Most people think of the Boy Scouts when hey think of youth groups. The Scouts are certainly the most important groups, but there were many others. We know about the larger ones like the Hitler Youth and Young Pioneers. But there were many other groups, including a large number of very small groups. HBU has noted several uniformed groups of interest about which we have been able to find little information. In some cases even the identity of these groups is unknown. This is especially true of some European groups. Please let us know if you have information about these groups, or if you have any images of groups that you can not identify.
This German group was identified on television as Edelknabenfeldwebel. "Knaben" means "boys". We thought that at first the boys were dressed for a pagent, but have since learned that they belong to Edelknaben or shooting clubs. These German boys wear an elaborate uniform with some 19th century elements. There are some variations in uniforms among the various clubs. We are not sure why this uniform was selected, it may be due to the time in which some of the eraly clubs were organized. The group is a shooting club called Edelknaben. These clubs exist all over Germany, but are most common in Western Germany.
HBC has noted an English group. They are clearly English because of the Union Jack flag badge. I don't recognize, however, any of the baddges. Also they do not wear kerchiefs. The boys wear military-style sweaters and grey short pants with ankle socks. They appear to be very recent images, probably taken in 1999 or 2000.
We have noted some French boys in uniforms that we can not readily identify. These may be small Scout groups that had destinctive uniforms oe Scouts who are not wearing the correct or full uniform. They could also be a natioanalist group or one related to a political movement. There were also groups based in the different French regions. Our knowledge of these different groups except for a few of the larger ones is still quite basic. Thus we have difficulty identifying the available images of these groups. In this regard the 1930s just before World War II were a particularly turbulent period. These movements were so numerous and varied that they are now difficult to identify. There
were political movements which enrolled boys, especially extreme left and right wing parties. Often their uniforms were not elaborate.
Nationalist youth groups stressed military drill and as they got older more and more military training was added to the programs, including handling fire arms. We at first thought these were Hitler Youth boys. But the uniform is not right. Note the tassle on the one boys's cap. I'm not sure what that meant. Also note that the other boys are not wearing black shorts. I'm not sure just what uniform they are wearing. The emblem on one boy's cap looks like a Luftwaffe emblem. Click on the image to see a afuller image of the photograph.
The Boy Scouts were organized before World War I. Until then the idea of youth groups was realtively new. The Scouts proved enormously popular throughout Europe. In most countries (except Germany and countries where they were banned--Italy and the Societ Union), they became the dominant youth group. World War I, the War to End all Wars, actually settled nothing. It did unleash enormous passions and emotions. The result was the grouth of political extremism, the Communists and Fascists. Many political groups formed their owm youth groups. These were often small political parties. One of the major groups were left wing parties like the Socialists and Communists. Left wing parties were also divided into competung groups, but this varied from country to country. The Communidts were banned in some countries. The socialists were allowed to operate and in many countries like the Social Denocrats in Germany were the major political party. There were also many small Sicialist groups. They varied in militancy. We know nothing about political party youth groups before World War I. They were very common after the War. Not all had political parties had youth groups, but a number did. It was fairly common for Socialist parties. Unfortunately we have very little information on their youth group auxileries.
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