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

By Klemens Von Klemperer | Go to book overview

2
Thinking for the British Empire?

1. Reconnaissances

There was no Resistance in Germany in the period immediately following Hitler's seizure of power. On the Right there was almost universal intoxication over the 'national resurrection', and on the Left there was dumbfoundedness in view of the instant terror of the new regime. But whereas on the Left there was near-unanimous hostility against the Nazis and among the Communists in particular the road into illegality was merely a question of time, in the conservative circles, especially those which later gravitated towards the Widerstand, there was confusion over the assessment of the 'national revolution' which had taken place on 30 January 1933. General Beck, for example, felt 'relief' registering that he had wished for years for 'the political revolution': 'it is the first ray of hope since 1918'. 1 Goerdeler was by no means unequivocally opposed to Hitler's assumption of power; after all, the new Chancellor promised to undo the humiliation of Versailles and to overcome the class and party struggles of the Weimar days. 2 On the other hand, in the Bonhoeffer family there was little doubt that an ominous event had happened in their country which augured war. 3 Similarly, from the very beginning Moltke was keenly aware of the fact that the coming of Hitler meant the dissolution of all constitutionality and altogether was a catastrophe. 4 Trott, at the time a student at Oxford, 'knew at once', as one of his closest friends there registered, 'that a terrible disaster had befallen his country' and that 'a bitter struggle' was ahead. 5

But as there was no immediate organized resistance, there was nothing like a resistance foreign policy at the start. There were, however, certain early feelers afoot which should be registered here since they indicate a tendency from the beginning to break out and communicate with the world 'outside'. One of the earliest of such communications was the memorandum of September 1933 by Theodor Steltzer on conditions in Germany, addressed to the Austrian Federal Minister of Justice and later Chancellor, Kurt von Schuschnigg, upon the latter's request. Steltzer, 6 who came from an upperclass family in Holstein, having served in the First World War, occupied during the Weimar years the important administrative position of Landrat

-82-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xiv
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Introduction 13
  • I - Resistance and Exile 19
  • CHAPTER 1 65
  • 2 - Thinking for the British Empire? 82
  • CHAPTER 2 134
  • 3 - 'Make a Revolution in Germany for the German People'? 154
  • CHAPTER 3 198
  • 4 - Widerstand and the Forging of the Grand Alliance 217
  • CHAPTER 4 250
  • 5 - Ecumenical Dialogue or 'the War Behind the War' 264
  • CHAPTER 5 298
  • 6 - The Vision and the Mirage 315
  • CHAPTER 6 396
  • Conclusion 432
  • Conclusion 440
  • Bibliography 442
  • Index 473
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