Shaping British Children's Perspectives of War, 1919-1939

Michael J. van der Kamp


Many things were changing in Britain after the First World War, yet militaristic ideals continued to hold sway. This paper examines the way that these ideals were ingrained in British youth. Organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides engaged British youth in militaristic activities, while the children's literature of the day emphasized militaristic ideals by crafting glamorous depictions of Britons involved in the First World War. These same works commonly portrayed enemy combatants as monsters, creating the semblance of a clear-cut, good versus evil struggle. Furthermore, the desolate living conditions faced by many British youth made military life seem like an enviable escape, despite the horrors experienced by most British soldiers during the war.


Interwar Britain; Militarism; Children; Boy Scouts; Girl Guides; Children's Literature

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