When Hitler and the Nazis gained power in Germany, they instituted many means of controlling the lives of German citizens. One of these methods was eliminating the right to free speech. How effective was this? What happened to those who stood up against this? The film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days answers these questions. In this film about a real life university student, Sophie Scholl, a group called the White Rose distributed pamphlets telling people to open their eyes to the atrocities being committed by the Nazis. Free speech had been put down by the Nazis with the consequences of severe punishment, so the White Rose had to plan everything in secret. Sophie and her brother were caught spreading the pamphlets at their university and were consequently arrested. The siblings along with a few others who were caught were interrogated. Sophie eventually confessed to her actions when the evidence became too much, but she also said that she was proud that she did it. She believed in her ideas and stuck with them even though she would most likely be killed for them. In the end she, her brother, and one of their friends were executed.
In response to my questions from above, I think the elimination of free speech was very effective in controlling German citizens. Without free speech, Germans could not voice their opinions about the Nazis. Fear of the Nazis was felt by German citizens, so they were afraid of the consequences of speaking out against them. The story of Sophie Scholl shows exactly what happens to those who spoke out and were caught. Spreading ideas that challenged the ideas of the Nazis was a dangerous act to attempt as the threat of severe punishment and more imminently death was looming. I think it was extremely brave for Sophie and her friends to have tried to show other Germans the crimes the Nazis were committing, and it was brave for her to stick to her ideas even when she knew she was going to die. Any individual who had the courage to stand up against the Nazis and their ideas should be commemorated.
Breinersdorfer, Fred. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. Film. Directed by Marc Rothemund. 2005. Germany: 2-1-0 Films.
“Sophie Scholl Portrait.” Photograph. Wikimedia Commons. Accessed December 3, 2015. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sophie_Scholl_portrait.jpg.