Talk:German resistance to Nazism

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Former good article nominee German resistance to Nazism was a History good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
February 6, 2011 Good article nominee Not listed

Military History?[edit]

This is not a military history article. Adam 04:15, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't see how this is a "military history" article. It has a lot of German officers in it, but it is about their political activities, not their military roles. Adam 10:56, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I am not Adam but military actions by these military personnel include political activities, many of which are in this article so in essence count as military by nature. See my argument below if you will.Tourskin 04:55, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Excellent article over all, Adam. My only serious criticism would be that there's no discussion of the historiography. A lot's been written in recent years on the subject of resistance and opposition in Nazi Germany, and it's tended to take the focus away from the military/government plotters and towards "every day resistance," and such like. While I think that a focus on the Resistance "proper" is probably appropriate here, there should probably be some discussion.

BTW, have you seen July 20 Plot? I think the discussion of it here is actually more detailed. john k 00:28, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Thanks for your comments. I agree a section on historiography is needed, plus more comments on "everyday resistance" if there was such a phenomenon - I will remain a bit sceptical about that until I see a source. Perhaps you or someone else can contribute some material.
  • As for July 20 Plot I made a point of not reading other Wikipedia articles before writing this one, except the Rote Kapelle article which I didn't have another source for. I'm not surprised to hear it is deficient. This area seems to have been surprisingly neglected. Perhaps my text can be copied over to that article, but it would look rather arrogant if I did it (and you know how much I hate to appear arrogant). Adam 00:47, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
For "everyday resistance" and such like, various historians have written on the subject - I think Detlev Peukert discusses that kind of thing. The aim of a lot of it, I think, is to try to show that, in particular, former members of the German left (Social Democrats and, to a lesser extent, Communists) did not buy into Nazism, but staged their own forms of "resistance" in their everyday lives. I think a lot of people find it to be dubious and straw-grasping, at least if it means characterizing, say, listening to a Mendelssohn or jazz record as "resistance"...but it has been written about. john k 09:55, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't have anything by Peukert, but a sniff around reveals this and this and this and this. I will see what I can come up with. Adam 11:17, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Great article, and I can not imagine it would take much to take it to become a Featured Article. Andreas 14:41, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Which will attract swarms of cranks and keep us all busy for days. Thanks for your comment nonetheless. As John has noted above, the article needs more work and I will be adding more material to it soon. Adam 01:13, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I have added a new section as discussed. Adam 10:55, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Looks mostly good, although I'd greatly prefer not to cite Goldhagen. john k 17:29, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't think his sections on the pervasiveness of German anti-semitism can just be ignored, even if one agrees that he has misunderstood its nature. Adam 03:07, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe that Goldhagen did any original research on the subject of German anti-semitism, just secondary research, which he frequently mischaracterized. I don't think the actual statement in the article is wrong (that most German were indifferent to the fate of the Jews, and a fair number actively supported anti-semitic policy - although I think it's a bit misleading to imply that this feeling was in respect to the actual gassing of Jews, which I think there's a fair amount of evidence to suggest most Germans didn't specifically know about, if only because they closed their eyes to it), I'd just like to cite someone more reputable than Goldhagen. john k 08:32, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Just to add to that - Goldhagen's research was mostly about actual perpetrators - he looked at what the guys who were shooting Jews in the east were saying at their trials, and so forth. Citing him on that subject would, I think, be acceptable, although I'd think that one should cite Browning in the same context, as well. But I don't think Goldhagen is an acceptable expert on general German public opinion. IIRC, Kershaw's written a fair amount on the latter subject, and probably others. I don't have much access to books (I'm a continent away from my university library for the next several months), but I figure a better citation could be found. john k 08:35, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I will cite Johnson & Reuband, and Kershaw. Adam 09:16, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good. My basic problem with Goldhagen is that what's good in his book isn't new, and what's new isn't good, to quote somebody or other talking about something else. As such, it seems like we should probably try to avoid referencing it in wikipedia articles - either a better source is available attesting to the same basic idea, or else the argument is probably tendentious, and shouldn't be cited in anything except a discussion of Goldhagen's views. john k 11:46, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the cite. Are you happy with the bibliography? I just copied the one at the Widerstand article. I realise there is an enormous literature, but do we have the most important titles? Adam 12:29, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

My knowledge of the literature on the military conspirators isn't that great. The authors you have listed look good, but I don't know if there's any glaring ommissions. I suppose the answer would have to be "I don't know how to improve the list you have." And also that it looks pretty good, but that I don't have enough confidence in my knowledge of the literature on this particular subject to be certain. Peukert should probably be listed in the references section, though. john k 16:44, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Sweeping Statements[edit]

This is a really good article, but I have one reservation. There are a couple of sweeping statements, along the lines of "the great majority of Germans supported the regime". This may well be true, but I think there should be something to back it up. The Nazi party never received more than 33% of the vote in free elections and the majority of German citizens were never members of the Nazi party.

I know it's the sort of thing which is very hard to prove one way or another and is still the subject of much historical debate, but should this be thrown into an article as if it's fact. Did most Germans passively accept the Nazi regime as long as didn't effect them? Does that amount to supporting it? Is that just as bad as supporting it? These are all open for debate.

This can be copiously referenced, and I will do so when I get home to my books. It's true that before 1933 only a minority of Germans supported Hitler. But after his resuscitation of the German economy and easy foreign policy triumphs, all sources (including opposition sources from the time, such as the underground Social Democrats) agreed that Hitler had overwhelming public support. This survived largely intact until Stalingrad, after which it declined steadily. I recommend the first volume of Kershaw's Hitler and its footnotes to anyone interested in pursuing this. Adam 12:37, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Kershaw also wrote a book on public opinion during the third reich, iirc (it may have just been articles). That's also worth taking a look at. Every source that I've read on the subject agrees with what Adam says here. john k 13:45, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

a very coarse view[edit]

As far as the groups involved in resistance, there are many significant omissions: Labor Unions fist come to mind, since they were systematically targeted, and at least in the industrial centers in the west were able to form some 'protected quarters, where the abilities of the Gestapo was significantly impaired, almost all the way to the end. They also managed to protect many POW's, in particular Russians, in the coal mines. The use of forced labor naturally was something unions objected to, apart fro the fact, that they had been systematically dismantled and instead NS- following organizations put in their place, that agreed to all demand by the employers and the government. Then there were the Free- Masons, which were highly suspect to the NS-Regime, but proved very hard to penetrate by officials> Many of those sheltered others from arrest and deportation. Then, there were groups in science and research, who managed to delay their projects, and in many cases were able to send copies of their research to the allied powers. And many managed to flee Germany, and actively support the allied efforts. Also, the 'night of long knives', when the fascist wing 'cleansed' the party of 'socialist influence', had left a great number of former supporters disillusioned and turned them into adversaries, who, mostly on a local level, joined other groups in their efforts to undermine the dictatorship. Also people like the very popular former mayor of cologne, Konrad Adenauer, who had been forcefully removed from office, and put under house arrest. The latter fact demonstrates, that the NS- powers feared open local uprisings, if they had jailed or killed him. Then, the article downplays the roles of other groups, in particular the communists: While they were not exactly engaged in open activities against the regime, they were after all 'fugitives', that had to fear incarceration or death, if caught. Their numbers were not 'insignificant', and they had something, most other groups lacked- a well organized clandestine communications- network. Other groups and their members, in particular Social- Democrats and unions, but also science and research used that network to a great extent. It may also be worth while to point out, that at the time, the communist party in Germany was not on 'good terms' with Stalin, but rather relied on their connections to the communists in other European countries. Last, I will second the criticism about "the great majority of Germans supported the regime". I would suggest to use the word 'tolerated' instead. By the accounts of everyone from that generation, you will probably have to distinct between actual support and 'go along to get along', and get a little deeper into the changes of those variations over time, and the differences by region, generation and social status. As an example, many upper- class ranking military were very supportive of Hitler until 1941, yet that changed with Stalingrad. And there was much more support for Hitler in the south and east, and in rural places, as opposed to the northern and western industrial centers. (talk) 21:12, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

the french resistance as analogue[edit]

The french resistance was not unified -particularily at the beginning of the Occupation and not even at the insurrection and liberation of Paris. Can you provide written evidence. I have in front of me ' Soldiers of the night' by Schoenbrun and 'From Munich to the Liberation', 1938-1944 by Azema; both compare the very different structures involved. There was the southern section or the 'maqui', the cells in the occupied France of the north. The communist controlled sections especially in Paris. More often they were independent of each other. They were definitely not all controlled from London by the 'free French'. In fact the communists despised de Gaulle.(and vice versa). The 'resistance' varied from highly and centrally organised to anarchic cells. And most of it consisted of 'everyday resistance'. Please see Maquis (World War II) Joan Gos 05:07, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

The French resistance was unified by De Gaulle's emissary Jean Moulin in May 1943, under the aegis of the Conseil National de la Resistance (CNR), to which all the organised reistance groups, including those controlled by the PCF, gave their adherance. I agree that in practice the situation was more complicated, but that was the legal situation. (M R D Foot, Resistance, 237-38). This was far in advance of the German reistance, which had no national structure and no political leadership. Adam 05:26, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

The first 30 months of the occupation the 'resistance' was headless but still effective. Yes later the CNR did coordinate from London but in my opinion its true influence was the money it handed out. The communists (PCF) 'remained seperate from the Secret Army' (CNR) (p272 Schoenbrun) and the maquis were well spanish influenced. Perhaps if you wanted to compare german to french resistance you could frame it as less of a strong contrast? Joan Gos 05:46, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

This is not an article about the complexities of the French resistance. The point is a simple one - the French eventually attained a unified national political leadership, while the Germans never came close to doing so. That is all the article says, and it is a correct statement. You asked me for a source and I gave you one. Adam 06:05, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Hey calm down. Have I said or insisted this was 'an article about the complexities of the french resistance'? No. Youre creating a straw man. And then tearing it to shreds. Ive ammended the text to read more moderately (and accurately). The FR was not a single unified political leadership. Ive provided evidence too. The PCF were not controlled fron London and neither were the macquis. Just tryin' to negociate. Joan Gos 06:14, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I didn't say the PCF was controlled fron London - I said it accepted the leadership of the CNR, which is true: that was Soviet policy, which the PCF followed. As for "the maquis", that could mean anything. The organised resistance groups, whatever their political colour, accepted the leadership of the CNR. Groups of youths avoiding arbeitdienst in the hills don't really count. Anyway, I am happy with the sentence as it now stands. Adam 06:31, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Talked to any spanish refgees of that period? Glad we could come to some agreement w/o throwing bombs! Joan Gos 06:40, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Likewise. (What have Spanish refugees got to do with it?) Adam 06:45, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Please see Maquis (World War II) Ive an acquaintance who is the son of a spanish refugee pushed out from Spain into southern France along with 500,000 others after 1939. Joan Gos 06:54, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

OK. If they were adherants of the PCE or the PSOE they would also have accepted the leadership of the CNR, because that was party policy in both cases. If they were anarchists they probably didn't, but I doubt the anarchists counted for much by that stage. Their behaviour in power in Catalonia had largely discredited them. Adam 06:59, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I also think the Maquis article ignores the fact that many of the "maquis", particularly in the south, had no political agenda at all - they were just urban youth who fled to the hills to avoid being conscripted for work in Germany. A lot of them just camped in the hills and were fed by the local farmers, while others turned to banditry. In some cases they had gun battles with the "political" maquis who wanted them to stop looting and fight the Germans. There are several accounts by British SOE agents trying and failing to get these "maquis" organised and fighting. Adam 07:03, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Indeed. If only they had done what they were told. Like stay back in royalist Spain. They got fed up with church and state. And truly lived. Joan Gos 07:07, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Friedrich Kellner[edit]

Dear R S Kellner, I mean no disrespect to your grandfather, who was obviously a very brave man, but he is not notable enough to be included in the general discussion section of this article. If we mentioned him we would have to mention thousands of other people who carried out courageous, but small, acts of resistance. I suggest you put a link to his article in the See Also section of this article. I also have some comments on the article about him which I will put at the article's Talk page. Adam 11:42, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

I have performed a major editing operation on the entry to bring it in line with Wikipedia standards. There is a Kellner entry on the Deutsch Wikipedia that fulfills that requirement, and I more closely mirrored its layout and details here in the English Wikipedia. If you would, please let me know what you think about the rewrite. Regarding your question as to why my grandfather was not arrested or at least dismissed from his job, he was exceedingly lucky in that regard. And he knew it -- particularly after the war when he got to read some of the official Nazi reports about him. There are PDF documents at the George Bush Presidential Library website about the occasions he was called in before the authorities (most notably, the Hermann Engst report). Fortunately for my grandfather, his position as the Chief Justice Inspector in the district court gave him a certain immunity from arbitrary arrest (the Third Reich had special requirements for arresting its own officials). Also, my grandfather was knowledgeable about the corrupt activities of his fellow officials (Laubach was a town of only 2,000 people), and they feared my grandfather because of that. Nevertheless, as you will see in the reports, the Nazis intended "to take care of him" after the war. These documents, and numerous accounts of my grandfather's resistance to the Nazis are available in the links in the entry. The Justus Liebig University link will take you to a fairly complete collection of articles about various aspects of his life. The documentary movie recently made in Canada about my grandfather (and about me, as well), further explores his active, as well as passive, resistance. There is a separate Wikpedia site for that movie: My Opposition: the Diaries of Friedrich Kellner. Again, thank you for your interest in improving the entry about my grandfather. That is certainly my aim, too, and I truly appreciate all the advice I can get. Please feel free to email me at rskellner AT cox DOT net and I will be happy to share more information with you. I am hoping this further information might help you to reconsider your thoughts about him being included on the German Resistance page. Robert Scott Kellner Rskellner 16:05, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Military article and references?[edit]

I saw above that there was a mention that this wasn't a military article? At the end of the day the political actions of the military count as military actions, only of a political nature. Furthermore, it can be argued quite reasonably that politics, even more so at the level approaching resistance and coup de tat counts as "war is politics by other means" - ironically as the Prussians would have it.

My second point is the shameful lack of references. Whole sections are missing references - I am not one to talk but nonetheless part of being a B class article is including appropriate references, which I believe 17 is not adequate for an article so huge. By all means do not reduce the article, simply find references for it.

Regards, Tourskin 04:54, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. The article isn't bad and may indeed be factually accurate. But it is not properly attributed within each section. You cannot merely throw a "source" section at the end of the article and say, "I wrote this based on that." It is insufficient for Wikipedia and undermines the article. The author needs to pretend this is a college research paper (notably not a persuasive paper)—every fact, every paragraph at the very least, needs to cite its source. Specifically, not generally. I have tagged those sections which are completely lacking citations (nevermind the ones with an inadequate number of citations) and tagged the whole article for its incorrect citation style. The "sources" section needs to be removed and converted into a proper Wikipedia sources section. See: WP:SOURCE, WP:NOR, and, most of all, WP:CITE (WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT). RobertM525 (talk) 21:18, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Peter Hoffmann, Oberst i.G. Henning von Tresckow und die Staatsstreichpläne im Jahr 1943.[edit]

Has anyone read Peter Hoffmann, Oberst i.G. Henning von Tresckow und die Staatsstreichpläne im Jahr 1943. published in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (2/2007)? Abstract [=Peter&sword_list[]=Hoffmann#c5 available here].

According to this Swedish newspaper article The researcher has found German Resistance documents in old former KGB (now FSB) archives, with detailed plans for how the 1943 coup would take over Germany.

The plans (by the russians called "calendarium") were kept because general staff major Joachim Kuhn was captured by the Soviets in 1944 and could later take a "peoples commisar for internal security" to the site at the former East front army headquarters where he had buried the coup-plans.

Apparently the plans were more detailed and ambitious than previously believed, containing details about which units could be trusted with occupying various parts of Germany and arrest the leaderships of the Gestapo, SS, and Nazi party. Trying to juggle redeployment of troops currently tied up at the frontlines without creating chaos.--Stor stark7 Talk 22:46, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

The article seems incomplete[edit]

Not much is given about political goals of movements of resistance to Hitler.For example nothing about Stuaffenberg's demand to have 1914 borders in East, or support for slave labour and German colonisation. The particular groups should have summaries of their political goals. --Molobo 13:29, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

The White Rose Group[edit]

in 1943, The White Rose Group was unfortunately caught by a Nazi associate. Hans Scholl and his sister were seen throwing their sixth pamphlet over one of University of Munichs' balconies. the police were immediatly called to the scene of the crime, and the Scholls, having done no more than put their opinion onto paper, were taken into custody, and were unfairly executed. Although the Scholls, and all members of The White Rose society for that matter, were punished- being either imprisoned or executed- they were not the criminals that they had been executed or imprisoned for. These, brave, amazing students stated their opinion- therefore risking their lives which ended in tragedy- in an attempt to save the world from injustice. Today, The White Rose Group is highly respected and honoured, and has been praised for its courage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:22, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

The Articel should say some more about the white rose and maybe the way germany looks at them nowadays. The things written ,about the white rose, in this articel are mostly unclear and mistakable. Read the English Articel about the white rose (wich is verry correct) and please correct the mistakes in this one. as well it should have its own passage since its seen as one of the more important groups of german resistance. sorry bout my bad engish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 7 January 2009 (UTC) Radiokopf86 (talk) 18:12, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

German citizens[edit]

Some of German citizens also executed belonged to ethnic groups classified as Untermenschen that held citizenship before the war; for example Polish minority in Germany and its members who performed spying operations or were arrested at the start of the war and sent to concentration camps.--Molobo (talk) 23:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Some political goals of Resistance needed to be described[edit]

For example Stauffenberg's:

  • Continued Occupation of Central and Eastern Europe
  • German war criminals not to be handed over for international trials
  • German border in the East based on 1914-thus incorporating Polish territories

Or his associates who demanded ethnic cleansing of Poles from annexed territories in exchange for giving Poles Lithuania "after referendum". --Molobo (talk) 23:25, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

French and Polish resistance has numbers involved. This article would be better with that data also.[edit]

Stauffenberg's resistance group counted how many people ? IIRC 10,000 ? Correct me if I am wrong or give sources.

White Rose-10 people ?

We can compare with other resistance groups numbers in other countries later.--Molobo (talk) 23:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:JuliusLeber.jpg[edit]

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Bust identity[edit]

Fwiw, the article Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg identifies the bust with this man. also left notice at the pic discussion link. Julia Rossi (talk) 10:17, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Inapropriate Title[edit]

Shouldn't it be Resistance to german national socialism? The current title excludes groups like the Nakam, Hashomer Hatzair, Bratskoje Sotrudnitschetswo Wojennoplennych or the Resistenza. (which also operated in Nazi Germany)--user:goiken 18:52, 24 February 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 0g1o2i3k4e5n6 (talkcontribs)

1938 British talks[edit]

I posted this on the Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg talk page but thought some of you might find it interesting;

There's an interview with Peter Ustinov on YouTube here: [1] where he mentions von Schweppenburg being involved in a 1938 attempt to prevent the outbreak of war. Ustinov's father was a Press Attache attached to the German Embassy in London earlier, having left in 1935 and become a British Subject, and in 1938 he received a telephone call from von Schweppenburg (who was the German Military Attache at the time) in which he asked Ustinov's father to try and get the British Government to make a firm stand against Hitler at Munich, because von Schweppenburg said, it was the last chance they (i.e., the German General Staff), had of stopping Hitler. Ustinov's father was revealed in 1999 to have been working for British Intelligence at the time. A secret meeting was held between members of the German and British General Staff at Ustinov's home, on the fourth floor of 34 Redcliffe Gardens, London. The British however, decided, (presumably regarding the proposals put forward by the Germans at the meeting) that 'they couldn't risk it as it might be a trap'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:18, 29 August 2009 (UTC)


As much as they have been publicized in television, print, and movie media, it astonishes me that this discussion ignores the Bibelforscher (German for "Bible Students"). Hitler banned their faith-based movement in 1934 because the Bibelforscher refused by public declaration and in print to pay any allegience to Hitler and National Socialism, (or, though they were virtually all of Aryan descent,) to claim any membership in the "master race." By 1938, before the mass arrest of Jews, about 15% of those in concentration camps were "Bibelforscher". Before the war's end, as many as 12,000 of their faith may have been imprisoned in concentration or labor camps, or common prisons, and at least 2,500 died while interred, 270 by execution as draft resisters. Perhaps the reason they are ignored is because today they are known as Jehovah's Witnesses. Josie1995 (talk) 17:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

German resistance or resistance in Germany?[edit]

Wouldn't "Resistance in Germany" be a more appropriate title? As the article makes clear, we are talking about disparate, disconnected and generally very small groups of people, or even about the stance of an individual ('Resistanz'). The current title may be mistaken as an attempt to establish a parallel with the French or Polish resistance (consisting, depending on the time and place, of at most two very broad political groupings, acting in smaller cells). Feketekave (talk) 10:42, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

(On a different note - the introduction now states that 3.5 million people in Germany went through prisons or concentration camps for political reasons. This seems a little high, especially given that the figures of the dead are much smaller. The reference given is an (interesting) article from a Trotskyte journal, which, in turn, gives a reference to G Almond, "The German Resistance Movement", Current History 10 (1946), pp 409–527; can somebody check that difference? Perhaps a disaggregation of prison and concentration camps figures is in order. Feketekave (talk) 10:49, 8 February 2010 (UTC))

In agreement with goiken and the above Feketekave, the title definitely needs to be changed. "German Resistance" is a rather innocuous title. I would suggest German Resistance to Nazism, German Resistance (WWII), or something of the sort. "German Resistance" is much too general/unspecific. MTWEmperor (talk) 20:42, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

opposition to Nazis pre-1933[edit]

I was looking for an article on this subject but stumbled here. While an entirely different kind of opposition, it would seem a notable subject those who had the prescience to oppose nazism before 1933, and particularly in its very early days when it was not famous or prominent. I don't feel qualified to write such an article myself however. BillMasen (talk) 00:58, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:German resistance/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jezhotwells (talk) 22:23, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

I shall be reviewing this article against the Good Article criteria, following its nomination for Good Article status.

Disambiguations: One found and fixed.[2] Jezhotwells (talk) 22:26, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Linkrot: two found and fixed.[3] Jezhotwells (talk) 22:29, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Checking against GA criteria[edit]

I am sorry, but there are substantial portions of this article which lack citations and have been tagged as such since March 2008. This makes it a quickfail candidate. Please read the Good Article criteria and renominate when the article is ready. It might be helpful to have a peer review first. Jezhotwells (talk) 22:23, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

People sent to camps[edit]

The article had a number of 3milion "Germans" sent to camps. This doesn't mean they were members of resistance, that was a very dubious OR. Also the term Germans seems to be generalization-there were also people of German citizenship sent to camps who certainly weren't ethnic Germans. --MyMoloboaccount (talk) 11:14, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Your friendly comments and edits are always welcome, Molobo. -- Matthead  Discuß   22:10, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

This is a good point. Now, certainly very many German citizens of non-German ancestry considered themselves (with full justice) to be Germans. However, the fact that they were persecuted for their ancestry does not automatically make them into part of a "German resistance", or members of any sort of resistance, for that matter. Ditto for people persecuted for sexual orientation, say, or for alleged common criminals sent to concentration camps. This edit [edit] thus seems justified.

In a sense, the very title of the page can be seen as misleading, for reasons that are very well put in the second paragraph of the current version ("The term German resistance should not be understood as meaning..."). If there were an English term ("resistant") corresponding to 'résistant' (French), that would give us a better title. Another bit of vocabulary that would be handy would be the German-language distinction between 'Widerstand' (resistance) and 'Resistanz' (more or less passive opposition). Some of the contents of the section "unorganised resistance" clearly fall under this.

Lastly and most importantly - a clear distinction has to be drawn between people who fought or opposed the Third Reich because they disagreed with its principles, and army officers who shared (and, er, "implemented") many of the aims of the Third Reich, but saw that Hitler would make them lose the war. It is at least my impression that there is a near-consensus that many officers involved in the July 20 plot fit into the later category. This is still armed opposition to the Third Reich, but is it not a little artificial to call it "German resistance"? Feketekave (talk) 12:56, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

(So, for starters - let me reiterate my suggestion (see a few pagagraphs above) that this be renamed 'Resistance in Germany'. Note also what I said about how the source for the 3 million figure seems to be indirect and weak.) Feketekave (talk) 16:19, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

I support changing it to Resistance in Germany as well. This will avoid some confusion since there was non-German resistance in Germany, for example Jewish or from Polish minority that had German citizenship. Both are somewhat covered already,but there is more that can be added--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 18:35, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
We should be wary of drawing too sharp a distinction here. If a German citizen in (say) the Red Orchestra happened to have ancestors who were Polish or of the Jewish religion, he would still be part of a German resistance movement (one of the few that we could agree really deserved the name fully, though perhaps it is better called an anti-fascist espionage network). I am not aware of anything in Germany along the lines of the Ghetto fighters of Warsaw. Feketekave (talk) 19:48, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
There were groups made solely out of Polish minority members, for example see here[4].--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 20:16, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Misleading number[edit]

Between 1933 and 1945, more than 3.5 million Germans had been in concentration camps or prison for political reasons Well yes, the number of German citizens in concentration camps(including members of IIRC 400,000 Jews and over 1 million Poles in Germany) might be that high. But it certainly doesn't mean they were resistance members. For example members of Union of Poles in Germany were arrested just because they were members, not because of some conspiracy against Hitler.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 22:42, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

I would like to second Molobo here. I'll don't have the necessary books at hand, but that number is rather inflated. But before going any further, there is an issue that needs to be addressed on this page, which has far been ignored, and that is what is resistance? That may sound like a simple question, but it is not. Some historians count everything that went against the Nazi regime like attending church or listerning to an illegal jazz record as resistance. Personally, I don't agree. Was the Confessing Church resistance? Some people claim that, but again, the Confessing Church only criticized the attempt to apply "Aryan Christainity" to the Lutheran Church, and never questioned the fundamental legitimacy of the Nazi system. Almost all the leaders of the Confessing Church were for the Third Reich and the regime's anti-Semitism as long it was applied against Jews; they're only problem was with anti-Semitism applied to those Jews who had converted to Lutheranism. Carl Goerdeler during his time as Price Commissioner in 1934-35 often wrote memos critical of Nazi economic policies. Some people call this resistance, but I don't buy that. A member of the Cabinet who opposes a specific policy while at the same time accepting the legitimacy of a government cannot be considered as engaging in resistance. That is why it so important to have some sort of definition of resistance here. Personally, I'll favor counting those were fundamentally against the regime as members of the resistance. Which mean that a great many of those involved in the 1938 putsch plans like General Beck, who only wanted a "house-cleaning" of the regime with some of Hitler's more radical advisors expelled from positions of power, while at the same time allowing Hitler to stay on as Chancellor were not engaging in resistance. Ian Kershaw has offered an usuful system of subdividing non-conformity in the Third Reich into 1) Dissent (i.e like listerning to a jazz record 2) Opposition (i.e the Confessing Church which was opposed to certain polices while accepting the legitimacy of the regime) and 3) Resistance (i.e. somebody working to overthrow the Nazi regime). Perhaps an awkward system, but it does avoid the problem of inflating resistance numbers.

I should add that furthermore, one has to look at things chronologically. To use a good example, Count Helldorf who was the Chief of the Berlin police supported the putsch of July 20th, 1944. For that reason, Helldorf is often counted as a member of the resistance. But Helldorf was a high ranking SA man, who for most of his time as Berlin police chief was a loyal supporter of the regime who was well-known for his bruality and who played a leading role in deporting Berlin Jews to the death camps. So, it might be right to call Helldorf part of the resistance in 1944, but certainly not in let's say 1934. Finally, I should add that there is no historical consensus on this topic. I'm offering up Kershaw's system here becaues I think it is a good one, and this is the one that is closest to the consensus. One of the problems with writing about this topic is that politics gets in the way. There are a lot of people who like to exaggerate the number of people engaged in resistance because it makes Germans look better. Hans Rothfels in his 1947 book The German Opposition to Hitler claimed that almost everybody in Germany was part of the resistance, and the Nazi regime was a only a small gang of criminals who were despised by the vast majority of Germans. Patricia Meehan in her 1992 book The Unnecessary War offers an account similar to Rothfels's with almost everybody in Germany hating the Nazis, and claims that only reason why the Nazi regime was not overthrown was because the British failed to offer enough support. So otherwise, the German people would have been happy to overthrow Hitler, but the dammed British just didn't give enough support. So it is fault of the British that Hitler stayed in power up to 1945. In a way out there conspiracy theory, Meehan claims with a straight face that those British officials she accuses of sabotaging British support for the German opposition like John Wheeler-Bennett then re-wrote the historical record to make it seem like most people in Germany supported the Nazis in order to cover their "guilt" for not supporting the July 20th putsch. The apologist aspects of the work by Rothfels and Meehan requires no comment, and to be frank, I don't think either of those books should be used. Other historians say that numbers involved in resistance was very small.

Wheeler-Bennett in his book The Nemesis of Power gives a list of 159 people executed for involvement with the July 20th putsch, but admits that list is incomplete. But it does us a starting number. One also has to consider those not executed for involvement with July 20th, other groups like the White Rose, and the various Communist and SPD groups. I'll offer up some numbers on the weekend, and for the moment, I hope this modest post offers up some thoughts for improving the article.-A.S. Brown (talk) 02:30, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

One further point. As already been pointed out, treating everybody who was sent to a concentration camp is a rather bad way of estimating those who engaged in resistance. In 1933-35, most people who went to concentration camps were sent there for political reasons, mostly membership in the KPD and the SPD. Robert Gellately in his 1990 book The Gestapo and German Society, which was the first serious book ever written on the subject of the Gestapo (and ideally should be read by anybody who wants to contribute to this page because it explains how the Gestapo actually worked), points out that after 1935, the number of people arrested by the Gestapo for political reasons dropped quite dramatically. Most of the people arrested after 1935, which includes the vast majority of those Germans who went to the concentration camps were arrested for social reasons. It is not for nothing that Gellately sub-titles his book Enforcing Racial Policy because that is what the Gestapo spent almost all of its time doing after 1935. Indeed, Gellately notes that after 1941, the main concern of the Gestapo was sex between those Poles brought to Germany as slave workers and German women. That was what the Gestapo spent most of World War II obsessing about. Whatever else that says about war-time Germany, this obsessive concern of the part of the Gestapo with German women having sex with Polish men does not suggest a nation where most or even many people were working to overthrow the Nazi regime. Nazi theory called for Volksgemeinschaf (People's Community) with Germans divided into two categories gemeinschaftsfremde (Community Aliens) who did not belong to the Volksgemeinschaf and volksgenossen (National Comrades) who did belong. Detlev Peukert summed quite well the aims of National Socialist social policy as:

“ The goal was an utopian Volksgemeinschaft, totally under police surveillance, in which any attempt at nonconformist behaviour, or even any hint or intention of such behaviour, would be visited with terror”.

Almost all of the Germans who went to concentration camps went there for social reasons like being gay, "work-shy" (i.e. lazy), having an abortion, having sex with a Jew or a Pole, etc, etc. These people were victims of National Socilism, but I don't think it is right to call them part of any sort of resistance.-A.S. Brown (talk) 02:55, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Agreed on many counts. This article should be (a) restructured along the trichotomy you mentioned, (b) renamed - either to "Resistance in Germany" or to "Opposition to Fascism in Germany".
At the same time, I think there is a point that deserves further discussion. The article as it stands barely gives any space to early opposition (mostly SPD and KPD) to the Nazi regime - from 1933 to 1935 or 37, say. Yes, their activities may have been too disorganised and repression too effective for it to be called a resistance. Nevertheless, we are talking about groups of people that were willing to die for their ideals, and often did. In this context, the Thälmann Battalion certainly deserves to be mentioned, even if it acted outside Germany (obviously). Feketekave (talk) 21:30, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Dear Feketekave, sorry about being so late in getting back to you, but thank so much for the thoughtful suggestions and ideas. I was just wondering if I broke the rules about NPOV and OR in my suggestions made above. One is supposed to follow what historians have to say; now admittely I was following one group of historians have to say because I think their suggestions make the most sense. To give one example, Carl Goerdeler wrote all sorts of memos to Hitler disagreeing with economic policy in 1934, 35, 36. Some historians like Gerhard Ritter call this resistance. I think this is profoundly wrong. Before going any further, I just want to make it clear that I think that people who compare Obama to Hitler are engaging in immoral equivalence, and making a comparison that is as offensive as it is misguided. I in no way think that there is a moral equivalence between Hitler and Obama, and I'am only going to give the following example just to illustrate a point, to show that just disagreeing with a particular policy choice is not the same thing as "resistance". In 2009, President Obama was being urged by his advisors in the Pentagon to go ahead with a troop surge in Afghanistan, something that President finally went ahead with. The surge idea was opposed by the Vice President Joe Biden, who argued for withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan with an emphasis on increased drone strikes as the best way of fighting al-Qaeda and company. Biden was opposed to a particular policy choice that the President took, but in no way could his actions be taken as constituting a questioning of the legitimacy of the Obama administration. If Biden had said something like Obama was really born in Kenya and thus not a U.S. citizen, and was not legally President, then his opposition to the troop surge would have to be considered in a very different light. The same thing can be said about Goerdeler in the mid-1930s. His memos were opposed to particular policy choices in economic matters, and no way did Goerdeler in any way questioned Hitler’s right to rule in any of his memos. This presents us with a particular difficulty here; namely what does one do with a there is a body of historians led by Ritter who were promoting what is clearly a false view without violating the rules on NPOV and OR? I suppose one might point to more recent historians who rejected that view, but to be frank, I’ll like some guidance on these points. I like to make an article that conforms to the rules on NPOV and OR, so I’m not certain if the trichotomy I suggested conforms to all the Wikipedia rules. Personally I think that this is the best way forward, and it seems to me that most of the more serious historians on the subject more or less operate on that trichotomy. After all, if one wants to define “resistance “ as anything contrary to the Nazi regime, then millions of Germans were engaging in resistance. But it seems to me at least (and a great many historians as while) that listening to an illegal jazz record while otherwise supporting the Nazi regime is not resistance. It is very important to remember that German society was not monolithic, and only a minority of Germans supported the Nazi regime 100%. But at the same time, only a smaller minority was opposed to the Nazi regime 100%. Most people supported the regime in some ways without ever supporting it in everything.

Actually, much of this article is really appalling bad. It is written at several times to suggest that the majority of the Army were opposed to the Nazi regime, which reflects the influence of an older and now discredited historiography. Likewise the claim made in the intro that there were thousands of civil servants who opposed to Hitler and who only stayed at their posts to sabtoage the Nazi regime is taking at face value some of the more self-serving claims made by German civil servants after 1945 to justify their actions under the Third Reich. I'll like to call this the Curt Prufer version of history. Curt Prufer was a career German diplomat who served under the Second Reich, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. After 1945, Prufer published his diary, in which Pfufer showed himself as a conservative who hated the Nazis and everything they stood for, and only served the Nazi regime in order to prevent worse things from happening. The only problem with the Prufer diaries is that there are forgeries. Prufer's son found the real diaries his father kept, and the picture they reveal is quite different from the diaries that were published after the war. Prufer was a conservative, not a Nazi, but where he stood with the National Socialism might be best described as being a fellow traveller on the right. If Prufer could not embrace everything the Nazis stood for, there was common ground for him to serve the Nazi regime quite comfortably without troubling his conscience to any significant degree. In his forged diaries, Prufer is an opponent of anti-Semitism, hates every Nazi anti-Semitic measure, knows nothing about the Holocaust until 1945 and is shocked when he finally learns about it. In his real diaries, Prufer is an anti-Semitic, supports every anti-Semitic measure, knows all about the Holocaust, and through he thinks that the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" might be a step too far, he nonetheless rationalizes it under the grounds that the Jews started World War II, and so they are only getting what they deserved. Most of the claims made by German civil servants to have been resistance fighters after 1945 are only varients of the Curt Pfufer version of history. The only difference is that Pfufer happened to get caught out when his son (who is totally opposed to his father's politics) happened to find his fathers' diaries, and made them available to historians. There is a really fascinating book edited by Donald McKale called Rewriting History where the real and forged diaries by Pfufer are published side by side, and I would love to have something from Rewriting History brought into this article somehow (namely how many German civil servants falsely made themselves into resistance fighters after the war), but I'll afraid that is probably getting off-topic.

I absolutely agree with you Feketekave that on present this article is really unbalanced, and short charges resistance by the SPD and KPD groups, and instead treats resistance by national conservatives as “the resistance”. This reflects the general bias in the English-speaking world where the resistance work by the Marxist parties is usually ignored, and instead it is the national conservatives who were involved in the July 20th plot become "the resistance" with the SPD and KPD being treated as mere footnotes at best. I think this is what might call the Titanic symptom. Most of the people who went down on the Titanic were poor immigrants from eastern Europe, but most of the press and historical attention has been on the handful of wealthy people from Britain and the United States who went down with the ship. The same principle works with the German resistance. Most of the people were involved in SPD and KPD resistance were just poor workers who nobody knows or cares about, whereas most of the people involved in the July 20th plot were officers, aristocrats, civil servants, and diplomats, many of whom were already famous. Personally, I would not object to the claim that the men who fought in the Thälmann Battalion were part of the resistance, but that is not the interpretation that most historians follow. If you find some RS that say otherwise, I have not object to you putting that in. Thank you for the interesting and stimulating suggestions Feketekave. I look forward to working with you on improving this article. --A.S. Brown (talk) 03:40, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

dubious claim[edit]

The following sentence is rather dubious, biased, and doesn't really make sense: "Those involved in the putsch of July 20, 1944, often seen as the epitome of resistance in Germany numbered about 7,000 (out of a total population of 87 million)." A. Just a bit earlier that paragraph, it is mentioned that "Approximately 77,000 German citizens were killed for one or another form of resistance by Special Courts, courts martial, and the civil justice addition...unspecified "tens of thousands" in concentration camps who were either suspected or actually engaged in opposition." - so why the "epitome'"? B. Why would the general population be involved in a coup d'état that was planned and executed by military officers only? So why compare this number to the general population? C. Where does this 87 million population figure come from? Germany never had a population of 87 million, not even today. In 1944 the population of Germany was roughly 65 million.[5]-- IIIraute (talk) 04:42, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Now that the title is 'German Resistance to Nazism'[edit]

...rather than only 'German Resistance' there is no longer a reason to keep the "This article is about German opposition to the Nazi Regime. For Nazi resistance to the Allies, see Werwolf" in the beginning. -- (talk) 08:04, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Esler acting alone?[edit]

"In November 1939, however, Georg Elser, a carpenter from Württemberg, acting completely on his own" ... to my knowledge that has never been proven. Yes you can find sources that say he acted alone, and he claimed to have acted alone, and he certainly didn't act along with the British spies who were accused of being his accomplices, but there is plenty of suspicion that he wasn't in a one-man show either. Statalyzer (talk) 07:33, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Otto and Elise Hampel[edit]

Two uneducated lower class Berliners mounted their own private war against Hitler form September 1940 to autumn 1942. After the war death of Elise's brother, Otto began handwriting postcards, which he then dropped around Berlin. The postcards specifically called Hitler a murdered, and urged Germans to rise up against him. The Hampels believed that they would start a popular up-rising; in fact most of the postcards were immediately handed in to the Gestapo. The Hampels were arrested after they were informed against, and a few months later executed. Hans Fallada's book "Every man dies alone" (2009) gives a fictionalized account of these events,.

In a rather sorry saga of resistance to Hitler, the Hampels deserve to be better remembered for their dogged, futile, but heroic resistance to the Nazi regime. (talk) 00:14, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Rayna Patton

Otto and Elise Hampel[edit]

Two uneducated lower class Berliners mounted their own private war against Hitler from September 1940 to autumn 1942. After the war death of Elise's brother, Otto began handwriting postcards, which he then dropped around Berlin. The postcards specifically called Hitler a murderer, and urged Germans to oppose him. The Hampels believed that they would start a popular up-rising; in fact most of thir 200 + postcards were immediately handed in to the Gestapo. The Hampels were arrested after they were informed against, and a few months later executed. Hans Fallada's book "Every man dies alone" (2009) gives a fictionalized account of these events,.

In a rather sorry saga of resistance to Hitler, the Hampels deserve to be better remembered for their dogged, futile, but heroic resistance to the Nazi regime. (talk) 00:17, 12 January 2013 (UTC)Rayna Patton

National liberation?[edit]

I don't understand why this is categorized as a 'National liberation movement'. Nazi Germany wasn't some kind of foreign occupation or colonial rule, it was Germany. (talk) 19:48, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Orphaned references in German Resistance to Nazism[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of German Resistance to Nazism's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "":

Reference named "Ian Kershaw pp210-11":

  • From Catholic Church and Nazi Germany: Ian Kershaw; The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation; 4th Edn; Oxford University Press; New York; 2000"; pp. 210–11
  • From Catholic bishops in Nazi Germany: Ian Kershaw; The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation; 4th Edn; Oxford University Press; New York; 2000; pp210-11

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 15:48, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Some thoughts[edit]

This is a huge topic, I am sure that we all agree. Whoever started it, has done a spectacular job, and I do not want to personally mess with it. There is a difference between resistance, which us active, and opposition which can be passive. Some were ardent Nazis, but anti Hitler and/ or other Nazi leaders. This make writing an article like this nearly an impossible task, one cannot cover it all without writing a book. Of all the books that I have read, the standout is "Hitler" , a 2 volume work by Ian Kershaw. In Volume 2, the chapter entitled "Licensing Barbarism", Kershaw mentions that the Oster group appointed and placed sympathizer to the cause in key positions . These included Lt. Col Groscurth, Rittmeister Hasso von Etzdorf, Erich Kordt (who appointed his brother Theo) & Hans Dohanyi. In view of the major positions and influence that these men had, I would ask the originator of this excellent article if they can be woven into it. Historygypsy (talk) 22:42, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

rise of the 4th reich[edit]

With America military,focused on the middle east,and japan too,there will nothing to stop the E.U.The Kaiser will go on the throne of Germany and be elecxted emperor like 1914 like wilheim II. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:45, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Link to German page[edit]

There is no link to the German Wikipedia page Widerstand_gegen_den_Nationalsozialismus in the "View in other languages"

I tried to add it, put I got an error from Wikipedia that it was already used, which I didn't understand — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:55, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Can someone please comment on my addition to the Walther von Reichenau page?

I'm really green at navigating around Wikipedia; here's the link to my proposed addition:


Radixetramus (talk) 15:46, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Operation N[edit]

German people didn't print anti-Nazi periodicals (even leaflets). So Polish underground printed in German to pretend there existed German underground. Xx236 (talk) 11:06, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

German Communists published (but rather not during 1939-41).Xx236 (talk) 05:47, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Manfred Zanker[edit]

Manfred Zanker deserted from Wehrmacht and joined the Home Army. [6]Xx236 (talk) 11:17, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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