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Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany By David S. Horace Greeley High School Class of 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany By David S. Horace Greeley High School Class of 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany By David S. Horace Greeley High School Class of 2007


3 What is Anti-Intellectualism? A sentiment of hostility towards, or mistrust of, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits Attacks merits of science, education, literature Not just about hating intellectualism: also about what values fill its place

4 Locke on Intellectualism I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar [opinions].John Locke New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.John Locke

5 Consequences of Anti-Intellectualism A society where individual thought is compromised, and the preservation of truth is minimal Authorities have more power Cannot be challenged, because there is no intellectual spirit of dissent

6 Consequences of Anti-Intellectualism Emergence of Pseudoscience (i.e. Eugenics) Rewriting of History Destruction of Literature

7 Nazi Anti-Intellectualism Knowledge that benefited state was allowed (i.e. rocket science) Individual learning frowned upon Independent thinking goes against public opinion Propaganda a new form of education Repression of the truth in favor of that which stirs up radical emotion

8 CENTRAL QUESTION Why was anti-intellectualism such a critical element in sustaining Nazi culture from ?


10 Why Burn Books? A way of venting anger Symbolic transition of cultural values: Intellectualism to radical emotionalism Unifies community in a ritual Intimidates intellectual community Frightening to see an angry mob that has lost touch with your values

11 The Burning of the Books May 10, 1933 Nazi Party declares that any book which acts subversively on our future or strikes at the root of German thought, the German home and the driving forces of our people... is to be burned. Jewish intellectuals were primary target, but also many non-Jews as well

12 The Burning of the Books Students marched through the streets rampaging libraries, synagogues, and even private homes to loot books Books were thrown onto bonfire

13 The Burning of the Books Nazis encouraged burnings, but discouraged their publicity Aftermath Frightened many intellectuals, Jewish and non-Jewish, into fleeing Germany Jewish intellectualism is dead Joseph Goebbels after the 1933 Book Burning

14 Some Authors of Books Burned on 5/10/33 Albert Einstein Havelock Ellis Lion Feuchtwanger Sigmund Freud André Gide Franz Kafka Erich Kästner Helen Keller Alfred Kerr Jack London Heinrich Mann Thomas Mann Karl Marx Hugo Preuss Marcel Proust Walter Rathenau Erich Maria Remarque Margaret Sanger Arthur Schnitzler Upton Sinclair Jakob Wasserman H. G. Wells Stefan Zweig Emile Zola

15 EDUCATION IN THE THIRD REICH Two Jewish students are humiliated in front of their whole class. The writing on the board proclaims the Jew is our greatest enemy! Beware of the Jew!"

16 The Nazi Classroom The Curriculum Racial biology and eugenics Celebratory German history Discipline, duty, obedience, courage Physical training Body over mind No concern for the spirit of academics The Jewish Nose is Wide at the End and Looks like the Number Six

17 The Nazi Classroom Task of the Educator Strengthen the soul and spirit of youth Instill nationalism in younger generation Prepare students for service, and even self-sacrifice to the Reich NO INTENTION OF EDUCATING THE INDIVIDUAL FOR THE SAKE OF THE INDIVIDUAL

18 The Nazi Classroom Strong desire to root out values of… Liberal individualism Rationalism Intellectualism A Complete 180° from the ideals of Locke and the Enlightenment!

19 Reasons for this Education System Trained children to be good soldiers Easier to accept a total authority if you dont know how to think for yourself Ultimate Goal In Democracy: Student learns so he may benefit himself In Totalitarian Germany: Student learns so he may benefit the state

20 Adolf Hitler on Education "Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented Adolf Hitler "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round Adolf Hitler

21 Adolf Hitler on Education "The folkish state must not adjust its…educational work…to the inoculation of mere knowledge, but to the breeding of absolutely healthy bodies…And here again, first place must be taken by the development of character, especially the promotion of will- power and determination, combined with the training of joy in responsibility, and only in last place comes scientific schooling." –Mein Kampf

22 The Hitler Youth (HJ)

23 Clip From Triumph of the Will Click image to see video on YouTube Notice direction of film Shows how admired Hitler is Promotes radical emotionalism Notice serious faces, militarism of young boys

24 Why was the HJ Necessary for Nazi Germany? Hitler believed the future of Nazi Germany was in its children Composed of a generation that knew almost only Nazism No need to suppress individual thinking if people are imprinted with anti- intellectual ideology at a young age

25 Why was the HJ Necessary for Nazi Germany? Trained children for their roles as Nazi citizens Men: Wehrsport (Military training) Women: Preparation for Aryan motherhood

26 Hitlers View of the HJ The weak must be chiseled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain... "I will have no intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin to my young men

27 Relevance of the HJ to Anti-Intellectualism The values of a culture result from the values instilled in its youth In America: pressure to do well in school, go to college, get a job, make $ In Nazi Germany: Children were worth only what they contributed to the state

28 Social Atmosphere in an Anti-Intellectual Germany

29 Nazi Populism Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state...–Joseph Goebbels Struggle against privileged elite Especially Jews Intellectuals are elitists and tricksters Hoodwink opponents with rhetoric

30 The Volksgemeinschaft The Peoples Community Established collective national spirit Based on racial and national pride Subliminal influence on culture Bureaucratization of censorship & propaganda PEOPLE CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES

31 The Reichskulturkammer Reich Culture Chamber Managed by Hans Hinkel Goals: Promote Good Culture Root out, ban Bad Culture Compulsory membership for all members of German media HEIGHT OF ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM

32 Divisions of the Reichskulturkammer Reichspressekammer (press) Reichsfilmkammer (film) Reichsrundfunkkammer (radio) Reichsmusikkammer (music) Reichsschriftumskammer (literature) Reichstheaterkammer (theater) Reichskammer der bildenden künste (fine arts)

33 The Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda Spread and enforced Nazi ideology The antithesis of intellectual-based culture Rampant anti-Semitism Infected all mediums of art and literature

34 Why have a Ministry of Propaganda? In a totalitarian regime, public opinion must be molded to fit the state Conversely, Intellectualism demands: A marketplace of ideas Tolerance of dissent Ability to question authority Independent thought Formulation of rational ideas

35 Kristallnacht Night of the Broken Glass Political assassination by Jew ignites spark Nazi youth rampage Jewish buildings The mob trumps individualism Considered beginning of Holocaust

36 Joseph Goebbels: Head of the Anti-intellectual Serpent

37 Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels Head of Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda A textbook example of the anti-intellectualism he promoted Extreme, unconditional loyalty to Hitler: he was practically in love with him

38 Goebbels on Truth and Intellectualism Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion. Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.

39 The Big Lie Theory If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.Joseph Goebbels


41 What Anti-intellectualism Does A force that seeks to unify… The mind of a nation The will of a nation Censorship of truth Idea that truth is irrelevant is dangerous Use of propaganda to orchestrate direction of public opinion

42 Is the Bush Administration Somewhat Anti-Intellectual? Regent U. Law Grads Ranked Tier 4 School, but extremely conservative 150 in Administration Loyalty over intelligence Firing of U.S. Attorneys For political reasons Not based on performance

43 Is the Bush Administration Somewhat Anti-Intellectual? Propaganda? Overuse of the word freedom Overgeneralization of terror Simplification of good vs. evil Stirring up of radical emotions 9/11 as a rallying point

44 Karl Rove on Intellectualism As people do better, they start voting like Republicansunless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thingKarl Rove

45 The End (or is it?)

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