University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Cook, Alice Hanson / Bavarian trade union youth
([1950])

Youth and authority,   pp. 10-13 PDF (1.7 MB)


Page 11


-U1-1
Until he becomes of age, a young peison's only chance for
democratic experience is in his youth group.  Many youth groups.,
however, are organized for the expressed purpose of "Guiding".youth
to a particular dogma or to a way of life, which may be moral or
disciplined, but which is not democratic.
Amerie-an adolescents in their student government, neighborhood
clubs, church youth groups, and the like have a daily experience
with self-government which can only exist for a German child in
his "youth movement". But this "movement" for the most
part is
an attempt - often quite feverish - on the part of established
institutions and organizations to win and guide youth for a
particular party, dogma or organization. Those who see the
youth movement in these terms feel that youth has been completely
spoiled by its experience with Hiterlism where youth was granted
favors and priorities over the rest of the population.
These people feel that German youth must now be schooled to
learn their proper place in society. Several works councillors,
for instance, complained to me that young people between the ages
of 18 and 25, the generation which had passed through the Hitler
Youth organizations, will never learn to work, are undisciplined,
have a feeling that the world owes them a living, and that they
have been cheated. On the other hand, they say, the young people
coming into the factories today are much better prepared psychologically
to learn a trade, to understand the value of money and that it has to
be earned by hard work, to accept the discipline of work, and to have
pride in their trade.
For their part, many young people would probably say that they
have had enough of being told what to do and of belonging to
organizations, that they do not wish to join any organization of
any kind again. In particular, they want have nothing to do with
politics which in the Nazi era seemed like the answer to every
problem, and which proved to be the source of collapse and destruction.
Under the Nazis they were forced to accept or gladly accepted a
concept of the greater German community in which they were given
a favored place. Now they have had enough of their fellow men
and feel that the only human being they can trust are themselves,
Many of those who are religious accept a religion of saving their
own souls, but not of helping their fellow man for that is
socialism in their eyes. This isolation of the individual and
his retreat into himself is certainly more typical of upper class
and academic circles, but much distrust of political organization


Go up to Top of Page