Thesis: Hitler Youth

Pages: 14 (4467 words)  ·  Style: Turabian  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper

Hitler Youth: A Primary Cultural Agent for the Nazi Party

The entirety of the Holocaust was precipitated by a hard-line ideological predisposition toward German nationalism, at least as such a concept was defined by the National Socialist Party. Though World War II and the upswing of Hitler and the Nazi regime are events which revolved around military confrontations and international proxy battling, the European continent played host to a far more unconventional wartime operation. As the Nazi party portrayed it to a surprisingly receptive population, the quest for German national pride and success was to be defined not simply by victorious emergence from the war but by a purification of the people. While this provided an impetus for the larger war, wherein conquered nations would undergo a cultural Germanification, it was also the theoretical basis for the nefarious plans for which Hitler had begun to lay the groundwork even before the complete inception of war. Herein was the primary justification for the extermination of various groups of impure ethnicities which compromised the nation's strength. In the midst of a devastating economic depression, and seized by the promises of Hitler's dramatic subversion of the ineffective central leadership in parliament, the German people actively embraced the scapegoating which was directed toward a number of groups, most specifically the Jews. Ultimately sending to their deaths 6 million Jews and 5 million more of assorted ethnicity or crime, the Nazis succeeded in weaving through the German psyche a culture of acceptance for the rightness of the 'final solution' that called for the full genocide of the Jews. Of primary importance in facilitating this final solution would be the indoctrination of a population with the ideologies of false nationalism, ethnic hatred and physical purity, particularly by way a most susceptible and simultaneously strong demographic. The youth of Germany and conquered parts of Europe would be a key to the psychological success of the Nazi party in establishing its occupation and expansion. The Hitler Youth would become a central part of the Nazi perpetration of the vast crimes committed against Germany, Europe and humanity.

Within the context of the civilian population, the Hitler Youth would become the champions of the Nazi ideology, becoming a particularly violent and gang-oriented presence in German society. In this regard, the Hitler Youth would be something of an enforcement agency with primarily cultural and social outlets. To this point, from no lesser source than Adof Hitler himself would the Hitler Youth receive its directives of character and purpose. Speaking on the subject in 1933, the Fuehrer would evoke the imagery today associated with the so-called Aryan race in the indoctrination of his young followers. He declared that "my program for educating youth is hard. Weakness must be hammered away. In my castles of the Teutonic Order a youth will grow up before which the world will tremble. I want a brutal, domineering, fearless, cruel youth. Youth must be all that. It must bear pain. There must be nothing weak and gentle about it. The free, splendid beast of prey must once again flash from its eyes...That is how I will eradicate thousands of years of human domestication...That is how I will create the New Order." (HP, 1) In no uncertain terms, Hitler reports that he is building a force of rabid devotees and churning out the soldiers of a future German empire.

It can be seen as no mystery, therefore, that the members of the Hitler Youth who did ascend the ranks and achieve a level of loyalty to the party would be among the fiercest defenders of the Third Reich. Hitler's treatment of the youth and his intense focus on this as a primary arm of operation for the Nazi party would demonstrate an awareness of the susceptibility of this population to such molding. The idea of creating a young generation of Aryan supermen fed into the creation of a new German mythology -- a key feature of Nazi distortion and propaganda. The inexperience and vulnerability of youth to indoctrination meant that quite a great number of Germany's youth would become easy fodder for the fabrication of a convenient German history and nationalistic identity.

So is this underscored again by Hitler's rhetoric, this time before a vast multitude at a 1934 Nuremberg rally. Here, Hitler declares that "we do not want this nation to become soft. Instead, it should be hard and you will have to harden yourselves while you are young. You must learn to accept deprivations without ever collapsing. Regardless of whatever we create and do, we shall pass away, but in you, Germany will live on and when nothing is left of us you will have to hold up the banner which some time ago we lifted out of nothingness. And I know it cannot be otherwise because you are flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, and your young minds are filled with the same will that dominates us. You cannot be but united with us. And when the great columns of our movement march victoriously through Germany today I know that you will join these columns. And we know that Germany is before us, within us, and behind us." (HP, 1) Connecting the Hitler Youth to this ideal of carrying on a nation's heritage and pure bloodline would be a key part of the creation of a mythology to which the Hitler Youth could achieve a deep psychological connection. This would prove markedly effective for producing devoted followers and eventual elite recruits into the various corps of the German military.

To the point, this attention to the advancement of the youth movement would not be an afterthought but a mission of fundamental importance to the Nazi Party as a whole. In fact, to the perspective of many, this was a primary avenue to the realization of Hitler's cause, with German youth proving especially ready to accept the patronage of the draconian Nazi party. As Kater (2004) tells, "while Hitler appeared to many young people as the father or older brother they had never had or had already lost, the Nazi movement, with all its factions, was coming across to many as a party made for youth. Its visible formations in the street seemed to be young -- the SA, the SS, and the Nationalist Socialist Student League, which from bastions in the universities had acted as a vanguard of Nazism in Germany's educated middle class since the mid-1920s." (Kater, 10)

This history of recruitment amongst elites in the party meant that the Hitler Youth had already proven by the prime years of the war to be an ideal way both to develop members of the German military, especially its upper echelons, and to develop its own roles in strengthening the party on a local level. To many of the members of German society who wished to resist the aims and conditioning of the Nazi Party, the Hitler Youth would become a fearsome vision of the future of the country. Contrary to older generations of Germans, members of the Hitler Youth tended to have been born of come of age in the midst of the dominance of the Third Reich. Thus, there was a lesser tendency amongst youth to put up any rational, practical or psychological resistance to the tenets of National Socialism. The ethically objectionable nature of such principles as violent nationalism, racial purification and pointed Anti-Semitism would not register as such to those raised in a context without critical reflection on these ideas and practices. The enthusiasm shown by the German youth would be facilitated by the fact that most had never known a time when Hitler's ideas and policies did not define Germany. As Kater indicates, "above all, the members of the Nazi Party themselves were visibly young, with a mean age of approximately thirty-one for all new joiners in the period from 1925 to 1932." (Kater, 10)

This demonstrates the importance of the Hitler Youth to the evolution of the party from organizational proliferation to outright cultural, political and military domination of German and European society. In a manner that aligned with its general efficiency at permeating all aspects of German society, the Nazi party would find a youth disenchanted by the low standard of living and eroded sense of pride in the pre-Nazi German society and would exploit its desire to belong to something powerful and unified. The Hitler Youth reflected all the cultural, hierarchical and political aspects of the larger Nazi Party, including its identifying traits of radical nationalism, coercive mob tactics and an absence of intellectual scrutiny. Indeed, this latter trait is one which emphasized in the training regiment for the Nazi party. This was driven by physical and athletic rigor, the reinforcement of National Socialist ideologies, education in the myths of Nazi heritage and emergence in the propaganda of the party. (HBU1, 1)

Essentially, the movement had all the makings of an recruitment agency for future soldiers, beginning with the creation of the ideal psychological and physical… [END OF PREVIEW]

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hitler-youth/3464.