Professional Writing: Process and Practice
EN 1700 – Fall/Winter 2009/2010 – Jan Rehner
Lecture 10 – Sophie Scholl – Nov 23
The Context of Resistance
- Economically, Germany was facing destruction.
- Inflation – Germany.
- High unemployment among young people.
- Deep suspicion and fear of communism.
- Part of the cause of the economic ruin there was a crippling state debt.
- Mostly caused by reparations from WWI.
- Wide spread fear & suspicion of other nations – racism and anti-communist.
- Hitler was seen as a hero by the hurt, and wounded in Germany.
- Hitler let people out of jail and gave them land.
- Members of the white rose came from that community.
- In late 19 century German university were the best in the world.
- They had amazing scholars and leaders, and they were very much a part of the
- The people in the university don’t know what’s going on in the real world; not the
case in Germany.
- No division between university people and the society.
- They believed that education was the key to self-determination and self-
- Founded on Christian and humanism principles.
- Humanism – belief in the dignity of the individual.
- Those principles C & H are part of the white rose.
- Principles of the university and the principles of the white rose movements; fine
- Began to change when mass culture and rising class of businessmen.
- If you get government founding you have to walk a tight rope with low
independent you stay from government and how much you change your
curriculum to please the government.
- They don’t want you to teach humanism; they want you to learn a trade.
- The ties between practical education and research.
- The hierarchy of the university where under pressure.
- 1920s and 1930s the universities in Germany where in crisis.
- Why? Because young people couldn’t find work so they flooded the classes,
huge spike in enrollment.
- The defeat of Germany in WWI means there was a crisis of confidence and logic.
- The heart of thinking in the heart of the university was a way of thinking that
people had lost confidence in. - When the Nazis came along, they wanted to control the universities and it was
the students that formed the vanguard of the Nazi campaign in the universities.
- Students began to rate universities in rate of how ‘brown’ they were – colour of
the nazi uniform.
- Brown university = pro-nazi.
- Shut down Jewish professors.
- Any professor that had sympathy.
- Sadly and dramatically, it was university students who aided the Nazis when they
burned the books.
- Sophie Scholl had a favourite poet; Hendrick Iana; after the burning of the book
‘where books are burned, they will ultimately burn human beings.’
- The students were vulnerable; generational gap.
- Old way of thinking too stayed and not changing enough, they wanted something
new in the university.
- The hoped the Nazi would improve their careers.
- Many young people were inspired by the German Volk.
- German Volk had a strong sense of community; love of one’s home and culture.
- Appealing notion that the young would rebuild the nation.
- League of young maddens; Sophie Scholl.
- German universities allow 10% of females.
- Head of universities were appointed by Nazis and the university was expected to
carry out Nazi policies.
- Many professors fled the country or were officially banned.
- They lost people who may have helped them with weapons to win.
- All students were required to do military service before they graduate.
- Nazis believed that the students should be shown real life, and not allowed to mix
with the more privileged classes.
- Students could not qualify for grants or scholarships without demonstrating their
commitment to the Nazis, service certificates.
The Language of Resistance
- Manifesto of the white rose.
- The dialogue that occurs when she is being interrogated is taking directly from
the Gestapo records at the time.
- Gestapo = police of the Nazi.
- Conversations in the film are taken directly from records.
- Manifesto implies a unified