Political Socialization and its Discontents: Youth in Fascist Italy and the Soviet Union

Douglass, Connor
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University of Delaware
This thesis seeks to examine the dynamics underpinning the regimes of Fascist Italy and the Soviet Union in the interwar period through the prism of their policies and attitudes towards youth. As each regime placed a premium upon the allegiance of youth, efforts directed towards that social group provide an unparalleled means of analyzing not only what they hoped to accomplish, but how they sought to accomplish it. The methods utilized by the primary youth groups of the two regimes act as a microcosm of the wider processes of revolutionary change they sought to initiate. Because of the unique positions occupied by the two groups, both were directly subordinated to the interests of their respective parties, their organization and goals can be used to make broader conclusions about the nature of the revolutionary project and the means by which revolutionary movements hoped to institutionalize and perpetuate their visions of social and political change. In other words, comparison of the two groups can be used as a convenient means of comparison for the two revolutionary states they were tasked with perpetuating, revealing in the process similarities and differences in the social bases, means of legitimizing their rule, and the ideologies of the two regimes.