Education in the Third Reich

Race and History in Nazi Textbooks

By Gilmer W. Blackburn

Subjects: Jewish Studies, History, German Studies, European History, World War Ii
Paperback : 9780873958233, 288 pages, June 1985
Hardcover : 9780873958226, 288 pages, June 1985

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. National Socialism and the Modern Malaise

The Demise of the Autonomous Individual
The Secular State and the Search for Meaning

2. National Socialism as a Metaphysical System

The Historical Roots of the "Germanic Ideology"
National Socialism and the Metaphysics of History
The Evolution of Hitler's Educational Thought

3. The Apocalyptic Function of History in the National Socialist Schools

The Organization and Design of the Textbooks
The Heightened Tempo of the Textbooks
The Earliest Germans: The Happy Accident of Nature
The National Socialist Interpretation of History
The Hero in History
Nature, Struggle, and History

4. The Secular Religious Character of National Socialist History

The History Textbook as a Record of Divine Revelation
Five Education for Regeneration: The "New Man" and the "New Woman"
The School and the "New Man"
National Socialism and Youth
The Image and Education of the German Female

6. Educating for Membership in the Mystical Community: The Volksgemeinschaft

Germanic Socialism: The Community of Blood
The Militarized Society

7. Combating the un-German

The Educational Significance of Nazi Racialism
The Idealogical Foe: Marxism
The Spiritual Foe: Christianity
Ethnocentrism and German History
Rationalism and Democracy

8. Conclusion


Selected Bibliography



In its determination to take absolute control, the Third Reich focused on the nation's youth, reserving for the schools the vital task of refashioning the German psyche. This book examines these propaganda efforts—one of the most radical and far-reaching experiments in educational history.

The book focuses on the manipulation of the German past, one of the primary means of state intervention to ensure the triumph of the racial idea in history. It shows how textbooks written by National Socialists equalled or exceeded the most imaginative fiction, with an itinerary that extended from Valhalla and the Germania of Tacitus to the Prussia of Frederick the Great, before mounting to the pinnacle represented by the Third Reich.

The primary source materials for this study consist of a broad, representative collection of history textbooks, primers, and books of readings containing historical instruction.

Gilmer W. Blackburn is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of History at Gardner-Webb College.