(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

At the beginning of “The Children’s Campaign,” the reader is introduced to a nationalistic and militant society, in which children play an integral role in the country’s defense. The children between the ages of six and fourteen constitute a highly respected and beloved children’s army, which they command, train, and organize without adult intervention. The boys serve in the army corps, and the girls are allowed to volunteer as nurses.

An apparently inferior country insults, in some manner, this more powerful, unified nation, and the children’s army receives permission to retaliate by launching an attack, which begins in the spring of that year.

As war is declared, the army of youths demonstrates its efficiency: Within a day, it is mobilized and ready to defend its country’s honor. After a patriotic speech by the twelve-year-old commander in chief, the troops leave for the offending country, where their campaign begins victoriously.

By the summer, the children have nearly reached the enemy’s capital, having won many battles and sustained comparatively few losses. Their heroism and discipline and their dedication to their mission are admired at home, where the media devotes specified times of day for reports on the progress of the popular war.

The bravery of the children is chronicled in detail: They defy death and bodily injury, and not a complaint is recorded. Moreover, the children’s army is superior...

(The entire section is 544 words.)