Collectors Showcase CS00263 Hitler Youth: Flagbearer (1:28 Scale)
"The German soldier is to be tough as leather, fleet as a greyhound, and hard as Krupp steel."
- Adolf Hitler discussing the creation of the new German soldat
The Hitler Youth (German: Hitler-Jugend, abbreviated HJ) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung (the SA).
The Hitler Youth was originally established in 1922 as the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler. Based in Munich, Bavaria, it served to train and recruit future members of the Sturmabteilung (or "Storm Regiment"), the adult paramilitary wing of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP, the German Nazi Party.
Following the abortive Beer Hall Putsch (in 1923), the Hitler Youth was ostensibly disbanded but many elements simply went underground, operating clandestinely in small units under assumed names. It was formally re-established in early 1926, a year after the Nazi Party itself had been reorganized. The architect of the re-organisation was Kurt Gruber, a law student and admirer of Hitler from Plauen, Saxony. He fused together several of the clandestine youth groups to form an embryonic national organisation. It was called the Grossdeutsche Jugendbewegung or GDJB (Greater German Youth Movement).
After a short power struggle with a rival organization - Gerhard Rosbach's Schilljugend - Gruber prevailed and his Greater German Youth Movement became the Nazi Party's official youth organization. In July 1926, it was renamed Hitler-Jugend, Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend (Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth) and, for the first time, officially became an integral part of the Sturmabteilung.
By 1930, the Hitler-Jugend had enlisted over 25,000 boys aged fourteen and upwards. It also set up a junior branch, the Deutsches Jungvolk, for boys aged ten to fourteen. Girls from ten to eighteen were given their own parallel organisation, the Bund Deutscher Madel (or BDM), the League of German Girls.
In April 1932, the Hitler Youth was banned by Chancellor Heinrich Braning in an attempt to stop widespread political violence. But by June the ban was lifted by his successor, Franz von Papen as a way of appeasing Hitler whose political star was ascending rapidly. A further significant expansion drive started in 1933, when Baldur von Schirach became the first Reichsjugendfuhrer (Reich Youth Leader), pouring much time and large amounts of money into the project.
Pictured here is a 1:28 scale replica of a Hitler Youth flagbearer.
Height: 2-1/2 inches
Release Date: April 2008
Historical Account: "Boy Soldiers" - In 1940, Artur Axmann replaced Schirach as Reichsjugendfuhrer and took over leadership of the Hitler Youth. Axmann began to reform the group into an auxiliary force which could perform war duties. The Hitler Youth became active in German fire brigades and assisted with recovery efforts to German cities affected from Allied bombing. The Hitler Youth also assisted in such organisations as the Reich Postal Service, Reichsbahn, fire services, and Reich radio service, and served among anti-aircraft defense crews.
By 1943, Nazi leaders began turning the Hitler Youth into a military reserve to draw manpower which had been depleted due to tremendous military losses.
In 1943, the 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend, under the command of SS-Brigadefuhrer Fritz Witt, was formed. The Division was a fully equipped Waffen-SS panzer division, with the majority of the enlisted cadre being drawn from Hitler Youth boys between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. The division was deployed during the Battle of Normandy against the British and Canadian forces to the north of Caen. During the following months, the division earned itself a reputation for ferocity and fanaticism. When Witt was killed by allied naval gunfire, SS-Brigadefuhrer Kurt Meyer took over command and became the youngest divisional commander at age 33.
As German casualties mounted with the combination of Operation Bagration and the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation in the east, and Operation Cobra in the west, members of the Hitlerjugend were recruited at ever younger ages. By 1945, the Volkssturm was commonly drafting 12-year-old Hitler Youth members into its ranks. During the Battle of Berlin, Axmann's Hitler Youth formed a major part of the last line of German defense, and were reportedly among the fiercest fighters. Although the city commander, General Helmuth Weidling, ordered Axmann to disband the Hitler Youth combat formations; in the confusion, this order was never carried out.