Back in March, the UK Government released some previously classified files about the relationship between Scouting and the Hitler Youth (Hitler-Jugend). As usual the media made a big fuss about, well nothing really. There wasn’t a link between the two organisations and the WOSM put out a rather good press release explaining it all (read my post from March here).
One of the points they made was that Scouting was mentioned in the book “Informationsheft Groß Britannien”, which was to be issued to soldiers when the Germans invaded Britain.
I was in the library the other day and noticed a copy of this book, translated into English and now called “Invasion 1940 – The Nazi Invasion Plan for Britain by SS General Walter Schellenberg”. So I looked at the relevant section on Scouting and found that if anyone who had written about the supposed link between the Hitler Youth and Scouting had read this book, then they would have realised that there was no connection!
Here is what the book says (please don’t be offended by the language, it’s as originally written):
The International Boy Scout Movement
This was created in 1907 by the English military officer Lord Baden-Powell, who defended Mafeking in the Boer War. His organisation first limited its activities to England, later expanding over Europe (1911) thanks to propaganda from the British government and finally extended to the whole world. The Boy Scout Movement was established in the Dominions only after pressure from the English authorities.
Lord Baden-Powell is, as World Chief Scout, the leader of the International Boy Scout Movement. Its central headquarters is in London, in the so-called International Bureau which until recently has been managed by a half-Jew, Mr Martin, who was simultaneously the head of the Passport Office. The current manager of the International Bureau, John Wilson, also works at the Passport Office; for the previous eight years he was Chief of Police in Calcutta. It is possible that his successor there is a certain Mr Lunt. The International Bureau builds links between the individual national scout associations. An International Commissioner heads each national association and is responsible for maintaining the link with the International Bureau in London.The International Commissioner is required to draft monthly and quarterly reports on the economic, cultural and political situation of the relevant country and pass them to the International Bureau. In addition, any personal or written contact between groups have to go through him. The individual national Boy Scout sections are structured similarly to the International Bureau.
Although the individual Boy Scout organisations are ostensibly almost entirely devoted to pre-military youth education, the Boy Scout Movement is a disguised instrument of power for British cultural propaganda, and an excellent source of information for the British Intelligence Service. Lord Baden-Powell was run as an agent against Germany during the last war. The dissolution of the Austrian boy scout association has, amongst other things, provided proof of the link between the Boy Scout Movement and the Secret Service.
The English Boy Scout Movement follows a similar model, altered to fit English circumstances, to the German Free ~Youth Movement. Accordingly, there has been close personal contact between members of the German Free Youth Movement and the English Boy Scout Movement.
The 1926 Kanderstag Agreement on Minorities has special significance for international relations since it guarantees the constitution of minority scout groups in every country with a national scout association. The German Youth Front, a gathering of émigré youth leaders, also enjoys close ties with the International Bureau. Furthermore, it is suspected, due to its numerous connections abroad, the International Bureau works for British Intelligence.
Hahahahahahahaha! Well, when I was looking through the records of my District which were from the 1920’s onwards, I never noticed any reference to MI5 or MI6! I think the Nazis got their summery of Scouting a bit wrong (to use an understatement). The other interesting point is that, had Britain been invaded, BP was on the list of 2800 or so people to be rounded up and arrested (and probably shot). Of course BP was in Kenya by this time living out his last days.
It’s just a shame that when information is released, people don’t research things properly before coming out with the thought that Scouting was a right wing paramilitary organisation.
Last word to BP himself writing in 1917 after 3 years of the First World War –
The roots of Scouting have grown among young people of all civilised countries and are developing more each day. It might be thought that if in years to come, a considerable proportion of the future citizens of each nation forms part of this brotherhood, they will be joined by a bond of personal friendship and mutual understanding such as has never existed before, which will help to find a solution to terrible international conflicts.