German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad 1938-1945 (Clarendon Paperbacks)
Taylor: Churchill "did not grasp the economic arguments one way or the other. What determined him was again a devotion to British greatness. The pound would once more 'look the dollar in the face'; the days of Queen Victoria would be restored. So far Churchill had been engaged in politics for 30 years, with not much to show for it except a certain notoriety. His great claim to fame in the modern mythology begins with his hard line against Hitler in the s.
But it is important to realize that Churchill had maintained a hard line against Weimar Germany, as well. He denounced all calls for Allied disarmament, even before Hitler came to power. In the end, what Britain and France refused to grant to a democratic Germany they were forced to concede to Hitler.
Moreover, if most did not bother to listen when Churchill fulminated on the impending German threat, they had good reason. He had tried to whip up hysteria too often before: for a crusade against Bolshevik Russia, during the General Strike of , on the mortal dangers of Indian independence, in the abdication crisis.
Why pay any heed to his latest delusion? Churchill had been a strong Zionist practically from the start, holding that Zionism would deflect European Jews from social revolution to partnership with European imperialism in the Arab world. Though a Conservative MP, Churchill began berating the Conservative governments, first Baldwin's and then Chamberlain's, for their alleged blindness to the Nazi threat.
He vastly exaggerated the extent of German rearmament, formidable as it was, and distorted its purpose by harping on German production of heavy-bombers. This was never a German priority, and Churchill's fabrications were meant to demonstrate a German design to attack Britain, which was never Hitler's intention. Since the Poles, having nearly been conquered by the Red Army in , rejected any coalition with the Soviet Union, and since the Soviets' only access to Germany was through Poland, Churchill's plan was worthless.
Ironically — considering that it was a pillar of his future fame — his drumbeating about the German danger was yet another position on which Churchill reneged. In the fall of , he stated:. Three or four years ago I was myself a loud alarmist…. In spite of the risks which wait on prophecy, I declare my belief that a major war is not imminent, and I still believe that there is a good chance of no major war taking place in our lifetime….
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For all the claptrap about Churchill's "farsightedness" during the 30s in opposing the "appeasers," in the end the policy of the Chamberlain government — to rearm as quickly as possible, while testing the chances for peace with Germany — was more realistic than Churchill's. The common mythology is so far from historical truth that even an ardent Churchill sympathizer, Gordon Craig, feels obliged to write:.
The time is long past when it was possible to see the protracted debate over British foreign policy in the s as a struggle between Churchill, an angel of light, fighting against the velleities of uncomprehending and feeble men in high places. It is reasonably well-known today that Churchill was often ill-informed, that his claims about German strength were exaggerated and his prescriptions impractical, that his emphasis on air power was misplaced.
Moreover, as a British historian has recently noted: "For the record, it is worth recalling that in the s Churchill did not oppose the appeasement of either Italy or Japan. Clive Ponting has observed:. In September, , Britain went to war with Germany, pursuant to the guarantee which Chamberlain had been panicked into extending to Poland in March. Lloyd George had termed the guarantee "hare-brained," while Churchill had supported it. Nonetheless, in his history of the war Churchill wrote: "Here was decision at last, taken at the worst possible moment and on the least satisfactory ground which must surely lead to the slaughter of tens of millions of people.
Then, in the first month of the war, an astonishing thing happened: the president of the United States initiated a personal correspondence not with the Prime Minister, but with the head of the British Admiralty, by-passing all the ordinary diplomatic channels. The messages that passed between the president and the First Lord were surrounded by a frantic secrecy, culminating in the affair of Tyler Kent, the American cipher clerk at the US London embassy who was tried and imprisoned by the British authorities.
The problem was that some of the messages contained allusions to Roosevelt's agreement — even before the war began — to a blatantly unneutral cooperation with a belligerent Britain. In private conversations with the King, Roosevelt promised full support for Britain in case of war. In , Churchill at last became Prime Minister, ironically enough when the Chamberlain government resigned because of the Norwegian fiasco — which Churchill, more than anyone else, had helped to bring about.
Many of the relevant documents are still sealed — after all these years  — but it is clear that a strong peace party existed in the country and the government. Even after the fall of France, Churchill rejected Hitler's renewed peace overtures. This, more than anything else, is supposed to be the foundation of his greatness.
The British historian John Charmley raised a storm of outraged protest when he suggested that a negotiated peace in might have been to the advantage of Britain and Europe. One may add that it probably also doomed European Jewry. Lloyd George, Halifax, and the others were open to a compromise peace because they understood that Britain and the Dominions alone could not defeat Germany. No wonder that Churchill put his heart and soul into ensuring precisely that.eventsrj.com/images/2020-02-23/1288-rencontre-des-hommes.php
German Resistance Against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, - PDF Free Download
To add infamy to stupidity, Churchill and his crowd had only words of scorn for the valiant German officers even as they were being slaughtered by the Gestapo. After a talk with Churchill, Joseph Kennedy, American ambassador to Britain, noted: "Every hour will be spent by the British in trying to figure out how we can be gotten in. In his unpublished memoirs, Kennedy wrote: "I thought that would give me some protection against Churchill's placing a bomb on the ship.
Kennedy's fears were perhaps not exaggerated. In Franklin Roosevelt, he found a ready accomplice. That Roosevelt, through his actions and private words, evinced a clear design for war before December 7, , has never really been in dispute. Arguments have raged over such questions as his possible foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack.
In , Thomas A. Bailey, diplomatic historian at Stanford, already put the real pro-Roosevelt case:. Franklin Roosevelt repeatedly deceived the American people during the period before Pearl Harbor…. He was like a physician who must tell the patient lies for the patient's own good…. The country was overwhelmingly noninterventionist to the very day of Pearl Harbor, and an overt attempt to lead the people into war would have resulted in certain failure and an almost certain ousting of Roosevelt in , with a complete defeat of his ultimate aims.
Churchill himself never bothered to conceal Roosevelt's role as co-conspirator. In January, , Harry Hopkins visited London. Churchill described him as "the most faithful and perfect channel of communication between the President and me … the main prop and animator of Roosevelt himself":. I soon comprehended [Hopkins's] personal dynamism and the outstanding importance of his mission … here was an envoy from the President of supreme importance to our life.
With gleaming eye and quiet, constrained passion he said: "The President is determined that we shall win the war together. Make no mistake about it. He has sent me here to tell you that all costs and by all means he will carry you through, no matter what happens to him — there is nothing that he will not do so far as he has human power. It was to be the defeat, ruin, and slaughter of Hitler, to the exclusion of all other purposes, loyalties and aims. In , the public finally learned the story of William Stephenson, the British agent code named "Intrepid," sent by Churchill to the United States in With the full knowledge and cooperation of Roosevelt and the collaboration of federal agencies, Stephenson and his or so agents "intercepted mail, tapped wires, cracked safes, kidnapped, … rumor mongered" and incessantly smeared their favorite targets, the "isolationists.
Churchill even had a hand in the barrage of pro-British, anti-German propaganda that issued from Hollywood in the years before the United States entered the war. Gore Vidal, in Screening History , perceptively notes that starting around , Americans were subjected to one film after another glorifying England and the warrior heroes who built the Empire.
For those who find disagreeable today's Zionist propaganda, I can only say that gallant little Israel of today must have learned a great deal from the gallant little Englanders of the s. The English kept up a propaganda barrage that was to permeate our entire culture … Hollywood was subtly and not so subtly infiltrated by British propagandists.
While the Americans were being worked on, the two confederates consulted on how to arrange for direct hostilities between the United States and Germany. In August, , Roosevelt and Churchill met at the Atlantic conference. Here they produced the Atlantic Charter, with its "four freedoms," including "the freedom from want" — a blank-check to spread Anglo-American Sozialpolitik around the globe. When Churchill returned to London, he informed the Cabinet of what had been agreed to. Thirty years later, the British documents were released. Here is how the New York Times reported the revelations:.
Roosevelt told Prime Minister Winston Churchill in August, , that he was looking for an incident to justify opening hostilities against Nazi Germany…. On August 19 Churchill reported to the War Cabinet in London on other aspects of the Newfoundland [Atlantic Charter] meeting that were not made public.
If he were to put the issue of peace and war to Congress, they would debate it for months," the Cabinet minutes added. If the Germans did not like it, they could attack American forces…. Everything was to be done to force an incident. On July 15, , Admiral Little, of the British naval delegation in Washington, wrote to Admiral Pound, the First Sea Lord: "the brightest hope for getting America into the war lies in the escorting arrangements to Iceland, and let us hope the Germans will not be slow in attacking them.
But Churchill did not neglect the "back door to war" — embroiling the United States with Japan — as a way of bringing America into the conflict with Hitler. Churchill directed his foreign secretary, Anthony Eden, to whip Craigie into line:. He should surely be told forthwith that the entry of the United States into war either with Germany and Italy or with Japan, is fully conformable with British interests. Nothing in the munitions sphere can compare with the importance of the British Empire and the United States being co-belligerent.
Churchill threw his influence into the balance to harden American policy towards Japan, especially in the last days before the Pearl Harbor attack. Was [Churchill] justified in trying to provoke Japan to attack the United States? Churchill believed Congress would never authorize Roosevelt to declare war on Germany …. In war, decisions by national leaders must be made according to their effect on the war effort.
There is truth in the old adage: "All's fair in love and war. No wonder that, in the House of Commons, on February 15, , Churchill declared, of America's entry into the war: "This is what I have dreamed of, aimed at, worked for, and now it has come to pass. On the contrary, they count it in his favor. Harry Jaffa, in his uninformed and frantic apology, seems to be the last person alive who refuses to believe that the Man of Many Centuries was responsible to any degree for America's entry into the war: after all, wasn't it the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor?
But what of the American Republic? What does it mean for us that a president collaborated with a foreign head of government to entangle us in a world war? The question would have mattered little to Churchill. He had no concern with the United States as a sovereign, independent nation, with its own character and place in the scheme of things.
For him, Americans were one of "the English-speaking peoples. But the Churchill-Roosevelt intrigue should, one might think, matter to Americans. Here, however, criticism is halted before it starts. A moral postulate of our time is that in pursuit of the destruction of Hitler, all things were permissible. Yet why is it self-evident that morality required a crusade against Hitler in and , and not against Stalin? At that point, Hitler had slain his thousands, but Stalin had already slain his millions. In fact, up to June, , the Soviets behaved far more murderously toward the Poles in their zone of occupation than the Nazis did in theirs.
Around 1,, Poles were deported to the Gulag, with about half of them dying within the first two years. As Norman Davies writes: "Stalin was outpacing Hitler in his desire to reduce the Poles to the condition of a slave nation. But it has yet to be explained why there should exist a double standard ordaining that compromise with one dictator would have been "morally sickening," while collaboration with the other was morally irreproachable.
Early in the war, Churchill, declared: "I have only one aim in life, the defeat of Hitler, and this makes things very simple for me. This points to Churchill's fundamental and fatal mistake in World War II: his separation of operational from political strategy. To the first — the planning and direction of military campaigns — he devoted all of his time and energy; after all, he did so enjoy it. To the second, the fitting of military operations to the larger and much more significant political aims they were supposed to serve, he devoted no effort at all.
Stalin, on the other hand, understood perfectly that the entire purpose of war is to enforce certain political claims. This is the meaning of Clausewitz's famous dictum that war is the continuation of policy by other means. On Eden's visit to Moscow in December, , with the Wehrmacht in the Moscow suburbs, Stalin was ready with his demands: British recognition of Soviet rule over the Baltic states and the territories he had just seized from Finland, Poland, and Romania. They were eventually granted. Throughout the war he never lost sight of these and other crucial political goals.
But Churchill, despite frequent prodding from Eden, never gave a thought to his, whatever they might be. Glass's recipe for Jugged Hare: "First catch your hare. Churchill put in so many words: "the defeat, ruin, and slaughter of Hitler, to the exclusion of all other purposes, loyalties and aims. Thirty years earlier, Churchill had told Asquith that … his life's ambition was "to command great victorious armies in battle. He was prone to ignore or postpone the treatment of matters likely to detract from that pleasure ….
In so doing, he deferred, or even shelved altogether, treatment of the issues that he should have dealt with in his capacity as Prime Minister. Churchill's policy of all-out support of Stalin foreclosed other, potentially more favorable approaches. The military expert Hanson Baldwin, for instance, stated:. There is no doubt whatsoever that it would have been in the interest of Britain, the United States, and the world to have allowed — and indeed, to have encouraged — the world's two great dictatorships to fight each other to a frazzle.
Such a struggle, with its resultant weakening of both Communism and Nazism, could not but have aided in the establishment of a more stable peace. Instead of adopting this approach, or, for example, promoting the overthrow of Hitler by anti-Nazi Germans — instead of even considering such alternatives — Churchill from the start threw all of his support to Soviet Russia. Franklin Roosevelt's fatuousness towards Joseph Stalin is well-known. He looked on Stalin as a fellow "progressive" and an invaluable collaborator in creating the future New World Order.
Roosevelt's nauseating flattery of Stalin is easily matched by Churchill's. Just like Roosevelt, Churchill heaped fulsome praise on the Communist murderer, and was anxious for Stalin's personal friendship. Moreover, his adulation of Stalin and his version of Communism — so different from the repellent "Trotskyite" kind — was no different in private than in public.
In January, , he was still speaking to Eden of the "deep-seated changes which have taken place in the character of the Russian state and government, the new confidence which has grown in our hearts towards Stalin. I like him the more I see him. Churchill's supporters often claim that, unlike the Americans, the seasoned and crafty British statesman foresaw the danger from the Soviet Union and worked doggedly to thwart it. Churchill's famous "Mediterranean" strategy — to attack Europe through its "soft underbelly," rather than concentrating on an invasion of northern France — is supposed to be the proof of this.
At the time, Churchill gave purely military reasons for it. It was another of Churchill's bizarre military notions, like invading Fortress Europe through Norway, or putting off the invasion of northern France until — by which time the Russians would have reached the Rhine. Moreover, the American opposition to Churchill's southern strategy did not stem from blindness to the Communist danger. As General Albert C.
Wedemeyer, one of the firmest anti-Communists in the American military, wrote:. But logistics would have been against us there: it would have been next to impossible to supply more than two divisions through the Adriatic ports. Wedemeyer's remarks about Yugoslavia were on the mark. On this issue, Churchill rejected the advice of his own Foreign Office, depending instead on information provided especially by the head of the Cairo office of the SOE — the Special Operations branch — headed by a Communist agent named James Klugman.
Churchill withdrew British support from the Loyalist guerrilla army of General Mihailovic and threw it to the Communist Partisan leader Tito. How did His Majesty's Government view such an eventuality? Churchill's reply left me in no doubt as to the answer to my problem. So long, he said, as the whole of Western civilization was threatened by the Nazi menace, we could not afford to let our attention be diverted from the immediate issue by considerations of long-term policy ….
Politics must be a secondary consideration. It would be difficult to think of a more frivolous attitude to waging war than considering "politics" to be a "secondary consideration. Churchill's benign view of Stalin and Russia contrasts sharply with his view of Germany. Behind Hitler, Churchill discerned the old specter of Prussianism, which had caused, allegedly, not only the two world wars, but the Franco Prussian War as well. What he was battling now was "Nazi tyranny and Prussian militarism," the "two main elements in German life which must be absolutely destroyed.
Little wonder, then, that Churchill refused even to listen to the pleas of the anti-Hitler German opposition, which tried repeatedly to establish liaison with the British government. Instead of making every effort to encourage and assist an anti-Nazi coup in Germany, Churchill responded to the feelers sent out by the German resistance with cold silence. In place of help, all Churchill offered Germans looking for a way to end the war before the Red Army flooded into central Europe was the slogan of unconditional surrender.
Afterwards, Churchill lied in the House of Commons about his role at Casablanca in connection with Roosevelt's announcement of the policy of unconditional surrender, and was forced to retract his statements. The pernicious effect of the policy was immeasurably bolstered by the Morgenthau Plan, which gave the Germans a terrifying picture of what "unconditional surrender" would mean.
The fact that it would have led to the deaths of tens of millions of Germans made it a perfect analog to Hitler's schemes for dealing with Russia and the Ukraine. Churchill was initially averse to the plan. However, he was won over by Professor Lindemann, as maniacal a German-hater as Morgenthau himself. Lindemann stated to Lord Moran, Churchill's personal physician: "I explained to Winston that the plan would save Britain from bankruptcy by eliminating a dangerous competitor…. Winston had not thought of it in that way, and he said no more about a cruel threat to the German people.
When Roosevelt returned to Washington, Hull and Stimson expressed their horror, and quickly disabused the president. Churchill, on the other hand, was unrepentant. When it came time to mention the Morgenthau Plan in his history of the war, he distorted its provisions and, by implication, lied about his role in supporting it. Beyond the issue of the plan itself, Lord Moran wondered how it had been possible for Churchill to appear at the Quebec conference "without any thought out views on the future of Germany, although she seemed to be on the point of surrender.
Military detail had long fascinated him, while he was frankly bored by the kind of problem which might take up the time of the Peace Conference…. The P. My diary in the autumn of tells how I talked to Sir Stafford Cripps and found that he shared my cares. He wanted the P. No one could make [Churchill] see his errors. There are a number of episodes during the war revealing of Churchill's character that deserve to be mentioned. A relatively minor incident was the British attack on the French fleet, at Mers-el-Kebir Oran , off the coast of Algeria.
After the fall of France, Churchill demanded that the French surrender their fleet to Britain. The French declined, promising that they would scuttle the ships before allowing them to fall into German hands. Against the advice of his naval officers, Churchill ordered British ships off the Algerian coast to open fire. About French sailors were killed. This was obviously a war crime, by anyone's definition: an unprovoked attack on the forces of an ally without a declaration of war. At Nuremberg, German officers were sentenced to prison for less.
Realizing this, Churchill lied about Mers-el-Kebir in his history, and suppressed evidence concerning it in the official British histories of the war. But the great war crime which will be forever linked to Churchill's name is the terror-bombing of the cities of Germany that in the end cost the lives of around , civilians and left some , seriously injured.
In fact, there were nearly as many Frenchmen killed by Allied air attacks as there were Englishmen killed by Germans. Harris stated: "In Bomber Command we have always worked on the assumption that bombing anything in Germany is better than bombing nothing. Spaight, former Principal Assistant Secretary of the Air Ministry, noted that while the Germans and the French looked on air power as largely an extension of artillery, a support to the armies in the field, the British understood its capacity to destroy the enemy's home-base.
They built their bombers and established Bomber Command accordingly. Brazenly lying to the House of Commons and the public, Churchill claimed that only military and industrial installations were targeted. In fact, the aim was to kill as many civilians as possible — thus, "area" bombing, or "carpet" bombing — and in this way to break the morale of the Germans and terrorize them into surrendering.
Harris at least had the courage of his convictions. He urged that the government openly announce that:. The campaign of murder from the air leveled Germany. A thousand-year-old urban culture was annihilated, as great cities, famed in the annals of science and art, were reduced to heaps of smoldering ruins. No wonder that, learning of this, a civilized European man like Joseph Schumpeter, at Harvard, was driven to telling "anyone who would listen" that Churchill and Roosevelt were destroying more than Genghis Khan.
The most infamous act was the destruction of Dresden, in February, According to the official history of the Royal Air Force: "The destruction of Germany was by then on a scale which might have appalled Attila or Genghis Khan. The war was practically over, the city filled with masses of helpless refugees escaping the advancing Red Army.
Still, for three days and nights, from February 13 to 15, Dresden was pounded with bombs. At least 30, people were killed, perhaps as many as , or more. Churchill had fomented it. But he was shaken by the outcry that followed. While in Georgetown and Hollywood, few had ever heard of Dresden, the city meant something in Stockholm, Zurich, and the Vatican, and even in London. What did our hero do? He sent a memorandum to the Chiefs of Staff:.
It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise, we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land…. The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing…. I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives … rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.
The military chiefs saw through Churchill's contemptible ploy: realizing that they were being set up, they refused to accept the memorandum. After the war, Churchill casually disclaimed any knowledge of the Dresden bombing, saying: "I thought the Americans did it. And still the bombing continued. As late as the middle of April, Berlin and Potsdam were bombed yet again, killing another 5, civilians. Finally, it stopped; as Bomber Harris noted, there were essentially no more targets to be bombed in Germany. When Truman fabricated the myth of the ", U. The eagerness with which Churchill directed or applauded the destruction of cities from the air should raise questions for those who still consider him the great "conservative" of his — or perhaps of all — time.
They would do well to consider the judgment of an authentic conservative like Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, who wrote: "Non-Britishers did not matter to Mr. Churchill, who sacrificed human beings — their lives, their welfare, their liberty — with the same elegant disdain as his colleague in the White House.
And so we come to and the ever-radiant triumph of Absolute Good over Absolute Evil. So potent is the mystique of that year that the insipid welfare states of today's Europe clutch at it at every opportunity, in search of a few much-needed shreds of glory. The dark side of that triumph, however, has been all but suppressed. Since Winston Churchill played a central role in the Allied victory, it is the story also of the crimes and atrocities in which Churchill was implicated.
These include the forced repatriation of some two million Soviet subjects to the Soviet Union. Among these were tens of thousands who had fought with the Germans against Stalin, under the sponsorship of General Vlasov and his "Russian Army of Liberation. In their own country, Roosevelt and Churchill are honored as embodiments of statesmanlike wisdom. To us, in our Russian prison conversations, their consistent shortsightedness and stupidity stood out as astonishingly obvious … what was the military or political sense in their surrendering to destruction at Stalin's hands hundreds of thousands of armed Soviet citizens determined not to surrender.
German Resistance against Hitler
Most shameful of all was the handing over of the Cossacks. They had never been Soviet citizens, since they had fought against the Red Army in the Civil War and then emigrated. Stalin, understandably, was particularly keen to get hold of them, and the British obliged. Solzhenitsyn wrote, of Winston Churchill:. He turned over to the Soviet command the Cossack corps of 90, men. Along with them he also handed over many wagonloads of old people, women, and children….
This great hero, monuments to whom will in time cover all England, ordered that they, too, be surrendered to their deaths. The "purge" of alleged collaborators in France was a blood-bath that claimed more victims than the Reign of Terror in the Great Revolution — and not just among those who in one way or other had aided the Germans: included were any right-wingers the Communist resistance groups wished to liquidate. There was also the murder of some 20, Slovene anti-Communist fighters by Tito and his killing squads. When Tito's Partisans rampaged in Trieste, which he was attempting to grab in , additional thousands of Italian anti-Communists were massacred.
As the troops of Churchill's Soviet ally swept through central Europe and the Balkans, the mass deportations began. Some in the British government had qualms, feeling a certain responsibility. Churchill would have none of it. In January, , for instance, he noted to the Foreign Office: "Why are we making a fuss about the Russian deportations in Rumania of Saxons [Germans] and others? I cannot myself consider that it is wrong of the Russians to take Rumanians of any origin they like to work in the Russian coal-fields.
Worst of all was the expulsion of some 15 million Germans from their ancestral homelands in East and West Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania, and the Sudetenland. This was done pursuant to the agreements at Tehran, where Churchill proposed that Poland be "moved west," and to Churchill's acquiescence in the Czech leader Eduard Benes's plan for the "ethnic cleansing" of Bohemia and Moravia.
Around one-and-a-half to two million German civilians died in this process. Then, to top it all, came the Nuremberg Trials, a travesty of justice condemned by the great Senator Robert Taft, where Stalin's judges and prosecutors — seasoned veterans of the purges of the 30s — participated in another great show-trial. By , Churchill was complaining in a voice of outrage of the happenings in eastern Europe: "From Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended over Europe.
The European continent now contained a single, hegemonic power. After the war, he told Robert Boothby: "Historians are apt to judge war ministers less by the victories achieved under their direction than by the political results which flowed from them. Judged by that standard, I am not sure that I shall be held to have done very well. Meanwhile, another Communist resistance group was operating in Berlin, led by a Jewish electrician, Herbert Baum , and involving up to a hundred people.
Until the group operated a study circle, but after the German attack on the Soviet Union a core group advanced to active resistance. In May , the group staged an arson attack on an anti-Soviet propaganda display at the Lustgarten in central Berlin. The attack was poorly organised and most of the Baum group was arrested.
Twenty were sentenced to death, while Baum himself "died in custody. In late Tresckow and Olbricht formulated a plan to assassinate Hitler and stage a coup. For such an occasion, Tresckow had prepared three options: . Tresckow asked Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Brandt , on Hitler's staff and usually on the same plane that carried Hitler, to take a parcel with him, supposedly the prize of a bet won by Tresckow's friend General Stieff.
It concealed a bomb, disguised in a box for two bottles of Cointreau. Tresckow's aide, Lieutenant Fabian von Schlabrendorff , set the fuse and handed over the parcel to Brandt who boarded the same plane as Hitler. Olbricht was to use the resulting crisis to mobilise his Reserve Army network to seize power in Berlin, Vienna, Munich and in the German Wehrkreis centres. It was an ambitious but credible plan, and might have worked if Hitler had indeed been killed, although persuading Army units to fight and overcome what could certainly have been fierce resistance from the SS could have been a major obstacle.
The British-made chemical pencil detonator on the bomb had been tested many times and was considered reliable. It went off, but the bomb did not. The percussion cap apparently became too cold as the parcel was carried in the unheated cargo hold. Displaying great sangfroid , Schlabrendorff took the next plane to retrieve the package from Colonel Brandt before the content was discovered. The blocks of plastic explosives were later used by Gersdorff and Stauffenberg. A second attempt was made a few days later on 21 March , when Hitler visited an exhibition of captured Soviet weaponry in Berlin's Zeughaus.
But the only new chemical fuse he could obtain was a ten-minute one. Hitler again left prematurely after hurrying through the exhibition much quicker than the scheduled 30 minutes. Gersdorff had to dash to a bathroom to defuse the bomb to save his life, and more importantly, prevent any suspicion. Gersdorff reported about the attempt after the war, the footage is often seen on German TV documentaries "Die Nacht des Widerstands" etc. Axel von dem Bussche , member of the elite Infantry Regiment 9 , volunteered to kill Hitler with hand grenades in November during a presentation of new winter uniforms, but the train containing them was destroyed by Allied bombs in Berlin, and the event had to be postponed.
A second presentation scheduled for December at the Wolfsschanze was canceled on short notice as Hitler decided to travel to Berchtesgaden. In January , Bussche volunteered for another assassination attempt, but then he lost a leg in Russia. On February 11 another young officer, Ewald Heinrich von Kleist tried to assassinate Hitler in the same way von dem Bussche had planned.
However Hitler again canceled the event which would have allowed Kleist to approach him. On 11 March Eberhard von Breitenbuch volunteered for an assassination attempt at the Berghof using a 7. The next occasion was a weapons exhibition on July 7 at Schloss Klessheim near Salzburg, but Helmuth Stieff did not trigger the bomb. Red Army soldier marches a German soldier into captivity after the victory at Battle of Stalingrad.
At the end of Germany suffered a series of military defeats, the first at El Alamein , the second with the successful Allied landings in North Africa Operation Torch , and the third the disastrous defeat at Stalingrad , which ended any hope of defeating the Soviet Union. Most experienced senior officers now came to the conclusion that Hitler was leading Germany to defeat, and that the result of this would be the Soviet conquest of Germany — the worst fate imaginable.
This gave the military resistance new impetus. Halder had been dismissed in and there was now no independent central leadership of the Army. Tresckow and Goerdeler tried again to recruit the senior Army field commanders to support a seizure of power. Kluge was by now won over completely. The prospect of a united German Army seizing power from Hitler was as far away as ever.
Once again, however, neither officer reported that they had been approached in this way. Nevertheless, the days when the military and civilian plotters could expect to escape detection were ending. He already suspected Canaris and his subordinates at the Abwehr. In March two of them, Oster and Hans von Dohnanyi , were dismissed on suspicion of opposition activity, although there was yet insufficient evidence to have them arrested.
On the civilian front, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was also arrested at this time, and Goerdeler was under suspicion. The Gestapo had been led to Dohnanyi following the arrest of Wilhelm Schmidhuber , a smuggler and currency speculator who had helped Dohnanyi with information and with smuggling Jews out of Germany. Under interrogation, Schmidhuber gave the Gestapo details of the Oster-Dohnanyi group in the Abwehr and also Goerdeler and Beck's involvement in opposition activities.
The Gestapo reported all this to Himmler, with the observation that Canaris must be protecting Oster and Dohnanyi and the recommendation that he be arrested. Himmler passed the file back with the note "Kindly leave Canaris alone. Nevertheless, Oster's usefulness to the resistance was now greatly reduced. But the Gestapo did not have information about the full workings of the resistance. Most importantly, they did not know about the resistance networks based on Army Group Centre or the Bendlerblock.
The only visible manifestation of opposition to the regime following Stalingrad was an unexpected and completely spontaneous outbreak of anti-war sentiment among a small number of university students, organised by a group called the White Rose , centered in Munich but with connections in Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Vienna. In January they launched a campaign of antiwar handbills and graffiti in and around Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. Inevitably, they were soon detected and arrested. The three ringleaders, Hans Scholl , Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst , were given perfunctory trials and executed, as was Kurt Huber , a professor of music and philosophy accused of inspiring their actions, and several others.
This outbreak was surprising and worrying to the Nazi regime, because the universities had been strongholds of Nazi sentiment even before Hitler had come to power. Similarly, it gave heart to the scattered and demoralised resistance groups. But White Rose was not a sign of widespread civilian disaffection from the regime, and had no imitators elsewhere. The underground SPD and KPD were able to maintain their networks, and reported increasing discontent at the course of the war and at the resultant economic hardship, particularly among the industrial workers and among farmers who suffered from the acute shortage of labour with so many young men away at the front.
But there was nothing approaching active hostility to the regime. Most Germans continued to revere Hitler and blamed Himmler or other subordinates for their troubles. And from late fear of the advancing Soviets and prospects of a military offensive from the Western Powers eclipsed resentment at the regime and if anything hardened the will to resist the advancing allies. Memorial to the "Edelweisspiraten" youth group, six of whom were hanged in Cologne in It cannot be disputed that many Germans supported the regime until the end of the war.
But beneath the surface of German society there were also currents of resistance, if not always consciously political. The German historian Detlev Peukert , who pioneered the study of German society during the Nazi era, called this phenomenon "everyday resistance. Peukert and other writers have shown that the most persistent sources of dissatisfaction in Nazi Germany were the state of the economy and anger at the corruption of Nazi Party officials — although these rarely affected the personal popularity of Hitler himself. The Nazi regime is frequently credited with "curing unemployment," but this was done mainly by conscription and rearmament — the civilian economy remained weak throughout the Nazi period.
Although prices were fixed by law, wages remained low and there were acute shortages, particularly once the war started. To this after was added the acute misery caused by Allied air attacks on German cities. The result was "deep dissatisfaction among the population of all parts of the country, caused by failings in the economy, government intrusions into private life, disruption of accepted tradition and custom, and police-state controls. Opposition based on this widespread dissatisfaction usually took "passive" forms — absenteeism, malingering, spreading rumours, trading on the black market, hoarding, avoiding various forms of state service such as donations to Nazi causes.
But sometimes it took more active forms, such as warning people about to be arrested, hiding them or helping them to escape, or turning a blind eye to oppositionist activities. Among the industrial working class, where the underground SPD and KPD networks were always active, there were frequent if short-lived strikes. These were generally tolerated, at least before the outbreak of war, provided the demands of the strikers were purely economic and not political. Another form of resistance was assisting the persecuted German Jews.
By mid the deportation of German and Austrian Jews to the extermination camps in Poland was well under way. It is argued by some writers that the great majority of Germans were indifferent to the fate of the Jews, and a substantial proportion actively supported the Nazi program of extermination  But a minority persisted in trying to help Jews, even in the face of serious risk to themselves and their families. This was easiest in Berlin where in any case the Jews were progressively concentrated by the regime , and easiest for wealthy and well-connected people, particularly women.
Aristocrats such as Maria von Maltzan and Marie Therese von Hammerstein obtained papers for Jews and helped many to escape from Germany. In Wieblingen in Baden, Elisabeth von Thadden , a private girls' school principal, disregarded official edicts and continued to enroll Jewish girls at her school until May when the school was nationalised and she was dismissed she was executed in , following the Frau Solf Tea Party. At the Foreign Office, Canaris conspired to send a number of Jews to Switzerland under various pretexts.
It is estimated that 2, Jews were hidden in Berlin until the end of the war. Martin Gilbert has documented numerous cases of Germans and Austrians, including officials and Army officers, who saved the lives of Jews. The Rosenstrasse, where the only public protest against the deportation of German Jews took place in There was only one public manifestation of opposition to the Nazi persecution of the German Jews, the Rosenstrasse protest of February , sparked by the arrest and threatened deportation to death camps of 1, Jewish men married to non-Jewish women.
Before these men could be deported, their wives and other relatives rallied outside the building in Rosenstrasse where the men were held. About 6, people, mostly women, rallied in shifts in the winter cold for over a week. Eventually Himmler, worried about the effect on civilian morale, gave in and allowed the arrested men to be released. Some who had already been deported and were on their way to Auschwitz were brought back.
There was no retaliation against the protesters, and most of the Jewish men survived the war. This incident was remarkable both for its success and its uniqueness, and again raises the question of what might have happened if more Germans had been willing to protest against the deportations. Nazism had a powerful appeal to German youth, particularly middle-class youth, and German universities were strongholds of Nazism even before Hitler came to power.
The Hitler Youth sought to mobilise all young Germans behind the regime, and apart from stubborn resistance in some rural Catholic areas, was generally successful in the first period of Nazi rule. After about , however, persistent alienation among some sections of German youth began to appear. This rarely took the form of overt political opposition — the White Rose group was a striking exception, but was striking mainly for its uniqueness.
Much more common was what would now be called "dropping out" — a passive refusal to take part in official youth culture and a search for alternatives. Although none of the unofficial youth groups amounted to a serious threat to the Nazi regime, and although they provided no aid or comfort to those groups within the German elite who were actively plotting against Hitler, they do serve to show that there were currents of opposition at other levels of German society.
Examples were the so-called Edelweisspiraten "Edelweiss Pirates" , a loose network of working-class youth groups in a number of cities, who held unauthorised meetings and engaged in street fights with the Hitler Youth; the Meuten group in Leipzig, a more politicised group with links to the KPD underground, which had more than a thousand members in the late s; and, most notably, the Swingjugend , middle-class youth who met in secret clubs in Berlin and most other large cities to listen to swing, jazz and other music deemed "degenerate" by the Nazi authorities.
This movement, which involved distinctive forms of dress and gradually become more consciously political, became so popular that it provoked a crackdown: in Himmler ordered the arrest of Swing activists and had some sent to concentration camps. In October , as the American and British armies approached the western borders of Germany, there was a serious outbreak of disorder in the bomb-ravaged city of Cologne, which had been largely evacuated. The Edelweisspiraten linked up with gangs of deserters, escaped prisoners and foreign workers, and the underground KPD network, to engage in looting and sabotage, and the assassination of Gestapo and Nazi Party officials.
Explosives were stolen with the objective of blowing up the Gestapo headquarters. Himmler, fearing the resistance would spread to other cities as the Allied armies advanced into Germany, ordered a savage crackdown, and for days gunbattles raged in the ruined streets of Cologne. The various groups of German resistance against Nazi government had different attitudes to the Allies. The most visible resistance group of the July 20 plot wasn't interested in dealing with all the Allies, and pressed demands against such Allied countries as Poland and the Soviet Union; some of its members were involved in atrocities against people in these countries.
In particular the July 20th plotters demanded in their proposals to occupy Poland and annex its territory, while occupying the rest of East Europe and continuing war with the Soviet Union. The token representative of the July 20 Group, Claus von Stauffenberg, was known for his support towards German colonization of Poland as well as racist remarks regarding Polish Jews. Many postwar German commentators blamed the allies for having isolated the resistance with their demand of unconditional surrender, while ignoring that the resistance offered unrealistic demands towards the Allies.
While Anglo-Saxon historians too have criticized the unconditional surrender, most of them agree that it had no real impact on the final outcome of the war. While German popular memory and public discourse portrays the resistance as isolated due to demand of unconditional surrender, in reality its isolation was due to unrealistic expectations of what the Allies would accept; while German commentators write that the resistance tried "to save that which remained to be saved", they omit the fact that it included a significant portion of territories conquered by Nazi Germany from its neighbours.
The Allied doctrine of unconditional surrender meant that " President Roosevelt a telegraph message from Bern, warning him of the consequences that the knowledge of the Morgenthau plan had had on German resistance; by showing them that the enemy planned the enslavement of Germany it had welded together ordinary Germans and the regime; the Germans continue to fight because they are convinced that defeat will bring nothing but oppression and exploitation. So far, the Allies have not offered the opposition any serious encouragement.
On the contrary, they have again and again welded together the people and the Nazis by statements published, either out of indifference or with a purpose. To take a recent example, the Morgenthau plan gave Dr. Goebbels the best possible chance. He was able to prove to his countrymen, in black and white, that the enemy planned the enslavement of Germany. The conviction that Germany had nothing to expect from defeat but oppression and exploitation still prevails, and that accounts for the fact that the Germans continue to fight.
It is not a question of a regime, but of the homeland itself, and to save that, every German is bound to obey the call, whether he be Nazi or member of the opposition. On 20 July — the first anniversary of the failed attempt to kill Hitler — no mention whatsoever was made of the event.
This was because reminding the German population of the fact that there had been active German resistance to Hitler would undermine the Allied efforts to instill a sense of collective guilt in the German populace. By mid the tide of war was turning decisively against Germany. The last great offensive on the eastern front, Operation Citadel , ended in the defeat at Kursk, and in July Mussolini was overthrown. The Army and civilian plotters became more convinced than ever that Hitler must be assassinated so that a government acceptable to the western Allies could be formed and a separate peace negotiated in time to prevent a Soviet invasion of Germany.
Since the Foreign Office was a stronghold of resistance activists, it was not difficult for the conspirators to reach the Allies via diplomats in neutral countries. Bell passed their messages and plans on to Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. An American journalist, Louis P. Lochner , carried coded messages out of Germany and took them to Roosevelt. Other envoys worked through Vatican channels, or via diplomats in Lisbon — a recognised site for indirect communication between Germany and the Allied countries.
All of these overtures were rejected, and indeed they were usually simply ignored. The western Allies would give the German resistance no assistance or even recognition. There were several reasons for this. First, they did not know or trust the resisters, who seemed to them to be a clique of Prussian reactionaries concerned mainly to save their own skins now that Germany was losing the war.
They thus refused any discussions that might be seen as suggesting a willingness to reach a separate peace with Germany. Olbricht now put forward a new strategy for staging a coup against Hitler. The Reserve Army had an operational plan called Operation Valkyrie, which was to be used if the disruption caused by the Allied bombing of German cities caused a breakdown in law and order, or a rising by the millions of slave labourers from occupied countries now being used in German factories. Olbricht suggested that this plan could be used to mobilise the Reserve Army to stage a coup. In the autumn of , Tresckow revised Valkyrie plan and drafted supplemental orders to take control of German cities, disarm the SS and arrest the Nazi leadership after Hitler's assassination.
Operation Valkyrie could only be put into effect by General Friedrich Fromm , commander of the Reserve Army, so he must either be won over to the conspiracy or in some way neutralised if the plan was to succeed. Fromm, like many senior officers, knew about the military conspiracies against Hitler but neither supported them nor reported them to the Gestapo. Badly wounded in North Africa, Stauffenberg was a devout Catholic, a political conservative and a zealous German nationalist with a taste for philosophy. He had at first welcomed the Nazi regime but had become rapidly disillusioned.
By he shared the widespread conviction among Army officers that Germany was being led to disaster and that Hitler must be removed from power. For some time his religious scruples had prevented him from coming to the conclusion that assassination was the correct way to achieve this. After Stalingrad, however, he decided that not assassinating Hitler would be a greater moral evil.
During late and early there were a series of attempts to get one of the military conspirators near enough to Hitler for long enough to kill him with a bomb or a revolver. But the task was becoming increasingly difficult. As the war situation deteriorated, Hitler no longer appeared in public and rarely visited Berlin. He spent most of his time at his headquarters in East Prussia, with occasional breaks at his Bavarian mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden.
In both places he was heavily guarded and rarely saw people he did not already know and trust. Himmler and the Gestapo were increasingly suspicious of plots against Hitler, and specifically suspected the officers of the General Staff, which was indeed the place where most of the young officers willing to sacrifice themselves to kill Hitler were located. All these attempts therefore failed, sometimes by a matter of minutes. Further blows came in January and February when first Moltke and then Canaris were arrested. By the summer of the Gestapo was closing in on the conspirators.
The belief that this was the last chance for action seized the conspirators. Few now believed that the Allies would agree to a separate peace with a non-Nazi government, even if Hitler was assassinated. By this time the core of the conspirators had begun to think of themselves as doomed men, whose actions were more symbolic than real.
The purpose of the conspiracy was seen by some of them as saving the honour of themselves, their families, the Army and Germany through a grand, if futile, gesture, rather than altering the course of history. Even if it fails, we must take action in Berlin. For the practical purpose no longer matters; what matters now is that the German resistance movement must take the plunge before the eyes of the world and of history. Compared to that, nothing else matters. In retrospect it is surprising that these months of plotting by the resistance groups in the Army and the state apparatus, in which dozens of people were involved and of which many more, including very senior Army officers, were aware, apparently totally escaped the attentions of the Gestapo.
In fact, as was noted earlier, the Gestapo had known since February of both the Abwehr resistance group under the patronage of Canaris and of the Goedeler-Beck circle. If all these people had been arrested and interrogated, the Gestapo might well have uncovered the group based in Army Group Centre as well and the July 20 assassination attempt would never have happened.
This raises the possibility that Himmler knew about the plot and, for reasons of his own, allowed it to go ahead. Himmler had had at least one conversation with a known oppositionist when, in August , the Prussian Finance Minister Johannes Popitz came to see him and offered him the support of the opposition if he would make a move to displace Hitler and secure a negotiated end to the war. It is possible that Himmler, who by late knew that the war was unwinnable, allowed the July 20 plot to go ahead in the knowledge that if it succeeded he would be Hitler's successor, and could then lead to a peace settlement.
Popitz was not alone in seeing in Himmler a potential ally. General von Bock advised Tresckow to seek his support, but there is no evidence that he did so. Gordeler was apparently also in indirect contact with Himmler via a mutual acquaintance Carl Langbehn. All of this remains speculation. Himmler in fact knew more about the real level of opposition to the Nazi regime than did the opposition itself. To the resistance activists it seemed that the German people continued to place their faith in Hitler no matter how dire the military and economic situation had become.
They showed a sharp decline in civilian morale and in the level of support for the Nazi regime, beginning after Stalingrad and accelerating through as the military setbacks continued, the economic situation deteriorated and the Allied bombing of German cities grew more intense. By the end of Himmler knew that most Germans no longer believed that war could be won and that many, perhaps a majority, had lost faith in Hitler.
Nevertheless organised resistance begun to stir during As a result Catholic unionists had been less zealously repressed than their socialist counterparts, and had maintained an informal network of activists. Their leaders, Jakob Kaiser and Max Habermann , judged by the beginning of that it was time to take action.
They organised a network of resistance cells in government offices across Germany, ready to rise and take control of their buildings when the word was given by the military that Hitler was dead. The courtyard at the Bendlerblock, where Stauffenberg, Olbricht and others were executed.
Conspirators who had long resisted on moral grounds the idea of killing Hitler now changed their minds — partly because they were hearing reports of the mass murder at Auschwitz of up to , Hungarian Jews, the culmination of the Nazi Holocaust. Meanwhile new key allies had been gained. Non-territorial demands included such points as refusal of any occupation of Germany by the Allies, as well as refusal to hand over war criminals by demanding the right of "nations to deal with their own criminals".
These proposals were only directed to the Western Allies — Stauffenberg wanted Germany only to retreat from western, southern and northern positions, while demanding the right to continue military occupation of German territorial gains in the east. The plot was now as ready as it would ever be. Twice in early July Stauffenberg attended Hitler's conferences carrying a bomb in his briefcase.
But because the conspirators had decided that Himmler, too, must be assassinated if the planned mobilisation of Operation Valkyrie was to have any chance of success, he had held back at the last minute because Himmler was not present — in fact it was unusual for Himmler to attend military conferences. By 15 July, when Stauffenberg again flew to East Prussia, this condition had been dropped. The plan was for Stauffenberg to plant the briefcase with the bomb in Hitler's conference room with a timer running, excuse himself from the meeting, wait for the explosion, then fly back to Berlin and join the other plotters at the Bendlerblock.
Operation Valkyrie would be mobilised, the Reserve Army would take control of Germany and the other Nazi leaders would be arrested. Beck would be appointed head of state, Gordeler Chancellor and Witzleben commander-in-chief. The plan was ambitious and depended on a run of very good luck, but it was not totally fanciful. Again on 15 July the attempt was called off at the last minute, for reasons which are not known because all the participants in the phone conversations which led to the postponement were dead by the end of the year.
Stauffenberg, depressed and angry, returned to Berlin. On 18 July rumours reached him that the Gestapo had wind of the conspiracy and that he might be arrested at any time — this was apparently not true, but there was a sense that the net was closing in and that the next opportunity to kill Hitler must be taken because there might not be another. At hours on 20 July Stauffenberg flew back to the Wolfsschanze for another Hitler military conference, again with a bomb in his briefcase.
At about the conference began. Stauffenberg, having previously activated the timer on the bomb, placed his briefcase under the table around which Hitler and more than 20 officers were seated or standing. After ten minutes, he made an excuse and left the room. At the bomb went off, demolishing the conference room. Several officers were killed, but not Hitler. Possibly he had been saved because the heavy oak leg of the conference table, behind which Stauffenberg's briefcase had been left, deflected the blast.
But Stauffenberg, seeing the building collapse in smoke and flame, assumed Hitler was dead, leapt into a staff car and made a dash for the airfield before the alarm could be raised. By he was airborne. Soldiers and Waffen SS at the Bendlerblock. This was a fatal step literally so for Fellgiebel and many others , because the Berlin plotters immediately lost their nerve, and judged, probably correctly, that the plan to mobilise Operation Valkyrie would have no chance of succeeding once the officers of the Reserve Army knew that Hitler was alive.
The Bendlerblock plotters did not know whom to believe. Finally at Olbricht issued the orders for Operation Valkyrie to be mobilised. This told Fromm that the plot had been traced to his headquarters, and that he was in mortal danger. At Stauffenberg arrived at the Bendlerblock. Fromm now changed sides and attempted to have Stauffenberg arrested, but Olbricht and Stauffenberg restrained him at gunpoint. By this time Himmler had taken charge of the situation and has issued orders countermanding Olbricht's mobilisation of Operation Valkyrie. In many places the coup was going ahead, led by officers who believed that Hitler was dead.
The Propaganda Ministry on the Wilhelmstrasse , with Joseph Goebbels inside, was surrounded by troops. The decisive moment came at , when Hitler was sufficiently recovered to make phone calls. By phone he personally empowered a loyal officer, Major Otto Remer , to regain control of the situation in Berlin. At a furious Witzleben arrived at the Bendlerblock and had a bitter argument with Stauffenberg, who was still insisting that the coup could go ahead.
Witzleben left shortly afterwards. The cells of the Gestapo headquarters in Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, where many of the July 20 plotters and other resistance activists were tortured. The less resolute members of the conspiracy in Berlin also now began to change sides. Fighting broke out in the Bendlerblock between officers supporting and opposing the coup, and Stauffenberg was wounded. By Fromm had regained control, hoping by a show of zealous loyalty to save his own skin.
Beck, realising the game was up, shot himself — the first of many suicides in the coming days. Fromm declared that he had convened a court-martial consisting of himself, and had sentenced Olbricht, Stauffenberg and two other officers to death. At on 21 July they were shot in the courtyard outside. Others would have been executed as well, but at the SS led by Otto Skorzeny arrived on the scene and further executions were forbidden.
Fromm went off to see Goebbels to claim credit for suppressing the coup. He was immediately arrested. That was the end of the German resistance. The discovery of letters and diaries in the homes and offices of those arrested revealed the plots of , and , and this led to further rounds of arrests, including that of Halder, who finished the war in a concentration camp.
Very few of the plotters tried to escape, or to deny their guilt when arrested. It was as if they felt that now that honour had been satisfied, there was nothing further to be done. Hassell, who was at home in Bavaria, returned to his office in Berlin and awaited arrest. Others turned themselves in. Some plotters did manage to get away — Gisevius to Switzerland, for example. Others survived by luck or accident.
It appears that none of the conspirators implicated anyone else, even under torture. It was well into August before the Gestapo learned of the Kreisau Circle. Goerdeler was not arrested until August Eventually some 5, people were arrested and about were executed  — not all of them connected with the July 20 plot, since the Gestapo used the occasion to settle scores with many other people suspected of opposition sympathies.
Executions continued down to the last days of the war. Historiographical debates on the subject on Widerstand have often featured intense arguments about the nature, extent and effectiveness of resistance in the Third Reich. Within both the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic , the memory of Widerstand was harnessed after as a way of providing legitimacy to the two rival German states.
In his biography of Goerdeler, Ritter drew a distinction between those Germans working for the defeat of their country, and those Germans working to overthrow the Nazi regime while being loyal to Germany. Starting in the s, a younger generation of West German historians such as Hans Mommsen started to provide a more critical assessment of Widerstand within German elites, and came to decry the "monumentalization" of the s. Hoffmann argued that the majority of those involved in the July 20th putsch attempt were motivated in large part to moral objections to the Shoah.
Young that the British government should take a tough line with the Nazi regime in regards to its anti-Semitism. Increasingly, West German historians started in the s and s to examine Widerstand outside of elites, and by focusing on resistance by ordinary people to challenge the popular notion that had been "resistance without the people".
Moreover, the emphasis upon resistance in "everyday life" in the "Bavaria Project" portrayed Widerstand not as a total contrast between black and white, but rather in shades of grey, noting that people who often refused to behave as the Nazi regime wanted in one area often conformed in other areas; as an example the Bavarian peasants who did business with Jewish cattle dealers in the s despite the efforts of the Nazi regime to stop these transactions otherwise often expressed approval of the anti-Semitic laws.
Realizing that not every action that blocked the Nazi regime's total claims should be considered a form of Widerstand , Broszat devised the controversial concept of Resistenz immunity. Those who risked their lives to hide Jewish fellow citizens and acquire forged exit permits for them, those who tried to help Russian prisoners-of-war, those who, at their workplaces, fought for the rights of workers and refused to be indoctrinated by the German Labour Front, those who protested against the treatment of the Jewish population or publicly denounced the euthanasia programme, those who refused to obey criminal orders, those who as a powerless protest against Nazi war policies daubed slogans on walls at night-time, those who protected the persecuted and shared their ration cards with them-in a wider sense they all belonged to the resistance".
Another viewpoint advanced in the debate was that of Mommsen, who cautioned against the use of overtly rigid terminology, and spoke of a wide type of "resistance practice" Widerstandspraxis , by which he meant that there were different types and forms of resistance, and that resistance should be considered a "process", in which individuals came to increasingly reject the Nazi system in its entirety. The German historian Detlev Peukert created a typology running from "nonconformity" mostly done in private and not including total rejection of the Nazi system , "refusal of co-operation" Verweigerung , "protest", and finally, "resistance" those committed to the overthrow of the regime.
The British historian Sir Ian Kershaw has argued that there are two approaches to the Widerstand question, one of which he calls the fundamentalist dealing with those committed to overthrowing the Nazi regime and the societal dealing with forms of dissent in "everyday life". Sign In Don't have an account? This article is about German opposition to the Nazi Regime. For Nazi resistance to the Allies , see Werwolf.
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