Young people were very important to Hitler and the Nazis. Hitler spoke of his Third Reich lasting for a thousand years and to achieve this he would have to ensure German children were thoroughly indoctrinated into Nazi ideology.
To this end, from the age of 10 boys and girls were encouraged to join the Nazis’ youth organisation, the Hitler Youth (the girls’ wing of which was called the League of German Maidens). Membership from age 10 was made compulsory in 1936 and by 1939 90 per cent of German boys aged 14 and over were members.
|The Hitler Youth||The League of German Maidens|
|Its aim was to prepare German boys to be future soldiers||Its aim was to prepare German girls for future motherhood|
|Boys wore military-style uniforms||Girls wore a uniform of blue skirt, white blouse and heavy marching shoes|
|Activities centred on physical exercise and rifle practice, as well as political indoctrination||Girls undertook physical exercise, but activities mainly centred on developing domestic skills such as sewing and cooking|
As well as influencing the beliefs of young Germans through the Hitler Youth, schools indoctrinated young people into the political and racial ideas of Nazism.
All teachers had to join the Nazi Teachers’ Association, which vetted them for political and racial suitability.
The curriculum was altered to reflect Nazi ideology and priorities:
Again, the aim was to brainwash children so that they would grow up accepting Nazi ideas without question.