Andy - The first thing is - the HJ WASN'T there to provide recruits for the Army...in time of war conscription
by whatever name its called in whatever country does that. What Germany had for a time, when the HJ was forming and all organisations slowly being amalgamated with it - was an OVER-abundance of recruits for a growING army. Instead - look more closely at exactly how the Nazis went about taking control of Germany. Party control went down to ALL levels sooner or later - every
1/ renamed to include "National Socialist" somewhere
in its name
2/ NSDAP symbols etc. began appearing on everything - membership cards, brochures, etc.
3/ organisations were gathered under Party "umbrella" organisations.
I came across this a while back - how the Nazis rolled National Scoialism out into every sort of body - trade unions, apprenticeship schemes, Mother's Unions, the equivalent of thw WI - everything
. If not in actual ideology - then in their organisation and paperwork!!!
"Growing" the HJ was actually a VERY simple process of gradually gathering ALL youth organisations under one governmental umbrella. Not only does this have obvious benefits for political education and indoctrination....but it ALSO "grew" the HJ by taking into themselves the "social networks" and organisational resources of other organisations. For a considerable time the HJ was actually ANYTHING but "total coverage" - there are whole areas - and particularly rural areas - where HJ group organisers etc weren't available....and people couldn't afford to send their children to the closest group. This was actually one of the main reasons cited BACK at the Nazis...when they had to attempt a total of THREE times
to make membership compulsory; parents couldn't be expected to send their kids a couple of times a week to something that simply wasn't there
. The HJ was ALWAYS short of local area organisers.
Now - admittedly as the WAR progressed, the paramilitary aspects of the organisation were channeled into other things; the HJ formations, the flakhelpfern etc. - but this was because the "man"power resource was there to use.
In the absence of war, the HJ would simply have been as paramilitary as any period uniformed youth group...with a slightly greater degree of hands'-on experience - range shooting etc. - with the ADDDITONAL indoctrination aspects. BUT
speaking as someone who was put through the Boys' Brigade for a couple of years in my youth...the degree of Nazi indocrination COULDN'T form a greater part in "time" terms
of a member's time at HJ meetings etc. ....than Christian teachings formed part of the Boys' Brigade parade routine AND get any other business of the organisation actually DONE!
That's what uniformed youth organisations are about - STRUCTURED management of a young person's learning curve OUTSIDE SCHOOL
. Technically - it doesn't matter if they're compulsory or voluntary; OR what kind
of learning inputs into the sytem...
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds