How Children Were Indoctrinated Into The Third Reich

German children were prepared to be obedient members of a racially pure Nazi society by strict mental and physical education.

As soon as Hitler and his Nazi Party came to power in 1933, they began to mold the children of the German nation. No longer would school simply be about reading, writing, and arithmetic. Reading would be taught by telling the story of Hitler, Savior of Germany. A written essay might be about human genetics as it related to a racially pure Folk. And an arithmetic lesson might involve the number of miles one would have to travel to find Lebensraum""living room""for the exploding German population. Teachers were no longer able to use their own judgment and common sense. Their lesson plans were laid out for them by the state, and it was made clear that they had no choice but to teach Nazi propaganda.

German boys were told from an early age that they were superior beings whose right it was to rule the earth and enslave lesser peoples. They understood as boys that they would be expected to give their lives for Germany if necessary. German boys of the era joined the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) and wore brown uniforms just like the adult Nazis they looked up to. They studied the concept of Blood and Soil, which said that the propagation of the Aryan race and the "reclaiming" of Germanic lands were far more important than the liberty of any one individual. The German boy was, first and foremost, a soldier of the Reich.

German girls joined a similar organization, the Bunde Deutscher Madel, or League of German Girls. They too had uniforms, a white shirt and navy blue shirt. From an early age these girls were taught that their only goal in life should be procreating for the Fatherland. They should be submissive to their husbands, and give birth as many times as possible. As Hitler's Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, once said, "The mission of the woman is to be beautiful and bring children into the world." To that end, German girls were not given many educational choices or opportunities, and their lessons focused on things like home economics.

Both boys and girls were discouraged to practice the faith that most of their parents were raised in: Christianity. Since Jesus was a Jew, Christianity could not be reconciled with Nazism, and children were told in one textbook to "reject the lies of Christianity." Instead they were taught Nordic Faith, a ridiculous mishmash of Nazi propaganda and ancient legends. It was not unusual for Jewish schoolmates to be brought to the front of the class and humiliated by the teacher.

As boys and girls moved into the teenage years, they were instructed in which forms of entertainment were acceptable. Jazz was forbidden as the impure sound of the African, and German composers, especially Richard Wagner (a vicious antiSemite), were extolled. Girls were discouraged from wearing makeup, as the Nazi ideal was freshly-scrubbed and sunkissed. "A German woman does not wear makeup and a German woman does not smoke," a girls handbook warned.

Physical fitness was an utmost priority, and both boys and girls were urged to participate in sports. Nazi recreation camps were popular, as was the Strength Through Joy movement, which sent German teenagers to work on rural farms. The program became somewhat of a joke, however, when many girls returned home pregnant. German teens joked, "I lost my strength through joy."

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