The power of Youth (3)

by Caspar-D. Eichler (1993), HPS Buxtehude/Germany

Has the Youth finally grown up? Some would guess NO.


 The development of the young generation was still limited in a rather conservative society shaped by a traditional value system.  Thus they had no chance to develop in free conditions; they rose up against the generation of their parents and the old elite. As a result the following decade was full of conflicts between the youth and the old generation. These two conflicting generations or contrary points of view led to new ways of life. They demonstrated against nuclear power and the Vietnam War, they gave up old traditions by founding new groups and communes and in order to lead a more modern life.

The 68 revolution was not only a political movement but also youth movement; it was the spirit of this new generation. “It was impossible to have no political statement!” remembered Mrs. Haffkner. The “Peace and Love” movement was the biggest of the time. In the 1970s this movement ended, but political issues like the oil crisis, cold war were still important topics


This evaluation was taken in Prag. 39 peasants were asked.


To say the youth isn’t political at all is simply wrong. Although the statistics say the opposite, the youth is active in politics, but in different ways, in comparison to the past. The question if the young people’s attitudes towards politics have changed has to be answered with Yes. The development and the circumstances which led to this change will be discussed in the following chapter.

Why doesn’t the youth participate in the political system?

 There isn’t ONE big political movement but many individual political views and protests. The term “political” has to be changed. Being political means nowadays not protesting against great political problems (like against the war in Afghanistan), but rather having political standpoints. Considering this, the question is:  If the Youth is more active in politics than we think, why don’t they participate in the German political system?

  1. The Youth has lost its confidence in politics. This is caused by the failures of the educational   system.  Because the young people don’t understand the difficult rhetoric used by politicians. As a consequence, they think that the politicians aren’t reliable.

Picture 1

  1. Another point is that most young people are involved in school, college and university. So there is time to attend to current political issues. Also the mental pressure is an important point. As an example the period of time students have to attend to school in order to get their high-school diploma is shortened from 13 to 12 years.
  1. A Reason why there isn’t any strong political movement as in 68 is a change in the family structure. That also causes the different political involvement in past and present. Previously, there was a strong family structure, with the father as head. Therefore they demanded self-determination.

Nowadays the family structures permit more liberties. These young people crave order and structure.

Has the youth lost its innovation?


How can we get the youth get active in politics?

  1. The best way of getting an adolescent understands the difficult rhetoric of politics is a debating society at school, like many British school have it.
  1. A place on campus where they can get information about current political issues and where they can debate on these.
  1. We need no political movements like the 68’. In addition there aremany smallprotestgroups. Like the photo shows.


 In conclusion, the youth knows a lot about politics and wants to be more active in politics. But to get the youth participate in the political system, the state has to invest. Investing in debating societies, investing in political forum, and investing in young people means to invest sustainable in the future.

The youth have their standpoints and they support them. Young people haven’t lost their innovation yet.

Picture 1:

One Response to “The power of Youth (3)”

  1. I live in Poland, and my thoughts are quite alike. The Poles have also lost their faith in politicians, as they don’t think that they are able to introduce any changes. The youth is involved only in school and university activities. I think that the key to encourage the youth to participate in politics is to create school self-governments with real power(ability to make real decisions, and possession of wide entitlements), where the young generation can try to how it feels to be responsible for decisions that affect the whole school community.