"Get Yourselves Under Control!"

Youth Sexuality in the Third Reich

  • Sydni Zastre University of Alberta
Keywords: third reich, nazis, sexuality, youth sexuality, social history, nazi germany, history of sexuality, youth, swing kids, edelweiss pirates, hitler youth, bund deutscher mädel


The Nazis were a party of youth and obsessed with controlling every aspect of the lives of young people, including their sexuality. This article explores efforts by the Nazis to divert the energies of youth into (re)productively acceptable channels, such as forced membership in organizations like the Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls, mandatory service during wartime, and legal policies centered on racial purity. However, their efforts proved incoherent, inconsistent, and largely unenforceable. As demonstrated by the increase in female sexual freedom and prostitution and homosexual activity in the military during the Second World War, young people often disregarded, and even challenged, Nazi prescriptions about sexuality and continued to engage in sexual behaviors, both “anti-social” and otherwise.

article type

Sexuality in Central Europe