NAZI Curriculum: Science

Figure 1.--

Germany before the NAZI seized power probably had the best science education program in the world. The program especilly excelled in chmistry and physcics. After the NAZI take over, science eductin suffered from the loss of talented teachers well as the general decline of academic standards. The science most affected by he NAZI was of course biology because of its relevance to heredity and race. As a result the instruction of biology was subverted to serve the NAZI racial ducation program. Science also had a military-slant to it. The curriculum required that the principles of shooting be studied; military aviation science; bridge building and the impact of poisonous gasses.


Some pf the tpoics addressed in physics included the principles of shooting, military aviation, and bridge building.


One of the topics studied in chemistry was the impact of poison gas on the battlefield.



Biology was the most useful school subject for the NAZIs in their race education efforts. Biology became a study of the different races to substantiate the NAZI belief in the racial superiority of the Aryan people. Well before the NAZIs, however, the concept of social Darwinism had gained great crrency in Germany and other European countries. Social Darwinists postulated that not only species, but also nations displaced weaker counties and peoples. This was used as an ideological basis for European colonialism. Both biological and social Darwinism were seized upon by the NAZIs. Both were used to provide an apparently "scientific" basis for NAZI ideology. "Biology not only tells us about animals and plants, but also shows us the laws we must follow in our lives, and steels our wills to live and fight according to these law." [Bytwerk.]


NAZI textbooks maintained that the laws of nature and humanity made life a struggle for survival which "eliminated everything that is unfit for life, and selects everything that is able to survive." [Bytwerk.] Not only must the strong prevail, they also must sacrifice everything for the good of the race. "The more threatened a creature is in the struggle for survival, the more offspring it must produce" a biology textbook states. [Bytwerk.] An example of a NAZI era textbook was one for 5th grade girls, published in 1942 during World War II, Marie Harm and Hermann Wiehle, Lebenskunde für Mittelschulen. Fünfter Teil. Klasse 5 für Mädchen (Halle: Hermann Schroedel Verlag, 1942). The first part of the book is devoted to a discussion of genetics by looking at seasonal changes in the forest and the human body. The authors then proceeds to apply these principles to human beings. A sample from the book is available in the German Propaganda Archive.

Racial focus

The NAZIs constantly hammered at school children that since the German people were threatened by the constant onslaught of the Jewish people, they must needs produce as rapidly, and yet as purely, as possible. Of great concern to the NAZIs was not only "racial pollution", but Germany's declining birthrate. Thus it was stressed to German girls both at school and in the BDM that their duty was to bear children. The SS also initiated a secret program in this regard that the children were not old about--the Lebensborn Program. A feature of studying biology was learning the difference between various races. Physical characteristics as well as the formation of bones and skulls were the deciding factors that grouped an individual into one race or the other. Students studied things such as the size of a person's skull, and were told largely imagined conclusions about the individual based on that anatomical feature.


The NAZIs saw biology as way to promote ther ideology and to prepare the new generation for the racial policies they were pursuing in Germany and eveually , once the War began, in th occupied countries. Children were told that Aryan people would degenerate if mixed with Jews to form a twisted, malformed subhuman. Races were to strictly reproduce within themselves and not to cross with others. One should not tht this poisonous nonsemnce was taught in clasrooms with Jewish children during the early years of the Third Reich. Even after the Jewish chldren withdrew or were expelled, many children with some Jewish ancestors, called Mischlings were in these classes.


As part of an exchange agreement Kodi and Crystal have provided us access to their research.

Brennecke, Fritz. The Nazi Primer. Harper & Brothers Publishers: New York 1938.

Bytwerk, Randall. The Educational Principles of the New Germany: What Schools and Parents Need to Know About the Goals of the National Socialist Education. 17 April 2002. http://www.calvin/edu/academics/cas/gpa/frau01.htm.

Christopher Wagner

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