Third Reich Student Attitudes

Figure 1.--We are not sure who the adults are. The most likely guess is the boy' teachers. At least one of the men has NAZI lapel pin. Notice that there are no uniformed adult HJ leaders.

An interesting question is what was on the mind of German students. We would like to know what they thought of their schools and the issues like nationalism, race relations, war and other issues addressed in German schools.

NAZI Indoctrination

A HBC reader has asked just what students actually thought about the issues stressed by the NAZIs once they gained control over the country's schools. As to what German students thought. That is a very interesting question, but also very complicated. There were millions of students with a wide range of attitudes. There would also be difference between boys and girls, religious groups, social clases, educational level, ect. Also the age of the child would be a factor. Their family must have also been very important. After joining the Hitlet Youth at age 10 they were much more subject to intensitive. Also the year would be important. The NAZIs seized power in 1933 so each year after that, students were more and more affected by NAZI ideology. The NAZIs were very interested in history, but of course it was a very stilted view of history. As to war. The NAZIs did not preach war in the schools. After World War I, the German people had no desire for another war. The schools and Hiltler Youth, however, glorified war. Also the policies pursued by the NAZIs meant war was inevitable. Probably most boys wanted to get on with their lives rather than enter the military, but even before the NAZis take over, many German boys were highly nationalistic. In the end, the German people were told that Poland attacked them. Probably many boys believed this. After the war turned against Germany, soldier fought desperately to defend the Fatherland. The young Hitler Youth boys joining the Volkstrum in 1944-45 certainly felt this way.


As best we can tll, the NAZI indocrination program, both in the schools and Hitler Youth, was very effective. Young people were often th most fervant NAZIs. Boys from the Hitler fighting in the Volkstrum were often willing to fightwhen adult soldier had given up. Interviews with Germans often indicate that they were true believers in Hitler's New Germany. This seems, however, to have varried. A German HBC reader tells us that as a boy he quickly changed his views after Germany's defeat. This appears to have been the case for many German boys. Some attempted to pursue sabatoge operations, but most boys changed their views about he NAZIs. We wonder, though, if this rapid change of view related to the enormity of the defeat and the relevations about he NAZIs rather than any failure of the indocrination process.


The following poster was reportedly prepared by German students, but more likely by adult NAZIs. The party was effective in inculcating such thought among the bulk of German students:

  1. Language and literature are rooted in the people. The German people is responsible for seeing that its language and literature are pure and uncorrupted expressions of its nationhood.
  2. Today there is a contradiction between literature and German nationhood. This circumstance is a disgrace.
  3. Purity of language and literature is your responsibility! The people has entrusted you with the safeguarding of our speech.
  4. Our most dangerous opponent is the Jew, and all who belong to him.
  5. The Jew can only think Jewish. If he writes German, he lies. The German, who writes German, but thinks un-German, is a Traitor! The student who thinks and writes un-German is basely irresponsible and disloyal to his duty.
  6. We want to reject lies, we want to brand treachery, we want students to be characterised not by irresponsibility but by discipline and political education.
  7. We want to treat the Jew as an alien, and we want to take nationhood seriously.


Christopher Wagner

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Created: May 2, 2002
Last updated: August 19, 2002