How far do you agree with the opinion that the Nazi regime found no difficulty in obtaining the collaboration of ordinary citizens

Contrary to what is often popular belief, people in Germany, as stated by R. Gellately in source 5, are said to have “cooperated” with the Nazi regime when it came to enforcing the law. From this particular statement, it can be construed that Hitler and the Nazis did obtain the collaboration of ordinary citizens with relative ease; however there are many ways in which this can be interpreted.There were some groups under the Nazi regime who opposed many of their ideologies and policies, and made it harder for the Nazis to obtain collaboration of some citizens. Throughout the war, many of these formed. Some, such as the Revolutionary Socialist resistance movement Rote Kapelle and the Communist resistance in Hamburg were focussed around Socialist ideals; however others such as the Kreisau Circle, a conservative discussion group, and the White Rose Movement in Munich were more generally opposed. This resistance increased after the German’s defeat at Stalingrad in January 1943; between February and December of that year four failed assassination plots took place.However, following the failed von Stauffenberg bomb plot in July 1944, and the execution of over 5,000 people, it became much harder for those not in favour of Hitler to organise any efficient opposition to the regime. The frenzy with which people were executed following the von Stauffenberg bomb plot shows that the Nazis, although perhaps not facing immediate difficulty, were in fear of the extent to which resistance could reach. From source 2, we can also see that opposition existed in the party itself, as “orders for a military take-over had been issued… in Fromm’s name.” If even those within the Nazi leadership were not supportive, how could the collaboration of ordinary citizens be achieved? Political groups such as the Communists and the Conservatives, as well as other opponents such as the Churches and the army may have held some opposition to Hitler, however they had no widely-held support in Germany, and they were lacking in unity – a key factor in the removal of the Nazis.In spite of lack of support for Nazi opponents, there was, particularly after the 1943 defeat at Stalingrad, a “crisis of morale” in Germany, according to A. Tooze in source 1, showing waning levels of collaboration amongst the masses. This realisation within the party sparked a flurry of violence nationwide, not only by the SS, who since 1939 had been granted the right to execute any person who seemed subversive, but also within the legal system. Again in source 1 we can see that the “politicization of the judiciary… was intensified” and that the courts were “issuing death penalties… for defeatism and sabotage at the rate of a hundred a week.” Collaboration may have been present; however whether this was due to belief in the ideologies or fear of being persecuted is another matter.Fear as a tool to increase collaboration appears to be a theme. It is evident in source 3 that in Northeim County, vague information was circulated “for purposes of creating an atmosphere of terror.” Often, a fear of the unknown and lack of knowledge of reality increased the so-called popularity of the Nazis, with very little difficulty on their part, by simply intensifying the fear felt by ordinary Germans, and making them more willing to cooperate. We can also see from source 4 that there were Nazi informers in workplaces such as factories to try to suppress resistance to the regime. However, opposition did exist; in one case, “the man responsible for denouncing him was boycotted by the shop floor;” this happened particularly in older, established workforces.This source may be unreliable; being a socialist report, it would be trying to rally opposition. Even from source 5, a source by R. Gellately, the author famous for his theory on the collaboration of the German population, admits that there were “breaches of the racist system” and that “citizens did not agree with everything.” Although not being active opponents of the regime, many people disagreed, but were too afraid to speak out. Source 4 also admits that “one cannot generalize” and that although this “solidarity and expressly anti-fascist attitudes” existed in well-established plants, in new factories the workforce lacked “any sense of solidarity.”There were also people who in fact collaborated with the Nazis out of ideological support rather than fear. Source 5 agrees whole-heartedly with this, stating that the “regime had no difficulty in obtaining denunciations from the population” and that “providing information to the police… was one of the most important contributions of citizen involvement.” This may have been due to the large amounts of propaganda circulated industriously by Goebbels’ “propaganda machine.” Rallies, film and radio broadcasts all helped to increase support for the Nazis and their popular idea of a return to the nation’s former glory. In this respect, the difficulty of obtaining collaboration would have been virtually nil due to a substantial level of support among some areas of society. Influential organisations such as the Catholic Church were behind the Nazi ideologies of anti-Semitism, anti-Communism and the upholding of traditional values, as well as having been unable to interfere with politics since the signing of the Concordat in 1933.Source 5 backs this up by stating that “people cooperated when it came to enforcing anti-Semitism.” Catholicism made up 23 million members of the population. Within the protestant sector, which came under the umbrella organisation of the Nazi-ran Reich Church, there were 40 million members. Many of these collaborated with the Nazi regime as the German Christians infiltrated Nazi ideologies into Protestantism. However some Protestants, under, among others, Martin Niemoller, broke away from the interference of the Nazis in the form of the Confessional Church. This shows an outright form of ordinary citizens not collaborating with the Nazis. It may have been difficult for the regime to keep such organisations under control, particularly in the pre-war years; but 1939 saw the abolishment of all religious schools and youth groups in Germany, meaning that for the most part, the Christian body was easier to control.It could be inferred that the Nazis did not have any difficulty in obtaining the collaboration of ordinary citizens, largely due to the apparent lack of opposition they faced, and the divisions within the groups that existed. Largely, however, it can be concluded that their “determined escalation of violence” as detailed by A. Tooze in source 1, was responsible for the levels of collaboration among the population at large. Events such the von Stauffenberg bomb plot, and the following preposterous execution of 5,000 people in a paranoid frenzy, show that violence and intimidation were the main tactics employed by the Nazis in order to obtain collaboration of those ordinary citizens who may or may not have been able to mount some form of effective resistance.

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