The Usiteij Stated Ahaied Fohces
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
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EM 2b, 67 Roundttihie: Can the Germans Be Rv educated?
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The rc-educulUin *>( lllie (icroianl . - - people nutj be difficult indeed. ■ . ■
Kor tlit victors Id rely upon fort-e alone wunld be fuliJe. Any order,
whirh hopes to survive. mnM idiimalely appeal to ibe minds of men,
Hurr> S. ThihihUi, January 29* 1*-M5
How did the Germans get that way? , 1
Are there factors favorable to re-education? 13
How did Hitler bring out the worst in Germany? IS
Will postwar Germany want to be re-educated? 20
Who should teach in Germany's schools — and what?. 24
Is formal education the only way to re-education? 31
Can adult Germans be re-educated? 35
Can conditions for re-education be established? 39
To the discussion leader *..-«■■*.*.--....-.-**.-«< 41
For further reading . . . 46
itlkr's rftcti was to last a thousand years, Tt lasted
twelve years and three months. Amid its ruins and ashes the
Four Powers — the United States, Great Britain, Russia, and
France — are now carrying forward certain policies.
First among them is that Germany must be deprived of the
means of making war. The most obvious way to make sure
that Germany never again starts a world conflict is to see that
Germany is stripped of arms.
That, in the long-time view, is a negative kind of policy. It
requires enforcement and supervision from the outside. It pre-
sumes that the Germans will always want to break loose if they
can get their hands on weapons, and therefore it requires either
permanent military occupation of Germany or very close
supervision coupled with the constant threat of occupation.
No American can examine this policy without immediately
sensing that it is alien both to our deep dislike of ruling other
people against their will and to our equally deep dislike of
keeping an army of occupation in Europe any longer than
For us, occupation as long as necessary means only until
the Germans no longer hunger for domination and war. That,
in turn, means a fundamental change in the outlook of (he
German people. It means their re-education to be good citi-
zens^ — and to want to be good citizens — in a peaceful and
In the long-time view, i\U policies that do not contribute it*
the achievement of this positive purpose will be open to chal-
lenge. But before we turn away front the purely negative aim
of keeping the (iennans from trying agression again we have
to know if a positive aim will succeed. Will we be sorry some
day if we build on the hope that a future Germany, chastened
and peaceful, can ask for readmittance to the family of nations ?
Musi vvc forever fear and suppress them, or can the Germans
HOW DID THE GERMANS GET
When you talk of re-educating a whole nation like Germany
you need to know something about how ihe Germans gut the
way they are. You have to ask yourself how you are giiing
to bring a whole nation to think differently about itself and
its place in an orderly world.
Something bigger than rewritten textbooks and reorganized
schools is needed in change a nation's prejudices and opinions.
Such things arc based on the way a people think ami what
they have been taught — not only about the last twenty-live
years but about centuries of their history.
German faith in German might was only in part the result
of twelve years uf education in tyranny and brutality under
Nazi rule. That brief period may account for the fanaticism
of the youths who had no oilier tutors. They were wax in
In the adult population it was a little different. The liberals
first were suppressed Of exiled, the labor Unions liquidated,
and the churches— both Catholic and Protestant — defamed.
Then the great masses readily submitted to minority rule by
gangster methods. A despotism that would have been unthink-
able in Norway, Holland, England, or the United Stales was
accepted by the masses of Germans and in the end they defendrd
if to the death.
Many reasons have been offered to explain Hitler's rise to
power. The basic fact to be remembered is that there were
in Germany no ancient traditions of self-government, con-
stitutions, parliaments, or free press to oppose him. The
answer to why the German nation could put its faith in
force and try U> make enslavement ol its neighbors the solu-
tion of its international relations lies in large part in German
history, especially the history of the last one hundred years.
If we look at it the way Germans have looked at it since
Bismarck's day, we will understand better the problem of
Before there tras a Germany
Germany lies in the center of Europe. The Romans brought
their law and language into France and Spain. They held
England firmly for a while. IWu that part of Europe where
Germany now lies was never brought under the civilizing rule
of Rome. Trier on the Moselle, Cologne on the Rhine, and
Vienna on the Danube were outposts on Rome's northern
About 800 a.ij, p Charlemagne, whose capital was Aachen,
pushed the frontiers of his empire temporarily as far as Berlin,
When Charlemagne's empire fell, after his death in 814, Europe
showed dimly the lines of modern national divisions. Every
nation in Europe has taken centuries since then to attain unity.
Of the great ones, Germany traveled the longest road.
The dream of unity
For hundreds of years the Germans had the vision but not
the reality of national unity, Tribal lands became duchies and
counties, which in turn divided and multiplied. Nearly a thou-
sand years ago a Saxon duke called Henry the Fowler and
his son Otto 1 battered the other German duchies into a kind
of subordination. Then Otto and his successors let the possi-
bilities of German unity slip away while they fought in Italy
to gain the vain distinction of being crowned by the pope as
emperors of a new "Holy Roman Empire.'*
The last German-Roman emperor with any semblance of
national acceptance, Frederick Harbarossa, died on a crusade
in the Holy Land in 1190. The legend long persisted thai this
truly great ruler slept in (he caverns of Kyifhauser Mountain
and would awaken some day U> restore the lost unity ami
greatness oi Germany. The dream was vain although ihc
longing for unity was real. The crown of the Holy Roman
Empire — whose subjects were mostly Germanic — passed to
the Austrian Hapshurgs, Succeeding members of that family
wore it for 600 years until Napoleon in 1806 rudely knocked
it off their heads.
Those six centuries did not bring aboul a Germany but only
thv GpMUinies* There were hundreds ol regional divisions and
loyalties — duchies and counties, and a score or more free cities
like 1 1 am burg, Frankfurt, and Liibeek. This was the Germany
Napoleon overran (1806-13) and that, two centuries earlier in
ihc Thirty Years 1 War (1618-48), had been overrun by Spain,
France, Denmark, Sweden, and the armies of a so-called
German emperor in Vienna. The devastations of that war
were equalled or surpassed only 1>y those ihe Nazis have
brought upon Germany today or have wrought with their
Still the dream of unity persisted. Jt could not be realized
around the greatest state, Austria, whose archduke was the
nominal emperor and in his own territories ruled more Slavs
and Hungarians than he did Germans. In the long run only
some state north of the Danube, nearer the center of the
wholly German land, could hope to assume the leadership.
Several of the duchies had risen to be considerable powers.
They bad ancient ruling families who as electors went'through
the empty formality of choosing 1 the shadow emperor in Vienna.
The state to lead the others might have been Saxony or
Bavaria or Hanover, Their rulers had ambitions and all were
autocrats. They had courts that imitated Louis XIV in
Versailles. All played lor his favor or sometimes English or
other foreign support, working always for themselves and not
for a greater Germany. For that they would concede nothing.
In time another north German state, Prussia — the one that
was least German, the one that by its lands and location was
least favored— outdid them all in dynastic craft and conquest.
Its ruler became in 1871 the emperor of a united Germany,
The rising star of the Hohenzollerns
How did it come about that a Hohenzollern from Berlin, the
capital of Brandenburg- Prussia, was raised on the bayonets
of all Germany to this high honor? How did a Prussian king
become the modern Frederick Barbarossa and in 1&70 fulfill
the dream of a politically united, militarily unconquerable
The whole story covers more than a thousand years but the
gist of it can be told briefly without distortion, Charlemagne
in his day, around &U0, set up guarding military posts,
"marches" or "marks" they were called, ruled by a Markgraj
(count) and a bishop. Sword and cross were the supports of
his rule on the distant frontiers.
One of these military colonies, the mark of Brandenburg,
had its center where Berlin stands in a sandy plain on the
sluggish Spree River. In the next centuries even the shadow
emperors never forgot that Brandenburg was an important
military outpost and they tried to keep it in the hands ui
capable rulers. Often, however, they could do little to support
even a strong Markgraj* and when the most vigorous line died
out in 1219, two centuries of feudal anarchy followed.
Then in 1415 the first Hohenzollern was given the doubtful
reward of being made elector (ruler) of Brandenburg, The
Hohenzollerns came to a border province that had scant
natural resources and no natural boundaries. Onlv fighting
armies could mark and hold the frontiers of such a state. The
chances of survival here, even more than elsewhere in medieval
times, depended on force and cunning. Sometimes it was a
matter of retreating in order to strike on some more favorable
day when a treaty or family pact could be broken to advantage.
Hohenzollem followed Jlohenzollem. Some were weak and
vain, but the one thing all dreaded was to be branded as a
decreaser of the state. If they could not add territory one way,
they tried another. As Brandenburg expanded, their neighbors
became more jealous", more numerous, and more powerful.
In 1618, on the eve of the Thirty Years 1 War, the death of a
distant relative gave the Ilohenzollerns in Berlin possession
of the Duchy of Prussia up on the Baltic far away and cut
off by intervening Polish territory. And then they got some
little ierritories on the Rhine and some bishoprics scattered
between — nothing solid and connected.
All could be lost but more could be won only by successful
wars and alliances. With Poland, Saxony, Sweden, Denmark,
Hanover, and Holland as neighbors, with Austria and France
watchful, it was a dangerous game. But now the Hohen/.ol-
lerns produced within a century and a half (1640-1786) three
rulers who knew how to use an army, a treasury carefully
filled, and a tortuous diplomacy.
The greatest of the three was the last, Frederick II, called
the Great. \Vhile we were fighting the French and Indian War
in North America, he^ with some aid from Pitt in England,
beat the Russians, French, and Austrians who once had him
cornered and ready- to take poison. The Russians occupied
Berlin briefly in 1a60
-In the en d- Frederick 4he.-.Great went on 1o share -iff; the
partitkm of Poland and to.Ieave an army that w T as unbeaten
and a people that accepted the dominance of the military in
the nation T s life. His officers and many of his diplomats he
drew from the Junker class of landed nobles. As a class they
Frederick ihc Great of Prussia.* in whose victories all Gcrniaim glorie.il
became more royalist than the king; himself. As individuals
they died for him on the battlefield.
Under Frederick the Great, Prussia outstripped all the other
German states, and the glories of Prussian victories were
appropriated by all Germans, Twenty years after Frederick's
death Napoleon crushed Prussia. Hut he crushed Austria and
all the other German states, too, so that when Prussia rose up
behind Napoleon's armies, during his fatal Russian campaign,
it led Germany*
Liberal hopes vs. Bismarrkian realism
The Germans again dreamed of a united Germany, Many
hoped for a constitution and liberties for the citizens as a
reward for their part in the Wars of Liberation against
673347°— 16— 2
Napoleon* They reckoned without the princes and forgot
that it was yet to be decided whether Prussia or Austria
should lead a united Germany. They got only a hollow
confederation while Prussia acquired half of Saxony and
the Rhine Provinces. Prussian military power had earned
it and given Prussia the ,vatch on the Rhine against another
When in 1848 revolution spread from Paris across the
Rhine, the liberals in Germany had high hopes that an elected
convention meeting in Frankfurt would unite Germany and
give it a constitution and a parliament and the liberties they
saw in England. It was a vain hope. The frightened princes
recovered their nerve and the Prussian army crushed the
One Prussian Junker read the lessons of 1B48 differently
from the liberals. Otto von Bismarck wanted to see Austria
driven out and Prussia become the leader of any future united
Germany. The German princes and kings would be left with
diminished power, in his scheme, but the people would be
rallied by some concessions. Not by written constitutions but
by blood and iron was Germany to be united and the imperial
crown placed on a Hohenzollern head.
The army was reformed, Austria was isolated and in 1866
beaten in six weeks. Four years laser, war wilh a half-prepared
France' ended in a peace dictated by Germany at Versailles.
Militarism, the army, the principle of brute force in inter-
national relations had led from triumph to triumph, Frederick
the Great and Bismarck had done what liberalism and parlia-
ments could not do. Germany was a great power.
Unity had been achieved but at the price of making the state
and the army dominant over the individual citizen. A united
Germany had been created by blood and iron, not ballots.
Only by the same means, said its leaders, could Germany's
future be assured and its power increased.
Thus the rulers and the powerful military clique read the
history of Prussia and Germany. Thus it was taught. The
heroes of the nation were the makers of war and the victors
in it. American soldiers have seen monuments to them and
to Bismarck and limperor William I all over Germany. They
have seen few if any memorials to liberal, democratic, and
Thus were generations educated before Hitler, an Austrian,
ever raised his voice.
Thus was set the basic problem in re-educating Germany:
How do you reshape a nation's faith in armed force and the
World War J anil its aftermath
Defeat in the first World War did not permanently turn the
German nation's thinking to ways of peace, Germany in 19I&3
had not experienced invasion ant! occupation and, in spite of
heavy casualties and the rigors of the blockade, was relahvely
undamaged. The myth was quickly spread that the German
army was never really defeated, that it had been betrayed at
home, that the nation had failed the army, not the army the
nation. Mistakes had been made, it w r as said, that Germany
could avoid next time. "Der Tag" would come again.
Hitler played upon beaten Germany's sense of frustration
and humiliation afler fifty years of triumph. Economic dis-
tress and unemployment, not peculiar to Germany, played into
his hands. Over and over he reiterated the myth of the
undefeated army and how it had been "stabbed in the back."
The lesson to be learned from 1914-18 was not how to keep
the peace but how to break it The Jews and communists and
then all liberals were made the objects of scorn and reprisal.
To the Nazis and many other Germans the republican regime
of 1919-33 was a shameful interlude.
The Third Reich swept away the Republic founded at
W^eimar and in the end challenged the world and all its
civilized w T ays. Now the Third Reich is in ruins. The Germans
Jews and conimuiiJKE* became (lie first scapegoats for Nasi persecution.
who led it, the Germans who acquiesced in it during 1 the
brief day of its triumphs, and the generation of Germans
whose minds arc poisoned by the barbaric doctrines of
Nazism are the Germans who must be re-educated, if the
lessons are to last.
Decisive defeat this time
The first measure, the one that had to be achieved before all
others and before any others had a chance, was the thorough
and crushing defeat of Germany in every center, every hamlet,
ihe length of every highway from north to south and east to
west. Never again can any German, present or future, have
an excuse for thinking Germany was not beaten or is unbeat-
able. Never again must he think he is of a superior race or
l hat dictators are safe leaders and democracies decadent.
Something of what Germany has meted out to others, short
of mass murders and starvation camps, must sternly and justly
be meted out to hcr t
Nov/ that utter defeat lias punctured the idea that German v
could gain its ends liy force — an idea the Germans learned from
Prussia's military successes and which defeat in World War 1
didn't knock out of them — there may be place or hope for the
things this pamphlet discusses. Our soldiers, along with those
of Great Britain, Russia, and France, are among the first
schoolmasters in the process of re-educating Germany. Their
task will continue during" the period, of occupation. They will
be the most numerous and ever-present representatives of
nations and ideas that the Nazis have vilified as ruthless
aggressors plotting to destroy the Germans as a people. That
idea will be scotched by a stern but just rule. That some con-
querors obey laws and do not reduce nations to slavery is
another lesson the soldier is teaching Lhe people of Germany.
And then what?
What next? Can the Germans be made to see that the real
period of their shame is the one just closed? Can a nation that
accepted might as right since Bismarck's day, that made the
state supreme over the individual, learn another and different
lesson from history? Can self-government and the responsi-
bility of rulers to the ruled be taught a people who now *,\y
of the fallen Nazis and their crimes; "We had nothing to
do with it' 7 ?
If in twelve years gangsters can browbeat and propagandize
a people into acceptance of Nazi doctrines, can the same people
be educated to accept contrary ideals of national and inter-
national action? How long will it take? Who will do it?
How can it be done? Will it stick? Or will the Germans some
day believe that I hey were a heroic nation of warriors thai
only a whole world could conquer and that it was the con-
querors who caused the ruin of their cities and shrines? Will
Hitler be another Barbarossa?
It is still loo early to say what the answers to these ques-
tions will be* It is safe to assume, however, that they will not
be favorable to Allied interests unless wc make, without illu-
sion, a determined effort to understand the German people.
For the past 1,500 years, central Europe, from the Baltic to
the Balkans, has been a cockpit in which a relentless, selfish,
and brutal struggle for power has taken place. This struggle
has pitted Christian against Turk and pagan, Catholic against
Protestant, German against Slav, and German against his
fellow Germans. For centuries, no permanent equilibrium
was effectively established between these warring elements.
Hence, no lasting sense of social or political security could
develop comparable to that which grew up in England or
America, where relative geographical isolation helped to pro-
mote political unity and encouraged security behind natural
barriers of land and sea.
= Past centuries of bitter struggle have left their imprint not
only upon German temperament and character but also upon
the German way of life. The type of democracy developed by
the English-speaking peoples never had a chance to take root
in Germany. The individualism which it bred requires cen-
turies of relative political security to attain full growth. Such
security is precisely what the German people have never had.
Under these circumstances it would be a mistake to suppose
that our own peculiar brand of democracy will be understood
or appreciated by I be average German. The most we can hope
to accomplish will be to help the Germans to work out their
own political salvation for themselves within the framework
of the sort of peaceful world which the victorious United
Nations wish to see established.
We would also he well advised to face the fact that the
future Germany will have to be founded upon such past
German traditions as may be shared by the German people
with the rest of the Western world, rather than upon any
alien traditions imposed upon them from outside by a vic-
torious enemy. Germans, in other words, must learn to
encourage the development of those elements in their own
past civilization most compatible with our way of life and
with our aspirations for the future. That such elements have
long existed within Germany cannot be doubted, but they
have been suppressed in recent decades so ruthlessly that
today they will be all but forgotten. Their rediscovery will
assuredly prove difficult; at worst, it may prove impossible.
Having looked on the dark side, and it is very dark, we now
have some measure of the difficulty of solving the problem of
re-educating the Germans. Happily the dark, side is not the
only side. Men of good will, who know that the future peace
of the world may depend on their making the most ol what
is good and of what is possible, may not lose hope. In this
discussion we shall have to keep topside the best that is in
us and the best we can find in a Germany thai it is the despair
of the world to understand.
ARE THERE F ACTORS FAVORABLE TO
On the OTitEK SIDE of the picture Germany and the Germans
show up as one of the most productive groups in Western
culture and civilization. Their creative ability was nut always
confined to Krupp and the general staff, to armies and war
and the munitions of war. Nor will it die when those are
In music ibe names of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms have
few peers and no superiors. Great literary figures such as
Schiller and Goethe belong, like Shakespeare, to the world.
The Germans have had great artists, even if not the greatest.
Uur soldiers have seen the cathedrals German architecture
built. The world's thinking has been influenced by the great
German philosophers and scientists. German universities in
the nineteenth century were ihe mecca of scholars from
Leadership in education
it should not be forgotten that, after the Lutheran revolt, the
Germans founded publicly supported schools earlier than any
other peuple. The schoolmaster has always been a power
111 the land* He, for there are few if any schoolma'atns in
Germany, was reverenced and respected in his community.
Indeed the German stale rested, in the past, on a tripod: the
soldier, the bureaucrat, ami the school master. Even in the
darkest days of the Thirty Years* War the schools were kept
going in some districts. The University of Berlin was founded
when Napoleon had Germany in his grip.
At the end of the eighteenth and during the nineteenth cen-
tury some German districts, particularly Prussia and Saxony ,
developed public-school and teacher-training systems which
were copied in some and admired in most other civilized
countries. In the year 1843 Horace Mann, the "father of the
American public school/' praised German education as being
superior to that of all the other countries he had visited
At the beginning- of the ninetccnih century the Germans
accepted widely the advanced ideas of the great Swiss edu-
cator Pestalozzi. The German educators Froebel, the "father
of the kindergarten," and Herbart inlluenced educational
theory and practice all over the world. During the nineteenth
century Germany produced more educational literature than
any other country.
Religion and materialism
The German people have also shown a great interest in
religion. Germany, through the work of Luther, was the
cradle of the Protestant Reformation. Whatever one's re-
llgious convictions may be, it cannot be denied that the
Reformation caused a great revival in religious life and
thought, even among the Catholic groups which had to de-
fend their tradition against the religious revolution. The
Reformation divided Germany, which already suffered from
political disunity, into two religious camps and, in connection
with dynastic conflicts, brought al>out the Thirty Years*
War, the historical consequences of which have been men-
tioned on an earlier page.
On the other hand, the rivalry of the two great religious
denominations in Germany was not always hostile in nature.
There was much cross-fertilization between the two groups,
and some of the modern German religious poets and thinkers
have profited equally from both the Catholic and the Protestant
In spite of-all this intellectual activity,, however, careful
observers inside and outside Germany noticed, from about
1870 on, changes in the psychology of the German people.
They became increasingly materialistic. In a way Ibis was
true of all great nations. Hut in Germany the rapid develop-
ment of industry, together with swift victories in a series of
European wars, strengthened the alliance between the new
capitalistic and the old feudal classes. Their influence over-
powered opposing groups and led £ iermany to become a strong
contender in the struggle for world markets and imperialistic
Once their militarist mania has been cured, one of the main
goals in the re-education of the Germans will he to restore in
them the consciousness of their cultural tradition. This, of
course, cannot be done simply by telling them that they ought
to play music and read Schiller and Goethe,
HOW DID HITLER BRING OUT THE
WORST IN GERMANY?
Many volumes of sense and some of nonsense have been
written and will be written to explain how men like Hitler
and Himmlcr and Goebbcls rose to power and how the German
people yielded to tyranny, cruelly, murder, and concentration
673J<7» — <S — 3
camps imposed even on themselves. The fad that we try to
explain these evils means that we believe the German people
capable of better things and that we have hopes they will
eventually recognize the sorry years of Hitler's rule as a
nightmare for them as it was lor the rest of the world.
The Nazi conquest of Germany
When one reviews the reasons most generally offered to
explain how the Nazis conquered Germany, they make some
sense but not complete sense. As you list ihem — for instance
unemployment, business depression, and a terrible inflation
that wiped out the old middle class — you are forced to say,
"But these things occurred in other countries and ihey did
not, except in Italy, bring gangsters to the top."
The remaining reasons explain how the Nazis kept on
lop as much as how they got there. An unscrupulous and
unparalleled propaganda system closed all avenues of in-
formation except those controlled by the Nazis. Free press,
free discussion of social and political problems, even un-
inhibited discussion of art and literature were ended. Reading
foreign newspapers and listening to foreign radio broadcasts
were forbidden. "Purges" wiped out overt opposition or cowed
it into silence. The lowest of human instincts were given free
rein among the members of such organized groups as the
Gestapo and the S,S. ■
In order to inject their views into the young and turn child
against parent, the Nazis seized the schools and made mem-
bership in the Hitler Youth obligatory. All independent
teachers' organizations were abolished in favor of a National
Socialist League of Teachers, Teachers had to take an oath
of personal loyalty to Hitler. The schools were reorganized
on authoritarian lines, the textbooks rewritten, and the courses
overhauled to emphasize "Germanism/* the mystic ties of
"Blood and Soil," the virtues of war and conquest, the need
of Germany for more space, the Nazi doctrines of race superi-
ority and race purity, and so on. In short, the entire German
educational system, from the kindergartens through the uni-
versities — and outside the classroom too — -was organized to
mold every German into a confirmed Nazi.
The Nazis clothed their outrages against the German people
in disguises that fooled not only outsiders but Germans as
well. Through subsidies and a program of rearmament they
provided work for the unemployed. They salved the national
sense of frustration by the steps, one at a time but ever bolder,
by which they undermined the territorial and military limita-
tions laid on Germany at the -end of the last war.
When Hitler reoceupied the Rhtneland in 1936, Europe
hesitated — then did nothing. The Fuhrer's fear o£ a vigorous
military reaction had been great and his relief was immense
when the democracies did not move. He was on his way. By
concession after concession, European statesmen of an older
school tried to appease him and buy "peace in our time." They
found that his demands grew with each concession. Bread
and glory made it easy even for reluctant Germans to swallow
lies and join in hciling Hitler,
Fortunately for any hope of German re-education, the Nazis
had no profound philosophy. They were opportunists and the
patchwork of scrambled ideas they called their ideology had
no single source.
After Nazi ideology was roughed out in Mein Kampj by
Hitler and his collaborators, they were happy to have German
intellectuals discover that its basic concepts were derived
from such esteemed German thinkers as Herder, Fichte, Hegel,
and Nietzsche- In the exaggeration of the Fiihre.rprinzip. the
idea of a dominant leader, it linked up with the history that
glorified Frederick the Great and Bismarck, In a nation where
uniforms and heel clicking are important, -where questions
of rank and status permeate civilian life, it was logically
inevitable thai the pyramid be capped with an "all highest"
whether his name was William Kohenzollern or Adolf Hitler.
Two other ideas taken from the past, especially the last
century, were (1) the dominance of the state over any indi-
vidual's interests or rights and (2) the glorification of military
might. By a propaganda that stopped at nothing, Hitler used
temporary distress and past history to create a kind of religion
of racial superiority and to make himself its high priest.
How shall we judge the Germans?
The German nation, hkcany other, has its good and its bad
side, its good and its bad citizens. Hitler brought to the top
much that was bad in the Germans and everything that was
aggressive and socially immoral in their past, lie suppressed
ruthlessly all that was good either in Germans or Germany's
past. He involved all in common guilt and common ruin.
The road back will be long and difficult. If we regard it as
hopeless and adopt toward all Germans the attitude the Nazis
adopted toward conquered peoples, then we have only beaten
Hitler in a material sense. In the realm of the spirit he will
have conquered us. The history of mankind teaches that
under certain circumstances men's instincts of cruelty and
lust for power can be easily evoked, especially when they
are rewarded. But there are also many signs that some
Germans consider Hitlerism an alien form of government and
the gravediggcr ot their own better traditions.
In judging the German people, or any other people, we
cannot base an opinion on just one brief space of time. In
the sum total of their history the Germans show the defects
and the gifts which can be found in other nations too. Despite
the horrors of the Nazi system and the deep impression which
it has certainly made on the German mind, we have no proof
that the ereativeness once displayed by the Germans in educa-
tion and science, for instance, has disappeared from the whole
German nation. Rather we must suppose that the talents and
German scientific talent be converted to peacetime prmliu-iivjt* '
inventiveness which the Nazis used for destruction still exist
and can be turned back into satisfying and productive chan-
nels. The "militant slave mentality," to use the phrase of a
distinguished German exile, must be turned in time into a
political morality that does not make force the only arbiter
between men and nations.
WILL POSTWAR GERMANY WAIST TO
The military defeat of an army does not necessarily mean
that the cause for which it fought will be abandoned by every
follower. No one supposes that just because Hitlerism has
been utterly crushed m battle, every last Nazi will suddenly
have a change d heart On the contrary, there are Germans,
especially among the young men imbued Avith fanatic Nazism,
to whom the teachings ot Hitler and Goehbels and Rosenberg
are a sort of religion. To them the dead leaders will live as
martyrs; defeat will only strengthen their resolve to achieve
the aims of Nazism another clay. Like the defeated German
generals of the iirst World War, they will wait and work for
the day of revenge and victory.
One cannot but believe that for the majority of Germans
Nazism lost its spell when it collapsed in defeat and brought
Germany to ruin. Unlike the great religions, in which humility
and suffering are recognized as sources of strength and
purity, the whole fascist system is based on the myth of
superiority and feeds on success by any means. When all the
sacrifices of the people bring nothing but defeat and worse
despair than before, it may l>e expected that the Nazi ideology,
its glitter gone, will lose its popular following.
Lin wel com e co n t\ u p rors
But even if the Germans are pretty thoroughly disillusioned
about the Hitler leadership, and even it they accept their defeat
as final, ihey will not necessarily develop a cooperative atti-
tude toward the victors, There are several basic reasons
Firsij defeat is always humiliating ami occupation by enemy
armies is still more so. Bitterness and haired are to he ex-
pected of ihe Germans rather than good feeling toward the
occupying authorities. No matter how much ihey may revile
I he former government, they will still feel loyalty inward
their country and aversion toward those who hold it in
Subjection. The occupying authorities will inevitably have
to adopt measures that will rub the people ihe wrong way
ami make them less receptive to efforts at re-education.
Second, decent people uf ihe kind who might exert inlluence
among iheir fellow countrymen will hesitate to cooperate with
the victors for fear of hcing hrandrd "quislings."
Third, foreign interference in \hv education of the younger
generation is probably more resented than foreign interference
in merely political or economic affairs. In and through educa-
tion a nation expresses and transmits traditions ami experi-
ences of its own that can never he lully sensed or shared hy
other nations. Inasmuch as some supervision of the schools
is a necessary part of re-educaiing the German people, we can
exj>ecl to incur antagonism because of it.
Finally, the (lermans will fear that the Four Powers are
noi interested in the "re-education" of Germany from benevo-
lent motives of peace and mutual well-being, hut as a subtle
form of subjection and of continued control.
Never, perhaps, has an attempt at large-scale education been
made under more difficult conditions.
The heavy task
Kor these reasons some people in the United States will
strongly argue that the matter of re-ed nra ting the Germans
should he left to the Germans themselves. The idea would be
to subject Germany to severe political control for a number
of years and "of course to deal swift and sure punishment to
Nazi leaders and war criminals, but to keep hands off the
whole job of changing the people's point of view.
The Four l'owers, they will argue, should use chiefly mili-
tary, political, and economic controls rather than educational
programs. If those methods succeed, then education will fol-
low. If tho.se methods do not succeed, then tinkering with
education will only make everything worse. J l will expose the
agents of the allies to endless mistakes and failures and will
destroy their prestige.
These are strong and serious arguments. They cannot be
dismissed with a shrug. It" the Four Powers are to take up
the task of re-educating Germany, those who make the attempt
will carry a great responsibility. They will have to do much
careful and fundamental thinking about the purposes and
methods of re-education. They will have to investigate wdio
the Germans are and how they got that way much more
thoroughly than we have here. And they will have to consider
what are the principal conditions to successful re-education.
The goal of re-education
Neither education nor re-education can ever get places unless
the educators are aiming at something and know what thev
are aiming at* At the same time, it is impossible to work out
an educational aim without taking account of the current
situation and the probable future of the person or group to
Here comes one of the big difficulties. During the last four
decades the older generations in Germany have experienced
three different kinds of political systems and been disappointed
in each: the monarchy of William 11, the Weimar Kepublie,
and the fascism of Adolf Hitler. What are they going to
choose now — or what is going to be chosen for them?
Many Americans will almost automatically say that democ-
racy must of course be the goal of German re-educatton. But
what is democracy ? Is it a particular form of government with
popular representation and a president at the top? If so, then
some countries with the most democratic spirit, such as the
Scandinavian countries, could not be called democracies be-
cause they are constitutional monarchies.
Not the form, but the substance and the spirit are the dis-
tinguishing marks of democracy. In modern use, "democracy'*
means a way of life, the recognition of certain "unalienable
right s" such as are laid down in our Declaration of Indepen-
dence and Bill of Rights, for instance. It doesn't mean our
particular structure of government since nations with different
structures are also democratic
Great and desirable as these rights are, they cannot be
imposed on a nation from the outside. Nor can a nation pro-
duce them out of itself without being prepared for them— and
Germany under Hitler's dictatorship certainly has not had
the right preparation. Yet, the understanding of democracy
as a "way of life" would presumably be one of the chief aims
of German re-education, at least for the beginning. In other
words, the educators ought not to bother so much whether
the Germans arc going to have one particular form of govern-
ment or another. They should not play the role of the law-
giver, but that of a guide who knows his goal. From the start
German school supervisors, willing to cooperate, asked to be
told what they should do*
The limits of education
Education, in the sense of formal schoolings can do much
toward re-educating the Germans, but it has definite limita-
tions. An education which leaves no freedom for self-decision
leads to opposition and thus defeats its own end. The kind
of political organization which the Germans will eventually
choose or be driven into by force of circumstances will not be
decided by education, least of all by an education imposed
from outside. It will be decided by the economic and political
conditions of the future. To think that education can do
everything betrays a dangerous ignorance of reality*
Furthermore if each of llie occupying countries, by con-
trolling the schools in its zone, should insist on a political
education according to its particular political principles, then
eonfusion both during and after the occupation period will be
the result. This danger can be averted only if the occupying
nations restrict their educational influence to the restoration
of sound human relations among the Germans and between
the Germans and other nations. This, of course, means first
of all the elimination of Nazi influence on education in every
part of Germany.
WHO SHOULD TEACH IN GERMANY'S
SCHOOLS — AND WHAT?
Nothing impresses a pupil more than the personality of the
teacher. In the complex problem of reincorporating the Ger-
mans into international life this circumstance may be decisive.
Every American soldier represents his nation. The way iu
which he behaves to his own comrades and the degree to which
he impresses the Germans as a disciplined serviceman and as
a human being will contribute more to the re-education of the
Conner enemy than the most skillful speeches, movies, ami
The farmer teachers
In reopening the German schools, a negative measure is neces-
sary first. This is the removal from the schools of all German
educators who openly and consistently helped to bring about
the victory of the Nazi party, who persecuted the children of
Jews or of parents with liberal convictions, or who used their
influence in the party for intimidating their colleagues. The
very definition oi re-education demands that men and women
who stood voluntarily behind the cruellies of the Nasi regime
cannot be entrusted with the upbringing of youth.
The removal of convinced and dangerous Nazis from the
schools raises ihc problem of whether enough teachers will
he left for regular instruction. In all likelihood several hun-
dreds of thousands of teachers anil prospective teachers died
on ihc battlefields.
One of the many disastrous consequences which Hitler
brought upon the Germany he pretended to raise to a new
period of grandeur is that Germany will have a totally un-
balanced population, with old people and children in the great
majority. In addition, with approximately 5 million dead and
permanently disabled in their armed forces, the numerical
balance between the two sexes will be completely upset.
The consequences are obvious. The relatively small group
of men and women of earning age will have to take care of
too many young and old people in a country full of ruins and
insecurity. Several million women will be deprived of normal
fulfillment of their maternal instincts. All this will affect the
schools, and no administrative skill can avoid it.
It is from this surplus of women that the Four Powers
could probably draw a large part of the leaching staff needed
for German re-education. The German schools have been
primarily in the hands of men. Men predominated in boys'
schools clear down to the first grade. Only kindergarten
teachers were women. Even in girls' schools there were many
The Germans believe that the American educational system
suffers from an excess of women teachers. They have asserted
that the influence of these women has made our children,
especially our boys, too soft and pacifistic. The. Nazis derided
the influence of the Christian church as making us too for-
giving and too sentimental. If the Germans thought that
women teachers had a softening effect upon our youth, the
smashing victories of our armies must have knocked thai
idea out of their heads bv now.
The situation will force a certain caution upon the responsible
authorities of the Four Powers. They face a dilemma through
the removal from the schools of all teachers tainted with
Nazism, Is it possible to keep the schools going when all
teachers who belonged to the Nazi party are fired ? Which
evil is the greater: keeping on a considerable number of
teachers who were members of the party or allowing an
already mentally twisted younger generation to run around
without guidance, instruction, or purpose? During the last
three years of the war the shortage of teachers prevented any
regular leaching in the rural districts of Germany. The
bombing of the cities and the warfare in Germany itself had
the same effect on the urban population. Already, therefore,
the children of Germany are short on formal schooling.
But perhaps there is not so much reason to worry about
future Nazi influence in the schools. How many teachers,
after all, will want to repeat to the children of the devastated
Under Hillcr, German school* stressed obedience and Kuhrer worship*
nation all the pompous phrases of Hitler, Goering, Gnebbels,
and Rosenberg about the glorious "Third Reich of Hitler" or
the "Thousand Years' Empire" of German fascism, about the
superiority of the German race or the invincibility of the
German army? The once famous slogan "We are grateful to
our Piihrer" would have a hollow ring in the bomb-scarred
Can foreign teachers be used?
In order to get oui of this dilemma some people have advocated
the employment of American, British, breneh, Russian, ;ind
other non-German teachers in German schools.
Before and even during the Hitler regime, many foreign
instructors were employed to teach Lheir own languages in
German schools. There is no reason why foreign language
instructors should not continue to instruct Germans in other
languages now that the war is ended, provided enough non-
German teachers can be found who want to go to Germany.
They might be highly useful not only for teaching French,
English, or Russian, but also as pioneers of intercultural
contact. But that is about ail they can he expected to do, and
even thai only for a very small number of children.
If foreign teachers were to be used for influencing and
controlling German education, thousands of them would have
to be imported. Jl is more than doubtful that they would be
available. \n order to teach children of a foreign nation a
teacher must have mastery oi their language such as is
generally acquired only with several years of living in the
particular country. The younger the children and the less
they and their parents are familiar with foreign culture, the
more n teacher with a foreign accent ami inevitable mistakes
in his speech exposes himself to ridicule. A teacher who
appears ridiculous in his pupils" eyes is useless.
In addition, a foreign teacher might be considered a spy or
at least an un welcome alien even by those of his German cob
leagues who would otherwise be glad to establish international
contacts. Such an isolation is, in the long run, unbearable,
especially for the type of person who loves to teach.
For these and other reasons, the mass importation of
teachers from four different nations already short of teachers
at home can hardly be considered seriously.
There are many competent teachers among the great number
of German political and racial exiles who took refuge from
Nazism in foreign countries. With respect to them the answer
is not so easy. They know the language and the cultural
tradition of the people. Their return might be regarded as
a natural result of the changed situation.
However, the record show's that returning emigrants often
have lost touch with their home country. They have not
shared the experiences of the most critical years of its exist-
ence. Moreover, Germans in the service of foreign occupation
authorities may be looked upon with even more suspicion than
real foreigners. And lastly, many of the exiled teachers do
not want to go back to Germany.
What kind of textbooks?
Textbooks will not play the same decisive role they do in the
typical American school. Of course the Nazi textbooks with
their insidious propaganda and their application of the doc-
trines of Hitlerism to every mathematical, scientific, or social
problem will have to be replaced. They may become a cause
of shame and a target of ridicule anyhow.
But what is to be done before the new textbooks are avail-
able? And who is going to write them?
The Nazis burned pre-IIitler textbooks whenever they laid
hands on them. Fortunately there were copies in this country
which could be and have been shipped to Germany, revised,
and reprinted for the lower grades. Where such pre-Nazi
texts are not available teachers will have to use more general
sources of information and organize their classes without the
help of any textbook. Jn earlier times the good German
teacher was supposed to be independent of such devices
anyhow. That is a major reason why the teacher in Germany
was so important and influential.
Why not use German textbooks prepared in foreign coun-
tries, especially in the United States?
This problem has been long hi the minds of educators,
particularly of refugees from Germany. It is difficult to fore-
see whether the textbooks prepared by some of them will be
accepted by the Germans. The books would be imposed by
external authority, and therefore probably read with a feeling
of resentment, livery German teacher could produce such a
feeling in his children simply by an occasional remark that
the new textbook was "prefabricated" for them while they
were being bombed.
Great care will have to be taken that such hostile attitudes
do not arise. One suggestion has hecn made to prepare the
textbooks outside of Germany and send the manuscripts to
cooperative German teachers for discussion. This might give
them the sense that they have participated in the process and
that the hooks they use have not been foisted upon them.
Textbooks in history and literature raise another and rather
difficult problem. Every nation, in every period of its exis-
tence, writes history anew, so to speak. That means that its
own particular experiences, the hopes it cherishes for the
future, the ideals it believes in, and the economic and social
organization it has or wishes to have, color its historical
The Germans, as w r e have seen, have no clear historical
outlook. The past is gone, together with happiness and
property. What will be the future? Democratic? Commu-
nistic? A new kind of internationally tolerated fascism? Each
case w r ould demand a different history. Certain features of
the past would be condemned in each, others favored. Certain
possibilities for the future would be recommended, others
Modern means of education
There are now means of information more dynamic and
flexible than textbooks and able to reach wider audiences.
Inexpensive pamphlets, the movies, the radio, and television
could be used in re-education. For instance, a series of pam-
phlets could tell the Germans what people in other countries
have been thinking and doing during the twelve years of
Nazi-enforced isolation, tell them about different forms of
government from Hitlcrism, bring them up to date on world
events and progress, and thus reincorporate them into inter-
national society. Well-documented pamphlets could also be
used for informing the Germans of all the lies, the insanities,
and the cruelties the Nazis have committed against other
natif ms and their o w n peopl e . Such b o ok lets arc n ow i n
preparation, especially on the history of the last dozen years
that has been concealed from the Germans*
People often know very little about the events which con-
cern their own nation, even when living in a free society. This
is all the more true when books, newspapers, radio, even
private conversations have been controlled for a decade by
censors and Gestapo officers. Even persons with keen minds
gradually fall prey to an unceasing form of control and propa-
ganda. Only a very few men with extremely strong characters
can swim against the stream for a long time.
Goebbels and his propaganda ministry used the movies
and the radio with great skill, This has a certain disadvantage
For the future. Disillusioned, the Germans may not believe
anything. The authorities of the Four Powers who are re-
sponsible for the educational use of the movies and the radio
in Germany will need a fine sense for what can be offered
at the right moment. Cheap attempts to become popular
may backfire. After the vulgarity in the propaganda, the
speech, and even the gestures of such men as Hitler and
Goebbels, nothing the Four Powers do in the field of re-
education will impress the Germans so much as an attitude
of dignity and restraint.
IS FORMAL EDUCATION THE ONLY
WAY TO RE-EDUCATION?
The problem of German re-education should not be narrowly
tied up with schools and classroom teaching, of course. It
is much broader than that. We are educated not only by
teachers, but by what we do, by the purposes we can develop
and. help to carry through, particularly if we feel that in
doing so we can be useful to our society.
The social and cultural conditions of the past decades have
constantly lengthened the school age and brought a larger
and larger percentage of young people into schools, especially
into secondary schools. This has happened for two reasons:
First, mass-production industry no longer needs the hands of
young people. So they attend schools because it is still the
best thing they can do. Secondly, we live in a society that is
both complicated and competitive. This demands from every-
one, if he is to fulfill the duties of citizenship and to compete
with his fellow men, a knowledge much wider than was
necessary in earlier years. Comparing the present state of
civilization with that of earlier times, however, we may well
doubt whether all this book learning has made people more
mature than did the former system of practical apprentice-
ship in life.
The extended schooling of more prosperous decades may
no longer be possible in postwar Germany or even desirable.
Most urgent is the need to build shelter for the millions of
homeless peoplej to reconstruct towns and streets, to provide
at least a minimum of food, A large group of children are
in such a nervous state that it may be much better to give
them practical outlets for their tension than to keep them
fidgeting on school benches. Other young people, the more
resistant type, have perhaps acquired such a feeling i>l
strength and independence from hours of danger that school
will prove a rather dull affair for them. And there is a third
group of roving children who, like little gypsies, may prefer
anything to the restraints of school life.
Is rclie / instead of re-education the real task?
In view of all these facts is the whole task of German re-
education a matter of answering these more practical problems
rather than a matter of textbooks and classrooms? Might the
influence of the Four Powers in German re-education be
greater if, instead of talking about democracy and the "re-
incorporation of Germany into the family of nations," they
were to use the schools, the teachers, and the children as
agents of relief?
There is a great difference between simply feeding starving
people and helping them to reorganize their scattered society.
Just dumping the food that is gathered and giving orders that
have to be obeyed tends to demoralize the receivers while
they have to accept the charity and the commands. On the
other hand, having them participate actively in a great human
enterprise encourages the receivers to take interest in their
Many school buildings have been put to use as hospitals
or clinics of one kind or another. Should the school also
become a kind of community center in which teaching and
learning go hand in hand with the community's efforts at
relief and reconstruction? Practical and purposeful "educa-
tion" along such lines might also stimulate completely new
forms of international cooperation among young people* After
the first waves of hatred are gone, the type of youth who at
the beginning of this century was the leader in various youth
movements may begin to think of establishing contact with
Some German industry may be rebuilt and allowed lo produce for peace.
the youth of the former enemy. If ihey come together with
no other purpose than to discuss the origin of wars and
"international problems/' they are likely to be disappointed.
But if they have an opportunity to join the youth of another
country in constructive social and educational effort, they may
some day be able to discuss the origins of war and "inter-
national problems," and not be disappointed.
All these considerations suggest that formal education
should be geared as much as possible into the general purpose
and activity of reconstruction. We have to change our cus-
tomary idea of schooling as a classroom procedure and under-
stand that for large parts of the youth of Germany a useful
and well-directed practical life may be the best way out of
distress and isolation.
The restoration of a sound emotional life will be one of the
main tasks of German re-education. Tyranny tram within and
defeat from outside, dreams of power whipped up by propa-
ganda and initial success and then suddenly broken, sleepless
nights and restless days, all these produce sick souls. And sick
souls cannot he cured by more and more stimulation; they
need first of all rest and stable surroundings.
In the pre-] 914 days the Germans cultivated the arts with
great enthusiasm. Almost every town with more than 30,000
inhabitants possessed a permanent, state or city, theater with
a rich repertoire. The actors were not dependent on the
financial success of a play and gave bnih popular and classical
drama. Shakespeare, Schiller, and Goethe were always repre-
sented. Cities with a population of over 100,000, and even
smaller places which up to 1918 had harbored a princely court,
had opera companies.
The first World War and the depression made it difficult
to maintain these centers; yet many cities held onto them.
The second World War has certainly ended them all. But
wherever the desire for amateur theatricals emerges, it ought
to be encouraged, provided the scene is not used for the
glorification of military ambitions.
The Germans also went in strongly for musk. The large
majority of the elementary-school teachers, especially those
trained in the older teachers colleges, had to play an instru-
ment and give music lessons to their pupils. Every school had
its choir, often connected with the local church. Some second-
ary schools, especially the Thomas Schule at Leipzig, where
Bach had been the cantor, and the Kreuz Schule at Dresden,
had choirs famous throughout the musical world.
Singing clubs could be found in every town and in the
larger villages. They did not always keep high musical
standards, and sometimes the weekly singing sessions were
the excuse for — or at least the overture to — an evening of
drinking. But they served as an emotional outlet, and like
many American clubs they brought people together who other-
wise would not have met. It might be one of the first tasks
of re-education to see to it that these opportunities for a
sound social life are restored.
CAN ADULT GERMANS BE
When the German army was dissolved in 1918 and the soldiers
and their officers had to lake up civil occupations, a large
group were unable to adjust themselves to normal life. They
joined the secret military societies whose members assassi-
nated such leaders of the leftist and liberal parties as Walter
Rathenau, minister of foreign affairs, and one of the most
constructive of modern thinkers and statesmen. When the
National Socialist Party rose to power these men were Hitler's
vanguard. They trained his brown shirts and black shirts.
They used their previous military training for the elimination
of opposing groups and 'for the total control of Germany,
They also formed the link between the Nazis and the profes-
Now, after twelve years of Ilitlerism — six of those years in
military service for many of the German veterans — the diffi-
culty of readjustment will be still greater* The main problem
will be to give the men work and food. Of work there will
probably be enough, provided there is sufficient raw material
and some kind of inner peace. For, unless a gigantic rebuilding
program is started, about one-third of the German population
will be forced to live in shanties and to get their food from
But as man does not live on bread alone, so he does not live
on work alone. If he is a German he will want to have some
explanation for the defeats he has gone through. Like other
men he needs some understanding of the conditions which
make him happy and unhappy, and he also needs something
to lift himself above the daily routine,
The same but ttifjvrvut
Most methods for satisfying these needs in adwhs will he
similar to those used in the re-education of yotitb; pamphlets
for general enlightenment, radio, movies, television, athletic
sports, and as much active participation in the arts as pos-
sible. Generally speaking,* active participation instead of
passive acceptance will be the deciding factor in the success
of adult re-education.
Fortunately there will still be people who took part in the
adult education movement of the democratic era. The tend-
ency of this movement was to replace ihe old lecture method
by roundtable discussions and bv seminars which required
thorough and constant eiw>peration on the part of the learner.
Many of the students were the best type of German worker:
there arc signs thai despite all Nazi pressure they have not
forgotten their traditions.
There were also V&lk&ktrehsehulheimr (literally "folk high
school homes'*) on the Danish and Swedish pattern. These
were schools situated in the country where adult students
lived for a period of three to six months. Most of these
schools were strongly democratic in character. Whether they
can he revived in some modified form will depend on the
general development of Germany. Hill sometimes the will
toward a better education develops most strongly under the
The trade anions destroyed by the Hitler system showed
from their very beginning an intense interest in the intellectual
improvement of the working class. The most important nf
these associations were the socialist and the Christian, espe-
cially the Catholic trade unions. The socialist trade unions
derived their views about society mainly from the teachings
of Karl Marx, though, in contrast to the communists, in a
very moderate and essentially democratic form. The Christian
trade unions emphasized the principles of Christianity as the
best means to overcome the conflict of classes and to fight
the evils of industrial exploitation and competition. If the
trade unions arc revived in one or the other form they will
presumably take up their educational tradition again.
What role trill the churches play?
Roth Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany tan show
an honor roll with the names of many martyrs persecuted by
the Nazis, though (he honor roll of the leftist parties is much
longer. Both churches could have fought harder than they
did against Hitler's nationalist and hnjierialist tendencies.
They criticized him mainly for his religious and racial perse-
cutions, less for his wars of conquest. Nevertheless, in hours
of danger and shame they have been a source of strength for
the decent German.
The churches, perhaps more than any other organization,
will be able to re-establish international contacts and help with
relief work. And they will be concerned with the education
of their people jusl as much as schools, though by different
means. After the surrender, the services and sermons of some
of them gave the first encouraging signs of German repudia-
tion of Nazism and its deeds.
Should an international office of education be created?
In 1942 the British Council, which is the agency of the
British government responsible for cultural relations with
other countries, called together the ministers of education of
the governments which had to take refuge in England while
their own countries were occupied. The negotiations first
centered around the educational problems likely to confront
the occupied countries after their liberation.
The Conference of Allied Ministers of Education invited
the United States government to participate in its de-
liberations. The invitation was accepted, and an American
delegation went to London.
Several important commissions have developed out of this
conference. AJJ arc concerned with the establishment of sound
" v. ' .v— ■ ' ■ ■■■■ i , ' .^ rT- - T- r i ; - .?j p
cultural and educational conditions in the various war-stricken
countries. There is a commission on basic school equipment,
one on scientific and laboratory equipment, one on books and
periodicals, one on films and visual aids, and one on the
protection and restitution of cultural materials.
Also, it) connection with the work of the conference, a plan
long cherished by American ami other democratic educators
may materialize. This is the establishment of a permanent
international office for educational and cultural relations,
Jt is said that such an office could serve as a center for the
study of international cultural relations, advise governments
on the organization of schools and the methods of teaching
in other countries, promote the exchange of students, teachers,
publications, and cultural materials.
Such an office could also be of great help in building bridges
between the United Nations and their former enemies. But
like all education, it could succeed only if the attitude and
cultural atmosphere in the participating nations themselves
are favorable to international cooperation. All education is
an equilibrium between influence from outside and response
from within. An international office, of education might spread
the most admirable suggestions about international coopera-
tion, but if there were no response from within the individual
nations, its labor would be in vain.
CAN CONDITIONS FOR REEDUCATION
All efforts to re-educate the Germans will fall on barren
ground unless they call forth response from within the
Germans themselves, A realization of this truth and of its
implications in practice is the first Step to sensible talk about
education and re-education. That is why so much attention
has been paid to it here.
The question whether the Germans can be re-educated can
be answered only by concrete action and by the creation in
postwar Germany of the actual conditions in which education
is possible. These conditions are easy to describe but hard
to accomplish after a war. Basically ihey involve opportunity
for survival, adequate work, and hope for the future. In
todays interdependent world, this requires the cooperation
ol all nations,
But German re-education requires first of all the coopera-
tion of the Germans themselves. Somewhere deep within
themselves the Germans must have a desire to work toward
their own salvation, a wish to disinfect themselves of the
virus of Nazism, Jf they do not, then all we build or propose
to build, any program we follow, is without foundation.
In such an event we will hnd ourselves in a vicious circle
of perpetual force. To this we certainly do not want to
contribute. Hut neither must we flinch from giving the war
criminals their just due. "To re-establish justice we must
mete out justice/ 1
Jf at times it seems that the Nazis have left no foundations
on which to build a decent, self-respecting Germany, we mav
in these words of a hard-boiled American journalist still find
hope that the foundations are there. In Merlin in 1941 William
Russell wrote :
"If the United States goes into this war there is one thing
I do not want to forget There are millions of people in
Germany who do not agree with the policies of their leaders.
And there are other millions, simple people, who believe
exactly what their leaders tell them — especially when they tell
ihem the same thing day after day. I do not want to be blind
with hatred and forget yon cannot punish a whole nation as
you might punish a single criminal. That was tried once and
failed miserably. When it is over try to help them to recover
from what they have suffered. Try to remove the causes
for the rise of such people as Adolf Hitler. There should be
enough intelligence kicking around in the world to accom-
TO THE DISCUSSION LEADER
Tins pAMPiii-KT raises one of the biggest questions facing the
postwar world : Con the Germans he re-educated? No one can
give a positive answer now. The Germans must answer it
themselves by their actions, Iheir motives, and the trend of
their efforts. This question gives rise to two others: Ji the
Germans can he re-educated, will this brighten the hope of
peace in Europe? If they caiit. will the Four Powers face
the problem of maintaining law and order permanently in
Germany has been our enemy in two wars in one generation.
We have seen Germans ruthlessly inflict a propaganda of lies
and mental poison tin the rest of the world in an effort to
camouflage Germany's real motives. We have seen the Nazi
regime pervert education, regiment science* and turn the
industrial might of a great nation toward the destruction of
other nations in an effort to dominate the world.
We have seen that effort smashed by the cooperative might
of nations determined that no gangster nation shall dominate
The war has ended in Europe. The German people remain.
They are the people who tolerated ihe Nazi regime; they
are the people whose minds were poisoned by the propaganda
of their own making; they are the people who deified the
totalitarian state above all else. They arc also a people whose
traditions were respected before the two world wars — tradi-
tions of great writers, musicians, scientists, educators, in-
Can these people rebuild their culture along constructive
lines? Can they again contribute to the betterment of civiliza-
tion instead of plot its destruction? In short, can they be
How do you get people interested?
Interest in exchanging ideas about important subjects is the
spark thai starts off discussion groups, h is also the stimulus
that keeps them going". Interest grows out of the desire of
individuals to obtain more information, to learn whal the
oilier fellow thinks, and In express personal views.
People throughout ihe United Nations are asking them-
selves today the question: Can the Germans be re-educated?
Discussion leaders have a subject, therefore, in which nearly
all people are interested. The problem is how to make maxi-
mum use of that interest in discussing this important subject.
When (he lime and place of the discussion meeting has been
decided, discussion leaders should publicize the event so that
interested persons can make plans to attend. The editor ol
the local newspaper will probably consider the meeting worth
a story. Announcements can be made on bulletin boards.
Posters can be prepared and arranged in such appropriate
places as libraries, service clubs, recreation rooms, and near
mess halls. Perhaps the meeting can be announced over a
public address system.
Discussion leaders will usually find it helpful to invite ihe
cooperation of local librarians. Perhaps a reading table can
be reserved for copies of this pamphlet and other pamphlets
and books on the subject of re- educating the Germans. Copies
of this pamphlet may be placed in other types of reading
rooms and recreation centers. Persons will be more interested
in attending a discussion meeting if they have an opportunity
to "read up" on the subject before the meeting; They will also
be better prepared to lake an active part in the discussion.
Their dpi nions will be more valuable and. they will be better
able to evaluate other opinions.
What type of discussion is best?
Lively discussion can be held between two people or before
a group of several hundred. The si/-e of the group is an
important factor in deciding what type of discussion is best.
Other factors are the kind of facilities offered in the meeting
place and the nature of the subject itself.
Group discussions usually are forums, panels, symposiums,
or informal group discussions. Any one of these might be
used in discussing the re-education of the Germans, Here are
Forum: The value of a forum depends in large measure on
the speaker. If you can obtain a speaker who is well informed
on the- nature of the Germans, their backgrounds, their basic-
ideas, and the educational practices under the Nazi regime,
you will probably hnd the forum a successful type of discus-
sion. Remember that one of the most valuable and interesting
parts of the forum program is the question period following
the speaker's address. This enables members of your group
to ask their own questions.
Panel: You could plan an interesting discussion on re-edu-
cating the Germans by carefully selecting a panel of four to
eight qualified participants. Some mignt be American troops
who fought the Germans in World War II. One might be a
native of one of Germany's neighbor nations. You could have
all members of your panel read this pamphlet and other
material on the subject before the meeting. A panel discussion
can be of great value. It gives the impact of several personali-
ties and enables members of the group to question any or all
the panel participants.
Symposium: The contents of this pamphlet suggests various
major phases of the subject that could be covered by sym-
posium speakers. Each would speak for five or ten minutes.
Then you could invite members of your group to question the
speakers, and the remainder of the meeting could continue as
a general informal discussion.
Informal Discussion: Most Americans have followed events
of the war closely and have read a great deal about the
Germans. Nearly all individuals, therefore, have their own
ideas about re-educating the Germans. You could probably
have an interesting and successful meeting by devoting the
entire lime to informal discussion, This will require careful
preparation on your pan. An outline of your program and a
list oi key questions ihat will bring major issues up for
discussion will help make the meeting lively and worth while.
In ihis type of discussion il is important that you, the leaden
maintain an open-minded altitude and encourage frank state-
ments of various points of view. You should avoid trying to
mold a group '"conclusion/* One important value of discussing
a subject like re-educating the Germans is to examine it from
all possible points of view and then let each individual think
the problem through for himself.
Can the discussion leader get other aids?
Numerous helpful suggest inns tor discussion leaders can be
found in KM 1, Gl Round table: tlaide jttr Discussion leaders*
livery discussion leader will do well to read this Guide, It will
explain in detail why il is important for leaders to plan anil
outline their programs carefully. It will give many sugges-
tions on organizing discussion groups, conducting discussions,
and handling difficult personalities,
EM f K) T til Radio Routultabte. contains numerous suggestions
and much sound advice for persons faced with the problem of
preparing and conducting programs to be broadcast on radios
or over loud-speaker systems of the Armed Forces Radio
Questions for discussion
Intelligent discussion of any subject requires though I -evoking
questions. Readers of this pamphlet will benefit if they raise
their ttwn questions as they read. Discussion leaders should
jot down questions as they plan and prepare their program.
Leaders should encourage members of discussion groups lo
ask questions. Listed below are some questions which readers
and discussion Jeaders alike may fiml helpful:
Will Germany's past exert a major or minor influence on
its future? Can a people develop if only one group, either
alien or domestic, decides the needs and then the laws for
the whole group? Do you think the German people might
profit from town meetings, assemblies, and discussion meet-
ings with occupation officials or representatives from the
Can the hard and ruthless qualities of the German character
be changed? Are these qualities the result of heredity or
environment? Do you think the personal conduct of American
occupation soldiers will have much influence on the task of
German re-education ?
Can German schools exert a decisive influence in the future
on the thinking and feeling of the people? Do you think that
alien teachers should conduct German schools, or should all
the teachers be Germans? Why? Would some kind of student
self-government responsible to occupying authorities improve
the German educational system?
Would you favor the invitation of German scholars to inter-
national scientific and cultural conferences? Why? Is there
an antidote for the poisonous propaganda upon which Germans
have been educated for more than a decade under the Nazis?
Do you think the Germans are capable of responsible
representative self-government? Do you think the average
German's apparent lack of interest in domestic politics has
been due to personal choice or to lack of opportunity? Does
Germany have political traditions upon which the people can
build a stable, responsible government that is friendly and
cooperative toward other nations?
FOR FURTHER READING
THESE BOOKS are sttKfgrslcil for supplementary reading if yon Tiavf
access to them or wish to jmrchase ihctu from ihc publishers. They are
ih.i in trs^tiily approved nor officially supplied 1»y ihr War Department.
They have been selected because they ^ivr additional information anil
represent diiT^rcnt points oi view*
Education ani> the People's Peace, By the Educational
Policies Commissi* m. Published by National Education
Association of the United Stales, 1201 Sixteenth St., N.W.,
Washington, I). C (1943), 10 cents.
Education and mi- United Nations, Report of a Joint Com-
mission of the Council for Kducation in World Citi/cnslii)!
and i be London International Assembly. Published by
American Council on Public \i fairs. 215.5 Florida Ave.,
Washington, I). C. (1943). $1.00.
Germany, liy Hiram Motherwell. No. 1 of Reference him-
phtets. published bv Western Keserve University Press,
Cleveland 0, Ohio '(1044). 25 cents.
InTKlLKITI'AL COOPERATION! NATIONAL AM> INTERNATIONAL,
By Isaac L. Kandel. Published bv 'Teachers College, Co-
lumbia University, 525 West 120th St., New York 17, N. Y.
National Stupy CONFERENCE on the Ciuki iies and a Ji\st
anj> Durable Peace, Cleveland 1945. No. 409, Section I
of International Concilia lion, published by Carnegie Endow-
ment for International Peace, -105 We»l 117th St„ New
York 27 t X. Y. (March PW5), 5 cents.
Re-educating Germaky. By Werner Richter. Published by
University of Chicago Press, 57>i) Ellis Ave. Chicago X7 t
111. (1945). $3.50,
Shall Wk Rule Germany? Bv Oswald Garrison Villard.
Published bv Post War World Council, 112 Easl 19th St.,
New York, X. Y. (1943). 10 cents.
Germany — What Next? By Henry Beckett, No, 7 of Victory*
to>f*eace jKimphlets issued bv Army and Navv IVnartmem
of the Young Men's Christian Association, 347 Madison
\\c, Xi'u YoH, 17, X Y. ii'Mi Free " r i request to
A Short Histoky or Germany. Ky S II Steinberg. Published
bv Cambridge Cniversilv Press. Pistributed bv Mac mil Ian
and Co.. 60 Fifth Ave.. New York 11. \. Y. |i<M5l. $.U)0
OTHER Gl ROUNDTABLE SUBJECTS
Introductory COPIES of each new CI Rakndt&bfa pampHel are automat ical I y
issued to information-education officers in the United Stated and nversra arr:a> r
Additional copies are authorized on the basis of our copy for each 23 in Hilary
|.w rsorineL PamphlrLs m jy l> ( * requisitioned from thr (Jutted States Annuel
Foreee Institute, Matliwm % Wisconsin, or from the nearest USAFl Over.-*"n
Branch. List KM number, title, ami quantity. New subjects will be announced
as ptibJlsfied. CI Roundtabte subjects "i«w available:
EM 1 T Guide Fins Discussion Leapebs
KM 2, What Is Propaganda?
KM 10, What Small Ri: Done Msot i Germany after the War?
KM il T What Sham, Be Done irfira the War Criminals?
KM 12. Gan We PkevEWT Future Wahs?
EM 13 T How Shall ^end-Lease Accounts Be Settled?
KM 14, Is the Good Neighbor Policy a Sc ccess?
EM IS, What Shall Be [)um: archt Japan after Victory?
EM 20, What Has Alaska To Offer Postwar Pioneers?
EM 22, Will There Be Work for All?
EM 23, Why Co-ops? What Are They? How Do They Work?
EM 24. What Lies A hi; An for the Phi lupines?
EM 27, What Is the Futire of Television?
EM 30, Cm War Marihaces Be Made To Work?*
EM 31, On Yon WAOT Yolh Wife To W&tiK af.kh jhe War?
EM 32. Shall I Bonn a Hoose after the Wak?
EM 33, What Will Ymro tows Be Like?
EM 34, Shall I Co Bagk to School?
EM 35. Shall I Take Up Farming?
EM 36, Does It Pay To Borrow?
EM 37, Will There Be a Plane In Kveky Garage?
KM 40, Will the French Republic Live Again?
KM 41. ()i"» British Ally
KM 42, Oi'k Chinese Ally
EM 43, The Balkans— Many Peoples, Many Problems
EM 44, Australia: Oi r Netghroh "Down Cnheh"
EM 4S. What Fltlre for ihe Islands of the Pacific?
EM 46, Oi'H Russian Ally
KM 90, Gl Radio Roundtaele
*Fpt distribution in the United States only.
^a S. GOVERNMENT PBINT1NG OFFICE: \94S— 473347