The Hitler Youth played a substantial role in the NAZI Party's seizure of power. Marches througout Germany had an impression on many. The idealism and commitment of the movement impressed even Hitler. Once in power the role of the movement changed and supporting the pageantry at NAZI parades and gatherings. Thus one of the main functions of the Hitler Youth was to participate in the parades, pagents and public events of which National Socialism was so fond. The Hitler Jugend organization gave the youth the chance to find their place in life. The colorful banners, parades, uniforms, status and sense of purpose were all aspects of the organization that the youth bought into and encouraged them to join. The HJ was the youth’s way of making their voice heard and acknowledged. The Hitler Youth drum and buggle corps was an important part of the pageantry in which the units participated.
We notice a variety of symbols being used by the various Hitler Youth organizations. One symbol was the sieg ruin or single lighting bolt. The DJ used a single rune. The SS used the double rune. The symbol was referred to as a 'seig rune', meaning a victory rune. Runes were the characters used in ancient languages, especially Germanic and Scandinavian languages during the medieval era or about the 3rd to the 13th centuries. As they declined in actual usage with the adoption of Latin letters, runes took on a kind of mysterious symboism. They were adopted by the NAZIs and other right wig groups steped in Nordic mythology. We also notice the Swastica and eagles being used. These symbols were used in both uniform accessories as well as unit banners and flags.
We note quite a few images of HJ boys parading through German streets. We do not know just how common these parades were. Here we are not sure just what is involved. Our information on these parades is limited. Were these parades civic events on special days. Or were they more NAZI Party events perhaps both. It is likely that there were differences in various regions. We do not know to what extenbt they were planned by the HJ Organization itself or if they were ordered by local NAZI official. Nor do we know just who participared in the parades. We seem to notice mostly boys, but a few of the photographs show BDM girls as well. HJ units met once a week. We do not to what extent parading occurred at this time or if the parades were special events held at other times than the meetings. We believe that there were different types of parades. Sometimes single units paraded. We have noticed larger parades involving groups of units.
Party rallies were held all over Germany. These were events that all German boys could participate in and their patriotism admired by family and neigbors. These rallies were held in many locations and at different times of the year. The highpoint of the year for NAZI stalwarts and older Hitler Youth was the annual part rally at Nuremburg. Every summer thousands of Hitler Youth marched from their home towns to along countless German roads cinverging en mass at Nuremberg to participate in the annual Nazi Party Congress. Goebells in 1940 had a film made commemorating this annual event--Der Marsch Zum Führer (The March To The Führer). The boys are pictured in their columns as they march through the mountains, forests, fields and towns of the Reich, still untouched by the War. This national pilgrimage is climaxed by the elaborate ceremonies of the Nuremberg Congress. The boys parade before their Führer and are addressed by NAZI potentates such as youth leader Baldur von Shirach, Rudolf Hess, and of course Hitler himself. Behind the now chilling pageantry of this film and the all to notable discipline of its participants is shown the cleverness of NAZI leaders in preparing German youth, both physically and psychologically, for war.
One of the main functions of the Hitler Youth was to participate in the parades, pageants and public events the NAZIs were so fond of staging. The HJ organization gave the youth the chance to find their place in life. The colorful banners, parades, uniforms, status and sense of purpose were all aspects of the organization that the youth bought into and encouraged them to join. The HJ was the youth’s way of making their voice heard and acknowledged. The major events were NAZI rallies, but after taking power the HJ supported the pageaatry of enumerable civic events as well. This was the case both in big cities as well as small villages. Yhus they could be both major ce\lebrations or small community events.
The HJ boys here might be only a small part of the pagentry which in some cases date back centuries. The HJ segment may only be a small conyngent, perhsaps a drum or buggle corps. In other cases a number of boys might march. I don't think this was very common before the NAZIs seized power (1933), but afterwards became a very common scene throughout Germany.
We note Hitler Youth boys serving as honor guards. We are not sure how common this was. We do not have many such images. In part this was because the NAZIs preferred military or SA/SS honor guards for ceremonies honoring notable officials or military casualties. A HJ honor guard was not probably viewed as sufficiently martial. The HJ boys were more likely to be used a ceremonies honoring historical officials. This is, however, just a preliminary assessment. Our archives of HJ honor guards is very limited. The boys were of course always smarly dressed in their uniforms for these events. So far we have only found boys serving as honot guards.
The Hitler Youth drum and buggle corps was an important part of the pageantry in which the units participated. I do not know of actual full bands, although there may have been some. All of the units that I have seen, however, are drum and buggle corps. The HJ drum corps, always made up of boys was a ubiquitous feature of NAZI parades ralies. The drums were always emblazoned with a flame-like motif.
NAZI pagents were a strange mixture of nationalist excesses and pseudo Christian themes including the Teutonic knights and Wagner's notion of the Crusades. NAZI pageaatry highlighted order and often harkened back to historic heros. Both strongly supported Hitler goals of a unified people to pursue the War which from the start was his major goal.
Hitler and the NAZIs had no desire for an intelectual debate over the tenants of National Socialism. For their purposes pageantry was a much more satisfactory approach. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that the German masses were fickle and dumb. He believed that mass support could be won over by repeating simple slogans on end. For this purpose pagentry was ideally suitted and could be used to support the constant reinteration of his themes in the tightly controlled media.
Today it is easy to dismiss NAZI pagentry. The simple fact is, however, that in the 1930s it appealed to many Germns. Not all, but many Germans were affected. This is hard to quantify, as people could not speak freely during the NAZI era and after the War no one wanted to admit to being a NAZI. NAZI pageantry, however, had an impact on Germans looking for both order and the preceived need to reverse the humiliation of World War I and the Versailles Peace Treaty. The pageantry of Hitler youth and other NAZI units with their banners and music impressed many. Hitler used various methods to build support among the German people. One major element of this effort was the use of pageantry to promote NAZI ideas on racial and social purity. Certainly the strongest impact must have been on youth, but many adult Germans were also moved. A major problem Hitler faced was that the great majority of the German people, like the Engish and French, had no interest in another war. NAZI pagenatry was one of many efforts to slowly change the thinking of Germans so that in the end the population was a major supporter of both NAZIism and the War enabling the regime at the end even to use old men and boys to continue the War.
Both boys and girls participated in NAZI pagentry. They both paraded and cairred banners. Many images exist of BDM trops in NAZI events. The boys are, however, generally placed in more conscicious spots in the staging and give more important roles such as in the drum and buggle corps. This of course reflcted the NAZI view of the proper role of women and place in society.
NAZI films and propaganda often portray the HJ and BDM members cairred away in a nationalist fervor and love of the Führer. This was in part true, but there is also an significnt element of staging at NAZI events, especailly party rallies. One former BDM girl tells out unit leaders would walk behind the ranks and smack any girl who was not keeping her hand correctly outstreached in the correct NAZI salute.
Many boys were deeply affected by the pagentry of the Hitler Youth events. One Hitler Youth boy, Hans Jugen Habenisht, describes how the marches, flags, and the sight of ranks of boys impressed him.
Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Chronology Pages:
[Return to the Main chronologies page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web Site:
[Return to the Main Hitler Youth activities page]
[Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Essays] [Garments] [Organizations] [Religion] [Other]
[Introduction] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Questions] [Unknown images]
[Boys' Uniform Home]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web organizatiion pages:
[Boys' Brigade] [Camp Fire] [Hitler Youth] [National] [Pioneers] [Royal Rangers] [Scout]