.. if motors and automobiles were of interest, there was the Motor-HJ (the motor or mechanical Youth). The Marine-HJ (navy) and the Waffen-SS (weapons and protection squad) were branches for the more military-oriented youth. Signal, medical, and musical units were also options for the youth. (xviii) HJ calvary unit. Koch p.
164. HJ in river-crossing exercise. Koch p. 164 HJ building model gliders. Koch p.
164 If they did not join one of these detachments, but showed promise in leadership abilities, they could be chosen to join the SS instead of the army. The SS gave them opportunity to use violence and weapons, which they found extremely useful when dealing with Jews or other subhumans. Boys had to stay in the HJ until they were eighteen, then were encouraged to enter the army or forced to enter the labor service then the army. The labor service was six months of work out in the country. Helping out on a farm, rebuilding roads, or beautifying parks were the usual forms of labor.
(xix) Right Land -service leadership candidates. Koch p. 196. Left HJ pitching hay for farm-duty program. Constable p.
132. Back to Top Rival Youth Movements in the WWII Era The Nazi’s might have failed to reform all the German youth in believing their brainwashing, but they did manage to make some gruesome warriors even though the youth values had changed. These Youth were more interested in weapons and survival in the new era, than dancing or independence. SS officers that used terror tactics to enforce rule trained the Youth. The youth learned these tactics and put them to use in trying to get other children to join the organization or get them to conform to society. These techniques would often work, but not in the cases of the Swing kids and Edelweiss Pirates. Edelweiss Pirates At fourteen it was possible to quit school.
This allowed for resistance youth groups to form. The Edelweiss Pirates and Swing Kids were two such groups. The Edelweiss Pirates met on street corners and had a deep passionate hate for the HJ with the slogan of Eternal war on the Hitler Youth (xx) . Street brawls were a sign that the two groups had met. The pirates took every opportunity possible to attack the HJ, and loved thier independence which was hindered by the HJ.
Swing Kids The other resistance group was the Swing kids. These kids loved American jazz music and they especially loved dancing even though this was forbidden. They came from middle class families and met at nightclubs. They had money and wore the newest styles of clothing from Britain and America. (xxi) Back to Top Role of Hitler Youth in and after WWII The youth had many roles during WWII; they were used as propagandists, reinforcements, and warriors.
At first their role was to act as propaganda enforcers in the occupied territories such as France, the Benelux countries, and Norway. They youth were used to help set up youth movements in these countries and to enforce the Nazi ideology. They also had another very important role as propagandists that of being role models to siblings and the younger generations so that they too would fully believe in the HJ movement. (xxii) Their role as reinforcements was to help the army in areas they did not have the time or manpower to maintain. The German army had a shortage of military so the different HJ detachments were used to defend certain areas. They were considered the Volksturm or home guard. They would ambush passing allied detachments, which usually ended up in their death.
The HJ worked along with women and men over sixty to build up barricades or dig trenches to trap Soviet tanks. (xxiii) The HJ had a renewed sense of worth. With the onset of war, materials such as copper, scrap metal, razor blades and so on, were needed. The youth attacked this mission with such a determination that they often collected more than was necessary. (xxiv) The role of being warriors was realized when the youth were used in actual battles such as that of the battle for Berlin.
This was a crude move on Axmanns part. The enemy did not want to kill youth, but they had to due to the ferocity of the HJ. They fought bitterly for every yard; the help of one comrade for another was so spontaneous and unselfish that it was unequalled. (xxv) Signaling unit of Berlin HJ– six months before Battle for Berlin. Koch p. 228.
The division between the Jungvolk and the HJ was abolished, so boys as young as ten were fighting on the front lines. Because of the shortage of men, a draft was conscripted. Any German male between the ages of sixteen and sixty were incorporated into the army. This meant that there were very few older leaders for the younger HJ. Fifteen year-old boys would find themselves commanding 500 troops, many of which were significantly older.
HJ on the Eastern Front. Koch p. 228 The youth were valiant fighters; many times fighting until the division was no more. Inadequate ammunition also took its toll on the young warriors. One group was told to attack Soviet tanks with Anti-tank mines that were supposed to stick to the Soviet armor. The mines did not stick so the youth ran along side the tanks, holding the mines to the tank, until they were both blown apart.
(xxvi) Youth Activities after the War The youth disbanded after the war. They no longer wore the showy costumes or paraded through the streets. The days of playing war games and hiking in the woods were over. The youth had to face the reality of what they had done. A quote from Rilke, a World War II historian, sums up the feelings after the war, Who talks of victory? To endure is all. (xxvii) The youth lacked basic educational skills.
In the Nazi schools they were taught Nazi ideology. Reading, writing and grammar skills were not emphasized as much as being able to understand strategies, anti-Semitism, or propaganda. The youth experienced things they would only have read about in books, so they felt the idea of going back to school was kind of ridiculous. Even though they felt this way they knew they had to learn. An American professor visiting at Marburg University noticed the determination: To me and my colleagues these young men and women displayed unusual intellectual earnestness, characterized by a deep understanding of the problems of the time and by a burning desire to acquire reliable knowledge and instruction and information about the methods of scientific work.
(xxviii) A few members of the Nazi Youth gathered in 1946 to reminisce about the past and former friends. They each knew of only a few other Nazi Youth, so they decided to invite them all to their meeting place. The others met with them and there was a surprising air of camaraderie. All differences were forgotten; they had all lived through the Nazi era. (xxix) The idea of re-creating the youth was never brought up.
The comrades figured that the new generation could start up an organization if they wanted. The new generation eventually did start their own organization, one that was just as fulfilling to them as the previous movement had been for the Hitler Youth. This time a sinister man named Hitler did not control their destinies, futures, or fears; the youth controlled their own lives. Back to Top Hitler Youth Links German Boys giving a salute and Hither Youth throwing mock grenades Hitler Youth Recruting Poster and German boys saluting Hitler Youth in a Parade past Striecher Another Paper on the HJ by John S. Massingill Back to Top Endnotes (i) Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Vol. 1 ch 7 Means Used by the Nazi Conspirators in Gaining Control of the German State, http//www1.ca.Nizkor.org/hweb/imt/nca/nca-01/nca-0 1-07-means-45.html online 2/11/98.
(ii) Peter D. Stachura, The German Youth Movement 1900-1945, (New York: St. Martins Press, 1981) Page 2. (iii) Peter D. Stachura, Nazi Youth in the Weimar Republic, (Oxford: Clio Books, England: 1975), Page 2. (iv) Ibid.
(v) Stachura, The German Youth Movement 1900-1945, 22. (vi) Stachura, Nazi Youth in the Weimar Republic, 22-23. (vii) Col. John R. Elting and William Sheridan Allen ed., The Third Reich: The New Order, (Alexandria, Virginia: Time Life Books, 1989) Page 135. (viii) Louis L. Snyder, ed., Hitlers Third Reich: A Documentary History, (Chicago: Nelson Hall, 1981) Page 46. (ix) William L.
Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960) Page253. (x) Lawrence D. Walker, Hitler Youth and Catholic Youth, (Washington D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1970) Page 160-161. (xi) Shirer, 253. (xii) Fritz Brennecke, comp.
& Ed. The Nazi Primer, (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers,1966) Page 15. (xiii) Ibid. 13-35. (xiv) Klaus P. Fischer, Nazi Germany: Anew History, (New York: Continuum, 1995), Page 347. (xv) Shirer, 253.
(xvi) Nazi Conspiracy and AggressionVol. 1, ch 7 Means Used by the Nazi Conspirators in Gaining Control of the German State, http://www1.ca.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/nca/nca-01/nca- 01-07-means-46.html. Online 2/11/98. (xvii) Shirer, 253. (xviii) Ibid.
(xix) Shirer, 254. (xx) Detter J. K. Peukert, Life in the Third Reich: Young People for or Against the Nazis? History Today, Oct. 1995.
v. 35 page 18. (xxi) Ibid. 22. (xxii) Russel Miller, World War II: The Resistance (Alexandria, Virginia: Time Life Books, 1979) Page 94. (xxiii) Gerald Simons, World War II: Victory in Europe, (Morristown, New Jersey: Time Life Books, 1982) Page 38.
(xxiv) H. W. Koch, The Hitler Youth: Origins and Developments 1922-45, (New York: Stein and Day, 1975) Page 233. (xxv) Simons, 61. (xxvi) Hans Dollinger, The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany, (New York: Bonanza Books, 1967) Page 78.
(xxvii) Walter Z. Laquer, Young Germany: A History of the German Youth Movement, (New York: Basic Books Publishing Co. Inc., 1962) Page 216. (xxviii) Koch, 255. (xxix) Laquer, 216. Works Consulted Brennecke, Fritz, comp.
& Ed. The Nazi Primer. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers ,1966. Constable, George, ed. The Third Reich: The New Order.
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