*** youth organizations chronolgy century trends 20th century

Youth Group Chronology: 20th Century

Figure 1.--.

It was in the 20th century that youth organizations emerged as a major social force. Baden Powell's Boy Scouts began as an offshoot of the Boys' Brigade but developed as the major international youth organization. The initial impetus was to get boys into healthy outdoor activities. The Scouts developed with a less sectrarian program than the Boys' brigade. Initially a British movement, Scouting geadually developed an international orientation. The Scouts developed variously in different countries. The ethos at first was strongly British, but after some consideration shifted to a national orientation. Scouting became very important in many European countries, America, and Canada. The Scouting movement with its middle-class orientation proved especially important in America which developed the largest Scouting movement. Race proved to be a grear hurdel for Scouting to deal with. After World War I, new groups appeared with political orientations, both Communist and Fascist groups. These groups were very different from the family-based Scouting program. Some had xenephobic and racist ideologies which they fused with a youth activities program heavily borrowed from Scouting. All rejected the basic tenents of liberal democracy. The most important of these movenents was the Hitler Youth which effectively prepared young Germans in the space of only a few years to for another world war and genovide. After World War II, Fascism was descreited, but the expansion of Communism resulted in the appearce of Young Pioneer movements in many different countries. Unlike Scouting, membership was basically mandatory. Scouting continued to be important after World War II around the War. Scouting which became an international movement early on finally after World War II began to address the race issue. At the end of the 20th century, however, Scouting has declined, in part because of the many different recreational and educational opportunities available to youth. The collapse of Communism in Eastern Union and the Soviet Union essentially meant the end of the Young Pioneer program, although it continues in Cuba and Asia.


A British war hero, Baden Powell, founds the Boys Scouts and adopts a para-military style uniform incorporating short pants. Secular Scouting rapidly displaces the more religious orinented Boys' Brigade as the dominate English group. Scouting spreads to other European countries--but never proves as popular in Germany as the Wandervogel.


Scouting spreads to America and Europe. The Boy Scout Association in America was were founded in 1910 an chartered by Congress in 1916. European Scouts like British Scouts wear shorts, but American Scouts generally wear knickers. Scouting becomes the dominate youth group in most countries excet for Germany where Wandervogel is dominate. World War War I interupts the spread of Scouting and escimates an entire generation throughout Europe.


Scouting after the First World War spreads around the world. Boys generally wear British style uniforms with long short pants. The Itlalian Fascists ban Scouting. Cub units were fornmed with destinctive uniforms. The idealism of the Wandervogel was shattered by World War I, The German youth movement splinters into numerous sctarian and politically active groups. The Hitler Youth were formally established in 1926.

youth groups 20th century
Figure 2.--The classic American Scout illustrations were done by Norman Rockwell. This image was probably done in the 1930s.


Scouting continues to spreadin most countries. The NAZIs upon seizing power in Germany ban Scouting and most other youth groups, making the Hitler Youth the country's single youth group. Almost all youth groups, except American Scouts have short pants uniforms. Uniforms with shorter pants began to be seen.


The World War II disrupted the growth of Scouting. The NAZIs supressed Scouting and organized acceptable youth groups in Nordic countries and France. Many Scouts in occupied countries played heroic roles in the war effort. Scouts in America mostly wore long pants as knickers went out of style.


Youth groups were significantly affected by World war II. Fascists grouos established before and during the War quickly disappeard. Scouting in Western Europe was retuning to normal by the 1950s after the war-time supression by the NAZIs and Fascists. Scouting became particularly popular in Japan. The Communists after the NKVD take overs continued to supress the movement in Eastern Europe. There was substantial growth of Scouting in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Soviets began giving much more attention to the Young Pioneer program and the movement was found in the Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. This was a school based program and not voluntary like Scouting. Substantial emphasis was still placed on the uniorms. Scouts in western Europe wore uniforms with more national differences and increasingly shorter shorts, following the fashions of the day. .


American Boy Scouts generally wore long pants, despite the common image. American boys did wear shorts at camp and other outings. Beginning in the 1960s, however, shorts became increasingky common. british Scouts in 1969 decide to change the official uniform to long pants.


The spread of the Scouting movement to virtually every non-communist country and increasing national inovation had created by the 1970s a great diversity of uniform styles. American boys increasingly object to wearing Scout uniforms.


American Scouts make a major change in their uniforms.


The implosion of the Soviet Union clear the way for the reimergence of Scouting in Easten Europe and the former Soviet republics, meaning more new uniform styles are added.


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Created: 12:02 AM 3/26/2009
Last updated: 12:02 AM 3/26/2009