1) Why was it so popular? 2) What happened to education in Nazi Germany? And how did it affect the German youth? Cheering young women of the Hitler Youth, mid 1930s These enthusiastic young women are members of the League of German Maidens. It is in the mid-1930s and they are cheering Hitler wildly. The BDM was part of the Hitler Youth Movement. 1. 2. 3. What words would you use to describe the appearance and emotions of these young women? They are cheering Hitler. Why might they feel so strongly and positively about him? What would you like to know about this photography before deciding how valid it is as historical evidence? Inge Scholl remembers her days in the Hitler Youth 1. 2. Make a list of all the things the Inge loved or was proud of. Note Inge’s choice of words. Which words referring to gender would be criticised as being ‘politically incorrect’ these days? Would it be fair to accuse Inge of being ‘politically incorrect’ or is there a reason for her use of words? For we loved our homeland very much – the woods, the great river, and the old gray retaining walls that rose on the steep slopes between groves of fruit trees and vineyards. We were reminded of the smell of moss, of soft earth and spicy apples, when we thought of our homeland. And every square foot of it was well known and very clear to us. Fatherland – what else was it but the greatest homeland of all who spoke the same language and belonged to the same people! … And Hitler, as we heard everywhere, Hitler wanted to bring greatness, happiness, and wellbeing to this Fatherland; he wanted to see to it that everyone had work and bread; he would not rest or relax until every single German was an independent, free and happy man in his Fatherland. We found this good, and in whatever might come to pass we were determined to help to the best of our ability. But there was yet one more thing that attracted us with a mysterious force and pulled us along – namely, the compact columns of marching youths with waving flags, eyes looking straight ahead, and the beat of drums and singing. Was it not overwhelming, this fellowship? Thus it was no wonder that all of us – Hans and Sophie and the rest of us – joined the Hitler Youth. Inge Scholl 1961, Die Weisse Rose Hitler Addresses the Hitler Youth 1935 German Youth! The ideal of manhood has not always been the same even for our own people. There were times…when the ideal of the young man was the chap who could hold his beer and was good for a drink. But now his day is past and we like to see not the man who can hold his drink, but the young man who can stand all weathers, the hardened young man. Because what matters is not how many glasses of beer he can drink, but how many blows he can stand; not how many nights he can spend on the spree, but how many kilometres he can march. We no longer see in the boorish beer-drinker the ideal of the German people: we find it in men and girls who are sound to the core, and sturdy. What we look for from our German youth is different from what people wanted in the past. In our eyes the German youth of the future must be slim and slender, swift as the greyhound, tough as leather, and hard as Krupp steel. We must educate a new type of man so that our people is not ruined by the symptoms of degeneracy of our day. 15 September 1935 1. 2. 3. 4. What are the characteristics that Hitler does not approve of? What might he mean by ‘the symptoms of degeneracy of our day’? What are the qualities that Hitler admires? Why might Hitler want young people to have the qualities he admires? Hitler Youth Posters 1. 2. What words would you use to describe the young men in these posters? What do you think these images suggest to people about the Hitler Youth? Hitler Youth Posters What differences do you notice between the male youth posters and the female youth posters? 2. Why do you think these differences have occurred? 1. A typical day in a Hitler Youth camp Given the list of daily activities, what seemed to be the aims of camps like these? 2. Why might many young Germans have liked such a daily program? 3. For what reasons might some young German people not have liked going to a camp with such a program? 1. 6am 6.05-6.20 6.20-6.40 6.40-6.55 7.00 7.30-2.30 2.30-3.00 3.00-4.00 4.00-5.00 5.00-6.00 6.00-7.00 7.00 8.00-9.00 10.00 Get up (5am in summer) Exercises Washing, bed making Breakfast Flag parade, speech by camp leader March to work, six hours farm work Mid day meal Rest, on beds Sport Political instruction Tasks for following day, general instructions Supper Recreation – songs, speeches, dancing Lights out R. Brady 1937, The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism Education in Nazi Germany Ilse McKee recalls her school life in Nazi Germany: Every subject was now presented from the National Socialist point of view. Most of the old lecture books were replaced by new ones which had been written, compiled, and censored by government officials. Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf became the textbook for our history lessons. We read and discussed it with our master, chapter by chapter, and when we had finished we started again from the beginning. Even though we were supposed to know the contents of the book almost by heart, nothing much ever stuck in my mind. I hated politics and distrusted politicians, but I thought, as most people did, that Hitler was far above intrigue and treachery and would prove to be the saviour that Germany needed…A new subject, the science of the races was introduced, and religious instruction became optional. Our school had always been run on very conservative lines and I am sure the situation was difficult for our teachers. Most of them had been doubtful about Hitler, but unless they wanted to lose their jobs they had to make a violent turn in his direction. Even if they sympathized with my attitude towards politics, they could not afford to let me get away with it. The Government was probing into the past history of every teacher, exploring his political background. Many were dismissed and it was dangerous to act as anything but a National Socialist. 1. 2. According to Ilse, what were some of the features of the school curriculum? What problems did teachers encounter? Education in Nazi Germany Dr Rust tells teachers what to teach, January 1935: Teachers are directed to instruct their pupils in ‘the nature, causes and effects of all racial and hereditary problems’, to bring home to them the importance of race and heredity for the life and destiny of the German people, and to awaken in them a sense of their responsibility toward ‘the community of the nation’ (their ancestors, the present generation, and posterity), pride in their membership in the German race as a foremost vehicle of hereditary Nordic values, and the will consciously to cooperate in the racial purification of the German stock. Racial instruction is to begin with the youngest pupils (six years of age) in accordance with the desire of the Fuhrer that ‘no boy or girl should leave school without complete knowledge of the necessity and meaning of blood purity’. World history is to be portrayed as the history of racially-determined peoples. The racial idea leads to the rejection of democracy or other ‘equalizing tendencies’ (specified as pan-Europa or international civilisation) and strengthens understanding of the ‘leadership idea’. 1. 2. What is the basic message being given to teachers by Dr Rust? How valid do you think Hitler’s claim is that the German people possessed ‘blood purity’? A German father describes a question his child had to answer at school. ‘A plane on take off carries 12 bombs, each weighing ten kilos. The aircraft makes for Warsaw , the centre of international Jewry. It bombs the town. On take off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 1500 kilos of fuel the aircraft weighed 8 tonnes. When it returned from the crusade, there were still 230 tonnes of fuel left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty?’ 1. Do you think this is an effective Maths question? Why/why not 2. Are there any hidden messages in this maths question? Here, a German newspaper (controlled by the Nazis) describes the school curriculum in 1939. All subjects - German language, History, Geography, Chemistry and Mathematics - must concentrate on military subjects, the glorification of military service and of German heroes and leaders and the strength of a rebuilt Germany . Chemistry will develop a knowledge of chemical warfare, explosives, etc, while Mathematics will help the young to understand artillery, calculations, ballistics. 1. How might this influence the way a student thinks? Comparison What are the similarities and differences between education in Germany during Hitler’s reign and education in Australia today? What are some of the benefits of Australian education? What are some of the negatives of German education? How did Hitler use education to his benefit?