Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany
Throughout the Third Regime under Hitler’s rule, Hitler knew that to make his ideal society work and live on forever was through the youth in Germany. The first Nazi youth league was founded in 1922 and by 1932, the Hitler Youth membership was up to 100,000. The children involved in this group were primarily from lower-middle and working classes. This idea of Hitler Youth stirred up intense emotions between the parents and the children. Some parents within the Third Regime were encouraging their children into the Hitler Youth. Many youth wanted to join the Hitler youth because “the Hitler Youth had camping, hiking, and group meetings, and there was no class distinction”1 mentioned by William Sheridan Allen in Spielvogel. Although in the beginning years of the Nazi rule there were not as many children within the Hitler Youth and they were also not pressured into it joining into the group, however this began to change in the later years of the Third Regime. In the later years (such as 1938) of the Nazi rule, teachers had began noticing “the relationship between Hitler Youth members and non-Hitler Youth members differed considerably from school to school and even classroom to classroom”2. Hitler Youth recruitment week was also held at the school to encourage and pressure more children to similar to their peers and join the group. Since the number of children becoming involved in the Hitler Youth began to rise intensely during the late 1930’s there also began to be concerns from teachers and parents about their children’s actions from the Hitler Youth. Parents stated “concerns about the physical overexertion and moral endangering of their children” and also within the Hitler Youth the children gained “the sense of authority and self-confidence” by gaining all these skills and attitudes children began to “denounce their parents” 3. As a parents during the Third Regime I can only imagine the fear from the constant separation from their children that was occurring. If parents were becoming concerned about their children why didn’t the parents remove them from the group? Or threaten to kick them out of the house? Was this group similar and appealing looking to today’s society Girls Scout and Boys Scout? I also think that children were willing to be involved in Hitler Youth group because of this idea of belonging within the German society. Belonging to the Hitler Youth for children was a great popularity during this time and a sense of belonging with fellow peers. It is crazy to me how many children were involved in the Hitler Youth program during this time and being trained military techniques that they could use during war.
- David Redless Jackson J. Spievogel. Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History (United States: Pearson Education Publications, 2014), 163.
- Dieter Kuntz and Benjamin Sax. Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich (Canada, D.C. Heath and Company Publication, 1992), 324.
- Ibid., 325.