Peace, Love, and Rock and Roll in the USSR

In the discussion of Raleigh’s chapters exploring the Sputnik Generation in the USSR, the notion that during the 1950s and 1960s Soviet society shared many similarities to that of the United States in their gender relations and in their restrictive childhoods. William Risch’s article, “Soviet ‘Flower Children.’ Hippies and the Youth Counter-culture in 1970s L’viv,” continues to examine the cultural similarities between the two warring nations. More particularly, Risch seeks to address how the hippies in the Soviet Union affected the counter-culture that emerged among the generation born after the end of World War II (page 565).

The three previous readings in addition to Risch’s article all focus on the idea of the developing Soviet childhood in a post-war and post-Stalin Soviet Union. Margaret Peacock discussed the differences between the Communist Party’s expectations for children and the actual behaviors of children in the post-war society by focusing on the 1957 Moscow World Youth Festival. The Party still excepted the children to act in a discipline manner and obey their elders, something the interviewees in Raleigh’s article illustrated. However, during the festival many Soviet children disregarded these perceived notions of their behavior and acted in non-Party sanctioned ways (i.e. clubbing, drinking excessively). This juxtaposition between expectation and reality illustrates the restricted freedom all Soviet youths experienced in the 1950s and 1960s.

As Risch’s article indicates, the hippies within the Soviet Union (and perhaps America, as well) constituted a powerful minority amongst the children of their generation. Hippies in the Soviet Union, especially L’viv, experienced alienation due to their counter-cultural views (page 572). This along with the diverging notions of child behavior between the Party expectations and reality make it difficult to identify one cohesive idea of a Soviet Childhood in the post-Stalin Soviet Union. However, I believe it could be argued that the majority of children growing up in a post-war Soviet society, particularly those of families associated with the Party such as Natalia P., experienced the “typical” Soviet childhood of restricted freedom.

Youth Delegates at the Moscow World Fair

Youth and children in general are widely known for being easily influenced and moulded. So why then, did the Soviet Union choose this particular demographic to represent the face of the nation? Was it because the party wanted to ensure delegates would only spout Soviet propaganda? If that it true, then the 1957 World Moscow Festival did, in fact, completed some of the goals it set out to accomplish. As Peacock notes in her article, The Perils of Building Cold War Consensus at the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students, there were no organized protests during this particular festival. Delegates routinely answered questions with the same responses, presenting the unified, joyous front imperative for both Soviet propaganda and ideology. More importantly, perhaps, was the exchange of cultures that occurred between delegates of different nationalities. Soviet delegates, and those from other communist nations, were exposed to the capitalistic lifestyle normative of most of Europe and the West. In return, delegates from Europe and the West received a look into life in the Soviet Union, albeit a carefully constructed and falsified one. Although the majority of delegates were probably already members of a communist organization within their home country, the Moscow World Festival allowed them unprecedented access to the actual application behind Marxist theory. The festival may not have completely accomplished its political agenda, but it provided a cross-cultural exchange that laid the groundwork for future interactions between the world’s youth.

The perils of building Cold War consensus at the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students

The importance of the young people to the Soviet regime is widely known. Children were to have sheltered, happy, healthy and vibrant childhoods to show the prosperity of Stalin’s reign. By 1957, the political party leader has changed and the propaganda is shifting. Fortunately, the problem of the thousands of homeless and vagrant youths no longer exists. The child labor camps and the elapse of time allowed many of these orphans from WWII to grow up. The Soviet youth are now to symbolize the organized populace peacefully and actively demonstrating against the propaganda of the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet Union and the United States fought their ‘proxy wars’ in third world countries, but also in the media. Each side attempted to highlight their own strengths and their opponent’s faults. This sets the stage for the massive campaign organized by Russia to host the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students. Russia obviously has to appear to the world as the more virtuous and successful nation. Therefore, years before the event, construction takes place to many of the buildings within Moscow and throughout the city, a rejuvenation of the landscape commences. Months before the event, the police have orders to clean up the streets of any undesirable people. The Soviet youths who will participate in the large-scale project of showing the world that the Russian people are prospering, united, active and willing participants of the government had thoroughly rehearsed the party line to respond to all questions. The grandiose events were numerous and designed to show case the achievement of socialism.
The soviets “saw this festival as a project that would ultimately present a choreographed display of Soviet popularity and moral ascendancy…and would provide a public venue for the demonstration of Soviet wealth and benevolence.” ((Margaret Peacock, The perils of building Cold War consensus at the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students ((Cold War History, 2012) 518)) Overall, the event is successful and praised by attendees, but contact with Moscow from the outside world allowed the emergence of debate on both sides. Ironically, one journalists proved that they were successful. Rinto Alwi, a correspondent for an Indonesian newspaper said that, “this is all artificial, perfected and directed from higher up.” ((Margaret Peacock, The perils of building Cold War consensus at the 1957 Moscow World Festival of Youth and Students ((Cold War History, 2012) 524)) What do you think? Would the Soviets have been better off not attempting to control every detail of the event? Could all of the delegates have then been able to focus more on the magnificence of the events and less on the propagandized slogan of willing youths robotically saying the same thing? More importantly, would it have been any different if the United States were hosting such an event? Ironically, maybe the US and Russia had more in common than they presumed.

The Role of Power and Youth in Triumph of the Will

Leni Riefensthal film, Triumph of the Will, depicts the rise of the Nazi party in 1934. The film portrays different excepts of speeches by various Nazi leaders to promote the goals and objectives of Nazism. The film was intended as propaganda to the German public.

Hitler, along with other Nazi leaders, have power over all the other party members. They use words of threat, but also powerful words and goals to make both the adults and youths be a part of the Nazi party and join the “working force”. There was a huge amount of supporters at each speech Hitler made. The youths in particular were a very interesting group that Hitler addressed. Hitler knew that the youths were the future of Germany. He knew exactly what to say and educate them to train them to be the best Nazi’s. Hitler stressed that he did not want class divisions, instead wanted them to come together as one. The youths had to be selfless, loyal to Germany, and strong in order to survive. Hitler told the youths exactly how to act, so that his dream would live on.

After the film came out was there greater support for the Nazi party? Did Hitler’s power on the youths work so that they came together as one?

Cinematography and Youth in Triumph des Willens

Triump des Willens (1935) succeeds in convincing the viewer that Adolf Hitler’s rise—and the rise of the Nazi party, was an enthusiastic national movement that served as the core of Germany’s ascension to dominance. The camera work is marvelous. The cameras spend the majority of time with their lenses pointed upwards at Hitler’s face or the structure upon which he stands, a subtle yet effective tactic to generate a larger than life feel. The long shots used in Trimph des Willens are the longest I have seen done in a film so aged, and are strategically placed to absorb as much of the parade or rally as possible. The music accompanying the shots in between the cuts of Hitler’s speeches are very upbeat, which exudes a type of happiness—almost eagerness that the Nazi’s are feeling at the opportunity to participate (although, many of them seem quite austere).

At the forty-five minute mark, Hitler addresses the young men of Germany, who are known as the Hitler Youth or Hitlerjugend. Males and females between the ages of 10-18 were indoctrinated into this program, which began in 1922 and ceased activity in 1945. The Hitler Youth were seen as the future of German purity, and had Nazi ideologies instilled on them at an early age, as well as physical training, military training, and academia. The Nazi Party also used them as spies in order to gain control over the Church to gain ground in the power struggle between the Church and state. Similarities can be drawn between the activities the Hitler Youth were involved in and American Boy Scouts, as they were trained in basic skills that could be very useful in dire situations. The Hitler Youth were groomed to be the next generation of the Schutzstaffel or SS, meaning protection squadron.

The Role of the Youth in Triumph of the Will

The 1935 documentary, Triumph of the Will, by Leni Riefenstahl, portrays powerful propaganda images of the Nazi regime. It focuses in on speeches made by both high-ranking Nazi officers and Hitler himself. In between every scene change are minutes of marching and rejoicing in the German nation. The film encompasses many facets of Nazi ideology.

In one scene in particular, we see the mobilization of the children in the Nazi youth. There is a seemingly endless sea of kids, both boys and girls, in uniform listening to the Fuhrer speak. What Hitler was preaching was national unity, and the youth were the “vessels” for this: “We want to be a united nation, and you, my youth, are to become this nation. In the future, we do not wish to see classes and cliques, and you must not allow them to develop among you. One day, we want to see one nation” (Hitler). Hitler, in essence, was influencing the youth to make Germany the nation he wanted it to be, and to make sure the most important thing to them was the nation itself.

With this, were these youth told by their parents to attend these rallies, or were they drawn to them because of the the “power” Hitler was instilling in them?

Manipulation of youth in Utopias/Dystopias

Sam Wittmer


What are some characteristics of the manipulation of youth (base) for the good of society and how does conditioning affect family structure and values in a utopian or dystopian society?


The paper will generally focus on how the manipulation of children in a utopia or dystopia changes family structure and values.  I will mainly write about this topic as seen in film and literature. The paper will be limited to perhaps a few references to historical texts and real world applications, and the focus will be mostly limited to fiction.  I will use evidence from literature and film and compare the different modes of the society’s manipulation as well as the effects of these actions.

In this paper, I will attempt to address the following issues and questions:

From where does the need arise for a society to manipulate children? So often it seems, very cruelly, that a fictional government chooses the youth as its means of creating the society that is desirable.  Why start so young?  Is it because children are impressionable?  Is it because they are the future and will in turn perpetuate the legacy of the society’s goals and aspirations?

Even if the ends are truly just in nature, is it right to manipulate a child’s mind to desired standards of behavior.  Cotillion?  Is there still meaning behind the actions of the child if it is not truly because of the child’s goodness, but is in fact, their conditioning that leads to their choices?

What are the various techniques that different societies use in order to manipulate children?  Do they use fear or happiness to make them do what they want?

Is it the government specifically, or the society in general that conditions the children into behaving the way they do?

How do family values and the family dynamic change when manipulation is present? (GATTACA—One brother is valued more than the other.  Hunger Games—family’s pulled apart.  1984—Kids turn in their parents when they are going against the party and committing thoughtcrime.)

Children are definitely influenced by their parents and the society that we live in.  When does the teaching of children become manipulation?  Does our society manipulate children now?  (Institutions such as Cotillion, kids often having parents’ political values, law that kids must go to school.) Is this ok/just/good?

When do societies come to the conclusion that they must actively manipulate the children?  Is this and active choice by society?

What is the right setting to manipulate a human being?  What types of societies have conditioning?

Any dystopian novel will demonstrate in its contents the role of youth.  All the works of fiction that I am focusing on show the role of children in society.  Some of the secondary sources I am considering are about the Hitler Youth and Red Guards —but most likely the paper will focus on primary sources and secondary sources that analyze the texts. I believe that the paper will support the ideas of how children are manipulated by their societies.  The paper’s originality is the focus on fictional utopias and dystopias.  This paper will extend the understanding of conditioning effects on children because I will be using a wide range of primary sources, thus perhaps bringing a comprehension to the reasons, settings, outcomes, etc., for said conditioning of children.


There are many sources available for this topic, and a wide variety of sources.  There is plenty of fiction—primary sources of movies and literature—as well as non-fiction.  For non-fiction I will look into the Hitler Youth movement or the Red Guards in Mao’s China.  I will sparingly reference secondary sources concerning these topics.  Another non-fiction source could be any parenting magazine articles on how to raise your kid to be respectful: this in order to display the current life of the topic.  Is that manipulation of children?  However, I will focus on primary sources of dystopian literature.  Even if the focus is not on children, these sources always make reference to the role of children.  I will compare the different answers to the questions posed from each piece of literature and compare them.  In the comparison I will look for patterns in the manipulation of the youth.  I would look at the roots of each characteristic of the society in question to make these connections.  I will also reference some of the many criticisms of the primary sources that appear in the bibliography.



1a. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “The Manifesto of the Communist Party,” in The       Communist Manifesto and other Revolutionary Writings, ed. Bob Blaisdell (Mineola:      Dover  Publications, 2003), 123-150.

Focusing on Marx’s points on: a) the current status of the family—his observations on the proletariat family and its degeneration into simply another asset to the bourgeoisie and b) his proposals for change.  He proposes abolition of inheritance, and a different style of family relationship.  There will be new “family values.” (A community of women??) (inheritance, family values, community of women)


1b. Davis, Todd F. and Kenneth Womack. “’O my brothers’: Reading the Anti-Ethics of the          Pseudo-Family in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange.” College Literature 29           (2002): 19.


2b. Kirby, David A. “The New Eugenics in Cinema: Genetic Determinism and Gene Therapy in   “GATTACA”” Science-fiction studies 27 (2000): 193.

1c. More, Thomas. Utopia. Toronto: Dover, 1997.


2c. Plato, The Republic. Toronto: Dover, 2000.


1d. Niccol, Andrew. GATTACA. DVD. Directed by Andrew Niccol. Culver City, CA: Columbia Pictures, 1997.

The film displays a society in which everyone’s destiny is determined by genetic modification before they are born  Society manipulates the youth before a child is even born.  Genetics bring an entirely new way for possible discrimination.  In the movie, a family has one son whose DNA is manipulated in order to make him predisposed to success, and the first who is a “God child”—one who is treated as less because he has inferior genes.


1e. Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. London: Heinemann, 1962.

Society corrupts a child at first and then tries to recondition him.  There are two examples of conditioning in this novel.  In the beginning, the protagonist is a general hooligan who rapes and robs as he pleases—a side effect of the dystopian society’s unintentional conditioning.  Later, when he is arrested, the state attempts a reconditioning process.  He becomes “good” simply because he will feel violently ill when evil thoughts come to mind.  Is it still just to be good if the goodness is not inherent.  Can you treat humans like clockwork?


2e. Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008.


3e. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. London: Chatto and Windus, 1932.

(genetic mod., conditioning with repetitions)


4e. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Secker and Warburg, 1949.


5e. Twain, Mark. Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins. New York: Norton, 2005. (inheritance)