‘If tomorrow brings war’

Olga Kucherenko

in Little Soldiers

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199585557
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725043 | DOI:
‘If tomorrow brings war’

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An analysis of educational techniques, including the material presented in the mass media and school curricula, shows that the regime vigorously promoted the idea of children participating in an inevitable future conflict. This chapter emphasizes the rigid militancy of Soviet society on the eve of the war, and argues that martial and self-sacrificial motifs of popular culture were assimilated into the child's mentality, and became a powerful driving force when the war started. Pre-conscription military training and war games, which involved children of both sexes, taught military basics. The aim of such education was not to train soldiers for immediate frontline duty, but to encourage children's military readiness in the context of the permanent threat posed by enemies.

Keywords: war games; paramilitary training; enemies; Red Army; Hitler Youth; militarism; defence badges; uniform; shapkozakidatel'stvo; self-sacrifice

Chapter.  18226 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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