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. We believe that the Socialist groups did not give the same attention to uniforms as the Scouts. Here both anti-militarism and income levels were probably factors.
We have found many boys wearing uniforms that we do not recognize. A reader has sent us one such image. Only two of the boys wear uniforms. Many youth groups did not give the same attention to the uniform as the Scouts. Our reader writes, "I am a photo editor trying to research the uniform in the attached photo. I am wondering if you can tell me if the boy on the right is wearing a Boy Scout uniform. The boys names are written on the back and they appear to be from one of the Scandanavian countries." HBU is not certain what country the boys are from. They could be Scandinavian, but they do not look quite right. We think that they may be Finnish or from one of the Baltic Republics. Of course the names should tell us. As to Scouting. I see no indication they they are Scouts. The cap is not right and they are not wearing neckerchiefs. Just what uniform that is I am not sure. Notice the raised fist (figure 1). If I had not seen the names on the back I might have guessed that they were Russians. The raised fist strongly suggests a Socialist group.
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