|Abstract||Indoctrinating the Youth explores the Guomindang’s (GMD or Chinese Nationalist Party) attempts to inculcate political loyalty in secondary school students through youth organizations and military training in China and Taiwan. It compares the|
GMD efforts on mainland China during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) with the early years following its 1949 retreat to Taiwan, where it re-established its government.
During the war, the GMD aided secondary school students who fled from Japanese-occupied territories by establishing schools for them to continue their schooling. However, the GMD’s Three People’s Principles Youth Corps (SQT) was generally a failure on the mainland, while the China Youth Corps (CYC) created in 1952 on Taiwan was a remarkable success in its formative years. The SQT never was a channel for student political activism, but instead merely served as a strategic instrument for the GMD to depoliticize youth. For the most part, student members were even excluded from
taking charge of their own organization’s activities. Moreover, the intra-party factions within the GMD ultimately led to the SQT’s dissolution in 1947 after a brief, nine-year existence. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s China Youth Corps distinguished itself by emphasizing leisure activities, which made it more appealing to students. Compared to the SQT, the CYC took a broader approach to student life and learning, and focused more on youth concerns beyond the realm of politics.
In order to maintain discipline in youth and prepare for a Communist invasion, the GMD also mandated military training for all senior high students. Combined with CYC activities meant to foster martial spirit, military training also taught students civic duty and patriotism, enabling the GMD to successfully exert control over youth in 1950s Taiwan.