi persecution of minorities so unsuccessful in the years 1933-45? Hitler who was focused on achieving complete control over Germany wanted to remove all possible sources of opposition. He knew he could only rule with the support of DNVP and he solved this problem through the Enabling act. The Enabling Act had simply given Hitler the power to make any law he wanted without needing a vote in the Reichstag, seat of the German government. Passing the "law for removing all the distress of the people and the Reich" as it was officially called, this meant the end of democracy in Germany and established the legal dictatorship of Adolph Hitler. The "distress" which was increasing violence on the streets of Germany towns and the unexpected burning if the Reichstag building which had caused panic and outrage had in fact been secretly rooted by the Nazis themselves, the situation had occurred so there would be a creation of a crisis atmosphere that would make the law seem necessary to restore order. Successfully blaming the fire on the communists, the KPD were banned from the government and its leaders were put into prison. They were the first party to be banned however soon others followed. This gained Hitler's power allowing him to make more moves confidently. Many people did not see a wrong to banning the KPD as the middle class people were afraid of a communist revolution. The other parties that followed the banning were the SPD, this had occurred in May. Two months later, other parties some of whom helped Hitler to become Chancellor were also banned. This left the NSPD being the only party. From this we can already see that Hitler started destroying those that came towards him. Therefore all the political parties opposing were put away. Those that were forced to work secretly, were no match for the Gestapo, and the fact that the socialists and communists did not work together, but separately as a group, made them even weaker, causing them to easily be discovered. ...read more.

Middle

Most Pirate groups carried out only small acts of resistance, such as beating up members of the Hitler Youth and writing anti-Nazi slogans on the walls. Some did go further though as collecting up the propaganda leaflets dropped by allied bombers and posting them through people's doors was occurring. Offering shelter to deserters from the armed forces was another way. In 1944, the Pirates attacked the chief of the Gestapo in Cologne. Pirate members were executed while later on 7th December the Gestapo arrested 407 gang members in total. Other then the Pirates there also existed "The White Rose" group. The members were young students from Munich University but sadly they did not get away with it either as the leaders was captured being tortured and executed after. Sophie Scholl, was a young girl who was a member, she had her leg broken by the Nazi "questioners". They showed no sympathy towards her making her limp in agony to the scaffold to be hanged. The Nazis Party had a strong local structure. Every town was divided into small units called blocks which included a large amount of homes. Their local Nazi, "The Block warden" visited them weekly, collecting donations only this was a mask as to the real reason why homes were being checked up so that there would be no one planning a protest against Hitler. In the police state these local leaders had to act as the eyes and the ears of the Party, They were asked to write reports on the "political reliability" of their block residents. These reports could determine whether someone was got a job. The leader was mainly looking for those who told an anti-Hitler joke, refused to support the Party, hosting illegal political meetings or not flying a Nazi flag on celebration days. His policies even affected women who wished to work outside of the home. Many married women were removed from their jobs so that men could occupy them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hitler's consolidation of power in the years 1933-1939 meant that there was no one to oppose his extreme foreign policies which led to the outbreak of war. It also meant that the people continued their devotion to him almost to the bitter end. There were no attempts to overthrow the Government, few incidents of public opposition to Nazi policy and little in the way of political pressure groups opposing policies. This suggests that Hitler and the Nazi's had total control of Germany during this period. It is however a slightly misleading image. There was some underground resistance to Nazi measures, some anti government pamphlets were produced and there were certainly instances of members of the public refusing to join the party or make the Nazi salute. There is evidence to show that some people were executed for failing to comply with these regulations. It must also be remembered that the Nazi party employed a very forceful approach to opposition and that the Nazi propaganda machine was such that opposing views would rarely have been visible publicly. This means that the scale of opposition is extremely hard to gauge: it is true though that the majority of people within Hitler's Third Reich were either supportive or sympathetic towards the regime. The most obvious opposition was from the churches, yet this was not on a scale large enough to worry the government and was not pointed enough to have any great impact upon popular beliefs. In general it can be said that the Nazi's, until the first defeats in the east, were very much in control of the people. They didn't pacify all Germans and there were occasions when policy would be grumbled about. The nature of the regime was such tough that complaints were dealt with quickly and effectively through propaganda, the people would see benefits in other aspects of their lives and those who had more hard line views about the Nazi leadership would be removed from public circulation, either through imprisonment or execution. ...read more.

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