Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Children and War

One of the mechanisms that countries use to instill patriotism and nationalism in children is through literature. In German, for example, literature subjected the generation after the Reich’s foundation to nationalism and militarism (Donson, p 580). Since publishers prioritized a nationwide market in quest of bigger profits, youth in Stuttgart or Ulm read the same periodicals and novels as those in Berlin or Humburg. Additionally, most of the writers with the knowledge to write for children (as well as the publishers with the funds to do so) hailed from noble and middle-class backgrounds, and many were fervent defenders of the German empire. Authors like Wilhelm Kotzde, a former primary instructor and veteran cavalry General Fedor von Zobeltitz, focused their efforts on advocating nationalism and patriotism. In the United States, lectures teach children the value of nationalism and patriotism. These lectures are designed to inform them about the significance of the war and the reasons for fighting it. Children are taught what to say to the enemies; “No, never. We will fight you up and down the world, we will destroy your forces, we will make no peace with you until you let go of such a stupid idea.” (Patri, p 89). Children are educated about courage and encouraged to act appropriately by joining scout clubs.

Another mechanism used by countries to instill patriotism and nationalism in children is by funding and legitimizing young novelists fighting for world domination. A good example is when novels of Germans fighting for world domination received endorsement and funding from the military, middle-class nationalists, and influential Pan-Germanists like Heinrich ClaB and August Keim. Even though the war stories were poorly crafted, young people found them interesting. They were among the most prominent genres for male adolescence in the decades preceding 1914. Reading this literature, along with relatives, schooling, and amusement, spread the concept that manhood was linked to youthful energy. In the early 20th century, it developed into a dominating notion of manhood in Europe and North America. More than in most nations, the middle class in Germany perceived this rigorous masculinity in the virility of the solder, whose reputation expanded after 1900 in reaction to the global conflicts of colonization and popular anxiety of nationwide nonconformity and deterioration. In adolescent literature, the concept of adolescent manliness dates back to the 19th century, in the military biographies of Gustav Nieritz and Franz Hoffmann. Following their financial breakthrough and the advent of German colonization in the 1890s, authors shifted to more vivid and violent accounts of ongoing colonial wars (Donson, p 580). These stories portrayed masculinity modeled on the brave and brutal young officer, the warrior ardently dedicated to the country. This literature prompted middle-class male teens like Georg Heym to speculate in their notebooks and letters in the years leading up to the commencement of the war that a European conflict would cure their isolation and weariness. Many additional young men were undoubtedly motivated to volunteer in August 1914 by the allure of excitement and masculinity in this nationalistic youth literature.

Children sculpt these messages through images. They understand how images have been utilized in the past and now to influence others about a particular plan or perspective. This is accomplished by first displaying to the students a modern-day visual designed to induce viewers to trust in a message of patriotism and nationalism (Nodelman, p 277). Children articulate the message through dialogue. Children express the concept communicated in the artwork and discover the tactics utilized by the artist to present the concept visually through discussion. They examine contemporary photographs because they are steeped in the culture that produced them. They are mindful of contemporary occurrences, trends, and characters that influenced the artists who developed those images.

There are three main stages in a child’s development: early childhood (from birth to age 5), middle childhood (from age 6 to age 12), and adolescence (from age 13 to age 18). It’s acceptable for some kids to reach milestones connected to these phases more quickly or slowly than others (Britto et al., 2017). Older teenagers were required to move around the streets discreetly. Running and jumping were disallowed because they could cause individuals to respond emotionally or cause them to emanate sensations. More mature behavior was expected of older boys and females. They were also instructed to speak quietly because shouting frightens people. During this conflict, they were required to be kind when approaching people. While the younger generations would be cared for by their relatives, older teens were supposed to take better care of themselves. This was due to the necessity of effective supervision during wartime, both at the governmental and household levels, to prevent tensions.

Older adolescents were expected to be more responsible than children. Since wool was in short supply, they were obliged to protect their old winter coats. They also performed personal tasks. For instance, older adolescents were instructed to wash their laundry until they were certain it was clean before hanging it up on their own to dry. The older family members handled the heavier jobs, while the younger teenagers were responsible for smaller tasks. Older teenagers were supposed to stop being humorous and take themselves more seriously. This is so that children would not become anxious, as such actions were thought to be needless. Such anxiety during this important period of conflict could lead to tensions, which may result in poor management of individuals and fear among them (DeGraffenried, p 84).

Older boys and girls were supposed to keep an eye on the children. This occurred due to the perception that they were more accountable and mature. They were placed in charge of the younger children while grownups were away. They had to ensure they were secure, fed, had gone to bed early, and had completed any other tasks given to them. They had to make sure they acted like decent troops and citizens. This was achieved by maintaining an attentive ear and eye open. They had to pay close attention to their surroundings, and if something didn’t seem right, they had to notify the closest authority figure—the police, a teacher, a parent, or any other adult. Older adolescents were believed to be more intelligent and compassionate than younger adolescents. They were expected to contemplate things before acting, to make sensible judgments. They were also constantly reminded that several of their mates might not have the same comprehension and intellect and that they should thus assist them. This assisted kids in staying out of problems that weren’t essential and served to enhance supervision and discipline over this age bracket.

Older youth were reminded of the value of aiding one another. They were supposed to look out for their sister and brother. They were told that since the war was being undertaken for them, they needed to cooperate to ensure they all won. They were merely instructed to cooperate in pursuit of a common objective because harmony is strength. They were instructed to approach more senior community members, such as their parents, teachers, or police officers if their peers could not assist them. Older children were expected to exercise caution when using their etiquette. They were warned to be kind and considerate of others. They had to take into account the societal norms and beliefs that had been established and conform to them. Another expectation was to always act with kindness toward others. They were expected not to question soldiers and sailors obtrusively because doing so may jeopardize their task, which was treated with strict confidentiality. Additionally, they were supposed to maintain minimal relationships with those sailors and troops.


Britto, P. R., Lye, S. J., Proulx, K., Yousafzai, A. K., Matthews, S. G., Vaivada, T., … & Lancet Early Childhood Development Series Steering Committee. (2017). Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development. The Lancet, 389(10064), 91-102.

DeGraffenried, J.K. Sacrificing Childhood. Children and the Soviet State in the Great Patriotic War.

Donson, A.D., (2004). Models for Young Nationalists and Militarists: German Youth Literature in the First World War.

Nodelman., Picture Books. The Visual Imagination and Pictorial Comprehension.

Patri, A.P., (1943). Your Children in Wartime.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics