Hitlerjugend: An In-Depth History: 1933 - Jahr der "Organization" - Year of organization
by Arvo L. Vercamer

After all of the ballots were counted on January 30th, 1933, Adolf Hitler was declared the winner (garnering 56% of the votes) and proclaimed as the new chancellor of Germany. With Hitler and the NSDAP firmly in control of Germany, state funds could now be redirected towards the HJ movement. A key Nationalist Socialist political jargon phrase quickly made the rounds that year - "Gleichschaltung", the controlled coordination of all economic, political and social activities.

Starting with 1933, every year was given a special designated theme by the leadership of the Hitlerjugend. Since the German Nationalist Socialists came to power in January of 1933, for the HJ movement, 1933 was aptly named the "Jahr der Organization" - the year of organization. Many of the HJ activities thus centered on such topics as administration, organization, structure, etc. As a reward for his previous years of service, Hitler elevated Baldur von Schirach to the new position of "Jugendführer des Deutschen Reiches" on June 17th, 1933. Von Schirach, in his new capacity as youth leader of Germany answered only to one person - Adolf Hitler.

A key goal during the year of organization was to neutralize as many of the competing youth groups as possible either to force them to cease functioning or to absorb then into the HJ. With the exception of the Catholic Church's sponsored youth groups, and to a lesser extent, those of the Lutheran church; most "opposition" youth groups were eliminated in the first few years of the new German order.

In 1933, Baldur von Schirach established the "Reichsjugendbücherei" (the Reich's library for youths). Karl Hobrecker was nominated by von Schirach to head this component. In its later years, the HJ library contained close to 30.000 approved "youth" books as well as writings submitted for publication by HJ members from around the world. The library and its holdings were for the most part destroyed during the war.

One the first items von Schirach organized in 1933 was a supplemental organization for 10 to 14 year old boys; he formally added the "Deutsches Jungvolk" category to the structure of the HJ (whereby it need be noted that the DJ had already existed since 1931, if not earlier).

In March of 1933, a number of loyal NSDAP members wanted to create a counterbalance to the increasingly powerful Hitlerjugend movement. Alfred Rosenberg briefly pushed the concept of an alternative movement to the HJ.

In essence, the idea was to unite some of the smaller youth groups, such as the "Freischar Schill", "Werwolf", "Adler und Falken", the German Scouts (Pfadfinder), the remnants of the 1920's era "Jungsturm", etc., into one large "Großdeutscher Jugendbund" (GDJB). Admiral von Trotha was asked to and agreed to lead the new, counter-HJ organizasation. Realizing the conflicts an unofficial or unsanctioned counter youth group could cause, von Trotha even asked Hitler to officially sanction the movement. But this was against Hitlers dream of full control. Hitler angrily advised von Trotha that his "GDJB" had no political value; it in fact only served to dupe German youths. The venture was now doomed to fail. Although the "GDJB" was founded on March 13th, 1933, it was also dissolved on June 17th, three months later. Added political pressures and continued aggressive HJ activities against von Trotha and company ensured for a short life of the "GDJB".

On June 17th, 1933, Adolf Hitler elevated Baldur von Schirach to the position of "Jugendführer des Deutschen Reiches". This essentially sealed the fate of the GDJB. Although von Trotha protested, he was forced to concede to von Schirach's demand that all GDJB members immediately transfer over to the Hitlerjugend. This documents was released to all GDJB members on June 28th, 1933.

In 1933, the "Hitlerjugend" (HJ) movement, in its upper echelons, opened up a Pandora's box. The HJ organization sought to more optimally document its exact origins. But to be politically corect, it had to include an official ruling regarding the early efforts of Gustav Lenk. Baldur von Schirach, as the "Reichsjugendführer" supported the early contributions made by Gustav Adolf Lenk. However, HJ Obergebietsführer Hartmann Lauterbacher refuted Lenk's contributions. In 1937, Lenk himself approached Rudolf Hess to look into the matter. Hess sided with Lauterbacher. Then, interestingly, von Schirach quickly changed his mind - he now also did not support Lenk and Lenk's early contributions.

Despite the obvious political setbacks, Lenk continued with his efforts to have the HJ recognize his early contributions. On October 27th, 1937, Lenk received support from an unlikely source - the "Hauptarchiv der NSDAP". It agreed with Lenk that the "Jugendbund" was indeed founded on Hitler's orders in 1922 as the only youth organization of the NSDAP. But the Hauptarchiv der NSDAP report was written in such a way that it essentially made Link a non-person within the NSDAP. The investigating commission claimed that he (Lenk) had been inactive during the main "Kampfzeit" of 1925 to 1933 and now merely wanted to share in the glory of the new Germany.