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Changing life in Germany

How did Nazi economic and social policy affect life in Germany?

The treatment of young people

Controlling education

Up until 1933, the provincial governments were responsible for the majority of schools. When the Nazis came to power, Berlin's Minister of Education, Bernhard Rust, became responsible for education in Germany. Every pupil had to stay in school until he or she was 14 years old, then it was optional. There were separate schools for girls and boys. The number of Physical Education lessons doubled, but Religious Education was abolished.

Conditioning – every subject was presented from a Nazi perspective. Textbooks were re-written. History books emphasized Germany's military success. Jews and Communists were blamed for the Recession.

The aim of education was to:

  • separate Jews from other children
  • encourage hatred towards the Jews
  • prevent Jews from getting an education.

The scheme was a success. Jews would be portrayed as bad, ugly and selfish people in textbooks and children’s stories. Books such as The Poisonous Mushroom warned German children against the Jews. By the time children were 8 years old, they strongly believed that Jews were bad people.

In Biology lessons, children would learn about the features of the Supreme Race, or the Aryans.

The Nazi Teachers' Alliance – every teacher had to be a member of the Nazi Teachers Alliance. Pupils were encouraged to tell the authorities if their teachers didn’t teach them the new curriculum.

  • Bernhard Rust: The Minister for Education
  • Book-burning ceremonies, 1933: getting rid of ideas that didn't correspond with Nazi ideology
  • Teachers: members of the Nazi Teachers' Alliance
  • Timetable: physical education, history, geography, German, biology
  • Lessons: Nazi ideology – conditioning
  • Special schools: to prepare future leaders
  • Education before 1933: controlled by the provincial governments
  • The Nazis' objectives: to prepare for the future – a thousand years

Back to Germany in transition, c.1929-1947 index

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