German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, 1938-1945

German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, 1938-1945

German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, 1938-1945

German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, 1938-1945

Synopsis

This book traces the many efforts of the German Resistance to forge alliances with Hitler's opponents outside Germany. The Allied agencies, notably the British Foreign Office and the U.S. State Department, were ill-prepared to deal with the unorthodox approaches of the Widerstand. Ultimately, the Allies' policy of "absolute silence," the Grand Alliance with the Soviet Union, and the demand for "unconditional surrender" pushed the war to its final denouement, disregarding the German Resistance. Von Klemperer's scholarly and detailed study uncovers the activities and beliefs of numerous individuals who fought against Nazism within Germany. He explores the formation of their policy and analyzes the relations of the Resistance with the Vatican and the ecumenical movement, the intelligence agencies of the Allied powers, and the resistance movements outside Germany. Measured by the conventional standards of diplomacy, the German Resistance to Hitler was a failure. However, von Klemperer shows that many of the principles and strategies of the German Resistance, albeit ignored or overridden by the Allies during wartime, were to find their place in the concerns of international relations in the post-war period.

Excerpt

In the course of the decades since the Second World War, historians have been sorting out the various factors which contributed to the defeat of Hitler's Germany: statesmanship, strategic planning, military operations, intelligence work, and superior economic and industrial strength of the Allies together with Hitler's miscalculations--and, last but not least, internal resistance within Germany itself to Nazism. This book will deal with the German Widerstand, that is the German Resistance against Hitler and its role in the struggle against Nazi tyranny and world dominion. It should be anticipated here and now, however, that the mystique of the European Resistance movements, for which the French word Résistance has become the general designation, as having been widely engaged in a common fight to free their countries from occupation and to reinstate some form of national integrity and human rights, has been somewhat scaled down since the end of the war. Resistance everywhere came late; it was a matter of the few rather than the many. Alas, even the gulf between resistance and collaboration was not as wide as the stereotypes prevalent immediately after the war would have us believe. Furthermore the prevailing opinion among historians now is that the impact of the European Resistance movements upon winning the war was actually minute. The case of the Russians and the Yugoslav Partisans serves as the exception which proves the rule. General de Gaulle was perhaps quoted correctly as having said, in an uncharacteristic moment of candour and self- humour: 'Resistance was a bluff that came off.' What matters, of course, is that in the wake of the massive effort of the Allied armies it did come off. And even if the Résistance was not effective strategically, if its impact was 'puny', as has been exaggeratedly claimed, it gave back pride to the people, and hope to all men threatened by total dominion.

If the impact of the Résistance upon the war effort was limited, what then can be said of the Widerstand in this respect? To begin with, the German Resistance must be assessed, as it has by its leading chronicler, to have been a 'failure' and 'tragic'. As a matter of fact, the designation Widerstand was not even current among those who resisted Hitler. One of the interviews I have conducted with the few survivors was with one of the most fearless members of the conspiracy to free Germany from the tyrant. She said to me insistently: 'Don't talk about "Widerstand". We did not think of ourselves as being part of a Widerstand. We merely thought somehow to survive in dignity.' Just as there was no common nomenclature, there was no common . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.