Extract From Political Report of the Ambassador in Germany (Dodd)75
2. Miscellaneous Educational Matters. The conflict between Reich Minister of Education Rust and Herr Derichsweiler, the radical leader of the National Socialist Student League, has finally been resolved by [Page 188] the resignation of Herr Derichsweiler and his assignment to an undetermined position on Herr Hess’ staff. As reported in the Embassy’s despatch No. 3095 of October 14, 1936,76 Herr Derichsweiler instigated considerable trouble through his efforts to “politicize” the universities through his League. Dr. Rust is said to have realized that student politics were interfering to an unwarranted extent with university studies and he is understood to have attempted to combat Herr Derichsweiler’s influence through the rival and older organization called the Deutsche Studentenschaft. Simultaneously with the retirement of Derichsweiler it was announced that the National Socialist Student League and the Deutsche Studentenschaft would be brought under a single head, a certain Dr. Scheel who will have the title of “Reich Student Leader.” Dr. Scheel is an Obergruppen führer in the S.S. and is understood to be a comparative moderate in educational affairs.
A week after his appointment Dr. Scheel announced to a meeting of student leaders in Stuttgart his plans for the fulfillment of his new mission. In accordance therewith the National Socialist Student League and the Deutsche Studentenschaft shall maintain their separate identities. The first as heretofore will be charged with the “militant political training” of the student, while the latter, which shall embrace all students whether they belong to the League or not, shall be concerned chiefly with the ordinary routine relations between the student bodies and the university authorities. Upon entering a university every student will be required to report to a leader of the League for three semesters of political education. He will also be given the opportunity of living in one of the Kamaradschaftshäuser of the League for three semesters and of thus becoming a League member. While residence in one of these houses will not be required, as Herr Derichsweiler apparently wished, it is stipulated that only those who become League members can ultimately become student leaders. All student members of the Party or of one of its associated organs will be compelled, however, to reside in a Kameradschaftshaus. In contrast with previous practice whereby students have been free to move from one university to another, it is now ordered that they must remain at least three semesters at one university.
Following his victory in the matter of student organizations, Dr. Rust has recently made several addresses which are worth noting. Speaking of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Prussian Art Academy in Berlin, he confirmed the Government’s intention of controlling art as rigorously as it controls literature and the press, a development foreshadowed by Hitler in his so-called “cultural speech” [Page 189] at this year’s Party Congress. Declaring that the time of art for art’s sake was over, Rust said that he had given orders to have certain “manifestations of the shameful past” removed from German museums. He expressed his indignation in particular that a monument had been erected (at a place unnamed) to a Prussian regiment commanded by Ludendorff which made the men look “more like beasts than heroes.” With respect to the forthcoming reform of the schools, which he said would be shortly announced, Dr. Rust stated that this would be founded upon the principle that not the continuity of history should be the ultimate aim of historical teaching but the greatness and importance of particular epochs and men.
At the 125th anniversary of the founding of the University of Breslau, which was celebrated November 7 and which, it was noted, was made the occasion for bestowing an honorary degree upon Herr Conrad Henlein, the Sudeten-Deutsch leader in Czechoslovakia, Dr. Rust set up as the goal of university teaching the pursuit of science, placing the emphasis, however, unmistakably upon natural science, which would help Germany’s material development, rather than upon the cultivation of the liberal arts. “The Führer’s commissioner for the execution of the Four Year Plan, Party Comrade Göring, has appealed to the cooperation of German research authorities in the work of making the German people independent,” Dr. Rust declared. “You will understand therefore when at the opening of the new semester I give ‘science’ as the watchword.” Describing Horst Wessel as the eternal symbol of the working student, Dr. Rust asserted that, “in place of the liberal conception of science we have set up our own, which is that science is not an idea which moves freely in space and time, but a specific manifestation of the people’s spirit.”
Speaking later in Breslau at a Party gathering, Dr. Rust dealt with a question which he heard was frequently being asked, namely, why, now that the Party had vanquished Germany, were political meetings still necessary. Dr. Rust gave as his answer, that “just as people go to church every Sunday to seek power from God’s Word, so we come together to acquire power from our Führer.”