Recently I read Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer – Hitler’s architect and later Minister of Armaments and War Production. I read a very interesting paragraph in the first chapter in which he speaks about his youth and growing up:
“Our German teacher, an enthusiastic democrat, often read aloud to us from the liberal Frankfurter Zeitung. But for this teacher I would have remained altogether nonpolitical in school. For we were being educated in terms of a conservative bourgeois view of the world. In spite of the Revolution which had brought in the Wiemar Republic, it was still impressed upon us that the distrubtion of poser in society and the traditional authorities were part of the God-given order of thigs. We remained largely untouched by the currents stirring everywhere during the early twenties. In school, there could be no criticism of courses or subject matter, let alone of the ruling powers in the state. Unconditional faith in the authority of the school was required. It never even occurred to us to doubt the order of things, for as students we were subjected to the dictates of a virtually absolutist system. Moreover, there were no subjects such as sociology which might have sharpened our political judgements. Even in our senior year, German class assignments called solely for essays on literary subjects, which actually prevented us from giving any thought to the problems of society. Nor did all these restrictions in school impel us to take positions on political events during extracurricular activities or outside of school. One decisive point of difference from the present was our inability to travel abroad. Even if funds for foreign travel had been available, no organizations existed to help young people undertake such travel. It seems to me essential to point out these lacks, as a result of which a whole generation was without defenses when exposed to the new techniques for influencing opinion.”
Later he goes on to say that this is one of the reasons – after listening to one of Hitler’s speeches – he was so easily swayed to join the National Socialists. He did not take the time to analyze Hitler’s beliefs or even to read his book Mien Kampf.
I find this very interesting. It seems that he is saying, that because his entire generation was so entirely “dummied down” in the schools, the perfect social and intellectual conditions were created for Hitler’s regime to take over.
Just think about it. Doesn’t this seem familiar to schools today?