Thomas Carter's film Swing Kids is the story of German youth of the late 1930's that use dance and music to escape the harsh realities of Nazi Germany. In this dramatic portrayal of Nazi propaganda three friends face the truth about what their country is becoming during the reign of Hitlers and whether to accept the difficult change or conform to what their new world is apparent to be. Taking place in Germany during a time which could be considered the worst genocide ever where discrimination and racism was considered a norm, non-conforming was against all the rules, and the freedom to prevail meant dying for what you believed in.
Hitler's influence and power of Germany during his reign was based on a cleansing of a nation of anyone that was not up to his standard of being. It was his prophecy to have a pure nation, which meant the annihilation of anyone that was against his ideology or was not of pure lineage. Arvid one of three swing Kids ignites the discussion and emotions amongst them when he said are murdering Austrians, next will be the Czechs and the Pols not to mention the gypsies and the Jews its unmentionable," Arvid screamed in outrage after refusing to play a German song for a German soldier. He would not contribute to the demise of any person regardless of race or ethnicity. This was his belief that he and his friends lived or died for so he thought. This is the same belief that eventually lead him to commit suicide.
Through much rebellion and opposing the principles of Nazi Germany the Swing Kid Peter, finds himself in trouble when he is caught stealing by a German officer and is left with the choice of going to a camp or joining the regime of the HJ the Hitler Youth. To protect his family he reluctantly joins the HJ, however he is still not ready to understand or conform to the ideology of their cult-like ideals and malicious propaganda. His best friend Thomas trying to support him also decided to join so he did not have to face it alone. As they become more familiar with the HJ ideology they start to develop their own impressions of it. Thomas started siding more with the HJ and the Nazi party, while Peter begnis to see the real truths behind the HJ and their evil persuasions. In an argument after much distance between their friendship, Peter tells Thomas, "They are evil Thomas. They want us to spy on our own parents. God knows what else they will do." Thomas did not want to hear such opposition to the point of threatening to report his life long friend.
Peter tries to conform to this new way of life in Nazi Germany but is later forced to confront his feelings of what he knows is right when he realizes that he is delivering the ashes of "traitors" people killed who opposed the Reich. It is at this point Peter is given a letter his father had written before his death talking about his own belief of what is going terribly wrong with Germany. It is in this letter that Peter realizes his father's true faith for his beliefs and uses this knowledge to forge his own belief just as his father did to stand and fight for a free Germany. "Do you want to end up like him? All of his great principles...what good did they do us? What good did they do anyone including him?" Peter's mother cried to him. Although he loved his mother he recognized that his Integrity and honor did not lie with the beliefs of the German Nazi group and it was more important if even only one person stood out and made a difference.
The movie ends with a dramatic conclusion of Peter by himself getting ready to go and do the unthinkable. He knew that he would be entering the forbidden territory of the Swing club and he was finally ready to accept the consequences, because he was not going to let anyone dictate his moral character. When the Nazi German soldiers go to make arrrests at the club ironically it is Thomas, his life long friend that is forced to take him down. After an all out brawl of anger and love between the two friends Thomas begs for him to go trying to protect his friend, because he knew that the other soldiers would soon be coming for him. "Go! Get out of here." Peter replies, "You said they would never tear us apart." "Peter please Go! Go on!" Peter refuses and for him this night was the end of all of the uncertainty, because he knew the only way for him as well as his country to be free was to take a stand when no one else had the courage to stand for what was right.