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Resistance & Nazi Germany: Book Review

Essay by   •  November 11, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,395 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,475 Views

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Resistance to the Nazi regime throughout Hitler's reign had extremely limited success and reverberates in the Star Trek saying that "Resistance is futile". Many of the documents contained within the book The Nazi State and German Society, by Robert G. Moeller, provide evidence to support the theory of resistance among the German people and of the surrounding conquered races. This essay will show that although a real resistance movement against the Nazi regime never materialized due to the strong arm tactics employed by the SS, there were some successful and not so successful strategies used to resist or protest. Resistance was seen in places such as the Warsaw Ghetto, the Protestant Church, published works, and the early concentration camps for women.

One of the earliest forms of resistance to Hitler's regime is seen in John Heartfield's critical depiction of Hitler as superman. This poster was made to oppose Hitler in the 1932 elections for chancellor. This picture portrays Hitler and fascism as a modern Robin Hood in reverse. Depicting Hitler as a nationalist by using a swastika in place of his heart and the Iron cross attached to his ribs. The reverse Robin Hood role can be seen in the caption on the poster that reads; "Adolf, the Superman; Swallows Gold and Spouts Tin." (Moeller, 51) This caption leads the reader into the picture that uses the coins laying at the bottom of his stomach to idealize his promises to return Germany to its pre-war economic and military greatness (the gold) while spitting out a reality worthless and in truth too costly for the country (the tin). Although his resistance to Hitler and the Nazi party was passive Heartfield displayed early on that political dissention against Hitler was viable. As the war progressed into 1943, warnings were put out by various leaders within the Nazi Party that jokes were being used "to shake the mood and attitude of the populace and its trust in the country's leadership." (Moeller, 163) Most of the jokes Moeller included in Document 52 are symbols of resistance that are derogatory towards Hitler and the Nazi Party that could get an individual of the time labeled an "asocial element" (Moeller, 162) and arrested by the Gestapo, and even forced into "a prison cell or concentration camp." (Moeller, 162) Arresting individuals just for voicing an opinion about the Nazi leaders show how even the smallest resistance is cut off with excessive force.

A second instance of passive resistance is the protest declaration from the Protestant church written in October 1934 "rejecting the institutional authority" (Moeller, 63) and "claimed that religion and Nazi ideology should not mix." (Moeller, 64) Although this letter claiming their independence was more about theology it established a precedence of a formal organization showing open resistance towards Nazi religious policy. The churches history shows that most church "members supported Nazi policy" (Moeller, 64) but were unwilling to accept the party takeover of their religion. The Confessing Church established a new line in the sand as to how far they were willing to be pushed before pushing back placing "limits on the Nazi's attempts to transform all aspects of German society." (Moeller, 64)

Most notably the largest passive thorn of resistance to Nazi domination is that no matter the challenges, degradation, and utter ruin heaped on the Jews they continued to live. The Nazi's attempted everything to exterminate the Jewish population from earth but could not exterminate the internal or "secret power" (Moeller, 143) inside pushing them ever onward to never to give up. Kaplan states it best with his description that the power "is rooted in our eternal tradition that commands us to live". (Moeller, 143) Kaplan's identification of a higher power willing Jews to stay alive no matter what trials are thrust at them is a never ending frustration for the Nazi's that continues to push their need to exterminate them. In Document 50, Hanna Levy-Hass talks of all the walking dead in the camp but believes "It is man's duty to die like a man, to avoid a death worse than all deaths, a death that isn't a death." (Moeller, 158)

Passive resistance was also alive within the young middle-class movement in their nonconformity towards Hitler's policy against swing dancing. The ban on

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