Our youth are our leaders of tomorrow. This has been said over and over again but it holds a great deal of truth. The values that are instilled in them will carry on to their adulthood, when they can vote and even run the country. Each country in our world has their own values that, in some way or another, the government tries to push on its people. Their youth is the easiest group of citizens to pass these values along to as they are still learning and do not alway have the knowledge to reject these values. problems from this arise when the government leads their youth in the wrong direction.

An exmple of this in our past would be the Nazi Hitler Youth group. Adolf Hitler pushed his anti-semitic and socialist views on his youth. We all have seen the damage that caused by Hitler. Do we really want future leaders to have those same ideals? This group seems to be very similar to a new group that has popped up in Russia. The Nashi youth group, created by Vladimir Putin, is a perfect example of the government "corrupting" their youth.

The following paper is not meant to just explain past examples of the propagation of youth but use the example of the Hitler Youth to draw ties to youth groups that are arising in our 21st century. Drawing ties between these two groups will can also draw ties between the current Russian socialist movement and the socialist movement of the Nazis. This is an extremely important because our youth will eventually run the countries of the world. If our world leaders instill them with the wrong values, we will see the repercussions in the future. By reading the following descriptions and compare/contrasts of these groups, I hope my readers will be more aware of propaganda directed toward our youth and the problems that can arise from this.

Hitler Youth

Adolf Hitler's, Hitler Youth was a political youth group with Hitler's Nazi ideals. This group which started in 1923 went from about 1000 members to 2.3 million members in 1933. The members of the Hitler Youth were all extremely loyal to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. All of the members over the age of 18 would have to be a part of the Nazi party. These youth were basically an army with a military setup and paramilitary training. Because they were trained in such military aspects, they were used in the war. Eventually Hitler and his Nazi regime made it a law that all children be taught Nazi socialist views in schools in order to start this youth movement at a younger age (Holocaust Research (H.E.A.R.T.)).
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The Hitler Youth were treated well by Adolf Hitler. He put a great deal of time and effort into molding these children and young adults into the next Nazi leaders. This group was the "in" group as there were so many youth involved in it. If you were not a part of the Hitler Youth, you were an outcast. In a book review about the Hitler Youth, T.J. Saunders says, "The fact that young people in Nazi Germany were progressively indoctrinated and trained through youth specific and outwardly monolithic organizations to view the world according to an ideology committed to biological determinism and war raises a number of historical questions" (Saunders, 2008). He sees the problem with what this youth "movement" tried to accomplish. Hitler was brainwashing his youth to follow him as he did all of his people as he carried on his horrid crimes against humanity. These youth were just victims of Adolf Hitler's scheme to take over the world.

As with most political groups it was started through the usage of propaganda. This propaganda tried to instill an anti-semitic and pro-Socialist view on all of his youth. Hitler was successful with propagating over 2 million youth. The video to the right is a propaganda tool used by Hitler in his attempt to recruit as many members into the Hitler Youth as possible.

The Nashi

The Nashi is a Russian youth group that arose around 2004. This group was created by Russian president Vladimir Putin. An article written for the New Statesman by Gavin Knight talks about how Russian leader Vladimir Putin is using propaganda to start a "pro-Putin" youth movement. He writes of how Putin has created his own political youth movement Nashi to combat groups like PORA that might arise in Russia. This movement was supposed to stop fascism in Russia but it is apparent that they are to get rid of his opponents through harassment. For example, in Estonia members of the Nashi attacked the Estonian Embassy. There are 120,000 members of the Nashi who are all completely loyal to Putin and are well organized. This group wears red uniforms and has their own buses and power supply. This group is being taught anti-American and anti-Western values. These values are similar to those held by Russians during the Cold War. Putin holds a summer camp for his future Nashi to learn these values and even be physically trained for military use (Knight, 2007).


We can see where this could be a problem. If you look at the Cold War and the hatred between American and Russia, it is obvious why we would not want Putin pushing these same values on his youth. When asked about The Nashi and Putin, Anastasia Suslova, the national spokeswoman for The Nashi, she had this to say:

“It is because Putin has qualitatively changed Russia. He brought stability and the opportunity for modernization and development of the country. Thus we, the young people — myself, for instance, I am 22, and these eight years were the longest part of my conscious life when we were growing up, and the country was changing with us.” (Myers, 2007).

From this quote we can see that Putin's attempts to propagate his youth are working. These youth truly believe in what Putin is trying to sell to them. The problem lies in the fact that these anti-Western and socialist views can and probably will affect Russia's future relationship with the world. We have seen the problems associated with fascism by looking at the Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany. Soviet style propaganda is being used in the recruiting of Nashi members which is, in Knight's opinion, the worst aspect of the group.

A Blast From the Past

After looking at the descriptions of the two groups it becomes apparent that there are a great deal of similarities between the two. Both of these youth groups were created by the leaders of the respective nations in order to carry on their government's thought process. they were instilled with the ideals of Hitler and Putin from a young age. The groups had their own uniforms, colors, flags, and leaders. It is as if they were their own armies with paramilitary training, training in weapons, and organization as ranks.

So beyond looking at the exact aspects of these groups we should look at how they could cause serious problems for our world. As stated many times throughout this paper, our youth is our future. These leaders are trying to change the future by changing our youth. They are molding these young people by making them feel like they are truly a part of something great when really they are following inherently bad people. It is not right to blame the young people that were a part of this group but Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin who pushed their detrimental ideals unto them. The Hitler Youth were taught to hate Jews and love socialism. The Nashi were taught that the west (mostly America) is the enemy. We do not want world powers, such as Russia, lead by people who were always taught to hate parts of the world. This can only cause trouble down the road. As we know children have fragile, innocent, and malleable minds. When these minds are molded with the wrong ideals and thoughts then corruption begins. Once these youth are corrupted then there is no telling what they will do when they are older after having these views for so long. Let us learn from what Hitler tried to accomplish with his youth and see what we can do to stop current leaders like Putin from propagating more of our world's youth.