How successful were Hitler and the Nazis in getting the support of young people in Germany between 1933 and 1945? It was important for Hitler and the Nazis to control and get support of young people because with the support of the youth they could gain control of the next generation to come. This was an effective way of changing Germany’s future. Hitler aimed to make Germany a country containing no Jewish people and mainly consist of the Aryan race (blue eyes, blonde hair).
The Aryan race was, in Hitler’s eyes the master race. He considered everyone who did not have blonde hair or blue eyes unworthy and therefore gave them less opportunities, for example; he prohibited them from going on weekend Youth camps… Hitler changed the minds of many young people in Germany between 1933 and 1945 by using many methods, the two most commonly used methods were; propaganda and terror. Propaganda was the method used on young people for Hitler believed he could re-arrange their minds this way.
Some of the propaganda methods used included, changing the school curriculum so that it placed special emphasis on the subjects they considered suitable in producing “ideal Nazis. ” For example, history was used to show how successful the Nazis had been, biology was to explain Nazi racial beliefs, geography emphasised the harshness of the treaty of Versailles, physics was used to teach children about weapon making and physical education was trebled to make youth more agile and disciplined to make them more capable soldiers for the future! The Hitler Youth (for boys) was also set up.
The Hitler Youth’s main purpose was to control leisure time of the children and train them to be Nazis. At Hitler Youth meetings the children would be trained so that they learned to love and fight (even die) for Hitler. Other things young boys would do or learn is signalling, scrap work, collecting of metal, they would take part in a range of sporting activities and learn to fix bikes. However, even though Hitler youth was encouraged greatly there were certain standards that young boys had to pass. To become members boys had to: * Run 60 metres in twelve seconds Jump 2. 75 metres * Throw a ball 25 metres * Complete a one and a half day cross country march * Do close combat exercises * Jump out of a first floor window wearing full army battledress * Answer questions on Nazi theory In addition to the boys squad there was the league of German maidens (for girls). This had the same concept but instead of practising combat the emphasis was on keeping fit and home-building. To become members girls had to: * Run 60 metres in fourteen seconds * Throw a ball twelve metres * Complete a somersault * A tightrope walk A two hour march or swim 100 metres * Know how to make a bed But above all both groups of youth had to swear an oath to Hitler promising to be loyal and faithful to him. There is evidence that proves that many young people believed what they were told by the Nazis because, in Henry Metelmann’s case study it was told that he went home and spoke to his mother “I don’t think Doctor should touch me anymore mother! ” horrified his mother asked why, this is when he explained that the Nazis at Hitler Youth had told him that Jews were not human and bad (his doctor was a Jew).
Another method Hitler used for propaganda was displaying propaganda messages everywhere; on the radio and in films, books and newspapers. For instance, all of the radio broadcasting channels were taken over and replaced with; Hitler’s speeches, German music and German history; there was no music from other countries played and Anti-Nazi speeches were banned. In addition, public book burnings were held, Anti-Nazi newspapers were shut down and ‘news of the week’ was displayed before every movie seen in the cinema.
Such control of the media makes it difficult to make a firm judgement because they didn’t record a balanced view. This leads to a biased historical record, therefore the majority of any facts available are the ones the Nazis wanted to collect. However, it is a known fact that many people did object to the personal restrictions placed upon them, to Hitler’s policies and his active response. Some people, such as the Edelweiss Pirates and Hans and Sophie Scholl did not agree with Hitler’s policies, but instead of sitting back like most of Germany’s population they went to extreme lengths to get their point known.
For example, some of the things they did included, refusing to join Hitler Youth, drawing Anti-Nazi graffiti on sides of buildings, listening (publically) to American Jazz, braking the curfew rule and if boys, growing their hair long! Nevertheless, these actions did have consequences, for instance, when the Edelweiss Pirates were caught many were sent to ‘re-education camps’ and the leaders were publically hanged. Other methods the Nazis used to stop opposition was forced labour, this was when people were sent to concentration camps across Germanys land (Poland etc).
Most of the people within these camps were either Jews, communists, socialists and people that the German leaders disapproved of. I believe this will have effected many families across Germany because families will have been split up when being sent away somewhere (e. g. concentration camps) or had disagreements over the politics of Germany. Over all I believe the propaganda method was, in my opinion, the most effective way because it was a way to entice people in a non violent way, therefore causing less disruption and fear within the country….
It is difficult to know how much opposition the Nazis had because only a few people spoke out and the Nazis propaganda made it seem as though the whole of Germany was supportive of Hitler’s judgements. Certain groups, such as the Edelweiss Pirates, the Navajos, Swing Youth, White Rose including Hans and Sophie Scholl did help people to speak their beliefs because they decided that they were not going to sit back and watch things unfold, instead they formed groups that rebelled against the Nazis.
All of these groups went out of their way to get their beliefs known and be recognised as Anti-Nazi groups. However, these were not the only people who managed to get their point across. Opposition with artists and authors was also common, lots of authors and artists spoke out against the regime through their music or books rather than suffering in silence like most of Germany. It was difficult to oppose the Nazis because so much of Germany lived in fear of having themselves or their family killed or hurt.
Also because Germany had a lot of power at the time and it seemed, for most of the war that the allies (England, America etc) were not closing in on Germany, just defending their land! It is also difficult to pin point the exact amount of young Germans who disagreed with Hitler because most either didn’t fully understand the predicament the world was in or were fearful of what would happen to them and their families if they did go public with their beliefs. In conclusion, I believe that the Nazis were not successful in getting the support of young people in Germany.
My reasons for this are as follows, statistics show that many young people hated the Hitler Youth and one in five children never joined. This is an estimated 20% of people not being enrolled onto the Hitler Youth program, also, as seen as by 1939 it was compulsory there was a considerable amount of people still not enrolled. Furthermore, Large numbers of children found the propaganda talks boring and repetitive, they disliked being bossed about, and quite often school was cancelled to enable them to go on weekend camps and many resented having to give up their studies.
This shows that although many children were supporters of Hitler’s ideas many were not. Another reason I believe that the Nazis did not change the minds of the young people is that because if people truly believed the propaganda then Nazism would have persisted. But Germany became a social democratic country very quickly with no significant extreme parties. For me, this proves that the Nazi regime was not successful and did not change Germany.