1942 : The Establishment of required military service

The establishment of
Required military service

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In 1942

After the April 1941 introduction of the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD work service of the Reich, required military preparation for young girls and boys), the population witnessed the dreaded introduction of required military service. Put into place by the Nazis to encourage voluntary enlistment of young people from Alsace-Moselle in the Wehrmacht and the SS, the vast propaganda campaign was a failure.

The decrees dated 19 August and 25 August 1942 for Moselle and Alsace, respectively, required the young men of those regions to be enlisted in the German Army. Even from the first days following the decrees, incidents occurred: the conscripted did not attend review boards or, if they did show up, did so singing the “Marseillaise”…The repression only hardened: the draft dodgers were arrested and their families were transplanted in the Reich (approximately 10,000 from Moselle and 3,500 from Alsace).

In total, 21 age classes representing 100,000 Alsatians and 30,000 men from Moselle would be forcibly enlisted. The great majority was sent to the Russian Front, but they were also sent to the Balkans, to Italy or to Normandy. Some men mobilized in Alsace between February and May 1944 were automatically sent to the Waffen SS.

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