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Education and Youth in Nazi Germany
The Nazis used two major institutions to achieve their aims; the school system and, in particular, youth
In Nazi Germany education became merely a tool for the long-term survival of the Nazi system.
In 1933, Hitler expressed his views: "Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will
pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know
nothing else but this new community."
Education was intended to indoctrinate its youth so completely in the principles and ethos of
National Socialism that the long-term survival of the `New Order' would never be brought into
question. "My teaching is hard. Weakness has to be knocked out of them... I will have no
intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin to my young men..." (Hitler 1933)
The Education Minister of Science, Education and Popular Culture = Bernhard Rust. (An
ex-schoolmaster who had been sacked in 1930 because of `mental instability'.)
Rust forced schools to downgrade intellectual skills.
The number of sports and fitness lessons increased from 2 to five one hour periods weekly.
Religious education was downgraded and eventually replaced.
A History course on the rise of the Nazi Party was added.
Biology lessons concentrated on genetics, race and heredity.
All teachers were subject to political vetting.
All teachers were enrolled in the Nazi teachers' Association.
By 1936, over30% of teachers had voluntarily joined the Nazi Party; by 1937 97% had
There was a move from co-educational schools to ensure the different sexes received their
appropriate education. Girls: took needlework, music, language and home crafts with the
aim of becoming good homemakers and mothers. Boys: P.E., fitness, History, Biology.
By 1939, all the denominational schools had been abolished.
New schools were created to train the future Nazi elite: Adolf Hitler School, Order Castles.
"My headmaster ... would not have the post if he were not a Part man." (Dr Schuster 1938)
"All subjects ... must concentrate on military subjects the glorification of military service
and of German heroes and leaders and the strength of a regenerated Germany." (Der
Hitler had utter contempt for professors and the academic life of Universities. The
independence of universities was severely restricted. Between 1933-1939, a total of 2,800
Lecturers and over 300 full professors were dismissed for political and racial reasons.
A new subject, `The Racial Sciences' was introduced and focused on Hitler's crude racial theories.
Many brilliant scientists including Einstein fled abroad.
The downgrading of the value of a university education by the Nazi regime led to a dramatic fall
in the number of university students, in 1933 there were 127,920 students decreased to
58,325 in 1938.
All university students were obliged to take four months of labour service in an SA camp and to
engage in three hours of sport per week as part of their degree studies.
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November 1933: University teachers had to sign a `Declaration in Support of Hitler and the
National Socialist State.'
Students were forced to join the Nazi-controlled German Students' League.
Unfortunately, the Nazis' teachings were ineffective and it soon had adverse effects. The Nazi
leaders wanted to reverse its anti-intellectual stress, arguing that they needed to train more
scientists to compete with other countries in research.…read more