When the Old Left Was Young: Student Radicals and Americas First Mass Student Movement, 1929-1941

Paperback | March 1, 1997

byRobert Cohen

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The Depression era saw the first mass student movement in American history. The crusade, led in large part by young Communists, was both an anti-war campaign and a movement championing a broader and more egalitarian vision of the welfare state than that of the New Dealers. The movement arosefrom a massive political awakening on campus, caused by the economic crisis of the 1930s, the escalating international tensions, and threat of world war wrought by fascism. At its peak, in the late 1930s, the movement mobilized at least a half million collegians in annual strikes against war.Never before, and not again until the 1960s, were so many undergraduates mobilized for political protest in the United States. The movement lost nearly all its momentum in 1939, when the signing of the Hitler-Stalin pact served to discredit the student Communist leaders. Adding to the emergingportrait of political life in the 1930s, this book is the result of an extraordinary amount of research, has fascinating individual stories to tell, and offers the first comprehensive history of this student insurgency.

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From Our Editors

The student rebels of the Depression era rank among the most effective radical organizers in the history of American student politics. They built a large and influential student protest movement, organized America's first national student strikes, and shaped political discourse on campus for the better part of a decade. No college gene...

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The Depression era saw the first mass student movement in American history. The crusade, led in large part by young Communists, was both an anti-war campaign and a movement championing a broader and more egalitarian vision of the welfare state than that of the New Dealers. The movement arosefrom a massive political awakening on campu...

Robert Cohen is Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Education at the University of Georgia, Athens.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:456 pages, 9.17 × 6.06 × 1.18 inPublished:March 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195111362

ISBN - 13:9780195111361

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From Our Editors

The student rebels of the Depression era rank among the most effective radical organizers in the history of American student politics. They built a large and influential student protest movement, organized America's first national student strikes, and shaped political discourse on campus for the better part of a decade. No college generation before them and only the New Left insurgents of the 1960s after them ever had as much impact on student politics in twentieth-century America.

Editorial Reviews

"Americans with personal memories of the college student movement of the 1930s are, quite literally, a dying breed today, which makes all the more welcome and important this fine study by Robert Cohen."--Perspectives on Political Science