NAZI Education: Approach

Figure 1.--The NAZIs upom seizing power had considerable suspicion with the country's excellent and academically strong ewducationn system. Through a process of firing, 'reducation', and hiring committed NAZIs, the education system was rapidly NAZIfied and turned into a tool for indioctrinartion following Education Mimnister Rust's ideas as to the proper appraoch for education.

NAZI authorities led by Minister of Education Rust invisioned a definitive approach to education. For the NAZIs, the student was an object. Education was no longer to be a matter of personal intelectual development, but rather to prepare children to loyally serve the new National Socialist state. Educaion was not to inspire intelectual thought or cause children to question and seek answers to complicated issues. Rather the schools were designed mold children and have them unquestionably accept NAZI Part doctrine. The children no longer were no longer allowed options about life style, racism, political or economic thought, internationalism, religion, and other issues. The goal under the NAZIs was to consciously shape pupils on National Socialist principles. [Noakes and Pridham, p. 432.] Social, moral, religious, political, and economic though contrary to NAZI though was ignored or presented in a distorted negative context. A new NAZI curriculum was introduced to promote a new German consciouness. Only teaching materials that had an 'affinity with the spirit of the new Germany' were permitted. Material that 'contradict German feelings or paralyze energies necessary for self-assertion' was rejected. [Noakes and Pridham, p. 437.] Teachers were encouraged to in effect forget facts. They were to teach 'right' attitudes or 'character' through feel-good experiences: NAZI education gave great importance to was the cult of 'experience' as being of greater importance than academic study. Unlike knowledge which involved intellectual thought, experience involved 'feeling' which the NAZIs cultivated. The emotional acceptance of th racist, xeophobic nationalist outlook looked on as essential to character-building. [Noakes and Pridham, p. 441.] A new curriculum was developed to make it clear what shold and should not be taught in schools. The previously highly academic German aproach was shifted to a more affective (feeling-centered) program rather than cognitive learning which required a serious effort on the oart of the students. Students were not slow to learn what was important to earn the graduation certificates. Many concluded that they could simply drift through their school years and obtain their school-leaving certificate with only a minimal intellectual efforts which wsas not the case before the NAZIs seized power. One Geman teacher noted, "... those pupils who are in positions of leadership ... often display unmannerly behavior and laziness at school. in general, it must be said that school discipline has declined to an alarming extent..." [Noakes and Pridham, p. 429.]


Noakes, J. and G. Pridham, ed. Nazism: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, 1919-1945, (Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Exeter, 1983).


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Created: 9:12 AM 9/29/2013
Last updated: 9:12 AM 9/29/2013