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

By Klemens Von Klemperer | Go to book overview

3
'Make a Revolution in Germany for the German People'?

1. Fighting the Germans or the Nazis?

The outbreak of the war did not discourage the Widerstand; nor did it close the books on its traffic with the British. On the contrary, as the Twilight War with all its uncertainties unfolded, it raised expectations on the part of both the British and the Resistance that some mutual understanding and arrangement was after all within the realms of possibility. In fact, the Twilight War constituted a high point for resistance foreign policy; it precipitated on both sides a flurry of feelers and activities, official and unofficial.

The British Prime Minister, however cautiously, set the tone for his government's policy to reach out to the 'other Germany' by stressing in his address to the House of Commons of 1 September the distinction between the German people with whom, he elaborated, the British had 'no quarrel', 1 and the Nazi government. He was echoed by the speakers for the Labour Party and the Liberals 2 as well as by the Foreign Secretary in the House of Lords. 3 Indeed, on the day following the British Declaration of War against Germany, the Prime Minister in his broadcast appealed directly to the German people:

In this war we are not fighting against you, the German people, for whom we have no bitter feelings, but against a tyrannous and forsworn regime which has betrayed not only its own people but the whole of Western civilisation and all that you and we hold dear. 4

It was partly in implementation of this policy that the government refrained from an official statement of war or peace aims. While it insisted that more than a removal of Hitler and his entourage was called for to prevent the reemergence of German militarist and expansionist ideas, it discouraged any suggestion that it intended the dismemberment of Germany and the disruption of its unity. 5 Undoubtedly this position was meant, in part at least, to serve as a signal to the German Opposition. 6 Both Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax kept setting their sights on an internal disruption within Germany. 7 'Every means', Sir Alexander Cadogan urged the Foreign Secretary, had to be tried for 'helping G[ermany] to beat herself'. 8 As late as

-154-

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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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