The White Rose & Internal Resistance to Hitler.

Discussion in 'The Third Reich' started by Gerard, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Sapper, you are confusing plant-pilot's listing of the reasons why Hitler was so popular with defending the Third Reich. The fact is that Hitler WAS popular before the war and there were reasons for this. The question of how a nation that produced such figures as Martin Luther, Goethe and Einstein could produce such a horrific regime may never fully be answered.
    The regime was appalling and was inherently evil but dont be fooled that this could never happen in any other country. It could have happened anywhere, USA Britain Australia with the right conditions.
  2. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    I am in no way defending what happened, but trying to rationalize the reasons for what happened.

    I'm afraid that if your view that what happened was evil full stop, although understandable, is one that refuses to understand the political and economic climate that allowed such a person to gain power and lead such a nation to it's destruction.

    You won't find a prouder Englishman than myself, but I cannot deny that Britain has in it's past had some very heavy handed if not plain murderous foreign policies in it's quest to build and protect it's empire, not to mention it's exploitation of that empire and partaking in trade like the slave trade. That said I am also able to see that in the context of when these things happened they were at the time deemed to be 'acceptable' then if not now and don't make the British people 'Evil'.

    Knowing things happened can instill hate...... knowing why things happen can provide understanding.
  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I for one can never forget what we fought for, and against.
    This illustrates it forcibly.

    Lest We Forget.
    30th Armoured
    1st of May 45
    Belson Concentration Camp
    The countryside around Belson is attractive enough at the best of times, and on this perfect April morning particularly so, and there was a strange relaxing sense of peace about the pine woods with the sun pencilling down through the trees to the soft earth. The apple trees bordering the road so far as the eye could see were in full blossom, a perfect match for the blue sky overhead. I saw a farmer walking slowly over his fields with his dog at his heels, and the children playing in the farm yard gay with flowers.

    About two miles from the camp a large notice hung from a pine tree by the roadside. It bore two words in large print-DANGER-TYPHUS. I felt a momentary start when I saw it, but still the sense of peace and spring predominated.
    On reaching the village of BELSEN I learned that entry into the camp was impossible, so I decided to look in from the outside, and after a few minutes in the car I could see the barbed wire of the compound through the pine trees. I got out, left the car on the road and walked along the soft turf of one of the rides through the trees, feeling the sun comfortably warm on my back.

    A stench of something filthy began to pervade my nostrils; then suddenly I came to the end of the ride to see facing me a large expanse of treeless ground surrounded by high coils of barbed wire. I looked through the wire.
    The uneven ground inside was devoid of grass and was covered with slimy rags, rotting planks of wood, and paper stained with human filth. A Nissen hut stood twenty yards from where I was, and outside it was a pool of urine, some of which staining the earth like a dye had formed a morass of slime, whilst some had run away down the slope under the wire had formed a similar pool at my feet.

    A woman came out of the hut, squatted down outside and performed her natural functions. She raised her head, wiped away the matted hair from her eyes, and looked at me with a face as expressionless as an animal’s. Then, indifferently she looked away. Inside the hut I could see piles of straw, black with dirt and grease, and here and there a few blankets, rotten with age and stained with decaying filth. Another woman came slowly out of the hut, lay down in the pool of muck and closed her eyes. Her dress consisted of a long garment, after the style of a nightgown, which had once been blue with black stripes — but long months of use and continual wallowing in slime had rendered the colours unrecognizable.

    Ten yards away from the hut was a shallow pit. A mound of earth prevented me from seeing what it contained, but a thin wisp of murky smoke rising up and a sour stench told me that something revolting was burning inside.
    The sight of all this, taken in one split-second glance, was like a blow in the face. Gone was the sun shining through the pine-trees, momentarily unsensed was the stench. My mind-strained only to take in the scene which my eyes witnessed. It was like being suddenly brought face to face with some fantastic horror film — only instead of being on a screen it was there in reality in front of me, on the other side of the barbed wire.

    I began to walk around the outer perimeter of the camp, and the scenes I describe multiplied themselves tenfold as I went on. The creatures inside moved silently about like some macabre figures against a background of infinite squalor, and here and there I saw huddled objects, covered with the now familiar striped garments, lying in an unnatural twisted mass in the dirt, I could only think that they were dead. The ones that were still alive could no longer be called human beings — they were animals, strange revolting animals that one looks at with an involuntary shudder through the bars of a zoo cage, and never — never again will they rise to the level of human beings.

    All human instinct, all human feeling has been lost, extinguished for ever in this clearing in a pine wood in Northern Germany.
    So devoid of all that is essentially man, are most of them, they do not know that they are free. I saw a British soldier, armed with rifle and fixed bayonet, supervising the work of the SS guards who were still there when the camp was overrun. These guards are now being made to work almost night and day clearing up and digging graves for the dead, and, after five days they were almost dropping from fatigue. One of them stopped digging for a moment to straighten his back; he was immediately prodded forcibly with a bayonet and told to get on with the job. Several of the inmates stood by watching, but they showed no sign of elation or relief in seeing their former tormentors treated thus — they were beyond that.

    A shape, whose head had been shaved revealing a bald scalp streaked and coated with grey dirt, and who might have been male or female, was lying propped up on one elbow near a stinking pit., He, or she, was looking down at a plate of what looked like army stew and potatoes, picking up pieces of meat in a spoon and examining it only. Food had for so long been raw turnips and water, with a bread ration so infinitesimal that it could not be called a ration as such, that the sight of what was on the plate produced no excitement, no arousing of the appetite whatsoever.

    I learned that KRAMER, the German Commandant, who was captured, had been thrown in a cell in a barracks nearby. I was told a story - How true it is, I cannot say — that on his capture he was asked by a curious interpreter why he had remained in the camp rather than escape. His reputed answer was that he had nothing to fear concerning the condition of his camp And, indeed, it would seem that he and his guards had somehow grown used to this horror of a place, that their minds had become twisted and warped to conform to their surroundings; despite his confinement he is still the arrogant Nazi.

    60,000 prisoners had been found in the camp when we arrived, and an average of 800 were dying daily. Some, who had been there a matter of months, had been taken out, but nearly 20,000 are so riddled with filthy diseases and so devoid of any spark of hope and life that they had been left there, in spite of everything that medicine can do.

    Nearly all were political prisoners, Belgians, French, Dutch, Russians, Poles and Germans who had in this terrible way paid the penalty for listening to the BBC news and partaking in anti-Nazi propaganda. People of all ages from children to elderly men and women had been transformed into objects of sickening revulsion, and , through months and years spent on this patch of ground amid the pines, days when you and I were talking and laughing and working, had slipped gradually down the scale of life towards what was merely a rotting bestial existence.

    I walked back down the drive to the car and we drove off down the same straight road. The horizon was still hazy in the spring sunlight, and the apple blossom still massed its colour above my head. My driver was still the same, the children playing in the farmyard were still the same. But now over everything hung a pall, creeping insidiously into the mind like a maggot. Tainted and stained with the memory that was BELSEN.
    This account of BELSEN was given to me by an old friend "Alan Westerman" who was there at the time, again the typing is absolutely as the original document.
    Sapper November 6th 1998.
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Grim indeed Sapper, and I'm sure well appreciated by all here, one of the many well-justified reasons that were present, and emerged, for the fighting you chaps did, but perhaps somewhat off the thread's theme of internal resistance to Hitler? (other than maybe the even more complex question of resistance within the camps?)

    Sadly, the original site GH posted seems to have disappeared, so from another thread on them specifically, here's a link to the leaflets of the rather tragic 'White Rose':
    The White Rose - Leaflets

  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I was just reading my past posts from the link referred to.My view is unchanged from then.The fact is that you have to have the army on the side of change and this was not to be so in the opposition to Hitler and the Nazi regime.

    Hitler seduced a nation, the army leadership and the majority of its people.Things were good when they were good and only the rational thinkers could accept that the regime was to be the loser after Stalingrad.The Nazi Party leadership then told the German people that they were fighting for western civilisation against the Bolshevik hordes from the east.

    As for us in Great Britain, we have never been occuppied by an invader and have never been tested.
  7. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Its a good job they never got here, for there were siren voices prewar that said "We should make peace with Hitler" If they had invaded us, and taken us over there would be a hell of a lot of people that would have groveled, and supported the Nazis.

    For their was support in certain quarters of our right wing press for Hitler. It may be forgotten now? but some of us have very long memories. Me for one.
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It's like Harry says isn't it, luckily we were never invaded, either physically or politically by a Hitler. (by the by, my rather posh Granny was a friend of one of those 'siren voices', Mr Mosley)
    So hard to imagine how I'd have reacted at the time if I were German. I suspect resistance wouldn't even cross my mind & I'd be holding my arm in the air and hoping for a better job with the rest of the average populace.
    Watching a programme about Hess last night, an American lawyer of his at Nuremberg described the Nazi gang as utterly without conscience or real experience of the outside world, complete 'yes-men'. It's amazing what only a few years of rule & propaganda by men like that could do to an essentially average European population.
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    You are right Brian - you only have to look at some of the figures in 1930s Britain who courted Hitler. There was a list of people who were thought to be sympathetic (or more) to Hitler, and it was used to detain people under Rule 18b (?) in 1940... the complete list has never been published. I think it may well cause some red faces if it was.
  10. soren1941

    soren1941 Living in Ypres

    Edward and Simpson, did'nt they do the Nazi salute upon meeting Hitler? or I might of dreamt it!
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The support for Hitler from the upper echelons of society, power and influence developed because these people feared a social change. Anyone desiring a change in the life that the majority had to endure in the 1930s was considered to have communist leanings.Hitler's domestic policy appeared to represent their interests they were happy in some cases to pay homage to him on the Obersalzburg.

    Even Lloyd George fell under his spell and he made the journey to Hitler's second seat of government to applaud his transformation of Germany.Perhaps one of the greatest sycophants for the new regime and Hitler was the 7th Marquess of Londonderry whose toady traits were revealed in the recent publication."Making Friends with Hitler".(This man was apparently a cousin of WSC)

    One thing it did result in, indirectly, was that the BEF went to France with inferior equipment

    Regarding the sycophants,had occupation happened here,yes we would have had our Quislings.As it was, many were detained under the 18B regulations but perhaps not enough.
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I stayed upto 3am last night to watch this on Channel 4 and it was well worth it.

    The true story of Germany's most famous anti-Nazi heroine is brought to thrilling life in the multi-award winning drama Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. Germany's official Foreign Language Film selection for the 2005 Academy Awards, Sophie Scholl stars Julia Jentsch (The Edukators) in a luminous performance as the fearless activist. Armed with long-buried historical records of her incarceration, director Marc Rothemund expertly re-creates the last six days of Sophie Scholl's life: a heart-stopping journey from arrest to interrogation, trial and sentence.

    In 1943, as Hitler continues to wage war across Europe, a group of college students mount an underground resistance movement in Munich. Dedicated expressly to the downfall of the monolithic Third Reich war machine, they call themselves the White Rose. One of its few female members, Sophie Scholl is captured during a dangerous mission to distribute pamphlets on campus with her brother Hans. Unwavering in her convictions and loyalty to the White Rose, her cross-examination by the Gestapo quickly escalates into a searing test of wills as Scholl delivers a passionate call to freedom and personal responsibility that is both haunting and timeless.

    A really great film and good to see some material is out there proving that not all Germans were Nazi's.

  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    After watching the film Sophie Scholl I thought I'd do a little digging into the White Rose organisation to which they belonged and their resistance to Nazism in Germany during WW2.

    I found this rather good page on the web and I can only assume that seeing where is from it adds much credability to how brave these people were.

    The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent

  14. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Indeed. The exact point I was underlining to a friend only yesterday! ;)

    Then I went on to give the SS a hard time though! :lol:
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Professor Kurt Huber, music scientist, member of the Munich group of resistances " White Rose"
  16. Tito & Arse

    Tito & Arse Junior Member

    Today's the 67th anniversary of the first three executions of members of the Munich White Rose Movement, one of student politics' more creditable moments. Anyone who's ever occupied the Polytechnic canteen in support of Palestinian prisoners (or whatever) will find some strange resonances in this story of serious-minded young people chucking home-made leaflets around the faculty: the dignity of the story comes from the risks the participants ran and the horrendous price they paid to make their point.

    More here
  17. Jakob Kjaersgaard

    Jakob Kjaersgaard Senior Member

    Lest we forget!

    The movie "Sophie Scholl - Die Letzen Tage" is based upon this groups efforts.
  18. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Nice thread Tito. It took courage for them to make a stand as they did, especially as so many of their contemporaries stayed silent.
  19. Lucy Stag

    Lucy Stag Senior Member

    It's terrifying and humbling to know that I have finally reached the age where I am older than Sophie Scholl. Recently reading about Claus Von Strauffenberg (And of course impressed by his actions and courage) I thought about Scholl. The former killed people and tried to kill the leader of a country. The latter dropped pamphlets. Their fate was the same.

    Sort of sums it up, Nazi Germany.
  20. alewis

    alewis Junior Member

    How come we never heard of Germans and or their families in the camps then? I too have heard that if the member of a German family resisted the regime, then I think the rest of the family would be sent away or killed, but still my query then about why do we not hear of Germans in these camps??

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