Explaining the Inexplicable: Youth and Post‐War Ideological Campaigns

Juliane Fürst

in Stalin's Last Generation

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199575060
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595141 | DOI:
Explaining the Inexplicable: Youth and Post‐War Ideological Campaigns

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This chapter examines the relationship between late Stalinist ideological campaigns and post-war youth, highlighting both the important role the topic of youth played in the execution and content of the campaigns and the ambiguous reaction young people had towards them. The overarching impression emerging from the analysis is one of confusion and ambiguity. The adolescent looking for ideological direction in the post-war period encountered multiple problems. First of all there were few directives that could help him in the quest for political meaning and ideological convictions. The policies and campaigns of late Stalinism were, especially in comparison with those of the 1930s, fought on a semi-abstract level and contained a host of unexplained keywords and concepts that obscured their underlying direction and purpose. At the same time the campaigns did leave a lasting, and mainly negative, impact on a small, but significant segment of youth. Young people who found themselves to be victims in the anti-Cosmpolitan and anti-Western drives lost their beliefs in the righteousness of a system, in which they had hitherto fervently believed.

Keywords: Stalinism; youth; post-war period; ideological campaigns; Cold War; Soviet Union; anti-Cosmpolitan campaign; anti-Western campaign

Chapter.  12484 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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