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.


4 comments:

Sioux said...

I recently read Doerr's novel "All the Light We Cannot See." It included what the Nazi schools for young boys was like, along with what some of the resistance movement was like. It was fascinating...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What's scary is Middle Eastern terrorists do the same thing today...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

A bullet from one of their guns would have killed an Allied soldier just as surely as one fired by a man ... which was all the German High Command cared about.

Mankind is not very kind ... even to its own children. :-(

Sean McLachlan said...

Sioux: Sounds like an interesting novel. I might have to pick it up.

Alex: When I was doing that film review I link to, I was thinking of that twelve-year-old boy that ISIS brainwashed into being an executioner for one of their videos.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.