The Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a way for Nazi Germany to secure its future supporters. The Hitler Youth began in 1926, but didn't become prominent until the beginning of the Third Reich, when membership became mandatory to attend school, and all other youth organizations were banned. Soon after, a parallel group, the Bund Deutscher Maden (BdM) was set up for young girls. In these organizations, youth participated in Nazi-approved extracurricular activities. The girls, for example, often sang danced, hiked, made handicrafts, built fires, and told stories (Frauen 3). What may seem like a girl scout troop actually was a way to prepare girls for comradeship, domestic duties, and motherhood ("Hitler Youth"). When a racially pure boy joined the group at the age of thirteen, he would live a "Spartan life of dedication, fellowship, and Nazi conformity," until, age eighteen when he would join the German Army ("Hitler Youth"). The Hitler Youth was a way to indoctrinate children in the perceived greatness of the Nazi Party. “National Socialist youth policy aimed to secure the younger generation’s total loyalty to the regime and their willingness to fight in the war that lay ahead” (Bessel 26). When Germany finally lost the war, this entire generation was almost wiped out.
Many children, even the Scholls, enjoyed their time in the Hitler Youth. Inge Scholl said, “We marched long and strenuously, but we did not mind; we were much too enthusiastic to admit fatigue. Wasn’t it wonderful suddenly to have something in common, a bond with other young people whom otherwise we might never have come to know?” (272). Others said that the Hitler Youth brought order to the country and discipline to children. It seemed that once a child had been convinced of Nazi ideals, he or she could be convinced to do anything to help the Nazi Party. Dissenting parents were terrified of their children, knowing that one wrong move could cause their child to report them to authorities. The Hitler Youth discouraged free thinking and pushed children to unquestioningly conform to the Nazism.
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