Unsere Jungen - Ein Film der Napola (1943)
The Hitler Youth (German: Hitler-Jugend, abbreviated HJ) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung (the SA).
The first NSDAP-related organization of German youth was the Jugendbund der NSDAP. Its establishment by the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP, the German Nazi Party, was announced on 8 Mar 1922 in the Völkischer Beobachter, and its inaugural meeting was held on the 13th May the same year. In April 1924 the Jugendbund der NSDAP was renamed Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung (Greater German Youth Movement). Another Youth group was established in 1922 as the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler. Based in Munich, Bavaria, it served to train and recruit future members of the Sturmabteilung (or "Storm Regiment"), the adult paramilitary wing of the NSDAP.
Following the abortive Beer Hall Putsch (in 1923), the Nazi youth groups were ostensibly disbanded but many elements simply went underground, operating clandestinely in small units under assumed names. Finally, on July 4th 1926 the Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung was officially renamed Hitler Jugend Bund der deutschen Arbeiterjugend, (Hitler Youth League of German Worker Youth). This event took place a year after the Nazi Party itself had been reorganized. The architect of the re-organisation was Kurt Gruber, a law student and admirer of Hitler from Plauen, Saxony. After a short power struggle with a rival organization - Gerhard Roßbach's Schilljugend - Gruber prevailed and his Greater German Youth Movement became the Nazi Party's official youth organization. In July 1926, it was renamed Hitler-Jugend, Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend (Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth) and, for the first time, officially became an integral part of the Sturmabteilung.
By 1930, the Hitler-Jugend had enlisted over 25,000 boys aged fourteen and upwards. It also set up a junior branch, the Deutsches Jungvolk, for boys aged ten to fourteen. Girls from ten to eighteen were given their own parallel organisation, the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM), League of German Girls.
In April 1932, the Hitler Youth was banned by Chancellor Heinrich Brüning in an attempt to stop widespread political violence. But by June the ban was lifted by his successor, Franz von Papen as a way of appeasing Hitler whose political star was ascending rapidly.
A further significant expansion drive started in 1933, when Baldur von Schirach became the first Reichsjugendführer (Reich Youth Leader), pouring much time and large amounts of money into the project.
The wording translates to: "Youth serves the leader. All ten year-olds into the Hitler Youth." The HJ were viewed as future "Aryan supermen" and were indoctrinated in anti-Semitism. One aim was to instill the motivation that would enable HJ members, as soldiers, to fight faithfully for the Third Reich. The HJ put more emphasis on physical and military training than on academic study. The Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (NSRBL), the umbrella organization promoting and coordinating sport activities in Germany during the Nazi period, had the responsibility of overseeing the physical fitness development programs provided to the German youth.
After the boy scout movement was banned through German-controlled countries, the HJ appropriated many of its activities, though changed in content and intention. For example, many HJ activities closely resembled military training, with weapons training, assault course circuits and basic tactics. Some cruelty by the older boys toward the younger ones was tolerated and even encouraged, since it was believed this would weed out the unfit and harden the rest.
The HJ wore uniforms very like those of the SA, with similar ranks and insignia.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Hitler Youth”