A Child Of Hitler By Alfons Heck Essay

A Child Of Hitler By Alfons Heck Essay

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A Child of Hitler by Alfons Heck is an autobiographical account of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945 from his perspective as a member of the Hitler Youth. Heck’s autobiography is abundant with emotional treatise and recollections from his childhood. Published in 1985, the book is targeted toward an adult audience. The overarching theme focuses on repentance and the overwhelming power of propaganda and the resulting passion produced by NSDAP indoctrination. Using this theme as guidance, Heck argues that Nazi propaganda was highly efficient and produced an indoctrinated generation that was consumed with Aryan and Third Reich superiority until the defeat of Germany in 1945.
Heck organized his book chronologically, which strengthens the narrative by developing his trajectory from the beginning of intensive inculcation through the Hitler Youth. He follows his time in the Hitler Youth throughout the novel concluding with his realization of how society failed the youth and created a generation of “enthusiastic victims of [the] Fuhrer.” Overall, the text is heavily nostalgic with moments of emotional remembrance and heavy evidence of revision. Several times throughout the novel, Heck breaks the narrative to indicate realizations – referring to moments when he had little knowledge of how his behavior (such as educating his Gefolgschaft on weapons) would impact his path in the Hitler Youth. Although disruptive, this lends the book a sense of candor that is heavily burdened by guilt enhancing the emotional impact of the autobiography.
The heavy use of pathos in the text enhances Heck’s arguments throughout the novel. Beyond the negative implications of Nazi indoctrination, Heck argues that Nazi propaganda directed at children was highly ...


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...d and destroyed a whole generation of children. Childhood was revoked an the burdens of war were placed directly on the shoulders of boys and girls just like Heck. This develops a new understanding of World War II that is not often disclosed. By addressing Nazi Germany from an insider’s view, Heck develops an argument against propagandizing children. He proves that the blank slates of childhood should not be chalkboards for politics and that children should be exactly what they are – children. While the text certainly has some dark undertones, it would serve as an excellent foil for high school readers of Night. That said A Child of Hitler is still a must read for adults and college students regardless of their age, poignant and direct it provides a perspective that all people should have when trying to understand World War II and the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.

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