*** NAZI education -- curriculum

NAZI Education: Curriculum

Figure 1.--

The NAZIs made major changes in the curriculum at German schools after seizing power. The new NAZI curriculum for elementary, high school, or otherwise, was designed to in effect abduct the minds of German youth. The NAZIs intertwined their twisted ideology into every facet of the educational program so that German children came accept and actively support the basic precepts of National Socialism. Every lesson had to begin with a "Heil Hitler" salute. Enbeded in every subject would be an undertone of the racial ideology of the NAZIs, as well as the need for Lebensraum. Even seemingly ideologically free subjects like mathematics were not excepted. The primary change besides the introduction of racial education as primary curricular element was the upgrading of physical education and conditioning. The NAZIs sought to instill the need for physical activity to strengthen and harden the children for life--the boys for the military and the girls for motherhood. The academic program, as a result, suffered.


The new NAZI curriculum maderacial education a priority. Racial education was included in virtually every subject, including mathematics and foreign language.

Racial Education

Racial education became an important part of the curiculum in German schools. It was presented formlly as well as worked into many other curricula materials. Pseudo-scientific works were taught as scientific fact. Racial science was not only introduced as part of biology courses, but was presented to children in one form or another at virtually every grade level. Racial Instruction started at age 6 years, the year a child etered school. Hitler decreed that "no boy or girl should leave school without complete knowledge of the necessity and meaning of blood purity." Pupils were instructed in heredity and genetics. Older pupils were instructed as to the importance of selecting a "mate" with the correct racial caacteristics for marrying and producing children. Even before the passage of racial laws, inter-racial marriage were addressed with an warning that such marriages could only lead to a decline in racial purity and degeneration of the German volk. In 1933 and 1934 there were large numbers of Jewish children in the schools and the vicious NAZI racial thought was present to the class with them in it. Some teachers even required the Jewish children to serve as class models of "inferior" "Jewish" racial types. One Jewish boy in the Realschule remembrs a particularly vicious biology teacher who would require him to come to the front of the class where he would be pulled up by his side burns. The teacher would then tell the class, "Here is a Jew, notice the nose, cheek, and hair." He would then explain how to recognize a Jew. Exams were given on this and other aspects of NAZI idelogy and Jewish children would fail if they did not provide the required answers on their own inferiority. Some times in other subjects Jewish or part Jewish children would have their grades reduced on principle. Faced with this trearment and sometimes physical harassmentfrom their classmates, which would always go unpunished, Jewish patents withdrew their children from the state schools. At the same time the Nuremberg and other racial laws were making it increasingly difficult for their parents to work. Hatred of the Jews and other so-called subhumans was the main theme in all courses, even math. Problem solving included word problems with questions about ammunition or the cost of maintaining an insane asylum. (The mentally ill were considered a burden on society.)


Geography was a school subject especially warped by the NAZIs. The Nazi Primer taught students that German territory was any territory occupied by German speaking people or cultures that have been influenced by the German people. Germany was proclaimed as the "heart of Europe." German children were told that since Germany had a central location in Europe, its borders have constantly been restrained by its neighbors. Bu the same token, since Germany's neighbors were on the exterior of Europe, they were constantly trying to expand into Germany's territory. Students were constanly drilled with the idea that Germany had much land unrightfully that was taken from them.

German (Grammar and Literature)

Foreign Languages


History was one of the subjects most significantly revised once the NAZIs gained control over German schools. The sole purpose of became instill the NAZI views on race and the role of Germany in the world. Hitler stated in Mein Kampf, "It is the task of the racial state to ensure that at long last world history will be written and that within its context that racial question will be elevated to the dominant position". Throughout history texts, there was an undertone of the "life struggle" that all Germans faced. History books were written describing the degeneration of the world by the mixing of blood. Jews lured the Aryan race with promises of money and gold. "Many in the new Reich knew no longer any ideal for which to fight, to suffer, to die. They had only one God: gold". However, the German youth had nothing to fear since the National Socialists had come to power. They would "[overturn] the 'Jewish emancipation' foisted upon the world by the French Revolution".


German schools before the NAZIs seized power in 1933 has perhaps the highest standards in the world in mathamatics instrution. We suspect that standards declined during the Third Reich, although we do not yet have actual data to support this. We do know that math, like other subjects, was used to promote the NAZI racial idelogy and world view. The NAZI policies on these issues would be postulated as given while the children worked on math problems.

Physical Education

Hitler had a strong belief in the importance of physical education for German youth. He wrote, "A man of little scientific education but physically healthy, with a good, firm character, imbued with the joy of determination and will-power, is more valuable for the national community than a clever weakling." Physical education in th NAZI view was perhaps the most important parts of the German school child's day. Hitler increased the time for physical training to 2 hours per day, rather than the customary 2 hours per week before the NAZI take over. Physical conditioning was a major focus of the Hitler Youth movement. Competition in phyical conditioning was stronly promoted.


Religion was a difficult question for the NAZIs. Germany was a Christian nation. Most Germans thought of themselves as Christains, even many NAZI Party members. Hitler and his inner circle, howecer, were dismissive of Christianity. They wanted a new NAZI religion with national and racial connotations. The problem for the NAZIs was ho to wean the German people from Christianity. Educatng the children in schools was one approach. In this regards the German education system varied from dtate to state, but religious education was part of the curricu;lum in many German states. During the Third Reich many of the differences in the educational system in differnt regions of Germay were ended.


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 bilogy was subverted to serve the NAZI racial ducation program.


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


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Created: May 13, 2002
Last updated: 9:52 PM 6/22/2009