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</table> Volksgemeinschaft is a German expression meaning "people's community." It was most famously an attempt by the National Socialist German Workers' Party to establish a national community within Germany, based on pseudo-scientific racial terms.
The concept is related to Ferdinand Tönnies' theory in his work Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft ("Community and Society") of 1887 However in the 1930s Tönnies joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1932 to oppose the rise of Nazism and had his honourary professorship removed when Hitler came to power.
There is an on-going debate among historians as to whether a Volksgemeinschaft was or was not successfully established between 1933 and 1945. This is a notably controversial topic of debate for obvious ethical and political reasons, and is made difficult by the ambiguous language employed by Hitler and the Nazis when talking about the Volksgemeinschaft.
From the early years of Hitler's rule, the arts, media, education and youth activities, and many other areas of social interaction were all controlled by or absorbed into Nazi-controlled Reich organisations, and aimed to realise the Nazi dream of a Volksgemeinschaft. The envisioned people's community was a purely German, national community that was dedicated to the state and war; class struggle was to be condemned, rather those controlling private property could be allowed to maintain their property only as long as it benefited the common society. In order to create this community the Nazis wanted to have all other groups such as religion, clubs and family to submit to the state. This process of Nazification of all aspects of German life is commonly referred to as Gleichschaltung.
In order to control information and propaganda, institutional controls were placed on the entertainment and communications industries. Hitler authorized the establishment of the Reich Chamber of Culture and appointed Dr. Joseph Goebbels as Minister of Propaganda. The Reich Chamber of Culture consisted of seven divisions: music, theatre, literature, radio broadcasting, the press, visual arts, and film. The Chamber of Culture was not only established to keep 'undesirables' such as Jews and other minorities out, but also to fully integrate Nazism with artists and entertainers who wanted a change in the structure of their professions.
All German newspapers were brought under the control of the Eher Verlag, the Nazi publishing house where propaganda articles were pre-written for the newspapers to use. Buildings in Germany were meant to last a thousand years and were built to represent medieval themes. Outdoor theatre emphasized the theme of “Blut und Boden” (blood and soil) and re-enforced the kinship between modern Germans and ancient Greeks. Music was guided by biological theory represented in the Nordic traits of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Wagner, and Joseph Haydn. Film in Nazi Germany glorified the party, Hitler, and martyrdom for Nazism.
Children and youthEdit
In their desire to establish a total state, the Nazis understood the importance of “selling” their ideology to the youth. To accomplish this, Hitler established Nazi youth groups. Young boys aged from six to ten years old participated in the Pimpfen, similar to the cub scouts. Boys aged ten to fourteen years old participated in the Deutsches Jungvolk, and boys fourteen to eighteen years old participated in the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth). The two older groups fostered military values and virtues, such as duty, obedience, honor, courage, strength, and ruthlessness. Uniforms and regular military drills were supplemented by ceremonies honoring the war dead. Most importantly, the Hitler Youth did their utmost to indoctrinate the youth of Germany with the ideological values of Nazism. Youth leaders bore into the youth a sense of fervent patriotism and utter devotion to Hitler. By 1939, when membership in the Hitler Youth became compulsory, each new member of the Jungvolk was required to take an oath to the Führer swearing total allegiance.
Young girls were also a part of the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany. Girls age ten to fourteen were members of the Jungmädelbund, while girls fourteen to eighteen belonged to the Bund Deutscher Mädel. Hitler youth girls were indoctrinated in the principles of service, regimentation, obedience, and discipline. Girls were taught to be dutiful wives and mothers. Members of the Bund Deutscher Mädel were educated in the skills needed for domestic chores, nursing, and hygiene.
Daily life in Nazi Germany was manipulated from the beginning of Nazi rule. Propaganda dominated popular culture and entertainment. Anti-intellectualism was used to prevent the people from thinking and feeding into their strong sense of national and military pride. Finally, Hitler and the party realized the possibilities of controlling Germany’s youth as a means of continuing the Reich, and ensuring total control over a future "Greater Germany".