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Youth under Hitler
The Hitler Youth was a logical extension of Hitler's belief that the future of Nazi Germany was
its children. The Hitler Youth was seen as being as important to a child as school was.
The whole Hitler Youth movement was overseen by Balder von Shirach. Although, the Hitler
Youth looked like a very disciplined body, in reality this image was far from accurate. By
1938, attendance at Hitler Youth meetings was very poor barely 25%. To tighten up the
falling attendance a law was passed in 1939 making attendance compulsory.
Girls, at the age of 10, joined the Jungmadebund (League of Young Girls). Girls had to be able
to run 60 metres in 14 seconds, throw a ball 12 metres, complete a 2 hour march, swim 100
metres, and know how to make a bed!
Some of the activities the Hitler Youth did included marching, bayonet drill, grenade throwing,
trench digging and map reading, as well as, gas defence, use of dugouts, how to get under
barbed wire and pistol shooting.
There were separate organisations for boys and girls. The task of the boys' section was to
prepare the boys for military service. For girls, the organisations prepared them for
motherhood. Boys at 10, joined the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Young People). By 13 they
transferred to the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth), where they stayed until the age of 18.
After Hitler came to power, all other youth movements were abolished and as a results the
Hitler Youth grew quickly. In 1936, the figure stood at 4 million members. In 1936, it became
all but compulsory to join the Hitler Youth. The Hitler Youth catered for 10 to 18 year olds.
Movements for youngsters were part of German culture and the Hitler Youth had been
created in the 1920s. By 1933 its membership stood at 100,000
In the early years of the Nazi government, Hitler had made it clear as to what he expected
German children to be like:
· A young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard
as Krupp's steel.
· The weak must be chiselled away. I want young men and women who can suffer