Nationalist Youth Groups: Individual Countries


Figure 1.--The Vlaams Nationaal Jeugdverbond (Flemish National Youth Organization) is one of the most active nationalist groups in Europe today. The maintain a destinctive traditional uniform and are sometimes confused with Boy Scouts. It is an organization that aspire to establish an independent Flemish state.

Nationalist groups have been dominated by NAZI Germany and Fascist Italy, in part these were state-supported groups that banned competing groups. Many pro-NAZI or ultra-antionalost groups were also formned in countries neigboring and then occupied by Germany in World War II (1939-45). There have also, however, been smaller groups in other countries as well. We have begun to compile information about nationalist youth groups in several individual countries. mostly but not entirely in Europe. Many but not all of these groups are associated with the rise of Fascism during the 1920s and 30s and the Wolrld War II-era. We have found information and photographs about these groups difficult to acquire, in part because particaipants and parents destroyed uniforms, badges, membership records, and photographs after the Allied victory. The Hitler Youth organization in Germany was the largest group and as a result a great deal of information is available. Information on some of the smaller groups is very limited.

Africa


South Africa

The Afrikaner youth movement is called the Voortrekkers. The penkops are their junior branch, comparable to cubs for scouting. There were named after the boy soldiers who fought the British during the Boer War.

America, Latin


Bolivia

Bolivia appears to have had a nationalist youth movement, but we have few details at this time. It was organized through schools and amounted o pre-military training. A German boy living in Brazil after World war II has provided us some information.

America, North


United States

A variety of nationlist groups have been formed in America. Some of the precurosrs to the Boy Scouts like the Sons of Daniel Boone or the Woodcraft Indians were highly nationalistic. There were limitations to the formation of Europen-like nationlist groups , however, because of the great diversity of the United States. Nationalist groups thrived where there was a common ethnic idenity. This of course did not exist in America. Thus what was occurred was the organization of ethnic groups. The strongest such group was German Americans, a small group of whom was inspired by Hitler's NAZI New Order. Various groups were formed which by 1936 had vecome the German-American Bund> The Bund organized a youth section and ran summer camps during the 1930s and early 40s. Hitler wanted a strong NAZI orienterd German group to organize in America, but he wanted it to be done quietly. He did not want to sir America from isolationism. The Bund led by Fritz Kuhn did all it could to make headlines, even holding a mass rally in New York' Madison Square Garden. The Bund's activities frightened many Americans and inspired a series of Congressional investigations. The Bund was disbanded when Hitler declared war on America after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Contemporary right-wing groups such as the Klu-Llux-Klan, Aryan Nation, and others often involve children, but not as a separate, uniformed youth group.

Asia


Indonesia

Most of the newly independent countries emerging from colonialism in the 1950s and 60s embraced Scouting. Highly nationalist Indonesia took a different approach. The new Indonesian republic banned Scouting in 196?. The Government formed the highly nationalistic Gerakan Pramuka. The Indonesian Pramuka has since begun to rethink their initial rejection of Scouting. Pramuka authorities have been striving to re-establish relations with Scouting for a long time, claiming that their organization from the beginning was just Scouting the Indonesian way, rightfully taking the place of pre-revolutionary Scouting.

Japan

Japan had nationalist youth organization--"Seinen Dan". "Seinen" means "youth" and "Dan" is for "Group". "Seinen Dan" was originally established in 1880 to promote social activities for youth in the new modernizing Japan. I do not know much about it. I think it was not political, and it aimed to assist young people adjust in mind and manner to rapidly changing new circumstances of the post Meiji-Ishin (Meiji Restoration). I believe the organization was disbanded after World War II.

Tajikistan

With the disolution of the Soviet Union, the Pioneers unlike Russia, have not entirely disappeared in Tajikistan. A new group has grown out of the old Pioneer organization. It is substantially changed and no longer has a Communist, but now a nationlist ideology. The group is known as the "Vorisoni Somoni". This translates as Somoni Inheritance. One has to realise that in ancient times King Somoni rules this area. This king and historic period is part of the Tajik cuklture. There are statues to King Somoni and his image is printed on the bank notes. The Somoni Ineritance is thus a natural choice for the name of a Tajik youth group. The members wear a kerchief in the Tajik national colors of red, white and green. It has also been renamed. Children who are in the former Pioneer Corp wear the Kerchief as part of their school uniform. Here is a photograph from school 21. We do not know a great deal about the group. Membership in the Pioneers was virtually mandatory. We do not know to what extent Tajik children belong to the new King Somoni Inheritance.

Thailand

We note two natiinalist youth groups in Thailand. King Rama VI created the Wild Tiger Corps (Sua Pa) (1911). It evolved into the Boy Scouts. Pro-Japanese Premier Pibul as Minister of Defense organized the Yuachon. King Rama VI in May 1911 created the Wild Tiger Corps (Sua Pa). It was a nationwide, paramilitary corps. The purpose of the Wild Tigers was four-fold. It was intended to give all Thai exempted from service in the regular armed forces, notably all middle and high level civil servants, an opportunity to receive military training. Second, the Corps was expected to promote unity in the society by bringing men from diverse backgrounds together in one organisation. Third, the Sua Pa, like the British Volunteer Force that the King had observed at first hand in Britain and after which he had modeled the Wild Tigers, would help maintain law and order in the countryside and provide reserve troops in the event of war. Finally, in keeping with its namesake, the Sua Pa Maew Morn of the army of King Naresuan (1590-1605), the Corps would provide advance scouts for the regular army, seeking out the enemy, pinpointing his whereabouts and reporting on his activities. The King made a special point of emphasising that the Wild Tiger Corps was meant to assist, and not replace, the regular armed forces. Pro-Japanese Premier Phibun Songkhram did significantly change Thai Government policy toward youth groups. The Pibul Government did not ban, but reduced government support for the Scouts. The Yuachon youth group was Fascist youth movement modeled on the NAZI Hitter Jugen and strongly promoted by the Phibun Government. The group was actually founded by Pibul when he was Minister of Defense (1935). The purpose was to promote physical culture, general discipline, and "organized cooperation". After Pibul became premier, the Pibul program began to change (1938). The program was expanded to include military courses.

Europe

Nationalism was strong throughout Europe especially beginning with the French Revolution. This became a destbiling force as most of the contient was controlled by large empires intent on supressing the nationlist aspirations of their ethnic minorities. The Boy Scouts were formed before World war I, essentially as a British nationalist group, but even before the War hd begun to make a transition to an international movement. The tragedy of World War I significanyly affected nationalist thought as in many countries the people were determined never to fight another war. This allowed the dictators (Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin) to prepare for war while the democracies curtailed military spending. Socilist and pacifists groups also waged campaigns ahainst most mationalism and military spending. The result was the tragedy of World war II and almost the loss of Western civilization. Nationalist thoughtg in smller countries and minority ethnicities were not as affected by World War I and remained strong in many contries. And there were nationlizst youth goups formed during the inter-War era. Not all wee Fascist, but here there was a fine line. A major part of the Fascist ideology was nationalism. The mot importnt were the Itlian Bglia and the Grman Hitler Youth. NAZI victories rsulted in the formation or strenghening of nationist youth in occupied countries. Such groups were disbanded after the War, but a few were subsequently forned, primarily by minoriy ethnic groups.

Middle East


Iraq

Saddam Hussein's Bath Pary has an extensive youth movement. Children are enrolled at age 5. There are five levels of membership which continue into the teen years. The failure of a child to participate actively in the organization can be dangerous for his or her parents. The parents also have to be careful about what they say at home, least the child innocently repeat some to youth group leaders that he does not understand is dangerous. We have, however, been able to find little published information about the Bathist youth organization. The only government agency that we can identify at this time is the General Union of Iraqi Youth. We have noted press reports on something called the Asfald Saddam or Sadam's Lion Cubs. This is not a mass organization like the Hitle Youth, but rather a small elite group. There may be as many of 8,000 of these boys. They appear to be primarily orphans who have been raised to be fanatically loyal to Saddam Hussein. The childrn of regime officials are not recruited to this groyp as the children of NAZI officials were to the Hitler Youth. Some of them may have been recruited to the Fedayeen Sadam, fanatically loyal Bath Party cadres who have been used as an internal security force.

Israel

Israel has its equivalent of a nationalist youth group. It is the GADNA. A All high school and junior high students are required to participate-boys and girls alike. GADNA has a khaki uniforms. They take training and engage in paramilitary exercises. GADNA has not replaced and does not try to replacing Scouting in Israel. It is more a program like the Junionr Officer Training Corps in America. It is a program designed to prepare youth for military service. Israel as a result of the hostiility of neighboring countries has compulsory military service. HBU knows very little about GADNA at this time. Hopefully our Isreali readers will provide some information about the program.

Lebanon

Lebanon has an active Scouting movement. Scouts have a positive image both because of the activities it offers boys and girls, but also because of the important relief work it has carried out duting emergencies like the Cicil War. As a result, Hezbollah puts a Scouting facade on its youth movement, the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts. The movement, however, has a program more similar to a Fascist group like the Hitler Youth.

Sources

Raĭkin, Spas. Rebel with a Just Cause: A Political Journey against the Winds of the 20th Century Vol. II.







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Created: November 15, 1998
Last updated: 7:18 PM 5/4/2015