Resistance

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Since historians began analysing resistance a new concept of resistance has emerged. Resistance can now be broken down into two categories, firstly Resistance itself, blatant defiance towards the regime. There were very few examples of blatant resistance; the term resistance includes the extremes of assassination attempts to simple meetings. Secondly is the concept of Resistenz, this modern concept is heavily promoted by Kershaw.

The concept of Resistenz has many problems of interpretation; however it is basically a much less obvious form of resistance. It is resisting the regime by doing nothing, e. g. working in the system but hating it. The extremes may go from telling jokes about the regime to not voting. This form of resistance is underground and is dubious due to several factors. The first factor that creates unreliability is the lack of evidence. The form of Resistenz was not a formal organisation therefore there is no idea how many people resisted through Resistenz.

It is impossible to attempt to account for those who conducted Resistenz nowadays because due to the atrocities committed under the regime, no one wants to be known as one of the people who sat back and watched events unfold. Most of those who possibly resisted through resistenz or even supported the regime will at the present time claim to have openly resisted! It is this lack of evidence that suggests that the concept of Resistenz is of little use to historians. The second problem was that of fear rather than indoctrination.

As Kershaw in Source 3 states “In view of the terrorist potential of the modern police state mass resistance is almost impossible from the start, as the KPD was soon forced to experience in Germany. ” This argument put forward by Kershaw is that Resistenz was the only form of resistance possible due to the strict regulations.

Due to this fear Kershaw asks “Was it resistance without the people? ” In other words, is everyone unhappy but only a “small minority of the population who are willing, if necessary to risk their lives? this argument expresses that the only reason there wasn’t mass resistance is due to fear rather than Hitler’s policies working. The third problem contrasts the previous argument in that it argues that there was no resistance due to the success of the Nazi regime. This argument focuses on policies such as Volksgenossen and Volksgemeinschaft in which, many of the people were satisfied with what they were receiving, also with full employment there is less likely to be any open resistance.

Tenfelde remarks on this contentment in source 2 “The limited reach of various political manifestations of Resistenz is easily visible; the fact that the workers used their favourable position in the labour market during the economic boom and also grumbled when their daily living conditions were affected and encroached upon still does not enable us to form a judgement on their political stance overall, especially during the great days of success in the late thirties. ”

This source basically means that due to the resistances limited capabilities, and their living improvements, their quarrels was mere “grumbling” over small insignificant problems, this could not even be called passive resistenz! Kershaw argues in source 3 that “a large proportion of the population did not even passively support the resistance, but actually condemned it. ” This argument suggests that there was resistance and resistenz but even as late as “1944” it was totally insignificant, “resistance to Hitler was indeed `resistance without the people. `” The fourth point is also linked to fear and the efficiency of the police state.

This argument puts forward that any open resistance was crushed immediately and any forms of resistenz were so scared that they daren’t discuss with others and was therefore divided. Source 3 states that “the overthrow of such regimes is as a rule only possible through the participation of disillusioned groups within the leadership, namely the military. ” This clearly shows that it is openly accepted that overthrows are created from the inside and only possible by substantial groups such as the military! This rule hardly gives inspiration to openly resist, especially with revolutionaries and socialist leaders executed or in exile!

Once again this is another reason why people would choose resistenz rather than blatantly resistance; also it is another example of why people would rather not be associated with any form of resistenz whatsoever! Finally there is an argument that suggests that resistenz was purely confusion and gluttony and the desire to keep tradition. The desire to maintain tradition is first highlighted in source 2 “In the Bavarian countryside it was different. Here resistenz signified more the desire to protect customary habits against the challenges of the regime than any political criticism.

A similar argument can be found in source 4 which states that “many peasants find it hard to distinguish advantage from disadvantage. ” During the period of success many peasants became greedy and demanded more and more from the state, this led to many incidents of childish grumbling and self indulgence, rather than resistenz.

The evidence of confusion over tradition arises once again in source 4 as the SOPADE reports that “the peasants are more upset by the regimes fight against Christianity than by economic difficulties. This is a lack of knowledge of the situation and also a lack of a favourable party to support. The peasants in particular were facing up to the reality that the Nazi’s were the best of all evils. This caused resistenz because people didn’t like the regime but had to put up with it as the communists would have been worse in that they would have divided all land equally and abolished the church, sabotaging the two things peasants traditionally cared most about.

Using your own knowledge and the evidence of all five sources, explain why the author of Source 1 could describe the Resistance as “futile martyrdom of people with incredibly small chances of success”. The author of source 1 admits the chances of resistance are very limited due to several factors. Firstly is the common knowledge that “active resistance is always the preserve of a small minority of the population who are willing, if necessary to risk their lives. ” The lack of numbers against a highly efficient police state limits their chances immediately.

The second problem is that not only are there very few people who are willing to openly resist but this limited opposition was highly divided. Throughout society there were rifts that prevented coalitions joining forces to create a useful resistance. The most obvious rift was between the middle and the working class. Both of these classes controlled many of those who resisted through resistance and resistenz. However due to the political rifts between them they were never able to join together to create a more powerful, efficient resistance to the regime.

It was fortunate for Hitler that “class tradition kept the working class at a distance from the lower middle class. ” Also with policies such as Volksgemeinschaft the class structure was scrambled leaving a lot of citizens disillusioned. The next section of society that was divided was the church. The church was divided into Protestants and Catholics each of whom had their own traditional views and reasons for resistance. The Protestants resisted because check notes and find out why they resisted!! The Catholics resisted check notes and find out why they resisted!!

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