According to most historians, “until 1938, there was no organized resistance in Germany.” Its birth in 1939 is often attributed to aristocrats and the big bourgeoisie. As for the workers, according to David Schoenbaum, “they failed, in any effective sense, to produce resistance. Their marginal protest in the years 1933–39 was economic, not political, a matter of wages and hours and not, it seems, of fundamental opposition.”
So what had happened to the powerful German Communist Party then? When the KPD was banned, its paramilitary formations numbered over 100,000 members. The Antifa League had 250,000 members. Nazi repression left activists who had been unable or unwilling to leave Germany with a choice between three mindsets. Some, discouraged by the terrible defeat of the communist movement, deprived of leadership and intimidated by state terror, abandoned the struggle, and a small number collaborated with the regime. But tens of thousands of communists adopted a position of resistance. Party structures crumbled, cadres were imprisoned or exiled, sympathizers were watched. But clandestine Party organizations were reconstituted very quickly, to be generally just as quickly dismantled… and rebuilt again. This book tells the forgotten story of this communist resistance.
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