Study Notes

Swing Youth

AQA, Edexcel, OCR

The Swing Youth, like the Edelweiss Pirates, were teenagers who rebelled against the Nazis. They were typically from more wealthy families than the Edelweiss pirates. Despite this however, those in the Swing Youth also idolised culture from the United States of America.

To this end, members of the Swing Youth would illegally import records from the US with music on them. They would often listen to swing music from the great swing bands, hence the name the Swing Youth. Listening to illegal music became a social event for those involved. Large groups would get together, listen to music, smoke and drink. Dancing also took place with many young people participating in the ‘jitterbug’.

In a similar vein, others listened to Jazz music instead of swing. Jazz music was particularly detested by the Nazis due to its associations with black people. It was seen by the Nazis as very un-aryan and unGerman.

Punishments for those caught listening to such music was severe, including forced labour and beatings.

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