‘Stoottroepen’ van maatschappelijke veranderingen

Jan Brabers, Marij Leenders
  • Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, June 2018, Amsterdam University Press
  • DOI: 10.5117/tvgesch2018.2.brab

A vanguard of social change. Political awareness of Catholic students, 1945-1963

What is it about?

In this article we reveal traces of national and international political engagement of Dutch Catholic students in the post-war period. Our point of departure is the reputation of Catholic students of the late 1960s, as being idealistic revolutionaries in the vanguard of political turmoil. In our view, the roots of their political activism can be found in the 1950s. In literature student life in the 1950s is considered to be apolitical of character. In this article, however, we claim that already in those days Catholic student associations were anything but apolitical. Two coordinating student bodies, the national Union of (Roman) Catholic Student Associations and Pax Romana, the international movement of Catholic students, offered a platform for and even stimulated political discussion. Our research shows that these bodies had an important role in fueling political and social engagement of Catholic students.

Why is it important?

In literature student life in the 1950s is considered to be apolitical of character. In this article, however, we claim that already in those days Catholic student associations were anything but apolitical. Two coordinating student bodies, the national Union of (Roman) Catholic Student Associations and Pax Romana, the international movement of Catholic students, offered a platform for and even stimulated political discussion. Our research shows that these bodies had an important role in fueling political and social engagement of Catholic students.

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