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Wandervogel emblem

Wandervogel is the name adopted by a popular movement of German youth groups from 1896 onward. The name can be translated as migratory bird and the ethos is to shake off the restrictions of society and get back to nature and freedom. Soon the groups split and there originated ever more organisations, which still all called themselves Wandervogel, but were organisationally independent. Nonetheless the feeling was still of being a common movement, but split into several branches.


[edit] History

The Wandervogel movement was officially established on 4 November 1901 by Herman Hoffmann Fölkersamb, who in 1895 had formed a study circle at the boys' Berlin-Steglitz grammar school where he was teaching. The Wandervogel soon became the pre-eminent German youth movement. It was a back-to-nature youth organization emphasizing freedom, self-responsibility, and the spirit of adventure, and took a nationalistic approach, stressing Germany's Teutonic roots.[1][2]

After World War I, the leaders returned disillusioned from the war. The same was true for leaders of German Scouting. So both movements started to influence each other heavily in Germany. From the Wandervogel came a stronger culture of hiking, adventure, bigger tours to farther places, romanticism and a younger leadership structure. Scouting brought uniforms, flags, more organization, more camps and a clearer ideology. There was also an educationalist influence from Gustav Wyneken.

Together this led to the emergence of the Bündische Jugend. The Wandervogel, German Scouting and the Bündische Jugend together are referred to as the German Youth Movement.

They had been around for more than a quarter of a century before National Socialists began to see an opportunity to hijack some methods and symbols of the German Youth Movement to use it in the Hitler Youth to influence the young.

This movement was very influential at that time. Its members were romantic and prepared to sacrifice a lot for their ideals. That is why there are many to be found on both sides in the Third Reich. Some of the Wandervogel groups had Jewish members and Jewish scouting movements such as Hashomer Hatzair were influenced by the Wandervogel. Other groups within the movement were anti-semitic or close to the Nazi government. Therefore one can later find prominent members both subscribing to the Third Reich or resisting it.

From 1933 the Nazis outlawed the Wandervogel, German Scouting, the Jungenschaft, and the Bündische Jugend, along with most youth groups independent of the Hitler Youth. Only church affiliated groups survived, lasting until almost 1936.[3]

[edit] Modern aspects

The Wandervogel movement was refounded after World War II and exists in Germany to this day with around 5,000 members in many different associations, as well as in neighboring countries.

Before World War II, in a context of cordial relations with Germany, and in an effort to promote healthy activities for young people throughout the country, Japan's Ministry of education launched the movement among Japanese universities through its 「Å��Å��ä�šワンダーフォーゲ�«É��」 (shôkenkai wandaahuôgurubu, promotion of health WanderVogel association ). The first WanderVogel student club was then created in 1935 in Rikkyo University. It then spread to Keio University and Meiji University, and from 1937 on to several other universities around the country, especially after WW2, in the context of high economic growth and popularization of mountaineering.A strong emphasis is put on autonomy (use of tents over mountain huts, no help from professional guides) [4] It is now a fairly renowned student club in Japan with activities ranging from mountaineering, sawanobori, ski touring etc...

[edit] Influence

Some authors have seen the ethos and activities of the Wandervogel as an influence on later social movements, in particular the hippie movement which developed in the USA during the 1960s.[5][6]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ German Nationalist Youth Groups: Wandervogel
  2. ^ Wandervogel: history of the movement
  3. ^ Priepke, Manfred (1960). Die evangelische Jugend im Dritten Reich 1933'1936. Norddeutsche Verlagsanstalt. pp. 187'189. 
  4. ^ WanderVogel in Japan (wikipedia article in Japanese)
  5. ^ Gordon Kennedy & Kody Ryan, Hippie Roots & The Perennial Subculture, excerpt from Children of the Sun; A Pictorial Anthology From Germany To California, 1883-1949, 1998, ISBN 0-9668898-0-0
  6. ^ Wandervogel adventures (commercial site)

[edit] References

  • Walter Laqueur. Young Germany: A History of the German Youth Movement, Transaction Pub, 1984, ISBN 0-87855-960-4.
  • Jon Savage. Teenage: the creation of youth culture, Viking, 2007, ISBN 978-0-670-03837-4
  • Peter D. Stachura. The German youth movement, 1900-1945: an interpretative and documentary history, St. Martin's Press, 1981, ISBN 0-312-32624-6
  • John A. Williams. Turning to nature in Germany: hiking, nudism, and conservation, 1900-1940, Stanford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8047-0015-3

[edit] External links

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