Nazi methods of control

Did the Nazis have total control over of the German people?

Was there any opposition to Hitler and the Nazi’s Third Reich? This section looks at whether or not Hitler did have total control over his people.

In the period 1933-43 the Nazi party could be said to have had virtually total control of Germany. There were no attempts to overthrow the Government, few incidents of public opposition to Nazi policy and little in the way of political pressure groups opposing policies.

This suggests that Hitler and the Nazi’s had total control of Germany during this period. It is however a slightly misleading image. There was some underground resistance to Nazi measures, some anti government pamphlets were produced and there were certainly instances of members of the public refusing to join the party or make the Nazi salute. There is evidence to show that some people were executed for failing to comply with these regulations.

It must also be remembered that the Nazi party employed a very forceful approach to opposition and that the Nazi propaganda machine was such that opposing views would rarely have been visible publicly. This means that the scale of opposition is extremely hard to gauge: it is true though that the majority of people within Hitler’s Third Reich were either supportive or sympathetic towards the regime. The most obvious opposition was from the churches, yet this was not on a scale large enough to worry the government and wasn’t pointed enough to have any great impact upon popular beliefs.

In general it can be said that the Nazi’s, until the first defeats in the east, were very much in control of the people. They didn’t pacify all Germans and there were occasions when policy would be grumbled about. The nature of the regime was such though that complaints were dealt with quickly and effectively through propaganda, the people would see benefits in other aspects of their lives and those who had more hard line views about the Nazi leadership would be removed from public circulation, either through imprisonment or execution.

German History Homepage

The Second Reich
Unification of GermanyPolitical systems within the Second Reich
German Society during the Second ReichCollapse of the Second Reich

Weimar Republic

Interim GovernmentFounding of the Weimar Republic
Impact of the First World War on GermanyThe Treaty of Versailles
Weimar Constitution1919-1923: Years of Crisis?
Spartacist UprisingKapp Putsch
The Munich PutschHyperinflation in Germany, 1923
ReparationsDid the Economic Crisis of 1923 help the Nazi's?
Origins of the Nazi Party1924-1928: A Golden Era?
Gustav StresemannGerman Foreign Relations 1919-1932
Germany in the Great DepressionRise of the Nazi Party
Failings of the Weimar RepublicTotalitarian Regime
How did Hitler consolidate power?Mein Kampf
Nazi methods of controlOpposition to the Nazi Regime
Organisation of the Nazi PartyFuhrerprinzip
KristallnachtYouth and Education
Goering and the 2nd 4 Year PlanAnti-Jewish Boycott, 1933
Nazi Anti-SemitismDAF (The German Labour Front)
PropagandaEconomic Policy
Weimar GermanyOur sister site provides in depth coverage of many aspects of life in Germany at the time of the Weimar Republic
Resistance and Opposition to the Nazi RegimeA wide ranging series of articles on the different opposition and resistance movements in Nazi Germany.
Lesson plans, resources and ideas on Nazi GermanyA range of lesson plans, teaching resources and links of use in the classroom
Economy under Nazi ruleArticles, Resources and Documentation relating to the Economy under Nazi rule

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from the outset?To what extent did Germany recover under Stresemann?
The Nazi Party up to 1929How did Hitler become Chancellor of Germany?
Who gained from Nazi rule?

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?|To what extent did Weimar recover under Stresemann?
How did the Nazi Party develop up to 1929?How did Hitler become Chancellor?
How did Hitler become Chancellor?How did the Nazi's create a Totalitarian State?