Hitler Youth

Hitler Youth Patch

Originally known as the Greater German Youth Movement organized by Kurt Gruber, and officially sanctioned by the Nazi Party, this youth organization was renamed the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend, Bund der Deutschen Arbeiterjugend) on July 4, 1926, the second day of a large Nazi rally. The organization was declared the only official Nazi youth organization in April of 1929.

The organization was primarily intended to train the young men of Germany to be future soldiers, as well as to instill in them extreme patriotism for their country, the Nazi Party, and Adolf Hitler. In the early 1930's the Hitler Youth took part in a variety of campaigns which led to the election of Nazi Party members to the Reichstag.

On April 3, 1933, months after Adolf Hitler had been appointed the Chancellor of Germany, the Hitler Youth organization took control over most of the youth organizations in Germany. Communist and Jewish youth organizations were immediately shut down.

In December of 1936 participation in the Hitler Youth was made mandatory for all German boys aged 10 through 18 (German girls were a member of the League of German Girls).

Due to shortages in the German army, all anti-aircraft batteries were manned by Hitler Youth members starting on January 26, 1943,

In the spring of 1943 the 12th SS Panzer Division, was finalized. This division's strength consisted largely of Hitler Youth members, as well as experienced soldiers who had been Hitler Youth members. On D-day this division was sent to Caen after it was confirmed that a major Allied invasion was taking place at Normandy. By September of that year the division's strength had been significantly reduced due to extremely high combat casualties.

As Allied forces pushed further and further into Germany territory, and on to Berlin, the Hitler Youth, as well as virtually any German man who could be found, were called forth to defend their country.