ost of the German youth was taught in a Nazi educational system that had indoctrinated and brainwashed them to the point where they would give their life for Hitler, no matter who they had to kill or in what gruesome way they had to die. We are talking about the generation in which, in primary school, they were being thought maths with problems such as “at what angle do you have to point the artillery cannon in order to hit a target at 500 meters distance?” From 1935, many summer camps for children were invented, which held the program “Hitler Youth”, preparing children to become soldiers from a young age.
This is the sort of manipulative technique of teaching the Germans would use on their kids in every subject to make them look like the ultimate race and to offer a diminished view of other races. As you would also imagine, parents didn’t have much of an influence, as they knew that any influence that will alter the positive Nazi vision of a child would come with serious consequences.
However, there were two special groups that formed the youth resistance, those who had the mind to see beyond the closed mindset of fascists. The first group is:
Both of these groups tried to fight the Nazi system in different ways, or at least ways that didn’t put their safety at risk too much. Most of the children that were part of the White Rose Anti-Nazi group (Youth Resistance) were students from the University of Munich. Their preferred way of fighting combating Nazi fascism was by writing Anti-Nazi propaganda in the form of leaflets which they would distribute all over Munich as well as other closer regions of Germany through a secret and secure line of activists.
One of the Main leaders and founders of the White Rose youth resistance group was Sophie Scholl. A very educated young lady that has seen beyond Hitler’s plans and understood that Germany was in the wrong and that they would never win the war. She was a fighter who didn’t want to disappoint her indoctrinated parents, but at the same time couldn’t just stand there whilst people were being murdered by her “own kind”.
Sadly, like most of the members, Sophie died when the Gestapo found out about their secret operation; the consequence was paid in blood.
The second group was named Edelweiss Pirates; from the name, it can be assessed that this group was made up of younger children just coming into their teenage years. This was a much bigger youth resistance group made up of loose gangs from different regions of Germany. Some of these youngsters weren’t even in school as they had no families or they had their parents sent to the front. Therefore, they had to work for their bread.
As you can imagine, many of these children were delinquents in the sense that they were encouraging activities that were either banned by the Nazis or illegal, such as:
- Dressing in a prevocational way
- Listened to banned records
- Sneaked into secret areas
- Fought against the Hitler Youth
They were always speaking out against Hitler, which was something illegal that could have gotten you executed on the spot. Upon an investigation made by the Gestapo (German Secret Police), they left the youth resistance groups to see how they manifest; however, they made it very clear through a law which has been passed in 1937 that such resistance groups were banned. Just as the Gestapo has executed the White Rose group, many members of the Edelweiss Pirates.
Both of the groups worked together against combating the Nazis, in some cases, the propaganda created by White Rose would be delivered by the Edelweiss Pirates. It is said that the leaders of White Rose have attracted many loose gangs to fight for this cause
Effect on the Third Reich
From the first investigation done by the Gestapo, they did not take such groups very seriously, and they saw these “Aryan children” as a bit confused because most of them were delinquents that preferred to skip school, in other words, preferred to skip being brainwashed. But later on, they would find out that they actually meant serious business.
The first mistake that was made by the Third Reich was assuming that they were just incompetent children. However, their lines of work were so secretive pages upon pages of propaganda were passed right under the police’s noses. The propaganda, whilst good, was not as effective as the youth resistance had hoped, and this is because the German population or “the Aryan race” was so indoctrinated by the Nazis the propaganda didn’t have much of an effect on them.
Despite that, the Hitler youth, being quite young and still in the process of being indoctrinated, have been quite influenced by the propaganda and by the movement. As mentioned before, the Edelweiss pirates would fight and threaten members of the Hitler Youth to join them in their movement by explicitly mentioning the evil plans of the Third Reich.
This is one of the reasons that kind of brought the end of youth resistance groups. Many Hitler youth members complained about this situation, therefore, the Gestapo got to work in finding and ending the youth resistance groups.