The Hitler Youth was the sole official youth organization of Nazi Germany. Think there's something unsettling about children dressed up in uniforms to celebrate and impress one of the most evil people who ever lived? These creepy Hitler Youth photos present an overview of a particularly disturbing element of Nazi Germany. In early iterations, beginning in 1922, children across the country were recruited into the Hitlerjugend (HJ) to be indoctrinated in Nazi ideology.
By the end of 1933, when the Nazi Party took control of Germany, the HJ boasted more than two million members. Soon, the Reich outlawed all other youth organizations - including the Boy Scouts, on which the Hitlerjugend (HJ) was based. In 1939, all German youths were automatically conscripted at the age of 17. By 1941, all Aryans over the age of 10 were forced to participate. A significant majority chose not to participate in HJ, and some groups even vocalized and publicized their anti-Nazi beliefs. However, this protest often ended in executions. If not, it was sure that youth who were not members of the HJ would have a difficult time entering university or finding jobs. It certainly wasn't the worst part of Nazi Germany, but still, the whole ordeal was downright nuts.
In Germany, there were many youth organizations, namely ones based in the Catholic faith. Part of nazi Germany's kirchenkampf ("church struggle") campaign was to "strangle" the Catholic Church by weakening all of the organizations that supported the Church. The Hitler Youth, especially once it became compulsory, served to drag Catholic children away from participating in Catholic life.