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The German Resistance

Helmut Hirsch planned to bomb the 1937 Nazi Party Rally. The 21-year-old Jewish architecture student was executed.

The German Resistance comes from the entire political spectrum. It ranges from the far left to the far right, and includes young and old, women and men, Christians and atheists. Nevertheless, it remains the affair of a tiny minority. According to Gestapo estimates, only two out of every thousand Germans oppose the regime. The dictator stands firmly on a mass foundation. Few find the strength to fight against the stream and risk their lives.

n retrospect, the Resistance falls into three phases. Immediately after 1933, it is supported mainly by underground and exile organizations of the labor movement. But like the bourgeois parties, the political left had also underestimated Hitler at first, and is left unprepared to resist the Nazi dictatorship. Only the Communists, subject to massive police persecution, find themselves forced to establish illegal associations right away.

A second phase of relatively low activity follows, as opposition begins to gather among the middle class.

Following the attack on the Soviet Union, the Resistance begins to regain strength significantly. This third phase ends with the failure of the assassination attempt against Hitler and of the associated coup d'état of July 20, 1944.

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