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How children served in the army: Tragedies of the past that the world still remembers
How children served in the army: Tragedies of the past that the world still remembers

In history, more than once with children they talked about military duty in order to then dress them up in uniforms or send them to fight the enemies of faith or the state. For children, it almost always ended sadly. But they do not stop using them in our time, despite all the historical lessons.

Children's crusade

Although children in the Middle Ages were constantly with the army as servants and apprentices-squires, the Children's Crusade is distinguished by the fact that it was expected that only and exclusively children and adolescents would participate in it, who were supposedly the only ones, as sinless souls, were given to win back, finally, Jerusalem from Arabs armed to the teeth. In 1212, a shepherd boy named Stephen of Clois announced that he had such a vision. Under his tales, about 30,000 children and adolescents eventually came to Marseille.

30,000 teenagers and children gathered to retake Jerusalem, and the adults supplied them with food, not stopped them

It was assumed that sooner or later the Lord would send them a way to cross the sea, and in anticipation of this miracle, a gigantic crowd of young Christians begged for alms and ruined the area. They also prayed every day that the sea would open before them. Finally, the Lord, as it seemed to the children, softened the hearts of two local merchants, and they provided the participants of the crusade with seven capacious ships with crews. After that, the children were not seen either in the Christian lands or in the Holy Land.

Later it turned out that those two merchants had sold the small crusaders to Algerian slave traders in advance, in bulk, but for good money - after all, white-skinned and fair-haired young slaves were highly valued. There is a version that the merchants were in collusion with the rulers of several European counties, who encouraged this campaign for a share. This gigantic march and equally gigantic betrayal still inspires writers, poets and visual artists to this day.

Battle of children

Paraguayan President Francisco Solano López was known for his vast ambitions. He expected unquestioning submission to his will from the inhabitants of the country and did not allow the expression of opinions that would contradict his declarations. At the same time, in the name of territorial claims, he managed to declare war on three neighboring states: Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

This led to the fact that during the war, 90% of the adult male population of the country was killed, including the elderly. But Lopez made a loud oath to fight to the end and was not going to surrender. He announced the call for boys from six years old. Since many teenagers had been killed in previous conscriptions, out of 4,000 soldiers of the new army, 3,500 were under twelve (or even ten) years old and had difficulty holding weapons in their hands.

Soldiers of the last draft of President Lopez

Moreover, on August 16, 1869, this whole crowd of barely trained children, on whom they did not even find enough shoes (many were barefoot), were in fact thrown into battle, so their general immediately after that fled from the battlefield - he I didn't want to die. As a result, the crowd of children had to shoot back from 20,000 adult professional soldiers. At least half of the little soldiers were killed. The battlefield was littered with corpses of children. This page of history, known as the "Battle of the Children", Paraguay still considers the most shameful in its history.

Fighting units of the Hitler Youth

Back in 1933, Hitler said, referring to a conditional German: "Your child belongs to us today." His goal was to create soldiers fearless and ruthless.This was achieved not only with loud words about patriotism and calls to save Germany from the omnipresent enemies who were ready to devour it. When brought up in the Hitler Youth (where they were accepted from the age of fourteen), they were forced to experience the fear of death over and over again, realizing how well it breaks the psyche and how much easier it is to lose pity for people if you took it for granted that no one, never, not even yourself, has no right to regret.

In the forty-third year, they announced the beginning of the service for youth of pre-conscription age. High school students were recruited into service by entire units of the Hitler Youth. Fulfilling virtually adult duties, they, nevertheless, were not recognized as real soldiers. This allowed them to pay much less with the same requirements for the service; the least paid were those under the age of sixteen. At the very end of the war, even girls from the female counterpart of the Hitler Youth were sent to serve, although before that the Nazis propagandized that girls should only think about children, marriage, and home.

Captured tankers of the Hitler Youth

The Hitler Youth not only defended Berlin as the last line of defense, which is shown in the movies most often. Detachments of teenagers were thrown to cover the withdrawal of regular troops, to capture Bucharest, sent to the front line in tanks. The tank division "Hitler Youth" lost 60% of the composition in the first month of service and another 80% of the new composition in the second month, but this did not bother the Nazis. The loud words that these teenagers are the future of the country meant nothing to them, so they easily deprived the children of Germany of any future, throwing them under bullets and shells.

Immediately after the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, some armed boys from the Hitler Youth were killed right on the streets, but later they were not even charged with military atrocities (despite a certain amount of evidence), being declared victims of the regime.

Khmer Rouge

Pol Pot's regime almost completely relied on adolescents from the lower strata of urban society or from the countryside - on their negative experience of constant abuse, exploitation and poverty, their willingness to take revenge for what they have experienced, the joy of suddenly gaining power over adults and their inability to deeply analyze the situation. Virtually all of the Khmer Rouge troops in the villages were made up of armed boys who were given full power and encouraged to use it to kill people. Very quickly, teenagers discovered torture and other cruel games that preceded murder. Ritual cannibalism flourished: the livers of the slain were eaten raw.

Under the slogans that now everything belongs to the working youth, which the teenagers really liked, the systems of medicine and education were destroyed, instead of giving them access to the general population: any intellectuals were declared enemies of the nation and the local proletariat. Under these slogans, genocide was unleashed in the country against its own population. It was directed: Pol Pot declared that only one million people (out of seven) should remain in the country for a happy future, everything else is ballast.

With fewer people left and less food and other goods produced, Pol Pot declared war on neighboring Vietnam. As a result, the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia and Pol Pot's regime fell. The teenage killers were not pursued - there were too many of them, but many of them died during the war with Vietnam.

While it was a question of keeping Pol Pot's power in the villages, these children were doing well

Children are also constantly exploited in production. Hands in boiling water, head in a frenzy, back torn off: How children worked 100-200 years ago and how it threatened them.

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