Some days Donovan and I just get along….this is one of them…
Seriously, if you want to nail a guy for being a Hitlerjungen, look at the situation at the time for all of Germany. Yeah, wasn’t happy times for a good bit of the population, most of the general “I could give a shit” populace were also in survival mode, whether it be going along and being a good little Deutschkind and living in denial, or just living in a surreality hoping it’ll be over soon.
And BTW, wasn’t a great time to be German in the US, or Japanese for that matter. So we don’t have much of a one-up in this regards.
Well, the question really comes down to whether the service was voluntary on his part or if it was forced service. If it was the former, there’s no way to ever know that for sure; that trail has long been wiped clean or otherwise obfuscated, especially as powerful as Ratzinger has been for so many years, and clearly in the running for Pope.
They didn’t have conscious objector status back then. If they tagged you to be in it, you were in it. Mandatory service was required of all youth in some form, very few of them got out of it, and if they met the “standards” the only way they got out was by being shot or getting lucky.
The Hitler Youth espoused nationalism and “racial concepts,” namely anti-Semitism. I guess what I’m getting at is whether or not Ratzinger actually held to those ideals, or if he was indeed basically commandeered as a lot of children were at that point. And even if he were not at the point of entry, adolescents are very psychologically malleable, especially under such rigorous control.
But as I said, there’s really no way to accurately *determine* that short of eyewitnesses who were grouped with him who might be able to say. As such, I’ve basically withheld judgment of the guy, at least based just on participation in the HY.
Well, given that he managed to go AWOL while on a military assignment later in life (where those found were shot on sight). Seriously, read the links he provides, as well as this one:
Cardinal Ratzinger: India Times
If he was honestly a believe in the philosophies, he wouldn’t have gone to the lengths he did, risked his life several times to get out, and managed to get lucky.
Innerestin. I haven’t really had opportunity/motivation to seriously dig up any info on the guy yet; that at least is a start.
He certainly doesn’t come across as a person I’d like to get to know, though; I think I’d end up decking him. *g*