World War II Aftermath: German School Curicula

Figure 1.--.

We believe that German school curricula is largely pacifist in content. Our information is very limited. Hopefully our German readers will provide us some information about how World War II was addressed in their schools. One German reader who was in school during the 1980s and 90s has provided us some thoughts on how the NAZI-era and World War II was presented in his classes.

NAZI Crimes

As for education about World War II it can be said, that it was focused on the terrible things Germany did by unrightfully over running and occupying the whole of Europe, murdering six million Jews and other people who didn’t fit in their ideology (e.g. communists, homosexuals), putting them into concentration camps and killing them. On the other hand Germans were also killed. [Reinhard, here do you mean that the NAZIs also killed Germans or that Germans also died in the War?] We also learned how the NAZIs planned to create a German master race which included killing handicaped Germans. We also studied about the terrible pseudo-medical expeiments on Jews in the concentration camps. There have been demonstrations, mainly by neo-NAZIs as they showed an exhibition of cruelities of German soldiers during the War.

The Allies

I vaguely remember an article saying the Germans are invading Poland and the Allies are doing nothing (e.g. Churchill plays golf, but I may be mistaken by this). I believe it was from a NAZI-era newspaper. [Reinhard: here how was the bombing campaign presented?]

German Ressistance

Our classes also covered the Ressistance movement in Germany. We read about the White Rose Group (e.g. “ Die Weisse Rose ”), the most famous members being sister and brother Schollŕ. In fact our school was named after them. We also read about General von Stauffenberg, who attempted to kill Hitler. There was another attempt in Munichb that failed but unfortunately Hitler left the place shortly before it exploded. Some hid Jews in cellars. (Reinhard: Are you talking about Germany here. I know Jews were hid in many occupied countries, but I do not recall a lot of examples of Germans hiding Jews in cellars.) Other Germans like Schindler did what they could to help Jews.

Hitler Youth

We studied how German boys in the Hitler Youth fought in the streets of Berlin until Hitler killed himself


We learned that it wasn’t easy to work with foreign people. How the Allies worked on replacing the former NAZIs. (We learned four words, that should show this.) [Reinhard: What were the four words? Also was there any comparison with German occupation policies to Allied occupation policies?]


Finally we studied how Germany was unified in 1989. The Soviets helped the GDR authorities put down anti-communist riots in 1953. After the Soviet Union refused to back GDR authorities in 1989, demonstrations by the East German people led to unification.

Major Emphasis

As one important topic, it was stressed to us, that things like World War II should NEVER happen again.


There’re many interesting documentaries about this era. Especially one historian, Guido Knopp, as made some TV series, (together with books) dealing with different themes (e.g. Hitler Youth, bombing of German towns, refugees of former East German places, Uboot war of Germany, Hitlers charisma and way to power, etc..) Some say, he’s showing the facts (interviewing people, films and so on) far to easy, but one has to do so, to reach a wide range. I think his documentaries are worth watching.

Family Experiences

I can also add a personal experience my Grandpa told me. He was forced to abandon the idea to take up the profession he liked, as the NAZIs came to power. My grandfather wanted to become a theologue, but as he was more interested in church history than preaching, he turned on history. But since the NAZIs sized power, he had to be in an association for students and should have abandoned church, therefore he couldn't study any further. Later he became a bank assistant. He, who had the “pleasure” to fight in France and Soviet Union, although he knew, that The Germany could NOT win the war, as the huge Soviet Union had large quantities of people and the winter came, too. He always said his best year of live were occupied with silly warfare. (His father had to participate in World War I and came home to him as a stranger after the War.)

Reinhard Mueller


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Created: April 27, 2003
Last updated: May 15, 2003