Wednesday, 4 February 2009

When did YOU join the Youth Academy?

Here is a brief passage from Henry Metelmann's autobiographical book "Through Hell For Hitler".

I was in the Hitler Youth. A law had been passed saying that there could only be one youth movement and my church youth group was taken over by the Hitler Youth. I liked it. All my friends were in it. My father said I had better stay in it because under the prevailing conditions it would be bad for him, and for me, were I to leave.

When I left school at 15, my father, a railwayman, got me a locksmith's apprenticeship on the railway. The first question on the application form for that apprenticeship was: "When did you join the Hitler Youth?" You probably didn't get the job if you had never been a member - there was indirect pressure (not a law) to persuade youngsters to join the Hitler Youth. But I admit I loved it. We were poor and I had few clothes, sewn by my mother. But in the Hitler Youth I was given a brown shirt. My father would not buy it for me because he could not afford it, but at the next meeting I was given a parcel to take home. It contained two brown shirts. My father hated it and had to watch me wearing it. He understood what it meant. We Hitler Youth marched with drums and swastikas and I was so proud, accompanied by fanfares. It was a very disciplined environment.

I loved the camps which took place in lovely surroundings, such as a castle in Türingen. All of us young children had the chance to play plenty of sport. When we wanted to play football in our poor streets, nobody could afford a ball, but in the Hitler Youth all was provided. Where did the money come from? It probably came from the contributions of arms manufacturers. Hitler was put into power in order to prepare for a war which could save Germany from economic collapse.

I remember when there were 7 million unemployed. Within 18 months of Hitler coming to power there were very few unemployed left. The docks started building warships - the Bismarck, the Eugene, the Uboats. Germany was actually becoming short of workers. People thought that was wonderful, but my father said that if you can only get work by preparing for war something was very wrong.

In the Hitler Youth we learnt to shoot and throw hand grenades, occupy and attack trenches. We played great war games. We were being taught round big bonfires where we sang Nazi songs: "If Jewish blood drips off our knife", and suchlike. My parents were horrified that we were going back to barbarism. But I didn't question it. We were being prepared for fighting a war.

A few years after that Germans had occupied vast areas 4 or 5 times the size of the UK. These areas could be held down because German youth had been prepared for it in the Hitler Youth. I believed that we Germans would sort out the mess the world was in.

The following article from the Liverpool Echo reminds me strongly of Metelmann's warnings.

How long will it be before Britain's under-21s find the question: "when did you join the Youth Academy?" on their job application forms?


Henry North London said...

This country is going to hell in a handcart

sound money man said...

Henry, I think you're right. The national debt simply cannot increase without limit. Our political class is running out of options. They could increase taxes. They could devalue the currency at rates approaching the Weimar Republic. They could repudiate the debt as the Bolsheviks did in 1917. They could plunder other nations as the Fascists did. Or they could cut spending! Fingers crossed.