I’ve been watching some old films about the Hitler Youth, much of it on You Tube. The rousing marching music caused my husband to shut the door of his study. Apparently, it could be heard in Detroit and India, as Martin was on a conference call. Two things struck me immediately:
- The rallies looked like mass hysteria
- The boys – and the girls of the BDM - were incredibly fit and healthy-looking and also very disciplined.
It was disturbing, though, to see some of the comments on You Tube. Not only are the fascist sentiments vicious in content but also in the language used.
There was no doubt massive indoctrination. By the time the boys were recruited for the army they had listened to four years, at least, of Nazi propaganda. The BDM girls were given some more homely, spiritual perspectives. They were still encouraged to take part in sports. However, actual combat was discouraged. Yet some of their sewing was to do with making helmets for soldiers.
Often, the children in both organisations were encouraged to spy on their parents and correct any anti-Nazi behaviour.
The physical discipline, especially for some of the boys, was gruelling and often included 50 mile marches without food or drink.