How Much Impact Did the Nazi Rule Have on German Youth in the Years 1933-1939?

Topics: Nazi Germany, Hitler Youth, Adolf Hitler Pages: 11 (2091 words) Published: August 28, 2013
History Learning Site- "The Hitler Youth was seen as being as important to a

child as school was". The Hitler Youth was a logical extension of Hitler's belief

that the future of Nazi Germany was its children.

"The weak must be chiselled away. I want young men and women who can

suffer pain. A young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as

leather, and as hard as Krupp's steel."

Movements for youngsters were part of German culture and the Hitler Youth

had been created in the 1920's. By 1933 its membership stood at "100,000."

"After Hitler came to power, all other youth movements were abolished" and as

a result the Hitler Youth grew quickly. In 1936, the figure stood at "4 million"

members. In 1936, it became all but compulsory to join the Hitler Youth. Youths

could avoid doing any active service if they paid their subscription but this

became all but impossible after 1939.

The Hitler Youth catered for 10 to 18 year olds. There were separate

organisations for boys and girls. "The task of the boys section was to prepare

the boys for military service. For girls, the organisation prepared them for


Boys at 10, joined the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Young People) until the

age of 13 when they transferred to the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) until the age

of 18. "Part of their "military athletics" (Wehrsport) included marching, bayonet

drill, grenade throwing, trench digging, map reading, gas defence, use of

dugouts, how to get under barbed wire and pistol shooting."

Girls, at the age of 10, joined the Jungmadelbund (League of Young Girls) and

at the age of 14 transferred to the Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German

Girls). "Girls had to be able to run 60 metres in 14 seconds, throw a ball 12

metres, complete a 2 hour march, swim 100 metres and know how to make a


To the outside world, the Hitler Youth seemed to "personify German

discipline." In fact, this image was far from accurate. School teachers

complained that "boys and girls were so tired from attending evening

meetings of the Hitler Youth, that they could barely stay awake the next day at

school." Also by 1938, attendance at Hitler Youth meetings was so poor -

barely 25% - that the authorities decided to tighten up attendance with the 1939

law making attendance compulsory.

"He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future". Hitler Quotes

The whole Hitler Youth movement was overseen by Balder von Shirach.

"Every girl belongs to us" - League of German Maidens poster

Youth protest movements did exist in Nazi Germany. The Nazi propagandists

of the time would have had the world believe that the youth population of Nazi

Germany was fully behind Hitler. It is true that many did join the Hitler Youth

movement but in 1936 membership was made compulsory and all other youth

movements were banned so there was no alternative. However, there were

some youths who were ideologically against the regime and who were brave

enough to make a stand.

In 1937 one such protest movement was started – the Edelweiss Pirates

(Eidelweisspiraten). The movement started in the Rhineland and then spread

out. Members were mainly working class male youths. They would gather

together and act in a manner that they would know would anger the local Nazi

leaders. Whereas the Nazi Party required Hitler Youth members to wear a

uniform that was semi-military, Edelweiss members wore more bohemian

clothing, knowing that it would anger the powers-that-be. They also sang

songs that the Nazis had banned and played music that was also banned, such

as jazz and blues tunes. They created areas within a town or city where

members of the Hitler Youth were not tolerated. At no stage were they ever a

danger to the Nazi regime and for years they were seen as nothing more than a...
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