karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Blofeld)
Some of you might have seen me explode on twitter yesterday and I wanted to put a slightly more elaborate explanation here:

I am not defending the Pope in any way because he has commited enough atrocities (mostly by inaction rather than action) but if you bring up Ratzinger's membership in the Hitler Youth you do the same to every single German male of his generation. I have no love for Ratzinger but I'm German and this hurts.
He was conscripted in 1941 when membership was not only already mandatory (since '36) but also enforced by police (since '39) so you or your parents didn't have a choice, you'd be taken by force if necessary.

To those who say he could have protested or refused, I say this:
Imagine you are 14 years old, the totalitarian regime of the Nazis has been in power for 8 years, so pretty much all your conscious life. There has been nothing but Nazi propaganda and doctrine in your school curriculum, the newspapers, the news reels at the cinema and on radio. Books that might provide alternative views have been banned or burned. Almost every week there's a classmate or at least schoolmate or maybe a neighbour missing because the parents had been Jews, communist sympathisers or because of any other made up accusation. Your cousin was taken away and "euthanised" because he suffered from a disability.
What would you do? Would you speak up and say no? No, you would tag along, keep your head down and participate as little as possible but enough so you don't draw attention and you bloody well hope they don't stick you into a tank and send you into the war. Remember, you are only 14.

Now if he was ten years older, had joined in the late twenties when it was set up, gone up through the ranks and then had a military career, you could have an argument.

September 2017

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