4
Dissidents and Rebels

Dissidence in Hitlers Germany was the exception. Despite an occasional lack of structural cohesiveness, an extremely well organized Hitler Youth mobilized the great majority of Hitler's young subjects toward Nazi ends. It is against the background of this all-encompassing youth recruitment that rebellious actions, mostly on the part of courageous individuals and groups, appear so dramatic.

The story of the German resistance to Hitler has often been told, beginning with a classic account by Hans Rothfels, printed by H. Regnery, a right-wing American publisher, in 1948. Rothfels was a converted Jew who had to emigrate to England and then the United States from Germany in August 1939, two weeks before the war broke out. Until his return to Tubingen in 1951, he taught at Brown and the University of Chicago. Significantly, he had included for treatment in his original volume only groups and individuals he deemed to be worthy traitors of the Third Reich, ideally conservatives and those associated with the attempt on Hitler's life on July 20, 1944. The Bielefeld historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler, who as a German youth was almost killed by Allied bombers during the final months of the war, observed that in Rothfels's view "the resistance was dominated by members of the old upper stratum—the officer corps, senior civil servants, and the clergy." Rothfels himself, who had lost a leg during patriotic service in World War I, was politically a reactionary. Before his forced emigration he

-113-

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Hitler Youth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • 1: [Make Way, You Old Ones!] 1
  • 2: Serving in the Hitler Youth 13
  • 3: German Girls for Matrimony and Motherhood 70
  • 4: Dissidents and Rebels 113
  • 5: Hitler's Youth at War 167
  • 6: The Responsibility of Youth 247
  • Abbreviations 267
  • Notes 271
  • Acknowledgments 347
  • Index 349
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