The Volkssturm was a levée en masse national militia established by Nazi Germany during the last months of World War II. It was not set up by the German Army, the ground component of the combined German Wehrmacht armed forces, but by the Nazi Party on the orders of Adolf Hitler and established on 25 September 1944. It was staffed by conscripting males between the ages of 16 and 60 years, who were not already serving in some military unit. The Volkssturm comprised one of the final components of the total war promulgated by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, part of a Nazi endeavor to overcome their enemies' military strength through force of will. Volkssturm units fought unsuccessful futile battles against the Allied forces at the end of the war and on several occasions, its members participated in atrocities accompanied by German civilians and the Hitler Youth, which were overseen by members of the SS or Gau leaders.