Friday, 15 May 2015
Military History Photo Friday: Hitler Youth Prisoners of War
Near the end of the Second World War, seventy years ago, the Third Reich had a serious manpower shortage. Most of the men of fighting age had been killed, wounded, or captured. Older men were conscripted to fill the ranks, and the boys of the Hitler Youth were also called to fight the Allies.
Some of these kids weren't even in their teens. Allied soldiers felt terrible shooting at them, but also had to admit that the young troops often fought very well, having been brainwashed by their upbringing and being too young to fear death. The Allies tried to capture these kids when they could, and there are numerous photographs showing just how young some of them were.
One of the worst things the Third Reich did was to corrupt children with the Nazi ideology. For the Black Gate blog, I recently reviewed a German film from the era titled Hitlerjunge Quex, about a famous member of the Hitler Youth. Originally intended as fascist propaganda, it has strangely morphed in its meaning for modern viewers to have an anti-fascist message.