Education in the Third Reich
In class this week we talked about the educational system in Germany and how it suffered greatly under Nazi control. The Nazis would reform the learning environment to anti-intellectual and to focus on ideology. Approximately thirty percent of teachers were members of the Nazi party. In the late 1930’s ideological training centers were set up to instruct teachers in subjects such as German prehistory, the racial study of history, and folk art (1) In 1937 ninety seven percent of teachers were part of the National Socialist Teachers Association (2). At the university level professors who were Jewish or had socialist or communist ideas were dismissed. Several left on their own as well and left Germany.
Curriculum would also obviously be impacted. Physical education was heavily expressed and several more hours were committed to this during the school week. Students who could not perform due to a disability were not certified for school graduation, and could not go on to other forms of education. The school systems were more interested in producing physically fit individuals than critical thinkers. Subjects such as biology and history were used to express Nazi ideas. Racial purity and racial theories were often preached in these classes. This style of education did not produce the smartest generation in Germany, and was not intended to. The Nazis did not believe that Aryans were intelligent, nor did they have to be. They wanted to form a group that would be loyal to their ideas. But without critical thinking and exchanging ideas, there is no room for moving up to a higher intellectual level or moving society forward.
(1) Jackson J. Spiolvogel & David Redles “Culture and Society in Nazi Germany” Hitler and Nazi Germany A History Pearson Education Inc., 2014, page 167
(2) Jackson J. Spiolvogel & David Redles “Culture and Society in Nazi Germany” Hitler and Nazi Germany A History Pearson Education Inc., 2014, page 167