Serving the Nation: Youth Mobilization and the New Life Movement in 1930s China
This paper explores the organization of youth mobilization in 1930s China and the role played by the New Life Movement in it. Youth mobilization was a strategic sphere of political intervention in Nationalist China. Whereas we know a great deal about Communist mobilization and the effectiveness of the mobilization techniques used by the Chinese Communist Party in both urban and rural China, the Nationalist Party’s mobilization has been overlooked because of its strict top-down approach. The New Life Movement provided an organizational structure for youth mobilization in China, and by 1937 the Nationalists had put in place a consistent network which was involved in the implementation of the New Life Movement, wartime preparation and propaganda work. The paper analyzes the work pursed by the Nationalists in Jiangxi province in the 1930s, where the New Life Movement was first launched, and sheds light on wider topics such as nationalism, mobilization techniques, urban and rural divide, and political competition between the Nationalists and the Communists.
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