Never has a generation been so completely taken over by a totalitarian state as it was the case in Hitler's Third Reich: at the age of 10 children joined the 'Jungvolk' movement, at 14 they joined the Hitler Youth, and at 18 they joined the party, the 'Wehrmacht', the SA, or the SS. This 5-part documentary by Guido Knopp and the ZDF Contemporary History Department is the first comprehensive film portrayal of the young people in the Third Reich. With in-depth witness statements and some previously unpublished archive material, the documentary demonstrates how Hitler succeeded in gaining power over 'his children' through years of manipulation.
S01:E01 - Education
They were to become the Gauleiters of Los Angeles and Moscow, army commanders in the Urals, party leaders in Athens or Jerusalem. "Hitler's Children": the future elite of the "thousand year Reich", brought up to hate Jews, instilled with the delusion of the "members of the master race", drilled to be obedient until death. Through the Hitler Youth, the Nazi regime had access to the everyday lives of young girls and boys, their development, and their futures. The indoctrination also took place in schools - and in the so-called "Napolas" - National Political Institutes of Education - the elite schools of Hitler's Third Reich.
S01:E02 - Dedication
Obedience, fulfillment of duty, discipline and sacrifice - these were the principles of the National Socialist education. These principles also applied to the education of young girls. The "Bund Deutscher Madel" (the League of German Girls) was the female half of the Hitler Youth. Its aim was the "training of the future mother" - to produce more loyal young people for the party. Despite the obligations, many young women also saw the Hitler Youth as an opportunity to escape from the confinement of the parental home and an opportunity for emancipation.
S01:E03 - Seduction
At the beginning it appeared harmless: the Hitler Youth offered young people an attractive range of leisure activities. Community spirit, a spirit of adventure and self-confidence were just some of the incentives used by the Hitler Youth to attract young people. The method employed by Nazis was simple but effective: the massive exertion of influence was only possible because they succeeded in engendering enthusiasm amongst the youngest people.
S01:E04 - War
The young people in the "Third Reich" were all roped in, whether as helpers with the harvest, collectors of reusable materials or informers. It would not have been possible to maintain the National Socialist state without the participation of its youngest members. Six million young people alone worked in the armaments industry. Drilled in unquestioning obedience in the Hitler Youth, there was just one destiny for young people in the end: to be the reserve army for Hitler's war.
S01:E05 - Sacrifice
Shortly before the end of the war, Hitler sent children into a battle which had long since been lost. With their belief in "the Fuhrer, the People and the Fatherland", many young people went enthusiastically into the war which resulted in injury, imprisonment or death for many. During the last days of the war, children were sacrificed for the false illusion of the "ultimate victory" and were implicated in "crimes against humanity". The effects of the trauma - the abuse of an entire generation - continue up to the present day.
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