Youth and Education in Nazi Germany
Nazis wanted to control young people and sure their support for the future. They did this by changing what children learnt in school and creating ‘out of school’ youth movements.
The German Minister of Education (Bernhard Rust) said “The whole purpose of education is to create Nazis.” To do this the Nazis changed the school curriculum to contain what they saw as the main needs, military skills for boys and domestic skills for the girls.
The Nazis placed great emphasis on the learning of:
• History – to show the greatness of the Nazis.
• Biology – to teach ‘race science’ which highlighted the superiority of the Aryans.
• PE – to get boys fit for the Army and girls fit to be mothers.
To ensure that the German youth were taught corrected, all teachers had to swear loyalty to Hitler and join the Nazis Teachers League.
Bernhard Rust, Minister for Education, inspecting a school.
Membership to Nazi Youth Movements was made compulsory. These were for young people of a variety of ages. There were separate groups for boys and girls, these groups put an emphasis on different aspects of life and they were taught different things depending upon which group they were involved in. Boys went on outdoor activities such as hiking and camping., and then later were taught more about ideology and military training. Girls were taught how to care for their health and prepare for motherhood.
Pimpf (Boys aged 6-10)
Deutschejungvolk (German Young People, boys aged 10-14)
Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth, boys aged 14-18)
Jungmadel (Young Maidens, girls to the ages of 14)
Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German Maidens, girls ages 14-21)
Activities of these groups were shown in Propaganda films as being very popular. The numbers in the movements gradually increased but the attitudes of the members of the groups were sometimes different to those of the Nazis.
Although the Nazis killed off many other official youth groups which had been attached to other political parties. But during the war several other groups developed in Germany which the Nazis saw as rebellious and a threat because they didn’t behave as the Nazis wanted them to.