Hitler Youth: History--Militarization

Schirach actively engaged in militarizing the Hitler Youth. In June 1933, under an agreement between Hitler and Franz Seldte, which was negotiated in the presence of the Reich Minister of War, the "Steel Helmet League of Front Line Soldiers" (Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten) was incorporated into the Nazi movement. The Scharnhorst, the youth organization of the Stahlhelm, was integrated into the Hitler Youth.

Figure 11.--Hitler Youth training went far beyond military drill, which affter all was done in some Scout groups. Hitler Youth boys received weapns training. These boys are practicing grenade throwing.

The Hitler Youth was generally set up along military lines with uniforms, ranks, and titles. It contained divisions called Naval Hitler Youth, Motorized Hitler Youth, Hitler Youth Flyers, and Signal Hitler Youth. According to an official document published by the Reich Youth Leadership under Schirach, the object of these divisions within the Hitler Youth was to prepare boys, respectively, for the German merchant marine and Navy, the National Socialist Motorized Corps (NSKK), for civil and military aviation, and for service with signal troops.

Schirach and Wilhelm Keitel, then Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, on or about August 11, 1939, just before the invasion of Poland, reached an agreement. It was declared by Das Archiv to represent "the result of close cooperation" between Schhirach and Keitel. The agreement itself stated:

Figure 12.--Hitler Youth boys receiving firearms training. Guns for hunting (especially in Amerca) were not unknown to the Scouts, but not on the same scale. Also activities like grenade throwing never occurred in Scouting.

"while it is exclusively the task of the Hitler Youth to attend to the training of their units in this direction, it is suitable in the sense of a uniform training corresponding to the demands of the Wehrmacht to support the leadership of the Hitler Youth for their responsible task as trainers and educators in all fields of training for defense by special courses *** A great number of courses are in progress."

The agreement stated that it "gives the possibility of roughly redoubling the same 30,000 leaders in the Hitler Youth schools for directing shooting practice and field training. Under the agreement, specific arrangements were made for messing and billeting the Hitler Youth leaders at Wehrmacht installations Former Hitler Youth leaders in the Wehrmacht, who were specially selected volunteers, were to be assigned as liaison officers and deputies for carrying out this military training.

Figure 13.--The Whermacht assigned instructors to the Hitler Youth for the military training program.

Hitler himself, in a February 1938 speech, represented that thousands of German boys had received specialized training in naval, aviation, and motorized groups within the Hitler Youth, and that over 1 million Hitler Youth members had received instructions in rifle shooting from 7,000 instructors.

Christopher Wagner


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Created: November 15, 1998
Last updated: January 15, 2000