Hitlerjugend - Hitler Youth

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015


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All the aims, goals, hopes and strivings of the National Socialist Party were directed towards the future, and in order to project National Socialism into the future it was essential to win the approval, confidence and respect of the young.
The Party was the 'bow', and the Hitler Youth was the arrow, speeding the ideology, and the reality of National Socialism into the endless future.

'My teaching is hard. Weakness has to be knocked out of them. In my Ordensburgen a youth will grow up before which the world will shrink back. A active, dominating, intrepid, forceful youth -- that is what I am after. Youth must be all those things. It must be indifferent to pain. There must be no weakness in it. I want to see once more in its eyes the gleam of pride and independence of the beast of prey.... In this way I shall eradicate the thousands of years of human domestication. Then I shall have in front of me the pure and noble natural material. With that I can create the 'new order'.'
Adolf Hitler
'Der Geist des Sieges'

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
based on an original image by Zac Sawyer from an oil painting by Franz von Stuck
And so Adolf Hitler looked to the youth of Germany for the material on which he and his successors could perform his 'act of creation, his divine operation.'
The youth he was seeking to create - in his own words would be:
Slim and slender, fast as a greyhound, tough as leather, and hard as Krupp steel.

The Führer and His Boys
The Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend often abbreviated as HJ in German) was the youth organization of the Nazi Party in Germany.
Its origins dated back to 1922 in form of predecessor organizations affiliated to the (at the time) Munich-based Nazi Party.
From 1933 until 1945, it was the sole official youth organization in Germany and was partially a paramilitary organization; it was constituted of the Hitlerjugend proper for male youth aged 14 to 18, the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Youth) for younger boys, and the League of German Girls.


Of course, nineteenth-century German youth was not yet 'hard'.
It was innocent.
And such youth usually belonged to one or another youth group, whether religious, athletic, nature, cultural, or a combination of these.
Some of them built medieval castles in the air.
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Wappen Deutsches Reich
Weimarer Republik 

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World War I
They were all an expression of restlessness and bewilderment, and well they might have been, for Germany, especially after World War I and the establishment of the Weimarer Republik.
Young people not only felt estranged from the government, but from adults in general.
Though the same could be said of youth throughout Europe, particularly in the middle class, the difference in Germany was that it did not, for the most part, attach itself to the liberal cause, the way youth movements elsewhere did.
The German youth movement began at the end of the nineteenth century and was not at all political at first.
It was a romantic protest against a society in which young people were superfluous.
Middle-class youth had been educated and brought up to believe that they could claim their birthright on coming of age.
Work and position would be theirs.
In adolescence they experienced the culture shock of Kafkaesque alienation.

Franz Kafka as a Student

Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a German-language writer of novels and short stories, regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Kafka strongly influenced genres such as existentialism. His works, such as 'Die Verwandlung' ("The Metamorphosis"), 'Der Process' ('The Trial'), and 'Das Schloss' ('The Castle'), are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, and mystical transformations. It is a little known fact that Kaafka was a fervent German nationalist who strongly supported the Second Reich, and looked forward to the defeat of the English.

Meaningful work and the status that went with it were claimed by the lucky few.
To the rest, young manhood ushered in a period of drift.
The youth groups filled a vacuum.
Everyone seemed to recognize that it was the end of an age, and that the futility and smallness which men now felt would not aid them in getting out of the snares of mechanized modern life.
The youth groups, whatever their particular character, had certain things in common: They all promised liberation from artificiality, alienation, and sterility, and wholeheartedly opposed the bourgeoisie, which stood for everything that had failed them.
They brought back the romanticism of the Middle Ages.
Its simple faith, loyalty, and high-minded love contrasted with the impersonality and decadence around them.
But it was not to be all feudal music and peasant crafts.
The youth movement early on fell under the spell of philosophers with extremist notions, men like the occultist Theodor Fritsch; the Orientalist Paul de Lagarde; and Julius Langbehn, who believed he had sufficient magical powers to exorcise the demons from Friedrich Nietzsche, then languishing in an asylum.

Theodor Fritsch
Theodor Fritsch (28 October 1852, in Wiedemar – 8 September 1933, in Markkleeberg), originally Emil Theodor Fritsche, was a German publisher and pundit. His anti-semitic writings did much to influence popular German opinion against Jews in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Fritsch founded the Reichshammerbund in 1912, one of the first political groups to adopt the swastika. He also founded the secret Germanenorden. Members of these groups formed the Thule Society in 1918, which eventually sponsored the creation of the Nazi party. A believer in the absolute superiority of the Aryan race, Fritsch was upset by the changes brought on by rapid industrialization and urbanization, and called for a return to the traditional peasant values and customs of the distant past, which he believed exemplified the essence of the Volk.

Paul Anton de Lagarde

Paul Anton de Lagarde (2 November 1827 – 22 December 1891) was a German polymath, biblical scholar and orientalist. He has been cited as one of the greatest orientalists of the 19th century. Lagarde's anti-Semitism laid the foundations for aspects of National Socialist ideology. Paul de Lagarde was born in Berlin as Paul Bötticher; in early adulthood he legally adopted the family name of his maternal line out of respect for his great-aunt who raised him. At Berlin and Halle he studied theology, philosophy and oriental languages. Lagarde's anti-Semitism laid the foundations for aspects of National Socialist ideology, in particular that of Alfred Rosenberg.

Julius Langbehn
Julius Langbehn (26 March 1851 – 30 April 1907) was a German conservative art historian and philosopher. He was born in Hadersleben, Schleswig (now Haderslev in Denmark), and died in Rosenheim.

Langbehn, Lagarde glorified the survival of the fittest, scolded humanitarians for attempting to protect the racially unfit, and rejected the idea of social equality - “Equality is death, hierarchy is life,”.

Gido von List
Racism mixed with occultism, through the influence of men like Lanz von Liebenfels and List.
Lanz's heroes, not surprisingly, appealed to the young.
They were 'larger-than-life', and boosted the adolescent egos of their German readers, who could identify with their pure-blooded rage against the despoilers of civilization.
List's fantasies were equally flattering.

Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels
Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels (July 19, 1874 - April 22, 1954) was a Austrian occultist, former Cistercian monk, and founder of the Ariosophy movement. He was a friend of student of Guido von List. Lanz von Liebenfels helped found the "Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft" (Guido von List society) in 1905 and in 1907 he founded the "Ordo Novi Templi" (Order of the New Templars).
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Liebenfels Swastika

He published the magazine 'Ostara', regularly read by Adolf Hitler.
The magazine was founded in 1905 by Lanz, (name of the German goddess of Easter spring) took a huge spread in the German countries, reaching runs over 100,000 copies. It appeared in two series, from 1905 to 1917, eighty-nine numbers and published from 1922 to 1927, with twelve more numbers.
In 1904, he published his book 'Theozoologie' in which he glorified the "Aryan race" as "Gottmenschen" ("god-men").

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Lanz von Liebenfels
Liebenfels proposed the existence of the Gotter-Elektron (the Electron of the Gods), which was a cosmic life force - also known as the 'vril' - which would only be found in the pure blooded Aryans, and which would be capable of transforming them into the Übermensch. Liebenfels states that "the Aryans are the masterpiece of the gods, and are endowed with supernatural and paranormal, powers derived from the Grail (Gotter-Elektron) emanating from 'centres of power' that confer absolute supremacy over any other creature. The emblem that Liebenfels chose to use was the swastika.

His glorification of Germanic history and deification of nature were bathed in the rosy glow of a sun which symbolized hidden psychic powers.
These men believed that their ideals possessed a tremendous magnetism for the hopeless, rationalistic world of the present.
The whole of Germany had been swept up in an esoteric wave, and youth more than anyone.
The peculiarly nineteenth-century phenomenon, 'spiritualism', (abhored by the National Socialists) and its more "scientific" variation, Theosophy, in Germany were welded together with a mystical concept of the 'Völk', as a people whose collective "soul" was more than the sum of its parts.

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Die Geheim-Lehre
(The Secret Doctrine)
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Seal of the Theosophical Society
Theosophy (from Greek θεοσοφία theosophia, from θεός theos, divine and σοφία sophia, wisdom; literally "divine wisdom"), refers to systems of esoteric philosophy concerning, or investigation seeking direct knowledge of, presumed mysteries of being and nature, particularly concerning the nature of divinity. Theosophy is considered a part of the broader field of esotericism, referring to secret doctrine, (known in Germany as the 'Geheimlehre'), that offers the individual enlightenment and salvation. The word esoteric dates back to the 2nd century CE. The theosophist seeks to understand the mysteries of the universe and the bonds that unite the universe, humanity and the divine. The goal of theosophy is to explore the origin of divinity and humanity, and the world. From investigation of those topics theosophists try to discover a coherent description of the purpose and origin of the universe.

This Aryan "soul," Germans believed, united the individual German to his geographical place (heimat).
Every tree and rock of German soil was holy, and spoke to the people, shaping them and causing their creativity.
The intuitive wisdom of which the Aryans, rooted in their land, were capable was hidden from the Jews, those eternal wanderers, who had no organic place of their own and, therefore, tried to usurp the fatherland of others.
On this account, the Jew was most comfortable in the city, alienated from nature and the Völk.

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Vril Emblem
This belief in the Völk included the belief that Nature emitted a vital 'æther', a 'life force' - (Vril), with which only the Aryan was in touch.
He alone could contact this force, which would yield up its secrets and give him special powers.
The new romanticism was, in many cases, irrational, and this seemed to guarantee its easy acceptance.

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Madame Blavatsky 
It presented itself as more substantial than the discoveries of science, because science itself did not claim to understand the dark mysteries of the force which drove nature, whereas Madame Blavatsky and others like her did.
List, borrowing her Theosophy, also did.
Her "ancient wisdom," transposed by him into Germanic wisdom, which had been destroyed by Christianity, could be revived through intuition, and would explain the essence of things.
German mystics developed an ideology, consisting of the occult, racism, and romanticism which went down surprisingly well with youth hunting for certainties.
Many young people joined one of the many new occult sects, which developed in Völkisch arena between the First and Second World War.

Mathilde  Ludendorff 
Of such were Mathilde Ludendorff's (the general's wife) 'Bund für Deutsche Gotterkenntnis', Arthur Dinter's group, the 'Asgard Circle', or Gustav Muller's sect.'

Mathilde Friederike Karoline Ludendorff (born Mathilde Spiess on 4 October 1877 in Wiesbaden – 24 June 1966, Tutzing) was a German teacher and psychiatrist. She was the second wife of General Erich Ludendorff – he was her third husband – and a leading figure in the Völkisch movement, where she was known for her esoteric and conspiratorial ideas. Together with Ludendorff, she founded the Bund für Gotteserkenntnis (German) (Society for the Knowledge of God), a small and rather obscure esoteric society of Theists that, although banned from 1961 to 1977, survives to this day.
Der Bund für (Deutsche) Gotterkenntnis (nach Erich Ludendorff und seiner Frau Mathilde auch Ludendorffer oder Ludendorffianer) ist eine religiös-völkische Weltanschauungsgemeinschaft mit Sitz in Tutzing, die von den Verfassungsschutzbehörden als rechtsextrem eingestuft wird. Der Bund für Gotterkenntnis hat die Rechtsform eines eingetragenen Vereins. Nach Eigenangaben beträgt die Anzahl der Mitglieder 12.000, die Behörden gehen von nur 240 Mitgliedern aus.

To children whose fathers had been killed in the war, the leaders of these groups became surrogates.
To adolescents disturbed by a fragmented society, they offered solidity
To students who knew that nothing awaited them upon graduation from school, they offered immersion in the group.
To alienated youth drifting into dreary, unfriendly cities, they offered companionship

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To young people bewildered by the intricacies of sex, they offered the solution of rigorous puritanism.
To children who could no longer believe in the God of their fathers, they offered 'ein neues modernes Gott' (note  the word modern).
To those thirsting for absolute meanings, they provided absolute answers.
Mysticism and everything mystical had dominion over these young people, and it was in those ranks that the word Führer originated, with its meaning of obedience and devotion.
The word 'Bund' arose with these groups also, with its mysterious undertone of conspiracy.
And also the word Gemeinschaft (community).

A significant proportion of cultured idealistic youth was thus, for years on end, and at the most impressionable age, withdrawn from the tasks of their time, and in some way 'estranged'.
Instead of learning to see things as they apparently were, and freeing themselves from the tradition of German idealism, they became imerserd a mysticism which predisposed them to National Socialism.
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Nordic or 'Thule' Swastika
The divine essence, or 'elan vital', or life force, or 'Vril', was believed to be electromagnetic - "Theo-zoological," in Lanz's terminology – the 'Electron of the Gods'.
Sonnenrad - Sun Swastika

Since the sun was the repository of this energy, it became the fashion for German youth groups, as for occult groups generally, to adopt the emblem of the swastika, a symbol for the sun.
List's Armanen believed that the solar symbol held the key to an ancient 'secret science'.
The 'Cosmic Circle' practised pagan rituals intended to arouse the life force, and awaken clairvoyant powers in people of Germanic blood.
In their songs and dances, the groups tried to recreate that primordial kinship with nature which they believed ancient man to have had.

Solstice Ceremony
'Lebensreform' Mysticism
They abhorred much of science and reason as enemies of the life of the soul.
Many of them became vegetarians and teetotallers, for they believed that the purification of the physical body would help the soul to see reality.

Solstice Ceremony
They threw over orthodox medicine for spiritual and herbal healing, which were somehow felt to be closer to the primal source.
The youth movement in Germany was essentially 'conservative' because, while looking to create a new future, it also stressed the importance of the link with the past - not with the traditions of one's parents and grandparents, but rather with the more powerrful rites of one's remote ancestors.

Communist Youth Demonstration
Berlin 1931
While Communist youth was being taught to believe in a classless society in which the individual was subordinated to the state, Völkisch youth was being taught that the Aryan individual was bound to the state through his hereditary ties, that peasantry and rulers were one folk (volk), and each had his proper place in the hierarchy.

Hitler Jugend Parading
The peasantry was rhapsodised over and imitated in dance, song, and dress as being "organic" folk.
But like the Communists, Völkisch youth held the 'bourgeoisie' to be contemptible - the source of all misery. 
After World War I, the German youth movements took on more and more the character of anti-Semitic societies, seeing the Jew as the exemplar of the bourgeoisie, and little by little, Jewish youth was excluded from membership in youth organizations.
At the same time that they were practicing spirituality through vegetarianism and abstinence from sex, boys and girls were being encouraged by leaders like de Lagarde, Langbehn, and Fritsch (see above), and Houston Stewart Chamberlainto extol force, as the Crusaders had done, in a holy war against the enemies: Freemasons, liberals, and Jews.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain

'Die Grundlagen des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts'
Houston Stewart Chamberlain (9 September 1855 – 9 January 1927) was an English-born German author of books on political philosophy, natural science, and son-in-law of the German composer Richard Wagner. He later became a German citizen. In December 1908, twenty-five years after Wagner's death, Chamberlain married Wagner's stepdaughter, Eva von Bülow. Chamberlain's two-volume book, 'Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts'  published in 1899, became one of the many references for the pan-Germanic movement of the early 20th century, and, later, of völkisch racial philosophy.

In 1899 Chamberlain wrote his most important work, 'Die Grundlagen des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts' - 'The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century', - in German. 'Die Grundlagen' (1899) was the best-selling work by Houston Stewart Chamberlain. In it he advances various racial and especially völkisch theories on how he saw the Aryan race as superior to others, and the Nordic Aryan peoples as a positive force in European civilization, and the Jews as a negative one. He was a fervent admirer of Adolf Hitler and National Socailism.

Friekorps - Munich 1919
The politicization of the youth movement came just after World War I, when the paramilitary Friekorps (Free Corps) attracted many former members, to pass them on in turn to the NDAP, and in some cases, the SS.
Their education in obedience, discipline, selfless service to an ideal, romanticism, and the occult - in a patriarchy where fathers had been taken away to the war - helped to make the transition easy, and they were eager to follow the Führer wherever he might lead.
German youth had always been highly organized.
In the Weimar Republic some 4.5 million boys and girls under twenty-one were members of organizations connected with the National Board of German Youth Associations.


One of the key elements of the 'revolt' of youth was 'Lebensreform'.
The Lebensreform movement in Germany originally was a politically diverse movement. 
There were hundreds of groups across Germany dedicated to some or all of the concepts associated with Lebensreform: ecology and organic farming, vegetarianism, naturalism ('Nacktkultur'), and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.
Dozens of magazines, books, and pamphlets were published on these topics.
Some groups were made of socialists, some were apolitical, and some were right-wing and nationalist in outlook.

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach
One outstanding prophet of Lebensreform was the painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1861-1913), who founded the community Himmelhof near Vienna.

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (February 21, 1851, Hadamar, Duchy of Nassau – December 15, 1913, Capri) was a German painter and social reformer. He was a pioneer of nudism and the peace movement. His country commune, Himmelhof, in Ober Sankt Veit near Vienna (1897–1899) was one of the models for the reform settlement Monte Verità in Ascona. His ideas included life in harmony with nature and rejection of monogamy, turning away from any religion (although he was a follower of theosophy - see below), and a vegetarian diet. As a painter, Diefenbach was an independent representative of Symbolism.

Gebet zum Licht
Among Diefenbach's disciples were three painters: Fidus, Frantischek Kupka and Gusto Graeser.

Fidus was the pseudonym used by German illustrator, painter and publisher Hugo Reinhold Karl Johann Höppener (October 8, 1868 – February 23, 1948). He was a symbolist artist. Born the son of a confectioner in Lübeck, Höppener demonstrated artistic talent at an early age. Around 1886 he met the "apostle of nature" and artist Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851–1913), and joined Diefenbach's commune near Munich. On Diefenbach's behalf, he served a brief prison sentence for public nudity, earning him the name Fidus ("faithful").

Parsifal - 1890
Gusto Graeser, thinker and poet, greatly influenced the German Youth Movement, and such writers as Hermann Hesse and Gerhart Hauptmann.
He was the model for the master figures in the books of Hermann Hesse.

Many young people became part of the movement known as 'Lebensreform', (Life Reform).
During the Weimar years, some of the leaders of this movement found support with the German public, particularly in Berlin.
Some innovations had lasting influence.
Joseph Pilates developed much of his Pilates system of physical training during the 1920s. 
Expressionist dance teachers such as Rudolf Laban had an important impact on Pilates' theories.

'Nacktkultur', called naturalism, became popular in northern Germany in particular as part of the Lebensreform utopian projects.
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach pioneered the concept in Vienna in the late 1890s.
German 'Nacktkultur', or 'Freikörperkultur' (free body movement), refers to a network of clubs that promoted nudism as a way of linking the modern body more closely to nature, giving it a freer presence in the great outdoors.
Heinrich Pudor (Heinrich Scham, 1865–1943) supposedly coined the term 'Nacktkultur' around 1903. His book 'Nacktende Mensch' (1893) and the three-volume 'Nacktkultur' (1906) established an enduring, if not accurate, link between 'Nacktkultur', vegetarianism, social reform, and racial hygiene (including anti-Semitism).
However, Rothschuh claims that 'Nacktkultur' first appeared in Germany in the 1870s, along with the animal protection, vegetarian, and natural healing movements.
Nudity was an important feature of 'Freikörperkultur' well before World War I, and the idea of nudity as a healthful activity apparently owed something to the medical profession's efforts to combat such diseases as tuberculosis with, what before the war was called, 'Luft und Licht Therapie' (air and light therapy) or 'Heliotherapie'.
As late as 1922 a Munich film-maker  Robert Reinert, released a film ('Nerven') that concluded with scenes of nude bodies in the mountains finally cured of neurasthenic ailments contracted in a decadent urban environment.
Resorts for naturalists were established at a rapid pace along the northern coast of Germany during the 1920s, and by 1931, Berlin itself had 40 naturalists' societies and clubs.
A variety of periodicals on the topic were also regularly published, and 'Aufklärungsfilme' (enlightenment films) supported the idea of teaching the public about important social problems, such as alcohol and drug addiction, venereal disease, homosexuality, prostitution, and prison reform.


Nude Wanderwogel
Wandervogel - auf dem Gipfel
Associated with 'Nacktkultur' and 'Lebensreform' was the 'Wandervogel'.
Wandervogel is the name adopted by a popular movement of German youth groups from 1896 onward.
The name can be translated as 'rambling, hiking or wandering bird' (differing in meaning from "Zugvogel" or migratory bird), and the ethos is to shake off the restrictions of society and get back to nature and freedom.
Soon the groups split and there originated ever more organisations, which still all called themselves Wandervogel, but were organizationally independent.
Nonetheless the feeling was still of being a common movement, but split into several branches.

Nackt Kultur
Wandervogel - auf dem Gipfel
The Wandervogel movement was officially established on 4 November 1901 by Herman Hoffmann Fölkersamb, who in 1895 had formed a study circle at the boys' Berlin-Steglitz grammar school where he was teaching.
The Wandervogel soon became the pre-eminent German youth movement.
It was a 'back-to-nature' youth organization emphasizing freedom, self-responsibility, and the spirit of adventure, and took a nationalistic approach, stressing Germany's Teutonic roots.
After World War I, the leaders returned disillusioned from the war.
The same was true for leaders of 'German Scouting'.
So both movements started to influence each other heavily in Germany.
From the Wandervogel came a stronger culture of hiking, adventure, bigger tours to farther places, romanticism and a younger leadership structure.
Scouting brought uniforms, flags, more organization, more camps and a clearer ideology. There was also an educationalist influence from Gustav Wyneken.

Gustav Wyneken
Gustav Wyneken (March 19, 1875, Stade, – December 8, 1964, Göttingen, Lower Saxony) was a German educational reformer, free thinker and charismatic leader. His ideas and practice on education and youth became highly influential, but were also controversial. Wyneken coined two influential terms. The first term was "pedagogic eros", the name given to erotic attraction and/or love between a teacher and a pupil. 'This concept was based around the Ancient Greek Platonic 'Ladder of Beauty' model of same-sex pedagogic relationships, but blended with high Germanic philosophical ideas.

Stefan George and the Stauffenberg Brothers
Although focused on same-sex relationships, his ideas could also be applied to heterosexuality

The second term was "Jugendkultur"; this implied that wherever possible adults should refrain from overtly 'leading' youth groups, and older youths should instead lead younger youths (this concept was later taken up by the National Socialists in th HJ). This was part of his deep influence on the German Youth Movement; notably the Jugendkulturbewegung, the Wandervogel and the Adolf Brand's Gemeinschaft der Eigenen. In a sense, by coining and encouraging 'Jugendkultur' he was the founder of what would later become widely known as 'youth culture'. Wyneken is also known to have influenced the circle around Stefan George

Probably the most significant poet of the Weimar period was Stefan George.George was born in Bingen in Prussia in 1868.

Albert Speer
Maximilian Kronberger
He spent time in Paris and began to publish poetry in the 1890s, while in his twenties. George founded and edited an important literary magazine called 'Blätter für die Kunst' (Magazine for the Arts). Stefan George was also at the center of an influential literary and academic circle known as the 'George-Kreis' (George Circle), which included many of the leading young writers of the day. Some of his most significant work includes 'Algabal', and the love poetry he devoted to a gifted adolescent of his acquaintance named Maximilian Kronberger, whom he called "Maximin", and whom he identified as a manifestation of the divine. George was also involved with the Stauffenberg brotherrs and the young Albert Speer.

This later led to the emergence of the 'Bündische Jugend'.

Wandervogel Nacktkulur
Wandervogel Boys
The 'Wandervogel', 'German Scouting' and the 'Bündische Jugend' together are referred to as the 'German Youth Movement'.
They had been around for more than a quarter of a century before National Socialists began to see an opportunity to take over some methods and symbols of the German Youth Movement to use it in the 'Hitler Youth' to influence the young.
The  'Wandervogel' movement was very influential in its time.
Its members were romantic and prepared to sacrifice a much for their ideals
Many groups within the movement were 'anti-semitic', or close to the government of the Third Reich.

From 1933 the German Government subsumed the 'Wandervogel', 'German Scouting', the 'Jungenschaft', and the 'Bündische Jugend', along with most youth groups independent into the Hitler Youth.


The ideological training Hitler decreed was "to bring up that unspoiled generation which will consciously find its way back to primitive instinct."
The system of indoctrination was perfect.
At ten, each boy joined the 'Young Folk'; and each girl, the 'Union of German Maidens'.
They received uniforms and took a pledge to devote their lives to the Führer.


Hitler-Jugend Trompeter 
Jugendbund der NSDAP
In 1922 the Munich-based NSDAP established its official youth organization called Jugendbund der NSDAP.
It was announced on 8 March 1922 in the Völkischer Beobachter, and its inaugural meeting took place on 13 May the same year.
Another youth group was established in 1922 as the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler.
Based in Munich, Bavaria, it served to train and recruit future members of the Sturmabteilung (or "Storm Regiment"), the adult paramilitary wing of the NSDAP.
Following the abortive Munich Putsch (in November 1923) the National Socialist youth groups ostensibly disbanded, but many elements simply went underground, operating clandestinely in small units under assumed names. In April 1924 the Jugendbund der NSDAP was renamed Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung (Greater German Youth Movement). On 4 July 1926 the Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung was officially renamed Hitler Jugend Bund der deutschen Arbeiterjugend (Hitler Youth League of German Worker Youth).
This event took place a year after the SDP itself had been reorganized.
The architect of the re-organisation was Kurt Gruber, a law student from Plauen in Saxony.
Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM)
After a short power-struggle with a rival organization - Gerhard Roßbach's Schilljugend - Gruber prevailed and his "Greater German Youth Movement" became the official youth organization of the NSDAP.
In July 1926 it was renamed 'Hitler-Jugend', Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend ("Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth") and, for the first time, officially became an integral part of the Sturmabteilung.
The name Hitler-Jugend was taken up on the suggestion of Hans Severus Ziegler.
By 1930 the Hitler-Jugend had enlisted over 25,000 boys aged 14 and upwards.

Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM)
It also set up a junior branch, the Deutsches Jungvolk, for boys aged 10 to 14.

Baldur von Schirach
Girls from 10 to 18 were given their own parallel organisation, the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM), League of German Girls.
In April 1932 Chancellor Heinrich Brüning banned the 'Hitler Youth' movement, but in June Brüning's successor as Chancellor, Franz von Papen, lifted the ban as a way of appeasing Hitler, - the rapidly ascending political star.
A further significant expansion drive started in 1933, when Baldur von Schirach became the first Reichsjugendführer (Reich Youth Leader), pouring much time and large amounts of money into the project.


The Hitler Youth was organized into corps under adult leaders, and the general membership comprised boys aged fourteen to eighteen.
The organization was also seen as an important stepping stone to future membership of the elite Schutzstaffel (SS).
Members of the Hitler Youth were particularly proud to be bestowed with the single Sig Rune (victory symbol) by the SS.
The SS utilized two Sig Runes as their mark, and this gesture served to symbolically link the two groups.
The Hitler Youth was organized into local cells on a community level.

Such cells had weekly meetings at which various National Socialist doctrines were taught by adult leaders.
Regional leaders typically organized rallies and field exercises in which several dozen Hitler Youth cells would participate.
The Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (NSRBL), the umbrella organization promoting and coordinating sport activities in Germany during the Nazi period, had the responsibility of overseeing the physical fitness development programs provided to the German youth.

Hitler Youth Swim Team
The aims of the promotion of sports in the Third Reich included hardening the spirit of German youth, as well as making German youth feel that they were part of a wider national purpose.
This was in line with the ideals of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the "Father of physical exercises", who connected the steeling of one's own body to a healthy spirit, and promoted the idea of a unified, strong Germany.
A further aim was the demonstration of Aryan physical superiority.

Hans von Tschammer und Osten
'Nordic Æsthetic Beauty'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
Hans von Tschammer und Osten's impressively staged events of sports pageantry not only enhanced the physical activity, but also the nationalism of German youth.
Nordic æsthetic beauty, and commitment to Germanic ideals of race went hand in hand during the Third Reich.
The largest gathering usually took place annually, at Nürnberg, where members from all over Germany would converge for the annual Nazi Party rally.

'Triumph des Willens' is a 1935 film directed, produced, edited and co-written by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 NSDAP Congress in Nürnberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 people. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by NDAP leaders of the at the Congress, including Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess and Julius Streicher, interspersed with footage of massed Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel members, and public reaction. Hitler commissioned the film, and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. (see  below)

The Hitler Youth maintained training academies comparable to preparatory schools, which were designed to nurture future Nazi Party leaders, and only the most devoted members could expect to attend.

Hitlerjugend at Nürnberg
from 'Triumph des Willens' - 1935
The Hitler Youth also maintained several corps designed to develop future officers for the Wehrmacht (Armed forces).
The corps offered specialist pre-training for each of the specific arms for which the member was ultimately destined. 

Marine Hitler Youth
The Marine Hitler Youth, for example, was the largest such corps and served as a water rescue auxiliary to the Kriegsmarine (German Navy.

Deutsche Arbeiter Jugend 
Another branch of the Hitler Youth was the Deutsche Arbeiter Jugend – HJ (German Worker Youth – HY).
This organization within the Hitler Youth was a training ground for future labor leaders and technicians.
Its symbol was a rising sun with a swastika.

Baldur von Schirach
The Hitler Youth regularly issued the 'Wille und Macht' (Will and Power) monthly magazine.
This publication was also its official organ, and its editor was Baldur von Schirach.

 'Wille und Macht'
Other publications included 'Die Kameradschaft' (Comradeship), which had a girl's version for the BDM called 'Mädelschaft', and a yearbook called 'Jungen eure Welt' (Youth your World).
Another program entitled Landjahr Lager (Country Service Camp) was designed to teach specifically chosen girls of the BDM high moral character standards within a rural educational setting.


In 1923, the youth organization of the Nazi party had a little over 1,000 members, and was limited to Munich.

Hitlerjugend at Nürnbergfrom 'Triumph des Willens' - 1935
In 1925, when the Nazi Party had been refounded, the membership grew to over 5,000. 
Five years later, national membership stood at 25,000.
By the end of 1932, it was at 107,956.
When the NSDAP came to power next year, 1933, and the membership of Hitler Youth organisations increased dramatically to 2,300,000 members by the end of that year.
Much of these increases came from takeovers of other youth organizations.
(The sizable Evangelische Jugend, a Lutheran youth organisation of 600,000 members, was integrated on 18 February 1934).

Nackt Hitlerjugend - 1930
In 1934, a law declared the Hitler Youth to be the only legally permitted youth organization in Germany, and stated that "all of the German youth in the Reich is organised within the Hitler Youth."
By December 1936, Hitler Youth membership had reached over five million.
That same month, membership became mandatory for Aryans, under the 'Gesetz über die Hitlerjugend' law.
By 1938, the Hitler Youth had over 7.7 million members.
This legal obligation was reaffirmed in March 1939 with the 'Jugenddienstpflicht', which conscripted all German youths into the Hitler Youth.
By 1940, it had eight million members.


The members of the Hitler Youth were viewed as possible future "Aryan supermen", and were taught völkisch racial philosophy.

Hitler-Jugend Trompeter
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
One aim was to instill the motivation that would enable its members as soldiers, to fight faithfully for the Third Reich.
There was more emphasis on physical and military training than on academic study.
The Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (NSRBL), the umbrella organization promoting and coordinating sport activities in Germany during the Nazi era, had the responsibility of overseeing the physical fitness development programs provided to the German youth.
After the boy scout movement was banned through German-controlled countries, the Hitler Youth appropriated many of its activities, though changed in content and intention.
For example, many activities closely resembled military training, with weapons training, assault course circuits and basic tactics.
Members wore uniforms very like those of the SA, with similar ranks and insignia.
For most young people, there was little resistance to joining the National Socialist Youth movement.

Hitlerjugend Sport
The enthusiasm for the Führer cancelled out all other interests.
Even when church groups or parents pleaded with children to keep away from the Hitler Youth, their hearts and souls had been captured by the uniforms, the fife and drums, and the example of their peers, so that not to be included in the Führer's glorious movement became the worst kind of punishment.
The young people worshiped the Führer as a god. 
To be singled out to see him, and speak to him, was to be elevated to being a 'demigod'.
Hitler was right, however.
His pedagogy was hard.
He took the prevailing knowledge about mass propaganda techniques and applied them zealously.
Almost every moment in the youth camps was organised. 
The mind was led, step by step, through an intensive drill to accept National Socialist principles.

Hitlerjugend Kultur
Hitlerjugend Fun
The HJ put more emphasis on physical training than on academic study.
Culture, however, was an important aspect of the 'Hitler-Jugend', with particular emphasis being given to music and singing.
The days were long and active, and the political indoctrination was particularly effective when minds were tired.
The training began with the 'Hitler-Jugend' (Hitler Youth) which was made up of the Hitler-Jugend  proper (abbreviated to HJ), for male youth ages 14–18; the younger boys' section 'Deutsches Jungvolk' for ages 10–14; and the girls' section 'Bund Deutscher Mädel' (BDM, the League of German Girls).
The HJ were viewed as posible future "Aryan Herrenrasse (Herrenvolk) - (and possibly even Übermensch"), and the best were indoctrinated into occult racial doctrines.


Now strangely, the postscript is the most important part of this story.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015

'Mehr sein als scheinen'

It was not enough, however, to prepare his youth with the training provided by the Hitler-Jugend.
Youth had to be honed and perfected for a truly unimaginable role.
So, to that end Himmler was instructed to 'aquire' the Napolas, (Nationalpolitische Lehranstalt) from the Minististry of Education, headed by Bernhard Rust.
The Napolas were originally secondary boarding schools in the Third Reich.
They were founded as "community education sites" after the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933.
The initial goal of the schools was to raise a new generation for the political, military, and administrative leadership for the Third Reich.
Life at the Napolas was dominated by a strict military discipline.
Only boys considered to be "racially flawless" were admitted to the establishments
This meant that no boys with poor hearing or vision were accepted.
"Above-average intelligence" was also required, so that those looking to be admitted had to complete 8-day academic and physical entrance exams.
The official descriptor (rank) of a Napola cadet was “Jungmann” (plural "Jungmannen"), used similarly to the term “Cadet” in military schools in other countries.
Napola cadets were between 11 and 18 years of age.
Life in the Napolas was very competitive.
Approximately one fifth of all cadets washed out, or were sent home because of injuries sustained in training accidents.
The percentage of Jungmannen who eventually entered the SS was 13%, much higher than the 1.8% in the general German population.
The National Socialist world view was considered paramount in Napola education.
The first three Napolas were founded in 1933 by the Minister of Education Bernhard Rust in Plön, Potsdam, and Köslin
The schools initially responded directly to the Reich Ministry for Education, rather than to any state, like regular schools.
From 1936, the Napolas were subordinated to the Inspector of the National Political Institutes of Education and SS Obergruppenführer August Heissmeyer.
From 1939, they were part of the Hauptamt Dienststelle SS-Obergruppenführer Heißmeyer.
Therewith the schools were under the direct influence of the SS, and Heißmeier pressured teachers to join the SS.
He also introduced uniforms and ranks similar to the SS among students and teachers.
By 1941 there were 30 Napolas with 6,000 students enrolled in all of Nazi Germany.
In 1942 there were 33 schools.
By 1945 there were 43 schools.


Ordensburg Sonthofen
Ordensburg Vogelsang

After a successful career at a Napola a youth would move up to an Ordensburgen (Order Castles).
The Ordensburg program began in the spring of 1933.

'In my great educative work I am beginning with the young.
We older ones are used up - we are old already.
We are rotten to the marrow.
We have no unrestrained instincts left.
We are cowardly and sentimental.
We are bearing the burden of a humiliating past, and have in our blood the dull recollection of serfdom and servility.
But my magnificent youngsters ! Are there finer ones anywhere in the world ? Look at these young men and boys ! What material !
With them I can make a new world.
My teaching is hard. Weakness has to be knocked out of them.
In my Ordensburgen a youth will grow up before which the world will shrink back.
A violently active, dominating, intrepid, brutal youth - that is what I am after. Youth must be all those things.
It must be indifferent to pain.
There must be no weakness or tenderness in it.
I want to see once more in its eyes the gleam of pride and independence of the beast of prey.
Strong and handsome must my young men be.
I will have them fully trained in all physical exercises.
I intend to have an athletic youth - that is the first and the chief thing.
In this way I shall eradicate the thousands of years of human domestication. Then I shall have in front of me the pure and noble natural material.
With that I can create the new order.
I will have no intellectual training.
Knowledge is ruin to my young men.
I would have them learn only what takes their fancy.
But one thing they must learn - self-command !
They shall learn to overcome the fear of death, under the severest tests.
That is the intrepid and heroic stage of youth.
Out of it comes the stage of the free man, the man who is the substance and essence of the world, the creative man, the 'god-man'.
In my Ordensburgen there will stand as a statue for worship the figure of the magnificent, self-ordaining 'god-man'; it will prepare the young men for their coming period of ripe manhood. More than that I cannot say.'
Adolf Hitler

Ordensburg Vogelsang
Ordensburg Sonthofen
The 'Burgs were planned in various remote locations such the Pomerania lakes District in West Prussia, the Eifel in west Germany, the Allgäu in Bavaria and along the Nogat River in East Prussia.
Ordensjunkers (Castle Squires) candidates were required to be at least 5 ft 4, between 23 and 26, racially pure and in good health, and without any physical limitations.

Ordensburg Krössinsee - Die Falkenburg am Krössinsee

Ordensburg Krössinsee
Ordensburg Krössinsee
Completed in less two years and dedicated simultaneously with Vogelsang and Sonthofen on April 24, 1936 by Adolf Hitler, Krössinsee represented the program's first year of training and ending four years later at Marienburg.
Built by architect Clemens Klotz, the Volkish styled complex of buildings consisted of numerous buildings with granite foundations, rustic stone facades and thatched roofs and cost an estimated 20 million Reichsmarks to complete.
The complex was laid out on a grid system and consisted of two 150-foot (46 m) towers, the barracks called the Kameradschafthausen, a court of honor, sports hall and mammoth administration building.
Classes began each morning at 7 am and included studies in philosophy, politics and world history. Afternoons were devoted to military drills, battle tactics, sports and equestrian techniques. The school was recognized for its outstanding equestrian program.
The nearby lake provided the means for students to develop their rowing and sailing skills.
On May 16, 1941, the Ordensburg was renamed Die Falkenburg am Krössinsee.

Ordensburg Vogelsang

The second year of study in the Junker program was held at Burg Vogelsang locating on a slope overlooking the Urft river in the region of west Germany called the Eifel.Built by Clemens Klotz, the sprawling complex included the Adlerhof (Eagle court), a church like structure called the Gemeinschaftshaus (community house), Wirtschauftgegebäude (economics building), Haus des Wissens or (House of Knowledge), the Kameradschaftshäusen or (Barracks), the Burgsschenke or cantine, Swim and sports Hall.
The daily rountine consisted of 6:00 early morning exercise 7:00 muster, 8:00 - 10:00 project groups, 10:00 - 12:00, mess followed by lectures and afternoon sports, group projects 5:00 - 6:30 pm and rest at 10:00 pm. Studies consisted of National socialist race science, geopolitics and intensive sportive education (especially equitation).
Another emphasis was pilot training.

Ordensburg Sonthofen
Ordensburg Sonthofen
It was at Ordensburg Sonthofen that the Junkers would have begun their third year of study.
Designed by one of Hitler's favorite architects, Hermann Giesler, the huge complex underwent revisions and expansions lasting eight years at a cost of 150 million German Reichsmarks.
Phase one which took two years to build was dedicated simultaneously with Krössinsee and Vogelsang on April 24, 1936 and included the Burg (central castle) with its Ehrenhof (court of honor), Wohnhof (assembly grounds) and the east and west wings of the structure consisting of the Fuchsbau (Wolf's Den/cantine) and Gemeinschaftsraum (community room).
Swimming Team

Phase two completed in 1937 included the Unterkunftsgebäude (accommodations or barracks building), Turnhalle (gymnasium) and the 140-foot (43 m) Palace (tower) which was completely functional.
Phase three consisted of the Schwimmhalle (pool), Musiksaal (music room), Gymnastiksaal, Technisches Haus, Seminarbau as well as several other structures.
The day began with inspection at 6 am followed by a rigid class room study of German history, geography, Social studies, World history, studies in racial doctrine, fine arts and metal works. Sports and conditioning, a vital part of the program was conducted in the late afternoon.
Skiing played an essential role during the long winter months.

Nestled on the banks of the Nogat river is one of the greatest castles of the middle ages.
Built during the 13th and 14th century by the legendary Teutonic Knights, Marienburg not only served as the order's principal fortress but during the Third Reich it was used as a National Socialist shrine for occult Germanic worship.
Youth groups from all over Germany would descend on the castles to partake in a variety of ceremonies, rituals and theatrical pageants.
The leadership of the Reich found the strict military and monastic life style of the Teutonic order very conducive to the development and training the Führer's rising generation. 
Ordensjunkers advanced from their third year at Sonthofen to their fourth and final year at Ordensburg Marienburg. 

Within the shadows of the historic Teutonic fortress where the legendary knights ruled the Prussian lands five centuries before, the Junkers of the Third Reich would've completed their training just outside the wall of the lower castle.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
And the eventual completion of their training would be the 'act of creation, the divine operation,
the goal of a biological mutation which would result in an unprecedented exaltation of the human race, and the appearance of a new race of heroes, demi-gods and god-men'.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
Each young man would be a chalice into which the essence of the divine would be poured, like a mystical Spear penetrating the Cup of the Grail - 'erlösung ist dem erlöser'

"I am founding an Order.
It is from the burgs that the second
stage will emerge – the stage of the 'Man-God', when Man will be the measure and centre of the world.
The 'Man-God', that splendid Being, will be an object of worship ..
But there are other stages about which I am not permitted to speak ..."
Adolf Hitler
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015

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