“Youth must be led by youth.” Adolf Hitler
Using charismatic oratory and the symbol of the Swastika, Adolf Hitler became the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi) on July 29, 1921. Focusing his propaganda on the Treaty of Versailles, he attracted adherents by attacking Jews and Marxists. In November of 1923, he was convinced that Germany was on the verge of collapse and attempted to seize control of the Bavarian government in Munich.
The attempted coup failed, and Hitler was arrested for conspiracy to commit treason. During his trial on February 26, 1924, he succeeded in turning the trial into a platform for his political agenda. He captivated the courtroom by speaking out against democracy and making claims that a new society was coming. These ideas appealed to the youth of Germany, and his popularity soared. In the end, he was found guilty and sentenced to prison. While serving only nine months of a five-year sentence, he wrote a book entitled, Mein Kampf./2 Espousing the teachings of Social Darwinism, anti-Semitism, and the philosophy of Dietrich Eckart, Mein Kampf sold over five million copies./3
During the elections of 1932, the Nazis received fourteen million votes, thus becoming the largest political party in Germany. The following year, President Paul von Hindenburg nominated Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany. Upon Hindenburg’s death, Hitler proclaimed himself the undisputed dictator of the Third Reich. It was during this time that he overhauled the German educational system. “I begin with the young. We older ones are used up. We are rotten to the marrow. We are cowardly and sentimental. We are bearing the burden of a humiliating past and have in our blood the dull recollection of serfdom and servility. But my magnificent youngsters! Look at these young men and boys! What material! With them, I can make a new world.”/4
Twenty-one year old Baldur von Schirach was appointed to lead the Hitler Youth organization. He was the one who completely indoctrinated his generation into the Nazi ideology./5 Emphasizing blind obedience, he controlled free-time in order to teach that the state was more important than family. He also required the youth to worship the Fuehrer by praying this prayer, “Fuehrer, my Fuehrer given me by God, protect and preserve my life for long. You rescued Germany from its deepest need. I thank you for my daily bread. Stay for a long time with me, leave me not. Fuehrer, my Fuehrer, my faith, my light, hail my Fuehrer.” /6
Since World War II, the name Hitler has become synonymous with evil. As for Schirach, his blind ambition proved to be his downfall. During the Nuremberg trials, he denounced Hitler, proclaiming that he had been deceived. The decry was too late. He was found guilty and spent the next twenty years in the Spandau Prison.
Like Schirach, Rehoboam, king of Israel, listened to bad advice. Upon the death of his father, the nation came to him requesting a better life (1 Kings 12:1-5). Faced with a need to make an immediate decision, he sought the advise of his father’s counselors. They urged him to grant the people’s request.
Rejecting their wisdom, he sought the counsel of his peers (1 Kings 12:8-15). Promoting personal satisfaction at the expense of his kingdom, he listened to the inexperience of his peers. As a result, the people revolted, making Jeroboam their king (1 Kings 12:20). Tragically, only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam.
In the past, what advice have you received? Did you consult with only those who know and live by God’s word (Psalm 1:1)? What quality of advice are you giving (Proverbs 10:21)? Christian, are you up for the task?
“Thy Word is everlasting truth:
How pure is every page!
That holy book shall guide our youth,
And well support our age.”
1/ Volksgemeinschaft is the German word for changes in German society.
2/ This title translated into English is My Struggle.
3/ Dietrich Eckart was Hitler’s mentor. He was a member of an occult called the Thule Society. He taught Hitler oratory, body language, and self projection.
4/ Brenda Ralph Lewis, Illustrierte Geschichte der Hitler Jugend, 1922-45, (London: Amber Books, Ltd., 2000), 7.
5/ The membership was six million in 1936.
6/ This prayer was written by Baldur von Schirach. All members of the Hitler Youth were required to pray it aloud before meals. Fuehrer is the German word for leader.