Faculty Seminar Advisor

David Doellinger

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

History

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

2017

Abstract

The White Rose was a non-violent resistance organization founded by students in Munich during the Second World War. Many scholars argue that religion influenced the group the most, but an analysis of their leaflets and correspondences highlights the influence that Friedrich Nietzsche had on the organization. Members of the White Rose, particularly Hans and Sophie Scholl, solidified their commitment to opposing Nazism by reading and discussing Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s ideas shaped the foundational beliefs of the White Rose, including their belief that Germans could no longer ignore the crimes of the Nazi State. From 1942 to 1943, the White Rose anonymously distributed leaflets in Germany in an attempt to reach out to the German people and open their eyes to Nazi atrocities. By analyzing these leaflets, as well as journal entries and letters from the Hans and Sophie Scholl, it becomes quite evident that Nietzsche’s ideas on the “Good and Evil Dichotomy”, the “Herd Mentality”, the “Higher Man”, and “The Shadows” are prevalent within the organizations writings. Through these ideas the White Rose attempted to use their leaflets to empower the German people to see where Hitler fit in the “Good and Evil Dichotomy”, break from the “Herd Mentality”, find their “Higher Man”, and escape from the suffocating grasp of “The Shadows” to free not only themselves, but Germany as a whole.

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