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Militarisation of Youth

'Die for your country': Turning to bravery, loyalty and honour in order to legitimise war and recruit soldiers in Germany

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Jonna Schürkes

Persuading the German people that German soldiers - many of them young - should go to war is not an easy endeavour. Every militarist tries to do so and each one has a different explanation for people’s reluctance. The president of Germany, Joachim Gauck, sees it as denial by those who prefer not to acknowledge the fact that German soldiers are still getting killed and injured in combat. He laments how people are not ready to sacrifice themselves for society because of their egoism, saying '“[these people] all too easily forget that a functional democracy also requires effort, attention, bravery and sometimes even the utmost that a man can offer: his life, his own life!”' He also complains about people who come to the wrong conclusions through their knowledge of German history: '“...'Count us out' as a pure reflex is not an appropriate stance if we are to take our past seriously”'.[1]

Quotes from WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth conference: Public discourse and Education

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Public discourse

They are constantly selling the idea that Venezuela is going to be invaded by the United States and in the face of this external threat...there is a permanent feeling of being on the verge of war or armed conflict...They always say that the United State wants Venezuela’s oil, however our president Chávez negotiated with transnational energy companies for 30 to 40 years. This means that that argument is invalid... - Rafael Uzcategui, Venezuela

Survey findings: Public discourse and Education

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Public discourse

In many countries (twenty of the thirty-two), celebrities are used to promote the military. By contrast in Kenya, the military is almost secretive (although the Maroon Commandos, a band, are very popular). The military in half of the countries have a website aimed specifically at young people. Although Switzerland doesn't, its military does sponsor youth websites.

On-screen warfare

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Michael Schulze von Glaßer

US troops march into Iran in 2014, the Russian army occupies half of Europe in 2016, and the USA is conquered by North Korea in 2027 – today’s video games tell controversial stories which reach an audience of millions. Here is an overview of military video games and the search for alternatives.

'Catch them young before the army loses them'[1]

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David Gee

Ask a teacher what her purpose is and how she goes about it, and you can expect a simple answer: she supports young people to grow by teaching them things. We know why we need bakers, too; they feed people by baking us bread. So what are soldiers[2] for?

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