Finding the ‘other Germany’: Analysing the contested legacy of resistance to Nazism from within the Third Reich

Main Article Content

Elizabeth Spollard

Keywords

World War Two, Nazism, Third Reich, Germany, History, Resistance

Abstract

Hailing from long before the rise of the Third Reich, the concept of a so-called ‘other Germany’ is increasingly used to describe acts of resistance against Nazism undertaken by German individuals. Yet among the tussle of political agendas, a pendulum-swinging change in resistance historiography, and the rise of postwar mythology, the memory and legacy of such resistance has remained contested and incomplete. This paper distinguishes the common threads which link the fractured resistance landscape into one cohesive ‘other Germany’, demonstrating how acts of German resistance—irrespective of their limited effectiveness—maintained a moral and sociocultural legacy which prevailed well after the Second World War and the fall of the Third Reich.


By evaluating the various categorisations by which ‘resistance’ has been understood, the paper first utilises historiographical discourse to devise a multifaceted classification framework. When applied to historical examples, the framework assists in constructing a cohesive picture of German resistance. The second section pinpoints the true legacy of German resistance, accounting for the limited effectiveness of such efforts in light of the obstacles faced by resistors. Incorporating historiographical analysis, it pinpoints how the ‘other Germany’ was a tangible reality which remained faithful to the nation’s prewar moral tradition, and served a valuable role in preserving Germany’s non-Nazi national identity during the postwar era.

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