Nazi Youth Policy

            The Nazi regime was irrefutably strengthened by the indoctrination of the German youth. Hitler clearly saw the significance of loyal, Nazi youth, saying in a speech in November of 1933: “When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side, ‘I calmly say ‘Your child belongs to us already…What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.’” This was, though chilling, certainly true, and great focus was placed on youth policy. Laws were passed to ensure that only Nazi Youth Organisations were permitted, with all others being abolished or “co-ordinated.” Boys of between 14 and 18 years of age attended the Hitler Youth. This was made to be a mixture of entertainment combined with brainwashing and military training. The boys were given sport and rifle training, as well as being taught blind obedience and loyalty to Hitler and the superiority of the “master race.” Competitiveness was encouraged and war was glorified. The Nazis were conditioning the boys to become loyal, Nazi soldiers who believed firmly in the Nazi ideology. The equivalent for older girls was the League of German Maidens. This organisation also ran a programme of intense physical activity, for the purpose of making the girls fit for bearing children- particularly potential soldiers- and taught them to be good homemakers. It also performed the same indoctrinating function into Nazi beliefs. There was also a Nazi equivalent of Cubs- Jungvolk- and Brownies- Jungmadel. These “youth groups” were popular, providing a new and interesting form of recreation for the children. However, in 1936, membership of the Hitler Youth became mandatory for Aryans and parents who chose not to send their children could expect a visit from a Hitler Youth Leader. The indoctrination of the German youth also carried on into the education system. The first step was the removal of all Jewish and anti-Nazi teachers, and the enrolment of all remaining teachers in the Nazi Teachers’ League. Each school day began with the “Heil Hitler” greeting and the Nazi salute. Coursework was altered to reflect Nazi views, thus subtly introducing Nazi ideology into the children’s minds. Nazi Youth Policies were clearly a long-term “project” which was designed  to produce generations of loyal Nazis. Not all adults could be turned to accept the Nazis, but at a young and impressionable age, children could be.

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