Why Was There So Little Opposition to the Nazi Regime?
It is very difficult to judge the levels of opposition to the Nazi regime because of the extreme measures that were in place to suppress it. This being the case therefore, can we conclude that the fact that there was relatively little political resistance meant that the German population were too scared to speak out, as they knew what the consequences would be? Or was it perhaps that the government had taken measures to ensure that the German population did not feel the need to air any grievances that they had with the Nazi party, because they didn’t have any? Adolf Hitler, when appointed Chancellor in 1933, wanted to use his newly acquired power base to create a new Volksgemeinschaft a new German nation. However, in order to be in this new ‘master race’ having ‘Aryan’ qualities was essential, as well as being socially and politically committed to the Fuhrer. In order to create this new community the government needed to make the various groups which constituted the German public sympathetic to their cause. The most obvious place to start was youth indoctrination. The Nazi’s used two major institutions to convey their ideology to the younger generation: the school system and youth groups. The Hitler Youth offered a fun and exciting way of turning the youth of Germany into a group of people ready for the life devoted to the state that the Volksgemeinschaft required. However, as membership became compulsory there were children attending who did not want to engage themselves in war like simulations, but rather listen to music and play games like children their age did the world over. This increased as the biased nature of the Hitler Youth became more apparent. Considering that popular western pastimes such as Jazz music and swing dancing were strictly prohibited by the state, it is unsurprising that there were young people who rebelled and did such things for enjoyment. One such group was the Edelweiss Pirates, who could be identified by the markings on their clothing or the way in which they dressed. Whilst they did not have a set of clear aims, it is plain to see they were rebelling against the system, by singing songs with non traditional subjects. However, during the war their actions intensified, with reports of one group helping prisoners and distributing anti Nazi leaflets. Unsurprisingly, the consequences were soon felt as the Gestapo used its harsh repressive functions. However, the measures taken by the state to ensure that the youth of Germany were young Nazi’s were generally successful. A SOPADE report claimed that the youth were conforming well to the requirements of the state. The report recognises the existence of indoctrination, and it clearly states that it is successful, as the novelty of the Hitler Youth made most young men want to be good Nazi’s. SOPADE reports are known to be reliable, and other sources back up their opinion: one German in particular when recounting his time spent in the Hitler Youth accepted that they (the Hitler Youth) were politically programmed to obey orders and to be devoted to Germany. Most sources which deal with the effectiveness of the Hitler Youth agree that the regime was successful in this respect, up until the Second World War broke out. On this evidence then, I feel that the reason there was relatively little resistance to the regime from the younger generation was because the state offered them a means to enjoy themselves, whilst being indoctrinated. In terms of how the Nazis dealt with women, their policies were mainly a reaction to the recent trends that had appeared throughout Europe which had improved the way of life for many women. Whereas in previous generations women’s role was clearly in the house, now they were finding themselves with job opportunities and the ability to vote. Seeing as the Nazi party wanted to create a younger generation that were devoted to the regime, the role of the woman would be very...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document