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Opposition To The Nazi Regime


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#1 OllieC

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 05:13 PM

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Edited by OllieC, 17 December 2009 - 03:20 PM.


#2 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:01 AM

If you do a forum search for
+opposition +Nazi
there are a few threads where we have addressed this issue on the forum.
However, I'm not sure that any of them will answer your specific problem.
The question is most obscure - it seems to be a question about 'what is opposition' rather than a question about the opposition to the Nazis.

I think, at your stage, I would regard it as a question about effectiveness.
Why not start off by looking at examples of 'opposition aimed at overthrowing the Nazi regime', but stress how INeffective they were.
Then do a whole section on other forms of opposition, and try to find ways they were effective.
And that will help you challenge the statement.

Then spend the rest of the essay showing how ineffective the opposition was in Germany overall, and how it failed to dislodge the regime - this will allow you to have a section agreeing with the statement.

Then come to a conclusion.
Best of luck

#3 OllieC

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 03:24 PM

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Edited by OllieC, 17 December 2009 - 03:22 PM.


#4 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 11:39 PM

I think you first need to collect together many more specific examples of opposition.
There was more direct opposition than you might think - the Communists tried to resist, and the SDP had a paramilitary wing called the Reichsbanner.
And don't forget the Edelweiss Pirates, and the collpase of the Hitler Youth towards the end of the war.
Also, try this site for some individuals who opposed the Holocaust.
There was a good deal of opposition to the Nazis euthanasia programme, which eventually forced it to be shut down - read this webpage and this section of the wikipedia article, and especially suss out Bishop von Galen of Munster in this respect.
There was also a fair bit of 'upset' about some other government actions - the Catholic Church, for instance, raised mild objections to the Nazi takeover of education and youth activities.

People did complain about things in Nazi Germany, and they DID have success. Daniel Goldhagen gives the example of a Nazi Captain Wolfgang Hoffmann who defied an order to sign a promise not to steal the possessions of the Jews he was killing, on the grounds that he was outraged at the suggestion that a German soldier would do such a thing. And the Nazi government did listen to such opposition, and did sometimes respond; Hoffmann was not punished, and was not even aked again to sign the declaration.
I think the thing was that the Germans did not always oppose the things that we would have wanted them to oppose. A lot of the 'opposition' comes across to us as in-fighting/power struggles between various individuals and organisations within the Nazi government, and nowadays it all seems very petty and selfish.

I think this is where my point about the lack of opposition comes in.
I take your point very strongly that it does not seem on the surface to have much relevance to the actual question.
But it IS relevant in a kind of way when you go down the line I have above.
People DID oppose the government. The Nazi state was not a monolithic dictatorship which systematically squashed every tiniest infraction (read this article). The bureaucrats struggled for power with the Party. The Army often hindered the SS. Frank hated Himmler etc. But their 'opposition' was generally within the ideologies of Nazism.
In fact very, very few Germans ever considered opposing the state in a political sense.
Anybody who did usually found themselves in a concentration camp pdq.

Am I coming round to a view which thinks that the answer to your question lies in your definition of 'opposition', and that your definition of 'opposition' of course depends on your standpoint?
From where we stand, it is easy to poo-poo the very mild disapproval of the Catholic church, which certainly had little effect on the run of events. But they would have considered it opposition at the time (compare your own failed attempt to oppose, e.g., those wind turbines on the local beauty spot. You failed to stop them, but does that mean you failed to oppose them? How would you react to a suggestion that your opposition as a worthless sham, and would only be reckoned as 'opposition' if you had taken a gun and shot Gordon Brown.) Within Nazi Germany, failed opposition within the accepted confines of the times would still have been regarded as opposition; 'actions aimed at overthrowing the Nazi regime' were seen, not as 'opposition', but as 'sedition' (which is why those people were put to death and into concentration camps).

And it is in this respect that the general acceptance of Nazi ideals by the vast majority of the German people becomes relevant. The Gestapo was NOT everywhere -- people phoned them up and reported their neighbours. Most Germans acquiesced comfortably in Nazi anti-semitism and turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. They were living in the midst of arguably the most evil regime of all time ... and yet they were generally 'law-abiding', and thought they were exercising their civic right of opposition by complaining about the gas supply.

What can you say? Today we live in a capitalist regime that is actively ruining the world's environment and purposely reducing huge numbers of people to starvation. And what do WE do - people are overwhelmingly law-abiding, and restrict their 'opposition' to a furious letter to the BBC because Russell Brand used the word 'f**k'. We regard those who use violence to oppose the regime as 'terrorists' and (in a war) as 'traitors'.

On the other hand, you have to wonder whether I have now argued myself round full circle to agree with the question; the only valid 'opposition' is violence - the rest is conscience-salving, ephemeral posturing which avoids the REAL issues and merely gives credence to the regime!

#5 OllieC

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 09:34 PM

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Edited by OllieC, 17 December 2009 - 03:22 PM.


#6 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 10:02 PM

Well, to be honest, I think it sounds an authoritative, reasonable argument, but who am I?
The person who matters is your teacher, so it will be interesting to see what s/he thinks of it.

As for improving it? - well, you can always do that!
There are two basic ways (if you are determined to stay within your word limit):

1. Increase the density of facts
You can REFER to facts/events without narrating them - you can assume that your reader know the facts so you can list title, names etc without going into further detail.
For instance, you say: 'there were a fair number of groups who opposed or disagreed with the Nazis and were effective in having their grievances redressed', then spend the rest of the paragraph explaining about the Catholic Church.
A 'denser' way of approching this would have been to write: 'there were a fair number of groups who opposed or disagreed with the Nazis and were effective in having their grievances redressed...' and then list half a dozen examples by name only. Now you have factS which prove your case, rather than one instance (the Catholic Church's opposition to Aktion4).
You only go into the detail of a particular event where you need that detail to prove your point (I thought your paragraph beginning 'All thre examples of opposition...' was a particularly good example of using factual detail from a range of events to prove a number of proposals.

2. Increase the density of ideas/points.
ie go more deeply into the question.
The danger of this when you are still 'learning the trade' of essay-writing is that you lose the thread of a directed argument, and seem to be flitting from idea to idea.
Sometimes a well-argued single line of logic can be very powerful.
Personally, I thought your essay captured the perfect balance between line-of-argument and reflection, but we wait on your teacher's verdict on that.

SO well done!
I would be interested to know how well you when you get it marked.

#7 glitterglitter

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 11:41 PM

"Only actions aimed at overthrowing the Nazi regime can genuinely be seen as 'opposition'."
Discuss this verdict in relation to the period 1933-45.




Hi,

I think this is a really hard question purely in terms of it's unclear what your teacher's aiming at. Also the fact that it says til 45, when there wasn't legitimate opposition.

I interpreted opposition a wee bit more literally. I'd probably do something like:

*Define opposition
*Outline who the main opposition parties were in 1933
*Trace their failure, highlighting fear and the Nazi destruction of democracy which eliminated attempts to legitimately overthrow the Nazis
*Describe the various unlegitimate means of overthrowing the Nazis.

Basically, I'm interpreting the question as meaning the only actions that were going to get anywhere were ones that aimed to get rid of them e.g. overthrow by killing Hitler because the Nazis had deliberately got rid of the opposition, and people were too scared to openly support who was left.

Good luck! I think it's a bad question, but that that even if you don't understand the question just stay with your structure, be clear and you should pick up marks. You obv know yer stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#8 greenfield student

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 12:23 PM

Wernt you the opposition to the nazi regime Mr Claire? Liam Hughes here tried a personal message but seems I dont have the necessary clearance so I apologize in advance for spamming your forum.

#9 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 06:17 PM

Wernt you the opposition to the nazi regime Mr Claire? Liam Hughes here tried a personal message but seems I dont have the necessary clearance so I apologize in advance for spamming your forum.

Hi Liam!
To be honest, I would have been nowhere near brave enough.
I would have been one of those Jews who queued up and tried to go to their death with as much dignity as possible.
Hope all is well with you.
Lovely to hear from you.




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