Military Review

Volkssturm. Boys and old men - “cannon fodder”

Volkssturm. Boys and old men - “cannon fodder”15 июля 1944 года Гитлер получил телеграмму от Роммеля. Вот выдержки из нее: «Положение на фронте в Нормандии становится все труднее. Собственные потери настолько велики, что боеспособность дивизий быстро падает. Пополнение из тыла приходит очень скупо. У вражеской стороны на фронт каждый день прибывают новые войска и масса военных материалов".

Changes on the Eastern Front

Much worse for Germany, the circumstances were on the Eastern Front. It was here that events occurred that were of decisive importance for the entire Second World War. From June to August 1944, our troops launched a powerful offensive in Karelia, in Belarus, in Western Ukraine and in Moldova. As a result of the active advance of Soviet troops in Karelia, the Finnish government 19 September signed an armistice with the USSR, and the small northern country withdrew from the war, finally unleashing with its demoniac ally.

На фоне всех этих событий Гитлер прилагал отчаянные усилия для спасения своей империи. Одной из таких безнадежных попыток было создание германского народного ополчения — фольксштурма. Идея тотальной мобилизации всех мужчин в возрасте от 16 до 60 лет принадлежала министру пропаганды Геббельсу. Ей он поделился с Артуром Аксманом, занимавшим тогда должность райхсюгендфюрера — вождя молодежной нацистской организации гитлерюгенд. Тот в свою очередь предположил, что воевать способны и 12-летние подростки. Главное, правильно подойти к этому вопросу с точки зрения пропаганды. Идею доложили Гитлеру. Он был готов хвататься за любую возможность, и 25 сентября 1944 года издал указ о создании фольксштурма.

The text of the decree was composed by Goebbels, the master of “patriotic” verbiage: “After five years of hard struggle, as a result of the failure of all our European allies, the enemy stands on some fronts near the German borders or on themselves. He strains all his forces to defeat our Reich, to destroy the German people and their social system. His ultimate goal is the destruction of the German man. In a short time, we were the first to make major use of our German people's power to solve the most important military problems of the Reich, and thus of all of Europe for many years. While the enemy believes that he can already strike us the final blow, we are determined to make the second major use of all the forces of our people. We will be able not only to break the enemy, but also to drop it again and save the Reich so that it can guarantee the future of Germany, and thereby ensure a lasting peace for Europe. ”


Initially, only men from 16 to 60 years were taken to the militia. Although the 12-13-year-old patriots who came to the assembly points were taken as soldiers, without paying much attention to age. Since February, 1945 has already recruited women into the army from 18 years.

The record of the population in the Volkssturm was of a “voluntary” nature. Of course, no one drove people by force to the recruiting stations, but to refuse to join the militia was tantamount to suicide. There is a case in which four teenagers from the Hitler Youth made a mob of law over 16-year-olds who refused to sign up for a volkssturm. The "trial" ended in murder: the young Nazis, who were already able to handle weapons, self-shot "traitor".

First of all, the people's militia was entrusted with the protection of airfields, bridges, city streets and key buildings. In addition, members of the Volkssturm had to perform police functions, such as suppressing possible uprisings among prisoners of war or foreign workers. But the situation changed, the war dictated its conditions. Only on the Soviet-German front over the summer and autumn of 1944, did the nazis lose a million soldiers and officers to 1,6. By that time, the Soviet army completely defeated the 20 of the fascist divisions and the 22 brigade. Front already came close to the borders of Nazi Germany and in East Prussia even stepped them. So soon members of the Volkssturm began to actively replenish the regular armed forces.


It was planned that recruits with the help of field officers will take the 48-hour training program. It was believed that such training would be enough to gain skills in handling a rifle, a reactive anti-tank gun, an anti-tank grenade launcher and hand grenades. But most often the preparation took only a few hours. In addition, there was a lack of weapons not only for study, but also for military operations. As a result, many militiamen armed themselves with hunting rifles or old rifles and sent as “cannon fodder” to the front — to fight with the regular Soviet and Allied forces.

With clothing outfit was even worse than with weapons. The remains of uniforms of the most different types of troops, preserved from the First World War, were removed from warehouses. For the most part, old people and children went to the front in civilian clothes.

Despite the fact that all members of the Volkssturm were responsible as full-fledged soldiers, in other words, those who had left the military unit were expected to be shot, there were many deserters among the militia. This was especially true of the battalions of the Volkssturm sent to the Western Front. The German people did not want to fight either with Europe or with America. Militia whole units surrendered to the Allied forces or throwing weapons and forests and swamps back home.

"Eastern hordes come"

Completely different circumstances reigned on the Eastern Front. But they were determined not by the fact that the German people craved to fight with Russia. Goebbels’s original propaganda formulation, defining the purpose of the Second World War as “fighting for the living space of the German people” had already changed to a “crusade against Bolshevism”, “protecting Europe from the Asian hordes” and “saving Western civilization from the red danger”. Hitler's propaganda spared no black colors, describing the “terrible future” that the Bolsheviks of defeated Germany were preparing.

It played a role in the long-term vdalblivanie head of the German people of the myth of "racial inferiority" of the Slavs. Back in July, 1942, Goebbels said: “What we are opposed to here in the Russian mass soul is nothing more than the primitive animal essence of Slavism. There are living beings who are too capable of resistance because they are just as inferior. The street pooch is also tougher than the purebred sheepdog. But this does not make the street pooch more valuable. ” But excerpts from Chrysler Wagner's appeal to the soldiers of Koenigsberg Volkssturm from February 5 of 1945: “He who surrenders to the Bolsheviks dooms himself to death. The Bolshevik soldier is much worse than the German. Retreat before him or surrender to him is pointless and criminal. ”

But the closer to the end of the war, the more the propaganda image of the underdeveloped Russian in the eyes of the Germans, who is attacking, is changing more and more because the communists are pushing him into the back with bayonets and machine guns. By 1945, the Nazi propagandists presented to the German people the image of a fanatically self-righteous, cunning, cruel and merciless enemy, ready to wipe out the Aryan race and destroy Germany as a country as a whole.

Such criminal propaganda acted on the minds of people very successfully, and this caused terrible consequences. On the Eastern Front, German teenagers shot Soviet faustpatrons from Tanks, and they themselves died under bullets. Old and sick people, not being professional military men, often poorly armed, tried to stop the cadre Soviet army, protecting, as they thought, from the complete destruction of their families and loved ones, not realizing that criminal power had laid their lives on the altar of war.
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  1. Molot1979
    Molot1979 13 October 2016 13: 10
    And how many of them died is still unknown.