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Hitler
Subject
The Hitler Youth
Sources
A Hitler Youth Instruction Book
Rejoicing Girls of the Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth on the March
Two Boys of the German Youth
Girls of the League of German Girls
Going to School
Beloved Führer
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The Hitler Youth

The Nazis used posters like this to attract young people to join them. The Nazis wanted all young people to become loyal followers of Hitler. So they started a youth movement called the Hitlerjugend (HJ, or "Hitler Youth"). The Hitler Youth was intended to raise "Aryan" German young people as true Nazis. In 1933, 3.5 million young people were members of the Hitler Youth. All other youth movements were banned or had to become a part of the Hitler Youth.

The Nazis made a distinction between boys and girls. Between the ages of 10 and 14, boys became members of the Deutsche Jungvolk ("German Youth"), while girls were members of the Jungmädel ("Young Girls"). After that, boys joined the Hitler Youth and girls the Bund Deutscher Mädel ("League of German Girls").

Adolf Hitler said this about the Hitler Youth in 1933:
"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."

Hatred of the Jews

Young people in the HJ were "on duty" on Saturdays. Anyone who was not, or not yet, a member of HJ had to go to school on Saturdays to taught Nazi ideas. According to the Nazis, the most important thing that young Germans had to learn was to hate the Jews. From 1939 onwards, membership of the HJ was compulsory for all German young people. There are accounts of young Germans who were so fanatic in their loyalty to Hitler that they sometimes reported their teachers or even their parents to the police if they said or did anything that was forbidden by the Nazis.

Soldiers and mothers

There was a lot of camping and singing around the campfire in the HJ. Boys were prepared for the life of a soldier. They marched, learned to shoot and trained in martial arts. They also collected scrap metal for the weapons industry. Girls learned how to be good housewives and mothers. They were told that they had to have lots of children later on, so that Germany would have enough soldiers. The slogan for girls was: Kinder, Kirche, Küche (Children, Church, Kitchen).

Child soldiers

By the end of the war, many members of the Hitler Youth had to fight alongside the German army. There was even a special Hitler Youth division made up of 20,000 boy soldiers. Boys also had to try to shoot down Allied aircraft. Girls mainly had to work in important factories and hospitals. Many of them died in the final stages of the war.
Anne Frank Guide
This day in history
Today: 11 December 2017
Then: 11 December 1941

Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; the U.S. respond in kind.

View the timeline