Organized resistance to the NAZIs was impossible outside of the military. The NAZI security apparatus and Hitler's popularity made this impossible. There was, however, resistance. The most crucial resistance activity in Germany proved to be spying. There was no sabotage or para-military resistance of any importance. Hitler's military and security forces were riddled with secret agents. These agents relayed a great deal of very important information to both the Soviets and Western Allies. Unfortunately much of it was not acted on. Stalin for example dismissed reports of an imminent NAZI invasion which he received from both a Soviet spy ring in Germany and from the western Allies which had various sources as well as Ultra. Eventually The German military staged an unsuccessful attempt to kill Hitler (July 1944). The highest level spy was Admiral Canaris, the head of military intelligence. He turned against Hitler as a result of the killings of Polish civilians, including the Jews, that he first observed in Poland. There was also some notable resistance among the clergy. One of the most notable youth Resistance effort was the White Rose. Others were the Swing Kids and the Edelweiss Pirates.
The most important Ressistance activity within the Reich was spying. There was no sabotage or para-militry resistance of any importance. Hitler's military and security forces were riddled with secret agents. These were mostly Germans disaffected with the NAZIs and not agents inserted by the NAZIs. These agents relayed a great deal of very important information to both the Soviets and Western Allies. Unfortunately much of it was not acted on. Stalin for example dismissed reports of an imminent NAZI invasion which he received from both a Soviet spy ring in Germany and from the western Allies which had various sources as well as Ultra. Some of the most important information flowing from the Reich was that on the V-weapons programs. This information was acted on by the Allies. A bombing rid at Peenemünde severly damaged the program, but did not destroy it. The effort failed because of Hitler's focus on revenge rather than real military applications and the pursuit of two programs which diverted resources from the V-1 (a fairly simple device that could have been effective) to the V-2 (a very sohisticated weapon that had marginal impact).
The Weimar Republic's Reichswehr was seduced by Hitler's offers to throw off the hackles if the World War I Versailles Treaty and rearm. The deal was sealed with the Night of the Long Knives and the supression of the SA which threatened the army. The resulting rearmament program was far beyond what was necessary to defend Germany. The Reichswehr has string monarchial sentiment. Hitler began a process to build support for the NAZIs within the Wehrmacht. There was resistance to Hitler over the Czechoslovak crisis (1938). This was undercut when the British and French sold out the Czechs. The resistance was not over moral issues, but rather that the Wehrmcht generals did not think that they were capable of winning a resulting war. Resistnce to Hitler within the Wehrmacht only begin to build again after the failure of Operation Brbarossa before Miscow (December 1941). Again it was not the NAZI attrocities that were at issue, but German military defeats and the decreasing possibility od winning the War. Some German officers like Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and Colonel Claus von Staufenberg were shocked at German attroicities. The highest level spy was Admiral Canaris, the head of military intelligence. He turned against Hitler as a result of the killings of Polish civilians, including the Jews, that he first observed in Poland. His most important contribution to the resistance was informing General Franco in Spain that Hitler's threats were bluffs because his attention was focussed on the upcoming invasion of the Soviet Union. If Franco had caved into Hitler in 1940, the Whrmacht almost certainly would have moved through Spain and seized Gibraltar. This would have serious undemined the British position in the Mediterranean. Eventually The German military staged an unsuccessfull attemp to kill Hitler--July Bomb Plot (July 1944). Col. Staufenberg managed to injure, but not kill Hitler. The plot failed. Hitler'd restribution was savage. There were no more attempts by the Wehrmacht to seize power. The Wehrmacht was, however, caught between the Soviets and Western Army and subjected to a series of offensives by vastly superior forces. Much of the damage to the Whrmacht and Germany itself, took place after the July Bomb Plot.
There was also some notable ressistance among the clergy. Much of this involved the Catholic clergy. The Pritesrabnt cklerfy was much more cquiesent. A notable exception was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The subject of youth in the NAZI Third Reich is a fascinating topic. No German leader before or after has placed a greater emphasis on youth than Adolf Hitler. And young Germans organized in the Hitler Youth played an important role in the rise of the NAZIs. As far as we can tell, Hitler and the NAZIs very effectively coopted German youth. The Hitler Youth has to be seen as one of the most effective youth group's in history. By effective we do not mean a youth group which serve to benefit young people, but rather a group which effectively served it purpose of molding the minds of young Germans. In this case the cause was evil, but that of course does not detract from the effectivness of the organization. The Hitler while dominating the loyalties of most Herman children, was not totally effective. There were exceptions. One of the most notable youth Ressistance effort was the White Rose. Others were the Swing Kids and the Edelweiss Pirates.
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