My grandfather was a german soldier during the second world war.

He was born on March 22, 1926 in Schwabach, Germany.

At the age of 18 he enrolled in the german army.

There is one detail i would like to understand better of his story.

Nowadays germany has a voluntary military service.

In 1944 when he reached the age of majority, did Germany have enforced military conscription?

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    Yes, of course, during world war it was not a voluntary service. Germany actually conscripted even German minorities from other (occupied or allied) countries. – Greg Jun 8 '17 at 4:57
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    "Nowadays" means since 2011. – nvoigt Jun 8 '17 at 6:50
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    No, Germany does not have a voluntary military service. The Bundeswehr is still formally a conscript army. Since 2011, conscription has been suspended, but if the number of volunteers drops below sustainable levels, conscription can be reinstated without further ado -- the required legislation is still in place. – DevSolar Jun 8 '17 at 7:15

By 1944 Germany was on the defensive and needed every man that was available. General conscription had been introduced in 1935, at which time it was a fairly accomodating system that allowed people some flexibility in when they did their service, but towards the end of the war this became "all hands on deck".

After Germany changed from the offensive to the defensive in 1943, it became possible and necessary to transfer an increasing number of Air Force and naval personnel to the Army, to enforce "voluntary" enlistment into the Waffen-SS and to commit line-of-communication units to regular combat not only against partisans but against regular enemy forces.

The increasing heavy losses of the Russian campaign forced Hitler to cancel his order exempting "last sons" of decimated families and fathers of large families from front line combat duty. Prisons and concentration camps were combed for men who could be used in penal combat units with the inducement of possible reinstatement of their civil rights.

Although a "total moblization" was carried out in the spring of 1943, after Stalingrad, it became necessary by the end of the year to lower the physical classification standards drastically and register men up to 60 years of age for military service. Even men with severe stomach ailments were drafted into special-diet battalions. During the summer of 1944, civilian occupations were reduced to an absolutely necessary minimum. Finally, the remaining male civilians from 16 to 60 were made liable for home defense combat service in the "Volkssturm" and even Hitler Youth boys and girls were called up as auxiliaries.

The German Draft

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    When I was young not long after the war, a combat infantryman -in a rare occurrence- told a story about his experience in Germany. What he intended to relate was an incident in which his squad took a German pillbox by means of a bullet up the barrel of the machinegun. However, he had a bit of flashback and went on to tell that after throwing a grenade through the gun portal, they entered the emplacement and found two twelve or thirteen year old blond boys chained to the gun. When Germany proved to be remiss in reaching his goals Hitler took his rage out on Germany equally. – TomO Jun 8 '17 at 21:50
  • ooo yes, i understand ... my grandfather was sad because he needed to kill people much more older than he, and almost children (around 14 years old). probably almost all countries send to war children and old people at the end of it. the reason to ask this question, is because i want to write about his story to teach young people, that war video games make us see war as something funny, but in fact it is something terrible. his brother who still alive, told me he was forced to fight when he reached the age of majority. – ncomputers Jun 9 '17 at 2:34
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    @ncomputers Your grandfather serves in Wermacht? – Fyodorov89 Jun 9 '17 at 3:32
  • @Fyodorov89 probably yes ... i have no idea, since he died in 1999 .. maybe if i search and find his uniform, i would know ... at least i know he was something like a lieutenant colonel of infantry – ncomputers Jun 9 '17 at 4:14
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    About 1980 I met an engineer who was born in eastern Germany; he was about 5' 2" tall, with coke-bottle type glasses: short and nearly blind without his glasses. At age 14, late in the war, he was conscripted, given a uniform that didn't fit, and was then placed on a train heading to the eastern front. Oh, yes, and he was given a rifle, but no training. The train was captured by the Russians, and he went straight to POW camp. He remained a prisoner for seven years. When he was released, he was stateless: his home was now part of Poland. So by the end of the war they took literally everyone. – Peter Diehr Jun 10 '17 at 14:10

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