Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Hitler Youth - HITLERJUNGEND

‘A thirteen year old boy manned a machine gun against advancing Allied tanks on the Rhineland frontier, while his mates passed the ammunition. An execution squad composed of 14-16 year olds shot Polish civilian hostages. A monument was erected to a boy still living, commemorating the fact that he denounced his father “loyally to the Führer“: (the father was executed for treason). Herbert Norkus, the Hitler Youth martyr, is the Horst Wessel of most of Germany's young today. Seven years of Nazi indoctrination, at a most susceptible age, in the Hitler Youth has done its work.’

The Nazi youth organization in which membership was effectively compulsory for all German boys ages 10–18. Boys age 10–13 joined the Deutsches Jungvolk (“German Young People”); those 14–18 served in the Hitlerjungend (“Hitler Youth”). Poorly disguised as athletic and sports clubs akin to the quasi-military Boy Scouts organization of the British Empire, these Nazi fronts trained boys and young men in “war sports” or “military athletics” (“Wehrsport”). Key activities were parade drill, map-reading, long-distance hikes, and weapons drill (with bayonet, grenade, and pistol and rifle marksmanship competitions). Boys also practiced taking cover and erecting camouflage, entrenchment, and defense against gas attack, and some learned to fly gliders as preparation for joining the Luftwaffe. All German boys were taught patriotic as well as Nazi Party songs, and closely indoctrinated in the regime’s spurious race theories and radical foreign policy revanchism. There was a parallel organization for “Aryan” girls that similarly stressed physical fitness and moral and ideological purity. Girls under 14 joined the Jungmadelbund (“League of Young Girls”), thereafter transferring to the Bund Deutscher Madel (“League of German Girls”). Both groups inculcated a state-defined ideal of maidenhood tied to eventual “German motherhood,” all aimed at revolutionary nazification of private and family life. The older boys of the Hitlerjungend were ordered into the Waffen-SS on June 24, 1943. They formed SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjungend” from October 22, 1943. Their first combat came on June 7, 1944, during the Normandy campaign, around Caen. Ferocious and fanatic fighters, they stymied the British and Canadians for many weeks, while taking severe casualties themselves. The Division was reformed and fought next in the Ardennes offensive in Belgium in December 1944. Reformed for a second time, it was transferred to Hungary in February 1945. Its remnant surrendered to the U.S. Army in Austria on May 8, 1945.

No comments:

Post a Comment