National Youth Groups


Figure 1.--Chiro members wear a Scout-like uniform of light-colored shirt, and brown short pants.

Information on nationalist groups in specific countries. This group of organizations have declined in importance during recent years. Thet were most important during the 1930s as virulently nationlistic Governments took power in Europe and organized state-sponsored youth groups--often abolishing the Scouts. The horrors of Fascism and World War II tarnished the impages of these groups and today only a few are still active. The 20th Century has seen the rise of two basic types of boys uniformed youth groups, nationalistic and internationalistic groups. Some of the groups have been quite small while other have been supported by totalitarian states and made of of millions of boys who were required to participate. Information on these groups is often difficult to obtain. Many members of the World War II era groups, his their membership after the War.

Internationalism

One group of organizations had many different focuses, but included an international orientation. The best example is of course the Boy Scouts, but ther Young Pioneers is another example. Another is the Boys Brigade, although the Christian focus has limited its international appeal. These groups have units in many different countries. They tend to see the family as the main focus of their group. They also have serious pursued internationalism. The Scouts for example promote international jamborees which embrace diversity and the lessons to be learned by it. The pioneers are another group promoting internationalism, but because it was controlled by heavy handed Communist functionaries, never captured the imagination of boys like the Scouts.


Figure 2.--The VJR in Belgium dtill insists on a traditional boys' uniform of military style shirt, kerchief, and short pants.

Types of Nationalist Groups

Boys' youth groups in Europe often had religious and political connections. Some in the 1920s were created by Fascist parties. Others promotied independence for minority groups. Some like groups in Flanders had both Fascist and independence ideologies. Some of the groups also had strong rascist positions and in other ways are border-line Fascist groups. These organizations rejected internationalism and instead promoted nationist sentiments. Some like the Hitler Youth and the Itlalian Fascist Balilla were strongly supported by Governments and competing youth groups, like the Scouts were outlawed. While the Fascist groups were rabidly nationalistic this did not mean that they had no international interests. The Hitler Youth at first was limited to Reich Germans, but this included Germans living abroad. The Hitler Youth also developed programs for Volk Deutch and non-German populations in Nordic countries and other neigboring countries. The youth formation of fascist parties became government organizations controlled by the ruling party. The youth groups were used to: 1) disseminate fascist propaganda; 2) socialize children for their adult roles in a fascist society: boys as soldiers, girls as the mothers of soldiers; and 3) separate potential future recruits from other influences, such as parents or the Church. Parents who would not let their kids attend the Hitler Youth could be "divorced" by their children. In November 1933 Hitler declared, "When an opponent says 'I will not come over to your side', I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already. You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community." There have also been patriotic groups, in some cases ultra-patriotic, uniformed groups. The best known are the Fascist groups. But there have also been non-Fascist uniromed groups which made patriotism a primary focus. The Sons of Daniel Boone, eventually incorporated into American Scouting, was one such example. Other nationist youth groups have been created in countries of dual or muliple nationalities. In many vases the groups support parties or political groups seeking independemce or a break-up of existing countries. Although of less interest to boys in the late 20th century, uniformed groups with a military orientation have been of interest to boys.

Individual Country Groups

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. 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 te largest group and as a result a gfeat deal of information is available. Information on some of the smaller groups is very limited.

Activities

Nationalist groups have pursued many of the same ativities as all uniformed youth groups. With may of these groups pagentry and parading have often been more important that with other youth groups like the Scouts. Many of these groups have also pursued various levels of military training.

Unknown Groups

We have some images of different nationalist youth groups. One such image seems to be boys from Nordic countries, probably at a HJ camp in Germany.






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Created: November 15, 1998
Last updated: 9:51 PM 7/17/2013