Hitler's Children - Episode 4: War
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Looks at how youngsters in the Hitler Youth were utilised on the home front and in combat during the Second World War, as firefighters, industry workers, and messengers, and ultimately as fighting units. Looks at how all the training and Nazi ideology instilled in them in previous years led to a mind-set of fierce loyalty, and romantic views of battle, glory and heroic death. Considers their exploitation and sinister attempts to desensitize and toughen them up through encouragement of cruelty to animals and ruthlessness. Veterans from all sides comment on the fanaticism and effectiveness of Hitler Youth regiments in the front line battles in France and Belgium. Also, considers an incident in which the SS ordered local Hitler Youths to round up and execute some fifty or more prisoners who had escaped from a train during an air raid.
OUR COMMENTS
When researching the Holocaust, I would often wonder how it was possible for a people to blindly follow a madman. This series of films shed a lot of light on the times. The young boys and girls who Hitler turned into killers are now senior citizens and have a very interesting perspective on their youth. These films are well made and intriguing. They rely on interviews and archival footage. The films bring a sense of humanity to the war and even to the "bad guys" without marginalizing the atrocities committed against the Jews. Looking at these films is important as it teaches us how a population could get behind Hitler. If we understand that, we can work to never let it happen again.
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