1 It is obvious that the defects in the critical thinking process will cause the rising power of tyrants. If people play the role as the followers who do not

1 It is obvious that the defects in the critical thinking process will cause the rising power of tyrants. If people play the role as the followers who do not have their own critical thinking and share a common identity and support for dictators, they will lead to the serious consequence of tyranny. Followers believe that they are participants in any movements and they are integrating themselves into the collective. This sense of solidarity and subordination is an important component of the dictatorship. These characteristics are reflected in the process of a large number of dictatorships, such as the Third Reich. In tler’s Germany, tler makes people believe that they have the responsibility to contribute to the rising of the nation, and narrow self-interest should give way to the great goal. The fundamental reason why people voluntarily obey orders is that they have been brainwashed and trained in this way for a long time, which leads to another consequence, that is, people tend to become cowardly and obedient under the rule of tyrants. They lose their ability to think about the behaviors of tyrants in a critical way. However, the White Rose Group in tler’s Germany is different from other obedient people. The group members oppose the Nazism, and their behaviors also cause a negative influence on tler’s Nazi rule. Therefore, people have the responsibility to think critically and act ethically. The White Rose Group was a patriotic underground resistance organization founded at the University of Munich in Germany during World War II. Its members were mostly students of the University of Munich, led by brother and sister- Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl (Toby 06). In addition, there were many other members who also contributed to the development of the group, such as the professor of philosophy Kurt Huber, soldier Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell and so on (Simon 42). They came together for their opposition to Nazi Germany’s brutal rule and evil war. The members of the group fought against the Nazis mainly by issuing leaflets to arouse the German anti-war spirit ideologically. There were films about White Rose Group in Germany, such as “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” in 2005. The spirit of the two young people was as beautiful and lofty as a white rose and became a symbol of hope in the darkness. In 1943, shortly after the White Rose Group was founded, the group was informed by Nazis in the school when they operated a secret leaflet dissemination action. The brother and sister were captured by Gestapo. Five members of the group were arrested one after another. Finally, they were willing to awaken the numb soul of the Germans with their own death and sacrifice bravely. The White Rose Group took measures to oppose the rule of the Nazis with their critical thinking and took ethical action instead of violence. But they found that the whole society did not think about Nazism critically. They chose to obey it and contributed to tyranny to a certain extent. They refused to support the actions of the White Rose Group. In the film, Hans made an analysis of this phenomenon. Many people just felt isolated and less, so they dared not take the leaflets, let alone read them. Some students quickly discard leaflets as if they were electrocuted. This inner fear was real, and the psychological effect pursued by Nazism was to form this fear. It not only caused superficial obedience but also forcibly deprived people’s right to think freely. It made the public become the war machine of the Nazi government. After World War II, the German government and people had a deep and multi-faceted reflection on the Nazi and the silence of citizens in the war. There was no doubt that the dual crime of war and dictatorship should be borne by tler himself, as well as by the Nazi Party and the Nazi Government, but the individual who was the victim should also bear the responsibility of lack of supervision and critical thinking. Under the great pressure of power, silence had easily evolved into a kind of indulgence, even encouragement. It was this narrow and unawakened thinking that formed the ruling basis of Nazi power politics. Some of the young people in the White Rose Group used to be the members of lter Youth, but their mindsets and attitudes changed obviously at last. So they established the White Rose Group to awaken the people who indulged in Nazi thoughts. It was not an easy process. At that time, the silence of the citizens could be understood as the fear of them. In the beginning, the young members of the group doubted about the ability and the guiding thoughts of the group. Some of them were even in the group of tler Youth. For example, in the beginning, Professor Huber liked the silent majority, raised his own concerns that what could the small leaflet change in such a difficult situation and what was the point of doing this. Hans, who had participated in the tler Youth League, answered the questions very concisely: awaken people. Huber’s doubts were right. A piece of paper could not really change anything, even the illusory hearts of people. However, it not only expressed the dissatisfaction of the civilians with the Nazi government but also showed people’s opposed attitude toward the war of aggression. Huber changed his thoughts liked other young members at last. He began to contradict Nazi authorities’ teaching meetings, encouraged his students to think critically and freely in class, offered paper for the printing of leaflets, and eventually joined the White Rose Group lastly. He realized that the way of disseminating ideas was more suitable for Germany. He supported the main thought of the group to awaken people, liked a movement to inspire people’s wisdom. Although the White Rose Group had the critical thinking, they still acted ethically. They did not use the violence to express their dissatisfaction. They wanted to awaken people by changing their thoughts. In the film, there was an argument between Huber and Hans. Faced the ideological restraint of the Nazi, Hans thought that he would oppose the Nazi government by violence. Huber thought it was not only dangerous but also inappropriate. Because distributing leaflets was within the scope of the Constitution, while violence was terrorist activity. Christoph, a member of the White Rose Group, also opposed violence. He thought that they should defeat the Nazis with spirit. Counterviolence could only be exchanged for more dangerous violence. Therefore, the behaviors of the White Rose Group were remembered by the people. They did not break the ethical principles of the society but held a critical attitude toward the Nazism. Although the group had caused the influence on the Nazis to some extent at that time, they did not escape the tragic end because of their weak power. They wanted to shake the tyranny of tler and the Third Reich, but they were killed by Nazis cruelly. On February 18, 1943, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, summoned the German people to support the general war in his Sportpalast speech. On the same day, Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl arrived at the University of Munich with a lot of leaflets. They put a bunch of leaflets into the empty courtyard hastily, hoping that other students would find them when they came out of the lecture hall. They were supposed to leave before class, but when they left, they found that some of the leaflets were still in the suitcase. They decided to send them all. So they returned to the atrium and climbed up the stairs to the top floor. Sophie scattered all the remaining leaflets into the air, which was seen by Jakob Schmid who was the campus administrator at that time. So the police came to the campus and took the brother and sister away and handed them to Gestapo for detention (Elder 89). Other members of the White Rose Group were arrested soon, and all the organizations and individuals associated with them were arrested and interrogated. On 22 February 1943, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst were sentenced to death for treason by the court, and they were sent to the guillotine on the same day to execute the death penalty. Alexander Schmorell and Kurt Huber were also beheaded on 13 July 1943, while Willi Graf was beheaded on 12 October 1943. The friends, classmates, and colleagues of White Rose members, those who had ed to prepare or send leaflets and subsidized money for the group were also sentenced to six to ten years’ imprisonment. Therefore, the White Rose Group was destroyed by tler’s government thoroughly at last. During the period of World War II, tler and his Third Reich ruled the people with Nazism. They controlled people’s minds by killing and genocide. They made people felt fear and choose to obey the Nazis. People lost their ability of critical thinking, and they became the accomplices and tools to the rising of tyrants. Although the White Rose Group did not achieve their goal, at last, they still aroused the young people’s critical thinking on the Nazi rule. Many people supported their actions and got the inspiration from them. Therefore, the group made the people understand their responsibility to think critically and act ethically. 2 How the White Rose Refused to be Tainted by Nazism’s Thirst for Blood tler’s use of propaganda may have indoctrinated several Germans into a philosophy and outlook that wholeheartedly supports Nazism. However, not all Germans were blinded to the truth, even though they may have served in some of the excursions that saw firsthand the invasion of different areas. Some of them were able to see beyond the crafty tactics and schemes of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels to truly witness, understand, and reject the horrors and violence done by tler’s regime, enough to make them take arms and fight back for Germany by opening the eyes of other Germans. Thi was the common thread of the stories of the White Rose members. The White Rose is often attributed to the group of young German students who took arms not using violence or guns but the mightier pen and words. Some of them had experienced being a tler Youth, serving time in tler’s army and taking part in invasions and the war, which crushed the blinders of propaganda to lead them to their true calling of heroism. They spoke out against the Nazis through their own idealism for the country and disseminated them through pamphlets that they hope would encourage others to understand. Hans Scholl was one of the main founders of the White Rose. He grew up with his sister Sophie, who would also become a key member of the White Rose, outside of Munich under the care of their father, who had strong morals and worldviews hinged on religion. While Hans joined the tler Youth, he saw the constraints that were red flags to freedom and the right thing (Hurowitz). Pursuing his goal of becoming a doctor, he remained a medic during his excursion to France and pursued medicine in the University of Munich after his drafting. There, he met individuals with the same ideals, including Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, and Christoph Probst. Alexander Schmorell, who had been canonized in 2012 for his actions in the White Rose, had also started out as part of the Nazi troops. He as a combat medic on the Eastern front, he had his firsthand experience of the war when he was drafted; there he saw killings and the loss of human dignity for those outside the Nazi party. He had convinced his childhood friend Christoph Probst, and together with Scholl and Graf, they created the anti-Nazism group. Willi Graf’s story was a little different. As opposed to the other members’ story of disillusionment following their own experiences of the war, he was supposedly already against Nazism at the start. He was a Catholic who had was a member of the Gray Order association built by Fritz Leist that allowed him to go on camps and trips (“Willi Graf”). He also trained as a medical orderly at the Wehrmacht in 1940, deployed in France and Belgium, and transferred to the Soviet front before he was able to get leave in 1942 to pursue medicine. From here on, he met with and formed the White Rose group with its other founders. Between 1942 to 1943, Graf tried to convince old friends to the right cause. The stories of enlightenment of most of the main founders of the White Rose were very similar of the story of the freed prisoner in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. In Plato’s narrative, prisoners live their lives in a cave where all they know are what is presented of them. Because of this, freedom meant knowing the difference between reality and the shadows that were reflected back to the unthinking masses. Freedom also meant being able to question what one once believed in, and whether or not it is the reality or a propaganda constructed by another. Beyond self-realization, this freedom also led to enlightenment; one becomes more knowledgeable about the world as he steps out of the cave and into the light. One sees that the cave was a fraction of the world, and that the shadows they saw were incomparable truths to the “real objects” that can be found outdoors. The free man explores and reflects about the truth he now sees. He thinks of new ideas and possibilities, ones that he can juxtapose with the old outlook he had to evaluate the kind of life he lived. The question now pertains to whether or not the free man is responsible for exercising critical thought, act according to the dictates of ethics, and go back to the cave to bring enlightenment back to the trapped prisoners. This was the exact same journey that the White Rose members had to endure. It started with the inconvenience and discomfort in being blinded by the truth, in the same way that Scholl was disturbed by what he saw in the war and in the Nuremberg rallies. Like the freed prisoner, he saw the disconnect between the propaganda fed by tler’s party and the reality of the situation. He saw that what was fed to them were hidden in lies and deception, and that the suffering of others were the cruel reminder of the twisted ideologies that he was made to believe. This triggered the goal of bringing back enlightenment to the people, in the form of the six leaflets the White Rose distributed to Germans in the campus. The series of the leaflets, also known as the Leaflets of the Resistance were published beginning June 1942. Given the vast knowledge and familiarity of the group’s members with the likes of Frierich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, they injected ideologies into the essays (Ray). In the course of eight months following the first release, five more were drafted and disseminated to more Germans, which had become a sore point for the Gestapo and tler’s army. The pamphlets were the group’s way of saying “engage in passive resistance, reject Nazi philosophy, sabotage the war effort, and break through their apathy” (Blakemore). One could argue that their time at the forefront of the war became a great breaking point for their ideals to truly shatter. In one account, it is said that following Hans’ time at the Eastern Front as a medic, he was able to see not just the war’s consequences but also additional inhumane atrocities such as the abuse and extermination of European Jews. When he shared this to his friends, that was the time “the friends’ detachment melted away in the face of their wartime experiences and the growing Nazi terror” (Blakemore). This became the trigger for one to act, because it was no longer ethical or even tolerable to stand by and keep one’s beliefs to oneself. This saw their duty as people–not even just Germans, citizens, or even students–to ensure that Germany break free of the blinders of propaganda. Once they got a manual printing press, they began to create and distribute leaflets. It went from anonymous sending via addresses on the phone book to leaving leaflets in classrooms for students to find, and finally to them distributing the leaflets personally in Munich. They also recruited other members, such as Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr, who was brought in by Schmorell (Burns). She remembered how Sophie Scholl, Hans’ younger sister, who was also brave enough to follow in the footsteps of her brother despite being so scared that she had to sleep beside him. fueled them on was their love for their country. The White Rose group saw it as their moral and ethical duty to ensure that they bring enlightenment to everyone. Regardless if this spelled their doom, which it did. The Scholl siblings were arrested in the campus, after Sophia was seen throwing the leaflets out of a school window to be picked up by university students and Hans for being fond with a leaflet in his pocket. They were tried alongside Probst in an emergency session of the People’s Court, found guilty, and executed by guillotine on February 22, 1943. Schmeroll failed to escape and was reported by a former girlfriend who saw him going into a raid shelter where he was arrested and shortly after executed (Burns). Graf was arrested in February 18, 1943 and sent to Munich-Stadelheim Prison where he was murdered half a year later on October 12 (“Willi Graf”). The rest of the White Rose were dismantled or fallen, though it did inspire even those in the tler Youth, but remained with the Nazi Party because of fear. Looking at the White Rose members, they were nothing spectacular or special. If anything, they had even been part of the masses that were exposed to the propaganda since they were teenagers. Their experience in the war and the openness with which they allowed the atrocities to impress upon them probably made the difference that allowed them to be “freed” from Nazi ideology. As Schmorell put it in his letter: “For you this blow, unfortunately, is heavier than for me, because I will go there knowing that I served my profound conviction and the truth. For all this I face the approaching hour of my death with a peaceful conscience” (“No Country Will Replace Russia For Me!! – Alexander Schmorell”). It is not a stretch to imagine that each of the members of the White Rose knew that what they were doing was dangerous. Their mission of enlightenment came with the price of their lives for every copy of the leaflet of resistance. Even non-founding members like Furst-Ramdorh, who did not personally distribute a leaflet but stored it in her cabinet, played a huge role in pushing their anti-Nazism ideologies. Suffice it to say that their resistance did not bring the Nazi party to a full  stop nor were they even powerful to change the minds of those in the HItler Youth. However, their efforts were not in vain, especially not when one considers how tler’s party were still shaken by what would ideally just be called student idealists. In exchange for their lives,they were able to make other Germans, even close friends, families, and acquaintances, realize that HItler’s regime was all forms of wrong. They were able to plant some sort of seed in their minds that Germany was experiencing something that was not good or right. The fact that executions of that kind were held in public may have even served more like a wake-up call for some rather than purely a warning, and even that alone could have sparked the start of enlightenment in others’ minds. Just like the free man in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the White Rose members felt that it was their ethical duty to pursue the truth and bring it to everyone who would listen. It did not matter if those people may not have wanted it, but the White Rose knew what it felt to be those same prisoners to an ideal before they themselves were enlightened. They knew that even with their relatively unknown and supposedly unimportant roles in tler’s regime, they needed to make a stand. True enough, years later, when the war was over and tler had become condemned as one of the most evil men in history, the White Rose is hailed as the student heroes, Germans who did everything they could because they loved their country. They did not need to be special; rather, they probably did not even think of themselves as such. Six years ago, Schmorell was canonized as a saint. Furst-Ramdorh, a friend and member of the White Rose said of Schmorell’s canonization: “He would have laughed out loud if he’d known. He wasn’t a saint–he was just a normal person” (Burns). This is testament to what the real goal of the White Rose was. It was not to become famous rebels or be underground celebrities who did not conform with the Third Reich. They had their eyes opened to the wrongness of Nazism. They had the background to act and even the talent to write about these atrocities. They exercised their gifts and their reach even as students. And even if their actions caused their deaths, they persevered because they knew that it was their duty–as average men and women of Germany who loved their country–to bring enlightenment to where it was needed.

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