Murray State University

Poster Title

Denazification and Its Effects on the Teaching Profession in West Germany

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

After the capitulation of the ruling Nazi Party, Germany fell into a state of disarray among the destruction caused by World War II. As the nation was partitioned into four zones of occupation, the Allies sought to rebuild Europe as a whole and rid Germany of Nazi influence. The process of denazification extended into every realm of life, including the education system. The classroom had been so infiltrated by Nazi ideas that the system that had been in place was no longer acceptable in a postwar age. The teaching profession in particular went through great upheavals in the years immediately following the end of World War II. Young and middle-aged men who had been effective teachers before the war had been called to serve in the German military; at the close of the war, many were dead or missing. Former teachers had to be called back from retirement, or new teachers had to be rapidly approved and trained. The material that teachers knew had to undergo changes as well. Programs that had formerly been at the center of the education system’s attempts at indoctrination, such as the Hitler Youth, were abolished completely. Allied occupiers expected German teachers to adopt new styles of teaching and new pedagogies. The former, more authoritarian method of teaching fell out of favor, since it had become too synonymous with Nazi rule. Allied occupiers in West Germany, especially the United States, sought to introduce the concept of democracy in the classroom by overhauling the teaching profession. In this new era, the Allies expected German teachers to convey the ideals of democracy to the next generation of students in their ailing country. The overall effectiveness of denazification is debatable, but the process caused many changes in the teaching profession in Germany.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Denazification and Its Effects on the Teaching Profession in West Germany

After the capitulation of the ruling Nazi Party, Germany fell into a state of disarray among the destruction caused by World War II. As the nation was partitioned into four zones of occupation, the Allies sought to rebuild Europe as a whole and rid Germany of Nazi influence. The process of denazification extended into every realm of life, including the education system. The classroom had been so infiltrated by Nazi ideas that the system that had been in place was no longer acceptable in a postwar age. The teaching profession in particular went through great upheavals in the years immediately following the end of World War II. Young and middle-aged men who had been effective teachers before the war had been called to serve in the German military; at the close of the war, many were dead or missing. Former teachers had to be called back from retirement, or new teachers had to be rapidly approved and trained. The material that teachers knew had to undergo changes as well. Programs that had formerly been at the center of the education system’s attempts at indoctrination, such as the Hitler Youth, were abolished completely. Allied occupiers expected German teachers to adopt new styles of teaching and new pedagogies. The former, more authoritarian method of teaching fell out of favor, since it had become too synonymous with Nazi rule. Allied occupiers in West Germany, especially the United States, sought to introduce the concept of democracy in the classroom by overhauling the teaching profession. In this new era, the Allies expected German teachers to convey the ideals of democracy to the next generation of students in their ailing country. The overall effectiveness of denazification is debatable, but the process caused many changes in the teaching profession in Germany.