Term Paper: Nazi Youth Prelude Mein Kompf

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[. . .] "For a decade they had propagated a militant spirit within the Hitlerjugend that could only be realized in combat. At the same time they sensed the end of the cherished cultural and political activities that had given them unheard of prestige. Now they would be soldiers like everyone else and have to surrender the comfortable life to which they had become accustomed." (Rempel)

Some other groups that were available before Hitlerjugend became the only game in town are: the Gun-Club, Jewish Youth Groups, and Die Falken (The Falcon). This movement was very successful and their large amounts of money yet hey still enrolled over 100,000 boys.

What has Hitler's involvement?

Hitler and his Nazi Youth Corps represented indomitable strength amid a sea of weakness." (Stein) After World War I a large number of extremist political groups cropped up in Germany. One of the groups was the tiny German Workers' party that had an agenda that consisted of the combined socialist economic ideas combined with a deep nationalistic vigor. This nationalistic cause attracted war veterans like Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess, and Adolf Hitler. Through his public speaking abilities, by 1920 Adolf Hitler fully led the party.

By strong arm tactics, anti-Semitism, anti-Communism, and attacks on the Treaty of Versailles, the party gained a strong following. National Socialism or Nazism was the doctrine and policy of the National Socialist German Workers' party. "Along with this goes general intimidation of parents and youngsters; there are many dire prophecies of what will happen if active functioning in Nazi youth organizations is continued. Quite often the prophecies are fulfilled: boys and girls have their uniforms splattered with paint, torn or even ripped off, and bloody noses and scratched faces occur with some frequency." (Becker)

By 1933 the party ruled Germany under Adolf Hitler until 1945. Throughout Germany the party name was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or the NSDAP. Members were first called Nazis because of the abbreviation. Adolf Hitler and his party came to power on the notion that the German people had always ruled themselves and through the Treaty of Versailles, other nations had basically taken advantage of the German people.

Hitler was brilliant in extending an offer to allow the German people to express their right to a freedom of expression by stopping the injustices brought on the German people by the Treaty of Versailles. "Then some one has said: 'Since the Revolution the people has gained Rights. The people govern!' Strange! The people have now been ruling three years and no one has in practice once asked its opinion. Treaties were signed which will hold us down for centuries: and who has signed the treaties? The people? No! Governments which one fine day presented themselves as Governments. (The Adolf Hitler Historical Archives, vol. 4/12/1922)

As mentioned, the Nazi party had a successful checks and balance process in place that curbed some of the expected doctorial powers away from Hitler. But even the checks and balance process could not fully control Hitler.

In power once he had consolidated his position by the autumn of 1934 Hitler was, theoretically at least, omnipotent. He was both Chancellor and Head of State, and, to quote Hans Frank, 'supreme judge of the nation'. After 1937 Cabinet meetings ceased, legal principles such as equality before the law and civil rights were suspended by a series of arbitrary laws such as the Decree for the Protection of the Nationalist Movement. He had the means to enforce this power. The Gestapo, reinforced by the SS, prison camps and informers, effectively broke any opposition." (Williamson)

With that being said, Adolf Hitler, therefore must be seen as the ultimate leader of both the Nazi Party and the entire Nazi Youth Movement. Youth, schools, and the media were all under the Hitler's and his party's repressive control. This led to Hitlerjugend battles inside the party that literally absorbed strength and directly hampered the external struggles.

Hitler said about his youth movement in 1935, "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the Future! Practical consequences of this doctrine: The boy will enter the Jungvolk (boy 10-14) and the Pmpf (members of the Jungvolk) will come to the Hitler Youth, and the boy of the Hitler Youth will join the SA, the SS and the other formations, and the SA man and the SS man will one day join the Labor Service, and from there he will go to the Armed Forces, and the soldiers of the people will return again to the organization of Movement, the Party, the SA, the SS, and never again will our people be so depraved as they were at one time." (Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression)

How did they lure in the youth?

The Hitler Youth movement was a work in progress in the early years of the Nazi party. Between 1925 and 1932, the movement was actually many competing youth movements that migrated or evolved into the state sponsored youth movement. The poor and middle class were regular volunteers for the Hitlerjugend between through the years of 1926 through 1936. At that time joining the Hitlerjugend was strictly on a voluntary basis. Estimates of enrollment ranged upward consistently:

The membership statistics of the HitlerJugend to 1940 were:

End 1932

End 1933

End 1934

End 1935

End 1936

End 1937

End 1938

End 1939

And BDM (League of German Girls)

789 (2435-PS)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression)

But, in 1936 it became legally mandatory for all German males to be indoctrinated into the Hitlerjugend. "In order to carry out the program of indoctrination of the youth, more than 765,000 were actively engaged as Hitler Youth leaders by May 1939. Youth leaders were thoroughly trained, many of them in special "Youth Leaders" schools (2435-PS). More than 200,000 political indoctrination meetings (Heimabend) were held weekly. Each community was required by law to provide a suitable meeting house for the HitlerJugend. Training and propaganda films were produced on an elaborate scale." (Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression)

The Nazi regime asserted that youth autonomy and the principle of self-leadership were central driving forces for the youth groups. The Hitlerjugend education was considered to be the only required education for the youths. Of course, the Nazi party manipulated the educational system to put emphasis on physical education as opposed to the then standard school work.

Another factor to consider in evaluating eyewitness accounts of Nazi Germany, a factor which is nearly always remarked on in discussions of similar accounts of Stalin's Soviet Union, is the extent to which the freedom of visitors to observe and to converse with people was restricted by official "guides" attached to various state or Party organizations, and who invariably attended visitors to Reich Labor Service Camps, "Kraft Dutch Freude" leisure facilities, Party rallies, and so on." (Bonnell) Adolf Hitler was the major stakeholder in the Hitlerjugend's physical capabilities so religion and history began to slowly be phased out of the educational process. Ironically, racial history classes and pseudo- war games were instituted as well.

Many girls were attracted to the BDM because it allowed them to escape from their tedious home lives, where they were usually under the constant scrutiny of their parents. It gave them opportunities to get away on hikes and camping trips and to take part in group activities." (Pine) The female movement allowed the girls from middle-class families who suffered hardships from the Wall Street Crash of 1929 to find hope. The market crash affected the nation's confidence and led to further financial hardships, especially in the middle and lower classes.

The youth movement offered new opportunities and helped many overcome the feelings of insecurity and familial constriction. In addition, the youth movement did offer a therapeutic sense of camaraderie and esprit de corp. But this togetherness also played out at a time when conscription became mandatory. "The Hitler Youth proved most effective in organizing German boys. By the time formal conscription was introduced in 1940, about 97 per cent of those eligible were members and the older boys had received paramilitary training." (Luza)

Who ran the clubs both girls and boys with some background on each?

The true genius behind the Hitler Youth movement was Baldur Von Schirach. His significance in the overall Nazi party can be clearly demonstrated by the fact that he was later tried and convicted of crimes against humanity and various other offenses and eventually hanged at Nuremberg trials. Von Schirach became a member of the Nazi party in 1925. Right from the beginning, his efforts were focused on converting German students on to the philosophies of National Socialism.

Von Schirach was assigned the undertaking of perpetuating the Nazi regime through the generations. His approach was to inculcate his party's principles on the German children. Historians believe that Von Schirach was so successful at his task that the Hitlerjugend's Youth and other related Nazi programs for the young created a condition that allowed the German people to be susceptible to aggressive war scenarios. "One should consider that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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