Mandatory for all 17-year-olds for at least 3 years in reserve; compulsory for all boys and girls age 13 and above to join FDJ, voluntary participation for ages 12 and under
Soviet Union, France, United Kingdom
The Roter Frontkämpferbund of the Socialist Republic of Germany, known informally as the Rotfrontkämpferbund or Rot Front, abbr. RFB, is the military organisation serving the North German government. It is headed by North Germany's president, incumbent Ernst Thälmann. Its main rival is the Wehrmacht of South Germany.
The RFB was founded in 1924 as a group of local militias serving the Communist Party of Germany. It became increasingly violent in the late 1920's, frequently engaging in street fights with the police as well as the Nazi Party's Sturmabteilung. The RFB was banned in 1929 by the government of the Weimar Republic after a bloody protest staged by the RFB because of the government's ban on celebrations of International Workers' Day in Berlin. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the first groups targeted by the SA were the former members of the RFB. Many a Roter Frontkämpfer lost their lives in Sturmabteilung concentration camps.
After Hitler's assassination in 1939 and the seizure of power by the KPD several days later, the RFB was reinstated. New recruits came in regularly from the civilian populace and defecting Wehrmacht soldiers. As of 1941, the RFB has around 531,000 active personnel, as compared to its maximum as the KPD militia, which was close to 130,000.