The Worker

“Everywhere the Youth is Singing Freedom’s Song” – History of the Hymn of the World Federation of Democratic Youth

by Kamryn Stringfield

Upon the smoldering ashes and rubble of the Second World War, the World Federation of Democratic Youth was founded in London on November 10th, 1945 by anti-fascists from all over the world. It was at the 1st World Youth Conference that 63 nations, representing around 30,000,000 youth, gathered and formed the World Federation of Democratic Youth. At the final session of this conference, a Message to the Youth of the World was adopted. The end of this document read

“The doors of our World Federation are wide open to the freedom loving youth who uphold the United Nations – who are pledged seriously and selflessly to fight for lasting peace. The future lies before us – the world must be rebuilt. We pledge ourselves to carry on the fight to free those youth who have not yet the liberty for which we fought. In war we were united – in peace we must remain united. We want a world as you do, free from war and suffering. AND WE WILL HAVE IT!”

The anthem of the World Federation of Democratic Youth was written by a renowned Soviet composer, Anatoly Novikov. Novikov had already composed well known Soviet hits like “Vasya-vasilyok” in 1941, “Smuglyanka” in ‘43, “Rossiya” in ‘46, “Dorogi”/”Roads” in ‘46 as well. Novikov was awarded two Stalin prizes in the late 40’s (awards for arts, math, science etc that benefits the USSR and the cause of socialism) and later was awarded with the title of the “People’s Artist of the USSR” in 1970’s, as well as the Hero of Socialist Labour and Order of Lenin commendations.

On July 25th, 1947, he performed the new “Song of Democratic Youth” (Hymn of the WFDY) at the 1st World Festival of Youth and Students in the capital city of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Prague. Lyrics were read by Soviet poet and Stalin prize winner Lev Oshanin. For the next 4 weeks the festival lasted, as youth and students from across the planet competed in athletics and stood in solidarity with each other under the blue flag with the WFDY emblem upon it.

The festival itself was partially in remembrance of the uprisings of the Czech people when the Nazis invaded in the late 1930’s. It was only 2 years after the evil, barbaric Nazi regime was put to death by the USSR with the help of allies and partisans alike. So many people from so many nations suffered and died fighting the onslaught of fascism, either from Nazi Germany or the other Axis powers and fascist organizations. 20-27 million Soviets died in the war. 15-20 million Chinese. About 6 million Poles. Around 300,000 Czechs died. Even an astounding ~420,000 Americans died. Grief was heavy, but there was now a gratification for winning the war and preventing fascism from ever rising again and stomping it out where it was. They wanted to remain united in the pursuit of peace.

The Song of Democratic Youth reflects the zeal and resilience of the youth, and their absolute determination to not let what happened from 1939-1945 ever occur again. Much like the Internationale, the WFDY was tranlated to and composed in a myriad of different languages so as to unite the youth of every continent in harmony for peace, anti-fascism and anti-imperialism.

The lyrics showcase a shared experience in the second major global conflict of the 20th century. They bring together Manchurian peasants who suffered at the hands of the Japanese Empire with the German Jews who survived the unfathomable horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. They bring the Italian partisan who hid from Mussolini’s beasts in caves together with the Algerian villagers, the lands of which were occupied by Vichy France. The cadence and rhythm then brings out the camaraderie between these peoples.

Even in the face of the beginning of the Cold War & being derided as a communist front organization by western imperialists, the WFDY stayed strong and still exists today.

(Verse 1)

One great vision unites us

Though remote be the lands of our birth.

Foes may threaten and smite us,

Still we live to bring peace to the earth.

Every country and nation,

Stirs with youth’s inspiration —

Young folks are singing,

Happiness bringing

Friendship to all the world.


Everywhere the youth is singing freedom’s song, freedom’s song, freedom’s song.

We rejoice to show the world that we are strong, we are strong, we are strong.

We are the youth, and the world acclaims our song of truth.

Everywhere the youth is singing freedom’s song, freedom’s song, freedom’s song.

(Verse 2)

We remember the battle,

And the heroes who fell on the field,

Sacred blood running crimson,

Our invincible friendship has sealed.

All who cherish the vision,

Make the final decision,

Struggle for justice, peace and good will

For peoples throughout the world.


(Verse 3)

Solemnly our young voices

Take the vow to be true to our cause.

We are proud of our choices,

We are serving humanity’s laws.

Still the forces of evil

lead the world to upheaval.

Down with their lying!

End useless dying,

Live for a happy world.



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