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SD Report on the Attitude of Young People towards the Nazi Party (August 12, 1943)

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Summing up, the majority of the members of the 1924 and 1925 cohorts are positively disposed towards admission to the Party. But the number of young people who are indifferent or opposed to admission is so great that it should not be overlooked [!] [ . . . ]

II. The reports refer frequently to the fact that a large part of the reason for this attitude of a section of young people is not the fault of the young people themselves.

1. The young people who are now in the HJ experience the Party as a historical fact. They are no longer bound to it by the experience of struggle which would make clear to them that the Party has fought for this state and so has acquired the right to place demands on this state and its people and to demand the right to set the ideological agenda. For many of these young people the F├╝hrer is not the representative of the Party but in the first instance the leader of the state and above all Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht. Thus they have no inhibitions about approaching the Party in a critical frame of mind just like any other state institution. They lack an organically developed relationship of loyalty to the Party which formed the basis of the old Party comrades' actions. These [party comrades] also saw faults in the Party but nevertheless remained loyal followers. But these young people use the alleged mistakes and flaws of the Party to turn their back on it.

[ . . . ]

3. The reserve shown towards the Party is also encouraged by the unresolved Party-Church question. Since a large section of youth, and above all their parents, are still loyal to the Church, remarks aimed at the "sacred beliefs which they have held hitherto" by Party comrades, cadres and HJ leaders have a negative impact. This is particularly the case at the present time because, as a result of the current war situation, young people too notice that the Church pays great attention, for example, to caring for the relatives of those who have been killed, and that the priests give clear answers on questions concerning life and the present time. In addition, rumors about alleged positive remarks about the churches by leading personalities, soldiers who have been decorated etc. have a big impact.

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 4: The German Home Front in World War II. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, pp. 118-19.

Source of original German text: Heinz Boberach, ed., Meldungen aus dem Reich. Die geheime Lageberichte des Sicherheitsdienstes des SS 1938-1945. Vol. 14, Herrsching, 1984, pp. 5603-07.

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