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Education and the Nazis. Aims. Nazis wanted to control young people and sure their support for the future. They did this by changing what children learnt in school

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Education and the Nazis

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education and the nazis

Education and the Nazis

  • Nazis wanted to control young people and sure their support for the future. They did this by changing what children learnt in school
  • The German Minister of Education (Bernhard Rust) said “The whole purpose of education is to create Nazis.” To do this the Nazis changed the school curriculum to contain what they saw as the main needs, military skills for boys and domestic skills for the girls.
  • The Nazis placed great emphasis on the learning of:• History – to show the greatness of the Nazis.• Biology – to teach ‘race science’ which highlighted the superiority of the Aryans.• PE – to get boys fit for the Army and girls fit to be mothers.
  • To ensure that the German youth were taught correctly, all teachers had to swear loyalty to Hitler and join the Nazis Teachers League.
  • Hitler wanted to create a “Thousand-Year Reich”, in which the Nazis would rule forever. He believed the way to achieve this was to win the support of the young people of Germany. He therefore began a nationwide programme of INDOCTRINATING young people, getting them to believe in the key Nazi ideas.
  • This was done by controlling the education system.
  • If you had been a German student in the Nazi period your teacher would be acting under strict instructions. They had to belong to the Nazi organisation of the German Teachers’ League, and had to make sure that they taught Nazi ideas – or they were dismissed. 
  • The teaching of school subjects was controlled so that the young were “indoctrinated” with Nazi ideals.
is this an innocent maths question
Is this an innocent Maths question?
  • "A bomber aircraft on take-off carries 12 dozen bombs, each weighing 10 kilos. The aircraft takes off for Warsaw the international centre for Jewry. It bombs the town. On take-off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 100 kilos of fuel, the aircraft weighed about 8 tons. When it returns from the crusade, there are still 230 kilos left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty ?"
is this an innocent maths question7
Is this an Innocent Maths Question?
  • "To keep a mentally ill person costs approximately 4 marks a day. There are 300,000 mentally ill people in care. How much do these people cost to keep in total? How many marriage loans of 1000 marks could be granted with this money?"
  • PE became a very important part of the curriculum. Hitler had stated that he wanted boys who could suffer pain.........."a young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp's steel." PE took up 15% of a school's weekly timetable. Boxing became compulsory for boys. Those who failed fitness tests could be expelled from their schools - and face humiliation from those who had passed such tests.
  • History was based on the glory of Germany - a nationalistic approach was compulsory. The German defeat in 1918 was explained as the work of Jewish and Marxist spies who had weakened the system from within; the Treaty of Versailles was the work of nations jealous of Germany's might and power; the hyperinflation of 1923 was the work of Jewish saboteurs; the national resurgence which started under the leadership of Hitler etc
  • Biology became a study of the different races to 'prove' that the Nazi belief in racial superiority was a sound belief. "Racial Instruction" started as the age of 6. Hitler himself had decreed that "no boy or girl should leave school without complete knowledge of the necessity and meaning of blood purity." Pupils were taught about the problems of heredity. Older pupils were taught about the importance of selecting the right "mate" when marrying and producing children. The problems of inter-racial marriage were taught with an explanation that such marriages could only lead to a decline in racial purity.
geography and science
Geography and Science
  • Geography taught pupils about the land Germany had taken away from her in 1919 and the need for Germany to have living space - lebensraum.
  • Science had a military-slant to it. The curriculum required that the principles of shooting be studied; military aviation science; bridge building and the impact of poisonous gasses.
boys and leadership
Boys and leadership
  • For boys considered special, different school were created. Those who were physically fitter and stronger than the rest went to Adolf Hitler Schools where they were taught to be the future leaders of Germany. Six years of tough physical training took place and when the pupils from these schools left aged 18, they went to the army or to university. The very best pupils went to Order Castles. These were schools which took pupils to the limits of physical endurance. War games used live ammunition and pupils were killed at these schools. Those who graduated from the Order Castles could expect to attain a high position in the army or the SS
  • Girls had a different curriculum in some regards as they studied domestic science and eugenics - both of which were to prepare young girls to be the prefect mother and wife. In Eugenics, girls were taught about the characteristics to look out for in a perfect husband and father.
anti s emitism
Anti Semitism
  • From 1935 on, after the Nuremburg Laws, Jewish school children were not allowed to attend schools. The Nazi government claimed that a German pupil sitting next to a Jew could become contaminated by the experience.
  • The sole purpose of this educational structure was to create a future generation that was blindly loyal to Hitler and the Nazis.
rally coach
Rally Coach
  • What do you think that students would have been taught about in History, and why?
  • What do you think was the purpose of studying Eugenics?
  • Why might PE have figured so prominently on the timetable?
  • What do you think would have been the focus of Race Studies?
  • Draw a table of similarities and differences between your school experience and schools in Nazi Germany