Background: The following essay was published in the Nazi monthly for propagandists. The author, Erich Fehlberg, is identified as an official in the Hitler Youth national office. The essay outlines the Hitler Youth speaker system.
The source: “Redner der Hitler-Jugend,” Unser Wille und Weg, 7 (1937), pp. 38-41.
Hitler Youth Speakers
The growth of the movement and its seizure of power on 1 January 1933 [sic], when men of the NSDAP became the sovereign rulers of the state, are in large part thanks to its speakers.
Today it is just as necessary to maintain constant and close contact between the leadership of the party and state with the people, which is still done most effectively through the spoken word.
That makes it necessary to develop new speakers who will later be capable of speaking clearly and persuasively on questions of importance to the party and state. Just as future members of the press, radio, and film are being trained in the HJ, so also the future speakers of the party are being trained in the Hitler Youth. This has taken concrete form during the past year. An office for the speaker system was established in the department of propaganda of the Reich Youth Office. It is responsible for organizing, assigning, and training speakers. By agreement between the Reichspropagandaleitung and the press and propaganda Office of the Reich Youth Office, the Hitler Youth received official permission to establish its own speaking staff, which organizationally is part of the expert speaker system of the NSDAP.
The HJ speaker, the “expert” speaker, has understood National Socialism and knows the thinking of the movement. He knows perfectly the positions of the HJ on cultural and political questions. He knows the importance of representing the Hitler Youth to the public. He receives upon recommendation of the Reich Youth Office a speaking license from the RPL that allows him to speak to the public as long as the questions being handled fall under the purview of the HJ.
HJ speakers are divided into three groups, Reich, regional, or unit (Bann) speakers. Placement depends on a variety of factors that are laid out in detailed guidelines. Most important are ability and date of joining the party or the HJ. The resources of the RPL are at the disposal of the HJ for speaker education and training. The smallest unit of the speaker system is the speaker circle, which includes those speakers living in a political region. The speaker circles primarily exist to provide continuing political education, but also for getting to know other speakers and exchanging ideas and experiences useful in speaking.
Besides the training of HJ speakers in Gau speaker schools, the best and most capable HJ expert speakers attend the RPL’s Reich speaker school.
There are also occasional courses held by the Reich Youth Office or its subordinate offices.
It is clear that the speaker circle and speaker school cannot have the major part in training good speakers, but they do provide encouragement and confirmation of the knowledge and ability of speakers. Only hard work, thorough knowledge, a broad understanding of National Socialist literature, and constant reading of the daily press, magazines, and important and current books can complete the speaker’s training.
The speaker information material that HJ speakers receive from the Reich Youth Office focuses on the varied work of the HJ, while the speaker service of the speaker’s office provides material for particular campaigns. For example, the best HJ speakers participated for the first time in this year’s NSDAP Winter Campaign. A speaker service was published that was not critical for the construction or impact of speeches, but which nonetheless provided material that saved speakers considerable work in gathering material. Similar material was published for the HJ meeting place campaign that began this year.
The various speaker material produced by the organizations of the party and the HJ give HJ expert speakers help in becoming trained speakers. The degree to which they seek to master their tasks and the extent to which they understand them determines the quality of the speaker. In the final analysis, it depends on the young speakers themselves whether they reach a better than average level of ability, or whether they can be used in meetings and mass meetings only as secondary speakers. The best speakers of the HJ are already good enough to join the corps of party speakers. Until now, only a few have been both expert HJ speakers and speakers of the NSDAP. After the 1936-1937 Winter Campaign, however, the best of the 100 expert speakers will join the ranks of party speakers. The best speakers of the National Socialist youth organization will emerge from one campaign to another, ensuring that the movement will be able to refresh itself with the best of the youth, those who demonstrate their skills as speakers of the people by maintaining contact between the party and the people, between the state and the people.
There are 550 Hitler Youth speakers today who are certified by the Reichspropagandaleitung. Many stood behind the speaking platform and preached National Socialism even before 1 January 1933. These experienced HJ speakers are the foundation of the HJ speaking staff. The number of young speakers is constantly growing. The youth who do their first speaking to a group of their comrades or in a membership meeting will in the course of time learn to speak logically, giving their material persuasive impact.
Their service in the Hitler Youth, their organizing of membership and parents’ meetings, will be the foundation of their later mastery of the spoken word. The HJ is establishing the foundation for reaching the people through the enthusiasm and conviction of the spoken word. The HJ will not only guard this inheritance for the movement, but will also develop it even further.
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