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The Nazi Party: Reports Concerning Support and Opposition to the Nazi Regime

(1935 & 1938)

The SOPADE reports on Germany had tried several times to assess the extent of the 'grumbling', the degree of serious opposition and the level of support for the regime.

November 1935:

Discontent has increased again and is more extensive than last year's grumbling ['Meckerei'], but it is no stronger than before. It is expressed more openly, but it has just as little political content. People say, 'Things can't go like this' and they also say, 'Things can't be worse after Hitler', but behind these phrases there is neither the will to overturn the system nor any conception of what should take its place.

This being so, and given past experience, when waves of grumbling have always been followed by periods of general disappointment and disillusionment, we must again face the possibility that the present very widespread grumbling may switch round into very general indifference and resignation. After 'Things really can't go on like this' there is: 'What's the point, the Nazis are dug in much too tightly'. These extraordinary swings of mood, which are typical of Hitler's Germany, place great strain on the mental strength and resilience of everyone involved in illegal opposition.

February 1938:

To the extent that the attitude of a whole nation can ever be reduced to a formula, we can assert roughly the following three points:

1. Hitler has got the approval of a majority of the nation on two vital questions: he has created work and he has made Germany strong.

2. There is widespread dissatisfaction with prevailing conditions, but it affects only the worries of daily life and has not so far led to fundamental hostility to the regime as far as most people are concerned.

3. Doubts about the continued survival of the regime are widespread, but so is the sense of helplessness as to what might replace it.

The third point seems to us to be the most significant, as far as the present situation in Germany is concerned. Despite the regime's enlargement of its political and economic power, and despite the far-reaching approval this has gained for it among wide sections of the nation, there is a feeling of uncertainty about the future. Whether this feeling springs from worries about a war, or is a result of shortages, the regime has not so far succeeded in eradicating the idea that its rule may only mark a period of transition. This point is more important, as far as the regime's inner strength is concerned, than the recording of temporary oscillations between satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Nor does it contradict our observations that the political indifference of the masses is on the increase.

Sources: Yad Vashem; D. J. K. Peukert, "Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition and Racism in Everyday Life," Yale, 1987, p. 64.