Militarisation of Youth

Our Countering the Militarisation of Youth programme identifies and challenges the many ways in which young people around the world are encouraged to accept the military and military values as normal, and worthy of their uncritical support. Militarisation is a process that goes far beyond overt recruitment. It includes the presence and influence of the armed forces in education, public military events such as parades and military-themed video games.

As part of our programme, we bring together a network of activists already working on countering youth militarisation in their own settings, and encourage more people to take action on these issues. Our activities with this aim include:

In August 2014 we launched a website specifically on the topic of youth militarisation. It's a place where you can add your own resources - to share documentation on how young people come into contact with the military, and how to challenge the militarisation of young people around the world. Find it here:

International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth

In June 2013, we supported groups and individuals who took action as part of the first ever International Day of Action for Military-Free Education and Research, followed in 25 - 31 October 2014 by the first week of action for Military-Free Education and Research. Since 2015, WRI has been organising the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth with the participation of various groups from across the world via their autonomous actions and events. See the reports from 2015 here, and from 2016 here.

Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter

Following our international conference on Countering the Militarisation of Youth in Darmstadt, Germany, in June 2012, we published a book based on themes explored at the conference: Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter. It is available to purchase here in English, and available to read for free here.

Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation

In 2017, thanks to the support of the Network for Social Change, we have started a new project, Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation. As part of this project, we are going to organise a number of trainings with grassroots activists from across different countries, focusing on the role of gender in our campaigns against youth militarisation. The project will also include an online resource to be out in 2018, inquiring these issues further with contributions by activists and experts in the field.


“A true Israeli doesn't dodge draft!” [1] – this slogan stands at the centre of a large-scale publicity campaign in Israel. The campaign was not run by the Israeli military, and it was not aiming to add more soldiers to the dwindling ranks of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Israel has (at least de jure) universal conscription, for both men and women. But this slogan did express, and strengthen, how most Israelis understand the role of military service in the life of an Israeli – a true Israeli.

The German Bundeswehr in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the German people

Small and ready to fight. In spite of a general reduction in personnel, the German Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) should in the future be more fit for action: 10,000 German soldiers should be able to be deployed abroad at any time, instead of the current 7,000 . But since the suspension of conscription, the German Armed Forces have to meet their recruitment needs entirely by persuading the civilian population to join in: 170,000 (career soldiers, soldiers on contract, reservists), plus 5,000 (soldiers recruited for voluntary military service), plus X (less than 10,000 additional soldiers recruited for voluntary military service) – equal less than 185,000 soldiers. This calculation was presented by German Minister of Defence Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democrats) in a policy speech in Berlin on 18 June 2011. Presently, it does not seem to be a problem for the German Bundeswehr to find 5,000 new recruits every year. But it is less clear whether they can meet the more ambitious target of 15,000 new recruits annually, because conscription was only suspended in summer 2011 and up to now not all the figures on new recruits (and drop-outs) of the last quarters are available.

Talk by Andreas Speck, staff at War Resisters' International, at the launch of Cynthia Cockburn's book ‘Antimilitarism: Political and Gender Dynamics of Peace Movements’ at Housmans Bookshop, 21 April 2012

First of all I want to thank Cynthia for giving me the opportunity to say something today, although I haven't read the whole book yet.

You are receiving this email because you have previously shown an interest either in attending or supporting our study conference on "Countering the Militarisation of Youth".

With just seven weeks until we all meet in Germany for the conference things are starting to take shape. We have started to confirm our team of speakers, facilitators and translators, book tickets and in the last few days switched our 'Registration of Interest' forms into 'Registration Forms'!

International Study Conference, Darmstadt, Germany 8-10 June, 2012

War Resisters' International is organising an international study conference on countering the militarisation of youth, in cooperation with German partner organisations and supported by the German teachers union (GEW). The conference will not just look at military recruitment and counter-recruitment actions, but will take a much broader view on the militarisation of youth, the creation of a culture and value system favourable to recruitment.

International seminar, Darmstadt, Germany, 8-10 June 2012

Organised by War Resisters' International, in co-operation with Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft – Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegner/innen (DFG-VK) and Bertha-von-Suttner Foundation

You are receiving this email because you have previously shown an interest either in attending or supporting the Countering the Militarisation of Youth Conference. With this email, we are sending you some news and updates.

Conference updates

This programme is not final. But it gives an overview of the topics that will be discussed at the conference from 8-10 June 2012. Please contact us on with any comments or suggestions.

Friday, 8 June 2012

6:00pm: Dinner
7:00pm: Begin of the study conference.
Facilitation: Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International, and Monty Schädel, DFG-VK, Germany
Welcome and introductions

7.30pm: Plenary

Dear Press Representatives,

We, conscientious objectors and antimilitarists of Turkey who oppose compulsory military service based on various motivations as beliefs, political and conscientious convictions held a meeting in Istanbul on 25-26 February 2012 with the participation of representatives from the Quaker United Nations Office, Amnesty International, the War Resisters’ International and Connection e.V.

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