Rice, Holly

During Hitler’s control of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, the development of the youth organization of the nazi party in Germany, or “Hitler Youth,” was put into place in order to train and enforce nazi ideals onto the next generation of german citizens. All competing youth organizations were abolished, and by the end of 1937 the organization claimed to have as many as five million members, or 64 per cent of all German adolescents. From ages six to eighteen for boys and ten to eighteen for girls, children could be enrolled in different divisions of Hitler Youth. Pimf, the junior division, was for boys six to ten, where they would prepare to join Jungvolk and then, when they turned fourteen, Hitler Youth. These groups for boys had two main purposes: physical training and ideological indoctrination. Younger groups began with simple physical exercises and games to later learning military drills and how to handle weaponry. Classes on the nazi regime were taught throughout these groups, and each recruit had to take an oath pledging his loyalty to Hitler. Girls had similar groups set up for them starting at age ten Jungmadelbund, for ages 10-14, and Bund Deutscher Madel for ages 14-18.The female version of Hitler Youth, focused predominantly the importance of being a mother and becoming a proper housewife.  These groups were less militaristic than their male counterparts, but still focused on using physical activity to enhance fitness, strength, and beauty.

The new social structure introduced to these children by the Hitler Youth programs served as a culture change for the children living in nazi Germany. Children a part of other youth organizations such as boy scouts or church groups now only had the choice to join the groups the nazi party had made for them. The children a part of Hitler Youth now had to spend most of their time outside of school with their group leaders and fellow members. Because they spent so much time within their Hitler Youth programs, children were constantly being saturated with ideological doctrines of the nazi party, children were no longer concerned with what they were going to do with their future, they knew they were going to serve Hitler, but how to enable themselves to best fulfill that future. Sports no longer acted as fun games, but as a way to prepare oneself to better serve under Hitler when the day came to officially join the army or bear children. Using weapons, something that had not been considered normal for children, suddenly became acceptable and expected for boy between the ages of 14-18, and war became a greater emphasis on their thoughts. Loyalty to family began to fall short to loyalty to Nazi Germany as children spent less time with their parents and more time preparing to devote their life to the nazi regime.