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    The Importance of the Youth to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler

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    The Youth must have been very important to Nazi Germany and Hitler if Hitler had put such an emphasis on women giving birth. Birth-rate in Nazi Germany was much larger than any other industrial country at the time. These children were very important to Hitler though; it seemed as if he was looking for the next leader of Nazi Germany.

    Before Nazi Germany, in Weimar Germany there was not too much importance placed on children and their education. Provincial governments were responsible for most schools in their areas. There was not too much bother about schools and what children were being taught. However, this all changed with Nazi Germany. The first major difference made to education was that instead of provincial governments choosing education, there was now the Minister of Education in charge of all education across Germany. 

    The Minister appointed in 1934 was a man named Bernhard Rust. He introduced various important changes to education that fitted in with Nazi ideals. Rust was quoted saying “The whole point of education is to create Nazis”, showing how Hitler wanted all the young people in Germany then to become loyal Nazis. With schools and the Hitler Youth, there was no escaping the Nazi ideals in Germany.

    The first major difference made was to compel all teachers at a school to become part of a new organisation called the Nazi Teachers’ Association. Local Nazi officials had to ensure teachers were learned and would teach Nazi curriculum. Any teacher who didn’t do this would have been sacked because they would have been considered disloyal. 97% of teachers joined the Nazi Teachers’ Association and the other 3% were sacked. Furthermore, teachers had to be even more careful that they were compliant with Nazi rules even if they didn’t agree because the children being taught were encouraged to inform authorities if they detected any anti-Nazism from the teacher. 

    With teachers who were now supporting the Nazis, the next move was to adapt some subjects to afform to Nazi ideals and to give Germany a good light from bad things that had happened in the past. The subjects changed the most were History and Biology. For History, a nationalist approach was used, giving Germany a glorious view. Germany’s defeat in WW1 was accepted but blamed on Jews and Communist spies who had weakened Germany by giving away information. The Treaty of Versailles was blamed on jealous countries’ who wanted to decrease Germany’s wealth and power. The hyperinflation in 1923 which reduced most Germans into poverty was blamed on Jewish saboteurs.

     Finally, Germany’s resurgence which began in 1923 in Weimar Germany was switched responsibly from Stresemann who changed Germany to Hitler helping Germany to become better and stronger again. In Biology, the Aryan “racial purity” of Germans was taught. In Biology, the youth studied the different races in Germany and they were told how to prove the Aryan race was racially pure. This was first taught at the age of 6 to children, which was showing how the Nazis wanted to assure and make sure these children didn’t know anything other than Nazi ideals. Hitler was quoted to have said “No child should leave school without knowing about racial purity and blood purity”. When explaining sexual education in Biology too, older pupils were told how to choose the perfect partner to marry and have children with. 

    They were taught the “problems” of inter-racial marriage and how it would decrease racial purity. In Geography, Germany was depicted as an innocent country and that Germany had land taken away from them by jealous countries by the Treaty of Versailles and how Germany needed living space. In Science, there was a military side to it; principles of shooting were studied, the effects of poisonous gas, bridge building, aviation techniques. 

    It was evident that Hitler and Bernhard Rust were trying to create perfect German leaders of “tomorrow” and to create loyalty and harmony between everyone. In my view, I think that this method is very effective and is a good way to teach the children to be loyal. However, I do not agree with the Nazi ideals though. This education was for the young boys; however, Brainwashing the Next Generation the young girls were limited. Girls had a different curriculum, which was pretty much about having a “housewife” future. They were taught domestic science to look after their husband and children, being the perfect mother and wife, and they were taught eugenics, which was about the characteristics to look for in a future husband.

    Nazi indoctrination in education was clear. However, teachers were ordered to degrade Jews at any opportunity they received. They had to attack Jewish lifestyle and their religion. Not just Jews though, but other minority groups too. One of the key examples for this racism occurred in Nazi school exams. The Nazi exams put into practice all school subjects, however they were racist in the actual wording of the questions. 

    For example: “A bomber aircraft on take-off carries 12 dozen bombs, each weighing 10 kilos. The aircraft takes off for Warsaw the international centre for Jewry. It bombs the town. On take-off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 100 kilos of fuel, the aircraft weighed about 8 tons. When it returns from the crusade, there are still 230 kilos left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty?”

    You could argue that there is actual mathematics in this question but there is no denying the clear racism in this question. It has a blunt reference to the Nazi anti-Semitic stance. Furthermore, when Jewish people were banned from school with the Nuremburg Laws, the Nazi Government said it was because a Jew “could contaminate a normal German pupil”. In my opinion this is just clear ignorant racism. It is absolutely disgusting that they could say this.

    Another important school subject was P.E. Hitler was quoted saying “he wanted boys who could take pain”. Hitler also said that he wanted boys “as fast as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp’s steel”. 15% of a young person’s school timetable was P.E. For me that would be 6 lessons a week for P.E, whereas I currently only have 3. Boxing was compulsory for boys, which just showed that Hitler wanted the boys to be able to defend themselves and attack for themselves; fend for themselves. If you were to face a fitness test at your school, you could have been expelled, showing the importance of fitness in Germany. 

    However, this was rare and the normal punishment was humiliation for being “weak and feeble”. Another important thing about Nazi education was that Religious Education was optional. Christianity was a major religion in these days in Europe. However, Hitler was an Atheist and did not believe in Christianity. He could not fully declare this and ban religion because he would have been overtaken as leader of Germany then because religion was still strong across Germany. However, overtime religion became limited too, showing the brainwashed German public. Religious schools were abolished in 1936. This is quite a serious thing done by the Nazis yet they were still unopposed.

    Children considered to be strong Nazis, physically fitter than a lot of other young people, were sent to special schools where they were taught to be the future leaders of Nazi Germany. These Adolf Hitler Schools were very tough, where students spent 6 years there then left at the age of 18. After their tough physical training, they either worked in the army or went to university. The very best of the very best went to Order Castles, which were very serious schools. Pupils were pushed to the limits of physical endurance. There were war games using live ammunition and people were killed. Graduating from here, people could expect to have a high position in the army or SS.

    At school, Germans were taught to worship Hitler. As soon as their teacher came into class, students would stand and give the Nazi salute thrice. “Heil Hitler” was screamed by these students and it displayed their loyalty. Also, in every schoolbook, a picture of Hitler was present with one of his “magnificent” quotes, further emphasising Hitler in their everyday life.

    There were 2 main Youth Organisations within the Nazi Party; the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls. Other than education in school, these were some critical tools used by the Nazis to brainwash young people into being loyal to the Nazis. These groups changed the beliefs, thinking and actions of German youth. Leaders of these groups created mass appeal to people to make them more popular. Group activities and propaganda events were held, with mass rallies creating the illusion of just one national German community.

    The Hitler Youth was founded in 1926, and was designed to train boys to enter the SA. However, after 1933, when the Nazis gained legal power, youth leaders wanted to integrate boys into the Nazi national community and prepare them to be soldiers in the army or SS.

    It wasn’t until 1936 that they really became integral for young people. In 1936, membership was compulsory for boys and girls from age 10-17 into Hitler Youth or League of German Girls. After-school meetings and weekend camping trips sponsored by these youth groups trained children to become faithful to the Nazi Party and become loyal. By September 1939, over 765000 young people were serving in Nazi youth leadership roles. This was to prepare them for the real roles in the German army or SS Hitler Youth or to help them to gain the responsibility for a government-associated role.

    The Hitler Youth combined sports and outdoor activities with classroom work, which was studying Nazi ideology. Similarly to this, the League of German Girls emphasised athletics and gymnastics. Despite the woman “housewife” theory that a woman was to be a housewife, Hitler still allowed these women to take part in these sports because it was deemed by German Health Authorities that it geared the female body to help prepare them for motherhood.

    Public displays of these values encouraged young men and women to abandon their unique selves in favour of becoming the next Hitler. These organisations seemed very good in a bad ay, i.e. they promoted Nazism but in a very eager method. However, being part of the organisations came some responsibility.

    If you were in the Hitler Youth or League of German Girls, you League of German Girls Propaganda Poster were encouraged to inform the authorities about any Anti-Nazism that you had heard. This was a disgusting method because it took advantage of young innocent German children by encouraging them to tell the authorities if they heard anything bad. Some children heard their parents say something bad about Nazism and would tell the authorities, never seeing their parents again. There was even a monetary reward offered sometimes. Even teachers could be taken away. No one was safe in Nazi Germany, from being a little kid to being an elderly person.

    The Nazis did have some opposition by the youth, despite their attempts to rein them in. You would have thought all the youth in Nazi Germany was fully behind Hitler. It is true that many did join the Hitler Youth, but when it was made compulsory to join in 1936, there were no alternatives. However, there were some brave rebels who went against the Nazi regime.

    In 1937, one protest movement started by the Edelweiss Pirates. Members were working class male youths mainly. It started in the Rhineland where members would gather and act in a manner angering local Nazi leaders. Hitler Youth members had to wear a semi-military uniform whereas Edelweiss members wore

    Bohemian clothing. They also sang banned song and played banned songs, e.g. jazz and blues tunes, which were banned for being too American. These Edelweiss members created areas in town or cities where they wouldn’t allow Hitler Youth. They were never really a danger to the Nazis and were only youthful irritants who wanted to rebel because that was normal for a teenager. However, the Edelweiss Pirates inspired other youths from more upper class backgrounds in anti-Nazi activities, involving their clothes and However, in Nazi Germany in WW2, they Edelweiss Pirates music. were not just an irritant but a real threat. Nazis had to deal with them accordingly and Heinrich Himmler said they should have gone to “concentration camps for 2-3 years” However, these have been only suspicions and never confirmed.

    Another famous youth movement against Hitler was the White Rose Movement. They believed WW2 had been lost by 1942, and it started in 1939. Members were encouraged to sabotage the Nazis. They even printed leaflets criticising Nazi leadership, despite the extreme danger. However, the members were caught and were put on trial for treason, found guilty and executed.

    Despite these rare movements, no other young people criticised the Nazis publicly, and if they did they would have to do it in extreme confidentiality. The Nazis were adored by many young Nazis and Hitler was an inspiration, but that can be used to just show how brainwashed Nazis were.

    The Nazis heavily changed the education system in Germany and got the Nazi ideals across. In my opinion, it was a very good prominent method of advertising Nazism by including it in everyday life for young people. However, the product being advertised, i.e. Nazism, was not something I agree with. Young people were very limited in their lives and could not really do anything other than following Nazi ideals. However, because of the distribution of the Nazi message, most of the youth were happy to follow the Nazi ideals and loved being Nazi. 

    Despite the disgusting racism in Nazism, the kids were still happy to follow them. That shows how much of a strong message had been put in across by the education in school and youth organisations. In school, everything was related to Nazism, even exam questions. And outside of school, everything was related to Nazism with compulsory youth organisations. One of the most important things about little kids is how they were used by their local Nazi leaders to inform them if they heard any negativity about the Nazis. This is a shocking technique by using children to “snitch” on someone who could be their parents, their school teacher, their best friend.

    Frankly, children were used by Nazis in some senses but overall, the kids were being prepared for the Nazi Germany of “tomorrow” and how to lead and defend their country. Finally, the Nazis did improve life for young people in Nazi Germany because of all the organisations and the activities. The young people would not have been happy just studying Nazi ideals in a classroom but with the Hitler Youth, they could go on camping trips with their friends. All the while they were learning about Nazi ideals. But the kids seemed to enjoy this and agree with the Nazi motive so that is why my opinion is that the Nazis improved life for young people.

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    The Importance of the Youth to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. (2023, Mar 10). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-importance-of-the-youth-to-nazi-germany-and-adolf-hitler/

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