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Military government weekly information bulletin
No. 37 (April 1946)

Press comments,   pp. 13-19 PDF (3.6 MB)

Page 17

and BDM (Bund Deutscher Matedel, fem-
ale counterpart of HJ). Membership ranks
of the Party were at no tim'e closed to
them, and the 'eligible age for admission
was lowered to 18 years (after comple-
tion 'of four years' active service in the
respective -youth gr'oup). There were no
admission fees and -no, Frageb'ogen re-
fquired of candidates from th'e HJ and the
BDM; but applications did have to be
.submitted, and a special point was made
of the fact that such application had to
b'e voluntary. The "pressure" here. of
course was, moral; the 'entire education of
these young people had been with Party
membership las the shining goal. Since
only 30 percent 'of th'e HJ and 5 percent
of the BDM graduates in a givien year
could be admitted, it was considered a
great distinction to .be accepted as a can-
didate, and it very likely never occurred
to a young person to refuse the honor.
The relationship of members iof the
Wehrmacht to the Party also contains
exceptions to, the usual membership pat-
tern. The old principle of the German
Army 'excludes every soldier from pol-
itical activities of any kind, and this prin-
ciple was adlhered to with minor. excep-
tions up to 1943. A preinduction member
of the Party was allowed to retain in-
active membership while in the armed
forces and to apply for active sitatus upon
receiving his honorable discharge.
The infiltration of political influences
into !the. Wehrmacht bie~an with a few
relatively unimportant departures from
the "no politics' line, suchas the decree of
1936, under which iapplications for Party
membership w'ere accepted from Wehr-
macht officers and certain soldiers who
had to undergo a training period of not
longer than eight weeks. Th'e decree of
1941 permitted members' of the Wehr-
macht to make voluntary contributions to
the NSDAP.; and in 1942 applications
were accepted from c'ertain former mem-
bers of the HJ while still in active ser-
vice. In. Novembler 1943-the Chief of the
OKW    (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht,
or Supreme Command of the Armed For-
ces) announced that in individual casies of-
ficers, from the rank of Battalion Com-
mander would be permitted to be active
on their town time in the NSDAP, its
formations and affiliates. During the last
months iof 1943 and the early part of 1944
the Party was given paramount' influence
within the Wehrmacht. On 7 January
.1944 Hitler ordered that a Fuehrungsstab
(political administration) be created in
the OKW and political commissars (NS
Fuehrungs-Offiziere) be appointed. The
old principle of the unpolitical soldier
went by the boards and former Party
activists were pressed to continue their
political activities within the army.
The Chief of the NS-Fuehrungssta~b of
the OKW    was charged with providing
political activity for the troops, unifying
the political indoctrination of the high
commands and leading Wehrmacht of-
ficers, acting as advisor ion replacements
of important officers, and setting'up poli-
tical requirements for ,officers assigned
to training and educational duties.
To give . further assurance of coopera-
tion between the Party and NS Fuehrungs-
stab-OKW, Keitel created an Arbeitsstab
(working staff) made up of the. chiefs
of the 'offices 'of propaganda, press, racial
purity, government 'organization, lab or
and the trusteles for the supervision 'of the
spiritual - political  education  of  the
NSDAP. On a, lower level, the Unit Com-
mander was made respionsible for political
'leadership in the individual unit, his poli-
tical advislor being the NS Fuehrungsoffi-
zier, whose functions corriesiponded to
those of G-3 (commander's tactical advi-
sior). To the position 'of Fuehrungsoffi-
zier, which did not exist blelow division
level, were appointed former Politisch'e
Leiter ior active officers with the required
political background.
-The final dissolution of the old bar-
riers between politics and Army came in

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