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With what justification has it been claimed that the German resistance to Hitler has been greatly exaggerated in its extent and its strength of purpose?

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Introduction

With what justification has it been claimed that the German resistance to Hitler has been greatly exaggerated in its extent and its strength of purpose? It was due to the incomplete nature of German totalitarianism that meant that opposition was not only possible, but that it was a reality. It took various forms, from day to day grumbling to complaints about specific issues, general political deviance and most threatening of all, resistance to the regime. The reason for most of the opposition that occurred is that the person or group in question wanted a more democratic regime than Hitler's, yet they clearly did not get this between 1933 and 1939, so therefore it can be seen that the extent and strength of purpose in terms of resistance has been greatly exaggerated. However, what must be assessed, however, is the extent to which the people acted on this resistance, that is, did they actively oppose Hitler and the Nazi regime? The term resistance can be seen, as was done by Dr Martin Huysden, as an 'active participation in an organised attempt to undermine the Third Reich.' However, this is a fairly narrow definition. Hans-Adolf Jacobsen states that resistance was, 'all that was done despite the terror of the Third Reich, despite the suffering and martyrdom, for the state of humanity...and the word resistance in some cases applies too, to certain forms of standing aside in silence.' ...read more.

Middle

Also in opposition to the Nazi regime, were the Communists and the Social Democrats. All political parties were banned in July 1933, but Left-Wing parties continued illegal activities. These two particular parties expressed more general opposition as might be expected from the two parties which had previously had the support of the largest part of the Working Class. The Communists tried to oppose the regime actively, but failed badly. The KPD had formed underground cells, and the Communists failure was due to the success of the Gestapo in identifying and eradicating Communist cells. The SPD, however, had been less directly involved in political activism. The SPD in exile (SOPADE) was based in Prague and then in Paris. They were more restrained and cautious than the KPD in their actions. However, despite the KPD's and the SPD's obvious dislike of the Nazi Regime, there was little chance pf persuading workers to risk their livelihood, families and lives in the expression of political opposition. However, there were some groups, normally smaller, who were prepared to make such a sacrifice, and the strongest form of opposition took the form of resistance, an attempt to remove the Regime altogether. Realistically, this could be done by a Coup, but the key to any chance of success was the Army. ...read more.

Conclusion

They ambushed and beat up members of the Hitler Youth. The Swing Youth, or Swing Movement, were much less militant and more cultural than the Pirates. It adopted purposefully provocative influences from the British, and especially the American Jazz scene. Jazz was seen as degenerate, as it was 'negro music.' However, whilst the authorities did not truly know what to do in order to combat these opposition groups, aside from a few hangings of opposers, neither did the groups have the organisational edge to be anything more than an embarrassment to the regime. Social deviance, or youth opposition, was, therefore, never likely to amount to serious political opposition. Theoretically speaking, the Nazi state was totalitarian in that it eradicated institutions allowing for the formal expression, dissent and opposition. However, the fact that opposition did develop in such a variety of forms, from Left-Wing groups to the youth, indicates that totalitarianism was only partly successful. The Gestapo, as seen in the Communists Cell example, were used with the SS to eradicate individual manifestations of anti-Nazi behaviour. Therefore, the combined process was successful, and there was, after all, never any real threat to the regime except for the occasional act of violence. Therefore, it can be said that German resistance to Hitler has been greatly exaggerated in both its extent and its strength of purpose, as there was never any real threat posed to the Regime. Alex Corbet-Milward XX Tu Mr Dewey ...read more.

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