1942 : The Establishment of required military service

The establishment of
Required military service

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In 1942

After the introduction of the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD, work service of the Reich, for young girls and boys) in April 1941, the population went through the dreaded establishment of a compulsory military service. The vast propaganda campaign, implemented by the Nazis to encourage voluntary enlistment of young people from Alsace-Moselle in the Wehrmacht and the SS, was a failure. 

The decrees of 19 August 1942 for the Moselle and 25 August for Alsace forced young men of those regions to be incorporated into the German army. Incidents occurred right after the decrees were issued : conscripts 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 Mosellewere enlisted by force. 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.