Hitler Youth and Propaganda

Abdallah Idriss

What is propaganda and how did it influence the majority of Germany?

Propaganda is a form of biased information aimed towards influencing the attitude of a population toward something or to promote a point of view to the society. During World War II, Propaganda was a driving force that kept the battles heated and each nation’s population united for a common cause. Germany created vast promotions during the war that were degrading to it opposing side. A great sense of nationalism was building up and these propagandists did anything to keep their country on top no matter how degrading and deceiving we could possibly be. One of the main reasons why World War II had a huge impact on the world was from propaganda because it promoted a great deal of industry and economic stability. If you think of how many people participated in the war, you would probably only think of how many soldiers fought in the war and how many casualties there were. Due to the art of propaganda, most of the citizens from each country during World War 2 were acting participants because it lit a fire in everyone’s heart to help their country’s cause in whatever way possible. Propaganda within Nazi Germany was taken to a new and frequently perverse level. Hitler was very aware of the value of good propaganda as he appointed Joseph Goebbels as head of propaganda. Goebbels promoted the views that all of Germany should be Aryan. Due to the mass number of propaganda posters being used Germans were brainwashed and that's why the majority of Germans were influenced by propaganda.

Hitler Youth- What is it and when and who started it?

The Hitler Youth known as Hitler-jugend was the youth organization of the Nazi Party in Germany. Hitler youth was formed in 1926 by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It was the way in which Hitler manipulated the future generation. Naturally Hitler like most leaders in totalitarian countries realized that most adults had already made up their minds one way or another regarding National Socialism, so he made sure that the next generation would be fully indoctrinated into his party's way of thinking. The reason why Hitler made Hitler-Youth was to instil Nazi ideas, and to prepare Youth for army, work, and war efficiency. Germans could join Hitler youth at the age of 10. The organization was divided into two categories, one for members ages 10-14 and the other for members 14-18. The organizational structure was based on a military model, with squads, platoons, and companies. Hitler was a firm believer in the need to indoctrinate Nazi ideology. by the end of 1933 membership stood at just over 2 million. In December 1936, membership of the Hitler Youth became virtually compulsory for all boys and girls aged over 10 years. According to baldur von schirach a Hitler youth member; we were taught a lot of national stuff an example was a quote ”Germany must live, even if we have to die”. Hilter youth was an effective way in brainwashing youth.

How was life like a Hitler youth, and what activities do they do?

The children of the Hitler Youth did not spend their entire day in the program, even though their life was based around Hitler's ideology. They also had to go to school and perform their duties at home. A child’s day would start with them going to school, just like any other kid, but this school wasn’t the usual curriculum that present time follows. In 1933, the Nazis saw major problems in the school system. They thought that the schools placed too much emphasis on the individual and not enough on the racial Aryan community, and about leadership. Thought need less intellectual education and more physical and character development. They wanted the future of the Nordic race to be healthy, and to be aware of their duty to racial purity. The Hitler Youth life interfered a lot in a child’s home life, but they were still expected to obey orders, do chores, and grow up into adults. It was different though because the Nazi leadership had a greater deal of influence over the families, they even would tell people exactly what to buy for a child’s birthday. This influence caused a great dispute between children and their parents because the kids were learning from an early age on, the National Socialist’s ideas; it became a greater influence than what parents were preaching. If a parent didn’t agree with Nazi Ideology, they could face fines, go to prison, or have their kids taken away for being “politically unreliable.” Their duties in the Hitler Youth involved a lot of activities. They participated in sports, warlike games, swimming, boxing, and hiking. Hiking and marching was a big deal because it taught the males discipline and got them physically fitter.

What was the role of propaganda in WW 2, and why was it so effective?

Propaganda in ww2 played a major role. It was mainly used in influencing people to join the war, but in Germany it was used enormously in almost every aspect of the country. Hitler used Propaganda in schools, wars, and with posters against Jews. Hitler brainwashed Germans, and made them believe in an Aryan race (Pure German). By creating an Aryan race he created a form of extreme nationalism. People became proud of being German. Germans would have now died to save their country. At first it seemed good but extreme nationalism led to racism treatment of "inferior races." Like in Germany they felt that the Aryan race was more superior than other non-Aryan races thus they wanted to have a greater Germany of superior Aryan races. There were many folks actively pushing propaganda during WW2 and some of them were masters at it. Gobbels for example knew the power that could be harnessed using propaganda and carefully cultivated what news to release and how to release it. So the main reason why propaganda was very effective was because Germans were completely brainwashed by Hitler. The poster on the left represents a secondary source. It shows a German soldier holding a Nazi flag. The soldier looks happy and proud of being a Nazi Germany. This was one of many posters that were effectively used by the Nazi party to influence Germans.

Joseph Goebbels- who was he and what was his role in Germany?

Joseph Goebbels was born in 1897 and died in 1945. Goebbels was Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and one of the most important and influential people in Nazi Germany.Joseph Goebbels served as minister of propaganda for the Nazi German government of the Third Reich, and is generally held responsible for presenting a favourable image of the Nazi regime to the Germans. Following Adolf Hitler's suicide, Goebbels served as chancellor of Germany for a single day. Goebbels was given the task of building up Nazi support in Berlin. He did this between 1926 and 1930. In 1928, he was elected to the Reichstag - something that he repeated in 1930. In 1929, he had been given overall charge of the party’s propaganda machine. It was here that Goebbels excelled. In 1933, after Hitler was appointed chancellor, Goebbels was appointed Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda. He held this post until 1945. On the left is a picture and a primary source of Joseph and his family. He was known as the poison dwarf because he was so evil. Joseph killed all six of his children following his wife and then he shot himself. Joseph Goebbels was an awful man.

Superior Race

Hitler believed that Germany was better than all other races. He made what is known as German Superior race (Aryan Race). According to Hitler and Nazi Germans the Aryan race is tall, long legged, and slim. The race is narrow-faced, with a narrow forehead, a narrow high built nose and a lower jaw and prominent chin, the skin is rosy bright and the blood shines through. The hair is smooth, straight or wavy - possibly curly in childhood. The colour is blond with blue eyes. By creating a superior race Hitler created superiority in German people’s minds. That was the main reason why Germans hated Jews; because they felt as if they are better than Jewish people. On the left is an example of Aryan German children. It is a primary source. It shows how a pure Germans should look like. This is how most of German children looked like.

Indoctrinating Youth

Education played a very important part in Nazi Germany in trying to cultivate a loyal following for Hitler and the Nazis. The Nazis were aware that education would create loyal Nazis by the time they reached adulthood. The Hitler Youth had been created for post-school activities and schools were to play a critical part in developing a loyal following for Hitler - indoctrination and the use of propaganda were to be a common practice in Nazi schools and the education system. Enforcing a Nazi curriculum on schools depended on the teachers delivering it. All teachers had to be vetted by local Nazi officials. Any teacher considered disloyal was sacked. Many attended classes during school holidays in which the Nazi curriculum was spelled out and 97% of all teachers joined the Nazi Teachers' Association. All teachers had to be careful about what they said as children were encouraged to inform the authorities if a teacher said something that did not fit in with the Nazi's curriculum for schools. According to Jarod Kintz he said that life as a kid wasn’t that nice, they had to follow all the Nazi Party rules if we disobey him we were punished. Germany’s youth was truly indoctrinated.