Education in Nazi Germany – Change and Continuity Assessment When Hitler became Chancellor of Nazi Germany, in 1935, he proposed many changes in education and throughout the country. He believed that these changes would influence people and indigenise them of his beliefs and reforms that should happen in the country – to praise his glory and make Germany the most powerful country and its rule to continue forever. One of these integral changes was education. Hitler strongly believed that, younger minds were easier to infiltrate and indoctrinate, as they were developing and imposed this sudden change amongst schoolchildren to provoke stronger Nazism in the future generation of Germans. Older generations, could oppose and have opinions to disapprove Hitler’s ideas. So, the Nazis changed education drastically to mould these children for the future of Germany. However, some parts of education were vital for basic human needs and could not be changed. In contrast, they were continued but they were portrayed in such a way, which would influence the way a German child thought, in that time. They introduced a lot of changes to education, from the days of teaching to the subjects that had to be taught or taken out of the curriculum; which also had a lot of Nazi indoctrination in them.
All of the changes that were introduced had a major impact on children, as Dr Bernhard Rust pointed out that, "The whole function of education is to create Nazis" which highlighted that indoctrination was a key fundamentality in education to induce Nazism. One major change was starting school at 8:00 am sharply and a higher emphasis on sport and keeping fit. This is because, Hitler wanted to create a future generations of tough and strong soldiers, that would fight for his country – so unfortunately for most boys, this would be the discipline in the army and Hitler exactly wanted then to be ‘trained for the army’. Hitler had always said that,’ boys had to be as swift as a greyhound’ which highlights the idea of leadership, strength and power amongst boys. Moreover, boys had to play football, rugby, and boxing to toughen them up. PE was also heavily enforced upon girls, as they were the future mothers and wives of the future generation of soldiers. Also, they needed to be fertile and to be able to have the strength to give birth to healthy children. Furthermore, PE took up 15% of the education and boys who failed to pass fitness tests were to be expelled from schools and could be discriminated by the older students as a laughing stock. This attitude, inspired children to be tough and strong to serve their ‘Fatherland’ (Germany) and in a way frightened them. Also, it can be interpreted that this also invoked discrimination against the Jews. Further evidence to support the idea of keeping fit, is a line from a German newspaper which suggests that the ultimate aim of sport was to have enough men fit for the army. This deploys the idea of that Hitler purely wanted the future generation to fight for him. We can trust the provenance of the source, as it’s from a German teacher’s newspaper and we know that, Hitler arranged teachers into the League of Teachers so this is a valid piece of evidence. Exceedingly, a picture from a children’s textbook in the 1930s from Nazi Germany denotes a sketch of children in army uniform with weapons. This is clearly a heavily signified indoctrination, as it connects with the sports and inspires children to become like that. It can be interpreted that, Hitler and the Nazi party knew that children could be infiltrated through play and education and visual learning; so included subliminal messages in their learning to become Nazi.
In addition, another change that the Nazis introduced was a change to the lessons itself and the days of education to supply enough deployment of brainwashing that would mould their character. New lessons were introduced and lessons that were thought of unnecessary...
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