To what extent were Nazi education and youth policies
designed as a preparation for war?
The Nazis came to power in 1933. They began introducing a set of ideas into German society. These ideas were based on the Nazi ideology, outlined by Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf”. This essay will examine how the Nazis' attempted to ‘educate’ German society to integrate their ideological beliefs, and whether these were all designed as a preparation for war. There were a number of different aims for the youth in Nazi Germany and therefore their education needed to be suitable. Education methods created a loyal following for Hitler and the Nazis. The Nazis were aware that education to the German youth would create loyal Nazis by the time they reached adulthood. Their overall aim was to create a generation of racially pure Germans who were ready to do what Hitler asked of them and most importantly; serve their country. Therefore it was necessary to mould young boys into being prepared for war.
Education is supposed to open closed minds to liberate the minds of the youth and of the ignorant. It aims make a person to be an independent thinker. However in Germany under the Nazis the purpose for education was to close the minds. Leading Nazis stated that “the whole purpose of education is to create Nazis”. Education played a very important part in Nazi Germany in creating a loyal population of youth. The Nazis were aware that education would create loyal youth by the time they were adults. The pupils were made to believe in Hitler, and the youth movement made sure that they would not even think of opposing him.
Education meant indoctrination. Hitler used the schools to reinforce Nazi ideas. The school curriculum was changed, to serve the Nazi purpose. Physical education, Biology, German and History were given special emphasis. Science had a military slant to it and focussed on chemical warfare and explosives. Maths dealt with social issues and artillery calculations. History was changed in classes to uphold the glory of Germany, the Treaty of Versailles was described as the work of jealous nations, and hyperinflation in 1923 was said to be the work of Jewish saboteurs. Biology became a study of the different races. It aimed to ‘prove’ that the Nazi belief in Aryan racial superiority was correct. All teachers had to be accessed by local Nazi officials. Any teacher considered disloyal was sacked. Nazi curriculum classes were held during school holidays and most teachers attended. In 1933 the NSLB (National Socialist Teachers League) had 6,000 members, by 1937 it had 320,000 members. This meant that about 97% of all teachers had joined the NSLB. Teachers taught their pupils that Jews, and socialists were the cause of all Germany’s problems. This is evident in exam questions that showed the government’s anti-Semitic views, “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 ?”.
Girls were indoctrinated into following the 3Ks: Kinder (Children), Kiche (Kitchen) and Kirche (Church). Girls had to learn first aid and help on the land. But with the Nazis concerned about the falling birth rate and scared Germany would become a second class power, girls’ main aim was to reproduce. Hitler wanted a 'master' race, so he encouraged women to produce Aryan babies. Organisations that promoted family planning were banned and doctors who carried out abortions on Aryan women were given a two year jail sentence. There were many youth organisations for girls to join, all controlled by the Fuhrer. Girls could join in the ‘Jung Madel’ (young girls) between the age of ten and fourteen. The ‘Bund Deutscher Madel’ (the...
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