Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Lori Marso




war, children


When one thinks of war, one does not often think of children. Images of Navy SEALS in camouflage tanks and the desert may come to mind when thinking of modern war. Those of Pearl Harbor, the Allied Forces, and Hitler may arise when thinking of war in a more historical sense. In the mind of the civilian children and the key role that they play in armed conflict rarely surfaces. In this thesis, I will address the function of children in war by arguing that their assumed innocence, as well as their assumed status as a "child" makes them easily utilized by both the "bad" forces who recruit them, as well as the "good" populations that attempt to defend them. First, I will address the idea that children are innocent, as well as how advocacy groups and governments harness this innocence in order to further their own agendas. In the second chapter I examine the multiple ways in which children can explicitly be involved in a war effort, such as by filling the role of child soldier, child bomber, child bride, and child refugee. I then delve further into the use of children by terrorist groups and ask why they invest so much in younger generations. In the final chapter I analyze what the term "child" which has been so heavily used in this thesis means, as well as how that label is affected by exposure to fighting and violence.