During the dictatorship of the National Socialists resistance against the government was attempted several times. However it never developed into a mass movement, as any form of protest was connected with a high risk for one’s life. Only when the loss of the war became apparent in 1943 the resistance movement began to gather momentum. The attempted assassination led by Klaus Graf Schenk von StauffenbergClaus von Stauffenberg was a German army officer and one of the leading members of the failed 20 July plot of 1944 to assassinate Adolf Hitler and remove the Nazi Party from power on the 20th of July 1944 is generally considered the peak of resistance against Hitler’s reign.
The protest movements had very different origins; actions were taken by small groups from military, religious, communistic or student circles. Belonging to those actions were the distribution of leaflets, strikes, insubordination, conscientious objection and aid for those persecuted. Especially the GoerdelerCarl Friedrich Goerdeler was a monarchist conservative German politician and opponent of the Nazi regime and KreisauerThe Kreisau Circle regarded as one of the main centers of German opposition to the Nazi regime circle and the White RoseThe White Rose was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor are well known for their involvement in the resistance movement. Every attempt however was connected to a high risk. Due to the danger of the GestapoThe Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and the deportation into concentration camps resistance in the Third Reich has to be highly valued.
Assassination on the 20th of July 1944
From 1938 onwards several military resistance groups formed, who, among other aspects, protested against the war crimes committed by the SSSchutzstaffel (SS) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. After the substantial defeat the German WehrmachtWehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946 experienced in Stalingrad several military oppositionist commenced their protests. They aimed to bring about Hitler’s downfall in order to avert a German capitulation as they did not want Germany to lose its important role within Europe. Due to their high-ranking positions officers had special chances to eliminate the Commanders-in-chief. On the 20th of July 1944, during the Stauffenberg-assassinationThe 20 July plot refers to the attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich. Aim was to save Germany from the disastrous war policies by Hitler and to get rid of the cruelties of his dictatorship, Hitler was supposed to be killed by a time bomb in his main quarters to enable the officers to seize control afterwards. However this assassination went amiss, all those involved were executed and associated resistance circles annihilated by the Gestapo. This had been the last chance for Germany to avert a complete loss of the war1.