National Youth Groups: Types

Figure 1.--The VNJ is a national separtist group advocating independence from Belgium. It is one of the more active natioanl separtist youth group in Europe.

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.

Fascist Groups

Another group of 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."

Patriotic Groups

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.

Independence Groups

Other nationist youth groups have been created in countries of dual or muliple nationalities. In many cases the groups support parties or political groups seeking independence or a break-up of existing countries. Such separtist groups are active in the Basque Country (Spain) and Flanders (Belgium). We believe thatere atr many such groups on which we do not yet have information. While the Fascist-oriented nationalist groups were disbanded after World War II, these separtist groups are active today in several different countries.

Military Focus

Although of less interest to boys in the late 20th century, uniformed groups with a military orientation have been of interest to boys.

Social Clubs

Probably the most important social club organizatioin in Europe was Sokol. I don't know much yet about Sokol. It origninted in Czechoslovakia. It was superficially a social club promoting athletics. But as its members consisted of youths and young men it became a hotbed of nationalist feeling in the Austrian Hungarian Empire. There were Sokol units organizized in other countries, but I don't believe that the movement was anywhere as string as it was in Czecholovakia.


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Created: September 12, 2003
Last updated: 7:53 AM 6/11/2007