In fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, youth organizations educated the youngest citizens of both countries to strengthen support for the ruling political parties. They also provided teenage boys with military training.1 In this photograph, boys of the Italian youth organization Avanguardisti march through Munich on their way to visit Adolf Hitler in 1932, months before his rise to power in January 1933.
Parades and marches by uniformed paramilitaries and youth brigades also formed an important means by which fascist parties across Europe projected their strength and vitality. In both the Avanguardisti and the Hitler Youth, uniformed marches fostered group identity and reflected strong faith in party ideals and values. The black shirts worn by these Italian youths recalled the early fascist movement in Italy, when paramilitary squads called "Black Shirts" terrorized opposing political organizations.2
In addition to uniforms and performance, architecture held special importance for fascist parties. Here, the Avanguardisti march in front of Königsplatz, a square built in the nineteenth century that the Nazis believed embodied their political principles. The square served as the center of Nazi party rallies in Munich, the "Capital of the Movement."3
Taken by Hitler's official photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, this image appears both staged and spontaneous. Although the ultimate purpose of the photograph is unknown, it captures the parade of the Avanguardisti in a display that was meaningful to fascist movements' growth and confidence. Pictured in the background, spectators gather, perhaps drawn in by the spectacle of the uniformed march.