Primary Sources

This is one of many images used to promote Hitler Youth groups. This poster reads “Officers of Tomorrow”, exactly what the boys in the Hitler Youth aspired to be. German boys joined these groups and were trained to be the next group of Nazi leaders, the more radical the better. This propaganda portrays a young boy resembling a modern-day boy-scout. His innocent young face hides the true goals of the Hitler youth and of the Nazi party overall. The man in the back is an honorable looking soldier. Propaganda did not reflect the harsh side of Nazi ideals. Such as this image shows, propaganda aimed toward the Hitler Youth worked to encourage children to join these programs for their personal betterment and the betterment of their future.

Citation: Nolan, Hamilton. “Edelman Memo or Totalitarian Propaganda?” Gawker. (accessed October 15, 2011).

This poster shows the Hitler Youth as an innocent organization that celebrates German exceptionalism, keeping the nationalist principles more overt pieces about the war effort to one side in order to promote the organization first as an outdoors club. This was one of the functions of the Hitler Youth as it had mutated from other youth activity organizations that had existed before the Nazi takeover. The poem that accompanied it, however, was less subtle:

What’s this racing up a storm?
The Hitler Youth four-boy race!
Gallop! Gallop! It’s the final lap!
Each boy knows:
In games, as in life, the winner is
Only he who keeps going to the end!
Heil Hitler!

Here the sinister way an engaging activity for youths became such a powerful propaganda tool becomes clear. The Nazis to occlude success into something in association with Hitler in this poem, and by association hard work becomes something associated with Nazi values. On young minds who have not yet formed any solid ideas about political ideals, this could change their perspective and views on life in subtle but powerful ways. Unity is also encouraged in the piece as the Hitler Youth are working with effortless teamwork tapping into the longing for structure and companionship that is present in people.

Citation: Auerbachs Deutscher Kinder-Kalender 1934 (Leipzig: Verlag von Auerbachs Deutschem Kinder-Kalender, 1933).

Online citation: Randall Bytwerk. 2006. German Propoganda Archive. October 14, 2011.

Nazi Propaganda Within Hitler Youth Clubs

                Jungvolk Oath

“In the presence of this blood banner which represents our Führer, I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the savior of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life for him, so help me God.” 

Nazi propaganda for German boys occurred in many mediums; the most effective and perhaps the most direct being in the very allegiances sworn by these children. The Jungvolk Oath was administered to ten-year-old boys first entering the Hitler Youth program. In this they declared full faith and allegiance to Adolf Hitler and would die for him should the need arise. Though it would seem doubtful that these boys fully understood the magnitude of what they were saying, this oath never-the-less laid firm foundation of devotion for the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler.

Hitler Youth Prayer

“Adolf Hitler, you are our great Führer. Thy name makes the enemy tremble. Thy Third Reich comes, thy will alone is law upon the earth. Let us hear daily thy voice and order us by thy leadership, for we will obey to the end and even with our lives. We praise thee! Hail Hitler!”

“Führer, my Führer, give me by God. Protect and preserve my life for long. You saved Germany in time of need. I thank you for my daily bread. Be with me for a long time, do not leave me, Führer, my Führer, my faith, my light, Hail to my Führer!”

Modeled after the Lord’s Prayer the Hitler Youth Prayer was another effective form of Nazi propaganda for German youth boys. By mimicking the structure of a well-known prayer this became simple to memorize promoting the Nazi party and Führer. This linkage between party and religion also gave a larger than life godlike quality to Hitler. Once again this propaganda promotes the concept of self-sacrifice for country, party and Hitler. Though this was little more than a fun spin-off of the Lord’s Prayer to the children reciting it, the concepts of self-sacrifice and placing the Nazi Party above their own interests was further indoctrinated into their minds.

Mottos For Boys

“Live Faithfully, Fight Bravely, and Die Laughing!”

“We were born to die for Germany!”

“You are nothing–your Volk is everything!”

Simple mottos for boys in the Hitler Youth program also served as great tools of propaganda. These mantras were aimed at affecting the mindsets of youth boys effectively leading them from Hitler Youths to faithful soldiers. The ideals incorporated into these sayings once again show the greater Germany under the Third Reich transcends the importance of the individual. That should the need arise, self-sacrifice for Germany and the Nazi Party is the very duty of a good German.

Online Citation: “Hitler Youth.”  History Palace.  Last modified 1999.

Cinema and the Nazi Propaganda

Another very effective medium that propagated Nazi ideals was cinema.  The effectiveness of a film’s ability to stir emotions in German citizens was not lost on the Nazi regime.  Film could be easily broadcast to the masses and carry specific Nazi messages that easily influenced German youth.

Here is a link to the Hitler Youth Quex film:

In one specific case Karl Aloys Schenzinger authored a book, Der Hitlerjunge Quex, which centered on the murder of 15-year-old Herbert Norkus.  Norkus was a newly recruited Nazi Youth who had an abusive, Communist father who condemned his involvement in the Hitler Youth.  After Norkus’ mother died he put a full effort in contributing to the Hitler Youth program and the Nazi party’s agenda.  Herbert was murdered by rival Communists while handing out Nazi propaganda leaflets in January 1932.  The compelling story was recruiting gold for Josef Goebels and the Hitler Youth movement.

After the success of the novel, a film, titled Hitler Youth Quex was produced effectively immortalizing Herbert Norkus and the Nazi message that all German youths should begin following Nazi doctrine.  The Nazis used this for the purpose of mass persuasion.  Cinema was a cutting edge technology in the 1930’s and it presented another very effective platform for the Nazi’s to send their message and entrap young German minds.

Online Citation: Bosmajian, Hamida.  “Sparing the Child: Grief and the Unspeakable in Youth Literature.”  New York: Routledge, 2002.

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