Young People: For or Against the Nazis?

Not all young Germans were enthusiasts for Hitler Youth ideas - and some actively opposed them.

During the twelve years of the Nazi state three separate age groups passed through adolescence, that is the years between the fourteenth and eighteenth birthdays. Each group had its own distinctive experiences.

Those whose adolescence fell in the years 1933-36 had already had important, formative experiences before the Nazi seizure of power. They were in the front line for incorporation into the Hitler Youth and the so-called Volksgemeinschaft (racial community) of the Third Reich. They had also experienced the economic crisis of the early 1930s and were therefore quite receptive to the benefits offered by the rearmament programme (particularly after 1935-36), as well as to the ideas of Fuhrerstaat (leadership state), with its promise of an end to 'party squabbles', and of the 'restoration of national greatness'.

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