There remained, however, a substantial base for opposition to Hitler’s regime. Although the Nazi Party had taken control of the German state, it had not destroyed and rebuilt the state apparatus in the way the Bolshevik regime had done in the Soviet Union . Institutions such as the Foreign Office, the intelligence services and, above all, the army, retained some measure of independence, while outwardly submitting to the new regime. In May 1934, Colonel-General Ludwig Beck , Chief of Staff of the Army, had offered to resign if preparations were made for an offensive war against Czechoslovakia.  The independence of the army was eroded in 1938, when both the War Minister, General Werner von Blomberg , and the Army Chief, General Werner von Fritsch , were removed from office, but an informal network of officers critical of the Nazi regime remained.
As West Germany was reorganised and gained independence from its occupiers, the German Democratic Republic was established in East Germany in 1949. The creation of the two states solidified the 1945 division of Germany.  On 10 March 1952, (in what would become known as the " Stalin Note ") Stalin put forth a proposal to reunify Germany with a policy of neutrality, with no conditions on economic policies and with guarantees for "the rights of man and basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, press, religious persuasion, political conviction, and assembly" and free activity of democratic parties and organizations.  This was turned down; reunification was not a priority for the leadership of West Germany, and the NATO powers declined the proposal, asserting that Germany should be able to join NATO and that such a negotiation with the Soviet Union would be seen as a capitulation. There have been several debates about whether a real chance for reunification had been missed in 1952.