862.00 P.R./136

The Chargé in Germany (Gordon) to the Secretary of State

No. 2415


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6. Education of Youth in the Third Reich. At a conference of State Ministers of Education in Berlin on May 9, Dr. Frick, the Reich Minister of the Interior, discussed the principles on which the German youth is to be educated in the Third Reich. The speech is of fundamental interest because it shows that the new regime in Germany intends to depart completely from the spirit of education as envisaged by the framers of the Weimar Constitution. Hereafter stress is to be laid upon such subjects as racial hygiene, the baneful effects of the Versailles Treaty, and the necessity for “Wehrhaftigkeit” or readiness to bear arms.

Liberal ideas in education, he said, had corrupted German educational methods and institutions. The schools had not reared but merely instructed their pupils. They had failed to develop in the pupils the qualities essential for the nation and State, and had merely imparted knowledge for the benefit of the individual. They had only served the education of the free individual and had failed to develop German manhood rooted in the people and bound to the State. They had not ensured the unity of the nation and devotion of its members to the State, but had merely furthered the decay of the nation and the victory of private interests over the State. In short, the individualist concepts of education had contributed considerably to the decay of national life.

The function of the new German school, continued Dr. Frick, was to develop the political individual who, in his thoughts and actions, was rooted in his nation and was inseparable from the history and destiny of his State. The new school must serve the entire nation, not the individual. The mother-tongue must be cultivated and German letters should be given preference over Latin type. Among the subjects of instruction, history must occupy a foremost place. The tremendous [Page 320] experience of the World War with the heroic struggle of the German people against a world of enemies, the destruction of Germany’s capacity for resistance through pacifist elements, the humiliation of the German people through the Versailles “dictate,” and the collapse of the liberal Marxist philosophy, should be treated as extensively as the incipient awakening of the nation, beginning with the Ruhr struggle and continuing to the victory of the Nazi ideal of freedom and the restoration of a united nation as exemplified on the day of Potsdam.

Racial hygiene must become a regular part of the school curriculum. The mixing of German blood with that of other races, especially with Jewish and colored races, must be prevented at all costs. The rearing of German youth to Wehrhaftigkeit must begin in the schools. The germ of the Wehrgedanke, the idea of military defense, must be inculcated into the youth of the nation.

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Respectfully yours,

George A. Gordon
  1. Another portion of this despatch is printed on p. 295.