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HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 11 Everyday Life and the Possibility of Resistance.

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Presentation on theme: "HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 11 Everyday Life and the Possibility of Resistance."— Presentation transcript:

1 HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 11 Everyday Life and the Possibility of Resistance

2 Education and Youth ‘Co-ordination’ of education system –‘Politically unreliable’ teachers sacked. –Curriculum brought into line with Nazi ideology. Youth Organizations: –Deutsches Jungvolk (German Young People, DJ) – Boys aged –Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) – Boys aged –Jungmädelbund (League of Young Girls) – Girls aged –Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls, BDM) – Girls aged

3 Religion The German population 75% Protestant and 25% Catholic in the 1930s. National Socialism fundamentally anti-Christian. Attempts to introduce a kind of völkisch neo-paganism, the German Faith Movement. However, Hitler recognized that, at least in the short-term, the established churches had to be conciliated. July 1933: Concordat with the Vatican promises religious freedom for Catholics in exchange for a promise to keep out of politics. Attempts to ‘co-ordinate’ the Protestant churches: –The German Christians sought to merge Protestantism with Nazi ideology. –July 1933: new church constitution introduced and Ludwig Müller appointed Reich Bishop. The Nazis never fully succeeded in their aims, but while individual Christians were among the opposition to Hitler, the churches took a more pragmatic view.

4 “I view the first task of the new ministry [of Propaganda] as being to establish co-ordination between the Government and the whole people... It is not enough for people to be more or less reconciled to our regime, to be persuaded to adopt a neutral attitude towards us, rather we want to work on people until they have capitulated to us, until they grasp ideologically that what is happening in Germany today is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.” Josef Goebbels, 15 March 1933

5 Themes Anti-Semitism Anti-Bolshevism Awakening of the German people Superiority of the Aryan race Mastery of Central Europe (Lebensraum) Volksgemeinschaft (People‘s community) Hitler myth

6 Broadcasting 1933: Reich Radio Company established – a single state broadcaster controlled by the government. 1932: Only 25% of German households owned a radio. Volksempfänger (People’s Receiver) By % of German families have access to a radio, and announcements broadcast by loudspeakers in public places. ‘Radio Wardens’ make sure that people tune in to Nazi propaganda.

7 The Press Control of the press harder to achieve. Germany had nearly 5,000 different daily newspapers in Eher Verlag (Nazi publisher) bought up papers – it owned 2/3 of the German press by The Government controlled news stories at source through the state news agency, DNB. ‘Editor’s Law’ (Oct. 1933) made editors personally responsible for content. The lounge at the German press club in Berlin, with a picture of Hitler on the Wall.

8 The Nazi Calendar 30 th January – The Seizure of Power 24 th February – The refounding of the Party (1925) First Sunday in March – Heroes Remembrance Day 20 th April – Hitler’s Birthday 1 st May – National Day of Labour Second Sunday in May – Mothering Sunday September – Annual Nuremberg Party Rally 9 th November – Munich Putsch (1923)

9 The SS The Schutz Staffel (SS) was set up in 1925 as an elite bodyguard for Hitler within the SA. Heinrich Himmler appointed its leader in Membership grew from 290 in 1929 to 52,000 in By 1939 there were 240,000 members of the SS. Strict rules for admission based on racial purity and political reliability. Himmler saw the SS as the ‘new aristocracy’ of a Nazi dominated Europe. Power and influence grew after the Night of the Long Knives and it became one of the most powerful institutions in the Third Reich. Group photo of an SS wedding in the grounds of the Main Office for Race and Settlement (1936). Himmler stands to the right of the bride.

10 Heinrich Himmler Reichsführer SS and Chief of Police SS LeibstandarteWaffen SSTotenkopfverbände Ordnungspolizei (order police) Municipal police Sipo Security Police (Heydrich) Kripo Criminal Police Gestapo Secret state police SD Security Service (Heydrich) Foreign intelligence Domestic intelligence Organisational Structure of the Nazi Police Apparatus

11 Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler ( ) SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich ( )

12 Opposition in the Third Reich Organising a coup Attempting to assassinate Hitler and other leaders Going on strike Helping victims of Nazism Spying for foreign governments Deserting from the armed forces Committing suicide Emigrating Distributing anti-Nazi leaflets Underachieving in the workplace Publicly criticising the regime, telling anti-Hitler jokes Listening to American jazz and the BBC Not giving the Hitler greeting Refusing to join Nazi organisations Reading banned Nazi literature

13 “I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German nation and people, Supreme Commander of the armed forces, and will be ready as a true soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath”. Military Oath of Allegiance

14 Plots against Hitler May-September 1938: Army plot to depose Hitler. 13 March 1943: Attempt to blow up Hitler’s plane. March 1943-March 1944: Various military plots to assassinate Hitler orchestrated by Colonel Henning von Tresckow and General Friedrich Olbricht. 20 July 1944: Plot to kill Hitler with a bomb planted in his military headquarters in East Prussia. Helmuth von Moltke before the people’s court, July 1944

15 George Elser ( ) Dietrich Bonhoeffer ( )

16 Sophie Scholl ( ) Hans Scholl ( )

17 The Historiography of Resistance Ongoing debate on the nature, extent and effectiveness of the resistance. Used to legitimize post-war states –East German historians presented Communist resistance as the only anti-Fascist force in Germany. –West German historiography concerned with accusations of ‘collective guilt’ & presented resistance as based on high moral and ethical values, the individual standing up against tyranny. 1960s: Hans Mommsen – argued that national-conservative resistance rooted in the anti-democratic right of the 1920s. 1970s: Peter Hüttenberger & Martin Broszat – resistance in everyday life. Broszat – Resistenz (immunity): people retain their moral & ethical values without actively challenging the regime. Mommsen – Widerstandpraxis (Resistance Practice): resistance was a process encompassing different forms of dissent as individuals came to reject the regime in its entirety. Ian Kershaw – Two approaches to the study of resistance: Fundamentalist (dealing with those committed to the overthrow of the regime) and Societal (dealing with dissent in everyday life).

18 The Restless Conscience: Resistance to Hitler in Nazi Germany (2009) Available to buy/rent from iTunes


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