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Mein Kompf was regarded as the "Bible" of the Hitlerjugend. On entering the Jungvolk at the age of 10, children took the following oath: In the presence of this blood-banner which represents our Fuehrer I swear to devote all my energies, and my strength to the Savior of our Country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life for him, so help me God. One People, one Reich, one Fuehrer." (Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression)
Nazi Youth formal agreement between the Wehrmacht and the Hitlerjugend was published 11 August 1939. It recites that whereas 30,000 Hitlerjugend leaders had been trained annually in shooting and field exercises, the number would be doubled; that 60,000,000 shots had been fired in Hitler Youth training courses in 1938 and that a considerable increase in the figure was expected. The agreement recognized the close cooperation that existed between the Hitlerjugend and the Wehrmacht in the military training of youth and provided for a far more extensive program." (Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression)
Whenever we think of the Nazi party, we usually think of Adolf Hitler and his boisterous speeches, the holocaust, the storming of Moscow by the Panzer divisions, Rommil's escapades in the deserts of Africa or some other war related subject matter. Rarely do we think of the German children who were coerced or manipulated into movements such as the Staatsjugend (State Youths) or the various other National Youth Movements that comprised the Hitlerjugend (Hitler youths). This report attempts to present an insight into the Nazi Youth Movement and how these children were used by the German Military machine.
The police can help to preserve social comity by containing violent eruptions, but they cannot create communal unity. In Nazi Germany, however, the political police claimed the right to determine the nature of social relationships." (Rempel) A historical account of the German youth movement is actually a complex process due to the fact that the Nazi party did not leave behind needed documentation. We know today that the young Germans were so vital to the overall success of the Nazi party that Hitler made it a point to mention them as often as possible in his speeches on his way to power. Hitler constantly mentioned the creation of a new Volksgemeinschaft (national community) which was for the benefit of the young.
In hindsight, we now know that Hitler was obviously not thinking of the young German children as he suggested but instead he was focused on an objective of achieving the ultimate power for himself and his supporters. With all that power in his hands, one question comes to mind in regard to the Hitler Youths: Did Adolf Hitler actually control the Nazi youth movement? Because Adolf Hitler is considered today as having been an absolute ruler or tyrant over the Nazi Party and the German People, it is hard to imagine that he did not institute the programs that led to the youth movement.
Yet, historians have shown that Hitler was in fact a member of thorough democratic political system which instituted checks and balances and therefore limits to the furor's power. "It leads to the heart of the complex Intentionalist-Structuralist debate. On the one hand, there are the Intentionalist historians who argue forcefully in the words of Norman Rich that 'Hitler was master in the Third Reich', while the Structuralists stress the many constraints on Hitler's power which range from his own personal inadequacies to the limits imposed upon him by the structure of the Nazi party and state." (Williamson)
With these checks and balances in place, some speculate that due to the democratic processes instituted by the Nazi party and the third Reich, Adolf Hitler may in fact have been one of the weakest leaders in regard to supreme political power that Germany has ever known. But the fact remains, the German youths were seen as a malleable force with dynamic potential and they could be the catalyst for changing a then old and decaying political system.
When did the movement evolve and Why?
Being poor can be considered as the true adversary of any political system. Germany in 1922 had seen the foreign powers create a post war financial crisis. Inflation was literally taking the food out of the nations starving children's mouths. Adolf Hitler understood that no matter what form of government was instituted by a people be it democratic, Fascist or communist, the true success of the government lay in their ability to provide economic success. The theory behind the Nazi youth movement was to reorder and to invigorate the crumbling German society in post World War I Germany.
The burdens which the German people had to bear were enormous, its sacrifices in taxes and blood unheard of, and yet, everyone who had eyes to see realized that all this would be in vain. What grieved us most was the fact that the whole system was morally protected by the alliance with Germany, and thus Germany herself, in a fashion, sanctioned the slow extermination of the German nationality in the old monarchy. The hypocrisy of the Habsburgs, who knew well how to create the impression abroad that Austria was still a German State, fanned the hatred against this house into flaming indignation and contempt." (Hitler)
The young Germans were supposed to have been the recipients of a German revolution that would eventually create a new nation with a fresh array of living space. "Young people were malleable enough, in general, to be instilled with the central tenets of the Nazi Weltanschauung (philosophy). Having swept away the values of the past and been inculcated with Nazi ideology, contemporary German youth would grow up to become the embodiment of the 'national community' of the future." (Pine)
The goal was to stay in line with its own ideological German essence. Of course, what actually took place was more or less a parental authority that established state and social controls. The Hitler followers established the Hitlerjugend in 1926 and later in 1930 they established the Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German Maidens). Both of these organizations were for explicitly for boys and girls who were between the ages of fourteen through eighteen.
The so-called recruitment process was extremely successful and by the end of 1934, the ranks or total membership of the two organizations had swelled to over one point five million teenage children. "This task, however, imperatively requires the training of the hitherto militarily still un-drilled elements, and this is practically impossible. With a training of one or two hours a week one cannot create soldiers. With the enormously increased demands of today that the war service makes upon the individual, a two years' service is perhaps barely sufficient in order to turn the untrained young man into a trained soldier." (Hitler)
Later around the end of 1934, the party established new groups for younger children between the ages of ten and fourteen years old. The group for boys was called the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Young folk) and for the pre-teen girls the Jungmadelbund (Young Girl Group).
Youth Group History
The first German youth groups were called Wandervogel (Birds of Passage). Not close off the starting mark were the German Boy Scouts. The German Scouts were technically affiliated to the English Boy Scouts. After World War I, the Wandervogel group divided itself into many smaller offshoots. Because of the post World War I turmoil, political parties began organizing self-fulfilling youth groups of their own. The Hitlerjugend was one of the many new politically focused youth movement. In 1933, the Nazi Party began abolishing or absorbing all of the nation's youth groups.
The Wandervogel movement was established by a student teacher in a Berlin suburb named Tonenliven. The movement was officially registered in 1901. The movement was an attempt by the German youths to avoid the usually strict parenting philosophies of the time. Although the movement was less successful than in other countries, Boy Scouts appeared around the same time in Germany as Wandervogel. A great many children that grew up with the Wandervogel philosophies were cut down in World War I.
After World War I was finished, Wandervogel had lost the appeal to the new generation of German kids so the Wandervogel movement divided itself into many new politically oriented groups.
Like Wandervogel, there is little documented history of the German Boy Scout movement. It is estimated that the German Scouts originated around 1910 and as the norm at that time, the case in the majority of scouting groups, separate Scout associations were formed primarily on religious line. The Communists did not approve of Scouting. After the mid 1920s the Hitler Youth movement gained in popularity.
When the Nazi's took charge of the nation in 1932, the Scouts and almost other competing youth groups were abolished and boys had to join the Hitler Youth. Many facilities of the Scouts and other youth groups were seized by the Hitler Youth, a practice they followed in areas…[continue]
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