Adolf Hitler's Youth Army

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Hitler’s Child Army

Youth are known for their energy, excitement, and love of life. Adolf Hitler recognized these qualities, and knew that he could use them to his advantage, turning the young of Germany into powerful tools. He planned to turn Germany’s youth into an unexpected military force that he alone could control and brainwash. He could, and did, convince them to give up everything for him.

Hitler said, "I begin with the young. We older ones are used up. We are rotten to the marrow. We are cowardly and sentimental...But my magnificent youngsters! Are there any finer ones in the world? Look at these young men and boys! What material! With them, I can make a New World” (qtd. in “Hitler Youth”).

The Hitler Youth group goes all the way back to the 1890’s and was then known as the Wandervögel, a male only group. Adolf Hitler saw the potential of such youth groups, and authorized the formation of a Youth League of the National Socialist Workers’ Party, the NSDAP. This new league attracted very few members at first, for it was competing against quite a few well established groups. The Hitler Youth that we know of today started in March of 1922. A proclamation in the official Nazi newspaper called for new members, declaring, "We demand that the National Socialist Youth, and all other young Germans, irrespective of class or occupation, between fourteen and eighteen years of age...join the ranks of the fighters against the Jewish enemy, the sole originator of our present shame and suffering, enter the Youth League of the NSDAP..." (qtd. in “Beginnings”). By 1939, membership was mandatory to all youth. Children were forced into the groups, often being torn away from parents. If the parents refused to let their children join, the parents were then sent to prison, killed, or put in a forced labor camp. Teen boys joined the Hitlerjugend group, or the HJ for short. Teen girls joined the Bund Deutscher Mädel, or BDM. By the end of 1939, 8.7 million youth...
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