As German military forces were beginning to suffer major losses, Adolf Hitler created a national militia called the Volkssturm (“people’s storm”) in October 1944. Under control of the Nazi party, rather than the Wehrmacht, the Volkssturm drafted nearly six million men aged 16-60 years who were not already members of the German Armed Forces.

Inspired by the Prussian Landsturm militia that fought guerilla-type actions in the Napoleonic wars, the Volkssturm was created as part of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ strategy of Total War.