Nazi Impact on Education and Youth

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Nazi impact on education and youth

"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." -- Adolf Hitler, 1933.[1] Naziism had a huge impact on German youth during Hitler’s reign of power over the state. The life of a German child changed dramatically during the 1920’s and 30’s, especially for those who were to no longer be regarded as German (but that’s a whole different topic). They were forcefully united under the swastika by the Nazi’s, they were brainwashed into complete loyalty to the Nazi’s through what they were taught by the schools and the Nazi’s education system. The system was extremely effective and managed to gain the complete loyalty and support of the German youth by the 1930’s as anyone who didn’t was dealt with severely. The Nazi’s created youth organizations for boys and girls and for different age groups, for boys aged 10-14 there was the Deutsches Jungvolk and the Hitler Jugend for boys aged 14-18 years old, for girls aged 10-14 there was the Jungmädel and the Bund Deutscher Mädel for girls aged 14-18 years old. These organizations and the Nazi education system brainwashed the youth to the Fuhrers command. Despite all this most of the youth enjoyed the activities they did and the pride of representing their nation. Before the age of the Nazi’s, there was already a strong youth movement in Germany. It started in the 1890’s and was known as the Wandervögel, it was a male-only movement that featured a back to nature theme. Wandervögel had an idealistic notion of the past, desiring for the simpler days when people lived off the scruff of the land. They found strict German schooling oppressive and they rebelled against parental authority. They saw hypocrisy in politics and the social class of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany based entirely on birth and heritage. Instead, they longed for a Jugendkultur, a culture of youth led by youth, in which they would be truly valued. They wanted something greater to believe in than the values of their parents. This youth movement grew rapidly from 1900 to 1914, attracting the attention and grudging admiration of the mainstream political and religious establishment in Germany, which soon created its own competing youth groups, borrowing the back-to-nature theme and other ideas from the Wandervögel. “They were the chosen ones. They were the future of the German Reich. Their commitment was to be complete. They would be formed into a German in his totality. They would be moulded in a physical and intellectual direction as well as cultivated spiritually. The German people would become great in the eyes of the whole world through their achievements. Germans of the future, as they grow up as little boys and Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) or as young girls and members of the German Girls' League would be educated to recognize German cultural values. They would learn their duties to uphold those values and make Germany great. They would represent the new German order. These were the ideals of the Hitler Youth.”[2] The Hitler Youth Law{1}

Hitler wanted to turn young people into loyal Nazis. The three greatest influences on young Germans were their families, their schools and youth movements, so the Nazis decided to control all three. The Nazis formed the Jugendbund or Hitler Youth in 1922 with Adolf Lenk as its Reichsjugendführer, but it was banned along with the Nazi party after the Munich Putsch. Lenk made two attempts to resurrect the Jugendbund but both attempts failed and resulted in his arrest. The Jugendbund was finally officially...
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