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Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany

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1 Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany By David S. Horace Greeley High School Class of 2007 Patterns of anti-intellectualism have long been established as the foundation of a totalitarian regime. In communist dictatorships such as Joseph Stalin’s Russia and Mao Zedong’s China, intellectualism was seen as the enemy of the agrarian lifestyle—the backbone of communism. Anti-intellectualism in Hitler’s Third Reich, however, was of a far more sinister and depraved nature. Intellectualism was seen as the enemy of the unifying forces of emotionalism, intolerance, and above all, the truth. This particular presentation focuses on the depth of anti-intellectualism that infected Germany from Background Image: [Books Smolder in a Huge Bonfire] Pojer HIJ

2 INTRODUCTION David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany
Anti-intellectualism is clearly a predominant element in a totalitarian regime. But what exactly is Anti-intellectualism? Images (Top left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right) [Hitler in Nazi Germany], [Book Burning, May 10, 1933 ], [1925 Copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf], [Flag of the Hitler Youth] Pojer HIJ

3 What is Anti-Intellectualism?
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Simply put, it is a public scorn for intellectuality—the ability to question social norms, tolerate dissent, value human intelligence, and, most importantly, back up one’s arguments with historical, scientific, or philosophical reasoning [Kengas]. But not only are these values banished from and anti-intellectual society—anyone who upholds them is ostracized as well. Furthermore, anti-intellectualism can be expressed by a community in many ways, including attacks on the merits of science, education, and literature [Kengas]. It is also critical to note that anti-intellectualism is more than a banishment of values from society: it is also about what values that society uses to fill the void. Since the spirit of intellectualism is based on independent thought, constant skepticism, and tolerance for dissent, we often see extreme emotionalism, unconditional loyalty to authority, and rampant intolerance emerge in an anti-intellectual culture. Pojer HIJ

4 Locke on Intellectualism
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Anti-intellectualism is the antithesis of most philosophy perfected during the enlightenment era. The above quotes by John Locke provide a good contrast to the anti-intellectualist mode of thought that I am about to show you… The first quote explains the beauty of tolerance for contrasting opinions. A true intellectual loves to argue—a world in which nobody disagrees with him is his personal hell. The intellectual therefore welcomes a debate against dissenting opinion, as he believes in what Oliver Wendell Holmes referred to as the “marketplace of ideas.” In a totalitarian regime, we see that all dissenters, who question authority using their intellect, are removed from society by any means necessary. In other words, there is no debate, no dissenting opinion, no “marketplace of ideas.” The second quote reaffirms this point, but from a different perspective. Locke is warning us of the majority opinion, and more importantly—as you will see in this very presentation—he is warning us of the “angry mob.” In other words, since new opinions are always suspect, if too many people are of one opinion then they will suppress all others. Quotes courtesy of Pojer HIJ

5 Consequences of Anti-Intellectualism
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Using what intellectuals tell us about the importance of knowledge to free society, we can predict what can arise in an anti-intellectual culture without even seeing it for ourselves (although, sadly, we do see it). The result of anti-intellectual sentiment is a society of one mind, and of one opinion—not because everybody always agrees with one another, but because all dissenting opinion has been filtered out [Stackelberg, 131]. With out the intellectual spirit to think independently and contest authority, the government obtains an unnatural amount of power [Kengas]. As you will soon see in this presentation, an anti-intellectual society soon does away with the concept of individual thought, and even worse, disregards the concept of the truth. Image: [Leader of the Germans] Pojer HIJ

6 Consequences of Anti-Intellectualism
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Consequences of Anti-Intellectualism Emergence of Pseudoscience (i.e. Eugenics) Rewriting of History Destruction of Literature When science, truth, and philosophical thought have been stripped from society, what remains? Science becomes threatened by pseudoscience—fake science (such as eugenics) that is full of initial bias and void of the scientific method [Stackelberg, 134]. Image: [Nazi Eugenics] True history is substituted with convenient history—which often glorifies the society above all others, in a nationalistic and jingoistic fashion. Literature, the medium of philosophy, is also compromised. Old media is removed from society, and new media is so heavily influenced by censorship and propaganda that it ceases to be of any value whatsoever. Image: [Lodge Night in Hitler’s Third Reich] Pojer HIJ

7 Nazi Anti-Intellectualism
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Anti-intellectualism clearly infected Nazi Germany, when Hitler took power in 1933. Only science that benefited the state—such as military technology—was valued [Stackelberg 1934]. Scientists and their work, no matter how brilliant, were removed from society if they were not considered to be “truly German.” Nobel Prize-winning Jewish scientists such as Fritz Haber and Albert Einstein were no longer fit to live in Germany, and their works were discredited or downplayed [Berlin Book Burning]. Furthermore, in Nazi Germany, the value of individual thought went against the philosophy of the Reich. People were supposed to be of one opinion, and of one mind. If they were not, they were made to conform (by means of propaganda) [Kengas]. In fact, propaganda became a form of mass education—a way for the government to conform its citizens however it wanted [Stackelberg]. And, as always with propaganda, the concept of truth in Nazi Germany slowly began to lose its value. In Nazi Germany, people seldom heard the real facts unless it coincidentally stirred up feelings of patriotism or anger. Pojer HIJ

8 David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany CENTRAL QUESTION Why was anti-intellectualism such a critical element in sustaining Nazi culture from ? We know that anti-intellectualism was prevalent in Nazi Germany. But why was this so? Nazi leaders obviously saw that it was necessary to root out intellectualism from German culture, so doing this must have been critical in their rise to power, and more importantly, crucial in sustaining their power for as long as they did. This presentation intends to prove that the Nazis depended on anti-intellectual philosophy to successfully spread their ideology—because any person who devotes a mere second to intellectual thought would see that Nazism was a dangerous system that could never work unless Pojer HIJ

9 NAZI BOOK BURNINGS David E. Schneyer
Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany NAZI BOOK BURNINGS Nothing was more symbolic of anti-intellectualism in Nazi Germany than book burning—an anti-intellectual bloodbath of hate, rage, and irrational action. Orchestrated and encouraged by the Nazis, these “rituals” helped to stir up public emotion and, more importantly, frighten intellectuals into either conforming or leaving. Pojer HIJ

10 Why Burn Books? A way of venting anger Unifies community in a ritual
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Book burning is a ritualistic way of venting anger, and was therefore a symbolic transition of cultural values in Germany [Berlin Book Burning]. People were literally destroying mediums of intellectual thought through a newfound sense of fervent, hostile, vengeful emotionalism. Furthermore, book burning unified Germany in a nation-wide ritual. For intellectuals throughout the nation, fear spread rapidly. In other words, book burning was a message from the Nazis to intellectuals, giving them three choices: Conform, leave, or be destroyed. Pojer HIJ

11 The Burning of the Books
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 On May 10, 1933, the Nazi party declared 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...” was to be burned [Berlin Book Burning]. The party had just taken power, and it saw the opportunity to execute its extreme, nationalistic, intolerant social policy. Jewish intellectuals such as Freud and Einstein were clearly the main targets, but this did not exclude non-Jewish intellectuals from this “cultural cleansing.” Pojer HIJ

12 The Burning of the Books
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Encouraged by the Nazis, University students all over Germany—especially in Berlin—marched through the streets and looted books from libraries, synagogues, and even private homes. The books were then thrown onto a bonfire (typically in public squares), so that everyone—including the intellectuals these people despised—could witness the destruction [Berlin Book Burning]. This event soon came to be known as “The Burning of the Books.” There is much speculation as to who actually orchestrated this event. Some scholars argue that it was Joseph Goebbels who called for the burning, but others believe that the incident was organized by German student organizations. Images: [Book Burning, May 10, 1933], [Nazi Book Burning] Pojer HIJ

13 “The Burning of the Books”
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany “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 The Nazis obviously encouraged the book burning. However, Joseph Goebbels ordered German newspapers to minimize its publicity. This was because while the event was successful in Germany, the Nazis knew it would not be well received internationally—and they were right. Nations all over the world, from England and the United States to China and Japan, were shocked by the incident [Berlin Book Burning]. The Burning of the Books frightened many German intellectuals—especially Jews—into leaving Germany. Albert Einstein was one of them. The quote above by Joseph Goebbels depicts how Nazis saw Jewish intellectualism as a mortal enemy of the state, and how they perceived it to be defeated after the book burning [The Goebbels Diaries, 123]. Of the book burning, Joseph Goebbels proclaimed, “Spirits are awakening, oh, century; it is a joy to live!” [Berlin Book Burning]. Once again, we see that with the destruction of intellectualism came the birth of radical emotionalism. When reading that quote, we get the impression that Goebbels was actually surprised that the German people believed the crap he spewed out of his mouth. Pojer HIJ

14 Some Authors of Books Burned on 5/10/33
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Just some authors of the books that were burned in Freud and Einstein were the most popular targets, as both were pivotal intellectuals of their time and, of course, both were Jewish. Karl Marx was also a very popular target. If that’s not the height of the Jewish/intellectual stereotype then I don’t know what is. Also note some of the less suspecting names of this list: Helen Keller, H.G. Wells, and Erich Maria Remarque. The fact that H.G. Wells—a science-fiction author—was a target among book burners proves that even being imaginative was enough of a reason for scorn among anti-intellectuals [Berlin Book Burning]. Pojer HIJ

David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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!" Education in Nazi Germany was a complete reversal of the priorities in education that we—and most other nations—hold dear. As you will see, the goal of Nazi education was not to advance the life of the student, but to advance the glory of the state—to imprint extreme nationalism and jingoism among the youth so that they may better serve the German Reich [Stackelberg 151]. Furthermore, many of the things schools today in America discourage—such as bullying, were greatly encouraged in Nazi Germany. In the opinion of the Nazis, to prey on the weak was a natural-born right of the Aryan race. Image [Nazi Classroom] Pojer HIJ

16 “The Jewish Nose is Wide at the End and Looks like the Number Six”
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 curriculum of a German school during the Nazi era incorporated many of the “social consequences of anti-intellectualism” previously discussed in this presentation. Pseudoscience, rewritten history, propaganda, and anti-intellectual philosophy were commonplace in the Nazi classroom [Stackelberg, 131]. Eugenics was extremely prevalent in German schools at this time. As seen in the picture above, a student would be expected to know “the marks of the Jew,” more than they would be expected to know their times tables [Stackelberg, 130]. Students also learned discipline, duty, and obedience—the perfect tools for being a “good servant” to the Fuehrer. Furthermore, physical training was prioritized over mental training, ensuring that the children would grow up to be good soldiers—they wouldn’t know how to think, just follow authority. “The Jewish Nose is Wide at the End and Looks like the Number Six” Pojer HIJ

17 The Nazi Classroom Task of the Educator
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Everybody had a role to play for the state in Nazi Germany, including the schoolteacher. It was the job of the educator to strengthen the souls of the students, to provide them with a sense of nationalism, and to prepare them for a lifetime of devotion to the German Reich [Stackelberg, 133]. It is important to note that there was no intention of education the individual for the sake of the individual. In other words, the ultimate purpose of education in Nazi Germany was to benefit the state. Pojer HIJ

18 The Nazi Classroom Strong desire to root out values of…
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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! Furthermore, education in Nazi Germany sought to root out the values of the enlightenment, such as liberal individualism, rationalism, and, of course, intellectualism [Stackelberg, 133]. Pojer HIJ

19 Reasons for this Education System
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Reasons for this Education System Trained children to be good soldiers Easier to accept a total authority if you don’t 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 Why have this sort of education? For one, it trained the students to be “good soldiers” in the Reich. People are more likely to blindly accept authority if they have been doing that since 10 years old. The ultimate goal of this type of education was, as previously stated, to make sure the student brought glory to the state. This is in stark contrast to education in a democracy, in which education is valued because it instills intelligence in the younger generation. Pojer HIJ

20 Adolf Hitler on Education
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 The first quote proves how in Nazi Germany, education was implemented for the sole purpose of advancing the state. Learning is only for those who are worthy, who have something to offer to the Reich [Hitler on Education] The second quote, which is taken from Mein Kampf, shows how in Nazi Germany, learning the truth is unimportant when compared to imprinting an an ideology [Mien Kampf II, 54]. This blatant willingness to censor the truth (which fosters intellectual curiosity) in favor of propaganda (which fosters radical emotion) proves that anti-intellectualism was an integral part of why the Nazis were able to maintain their power for as long as they did. In fact, Nazism ended only because Germany lost World War II. The public never realized that it was being duped, and even those few who did come to their senses were silenced. In other words, as sick and horrific as this value system was, it gave the Nazis exactly what they needed to maintain domestic power. Pojer HIJ

21 Adolf Hitler on Education
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 The quote above pretty much explains itself: Character development first, scientific schooling second (if at all) [Mien Kampf, 210]. In other words, education (according to Hitler) is not about learning, but about being molded in the image of the state. Image: [Adolf Hitler and Chum] Pojer HIJ

22 The Hitler Youth (HJ) David E. Schneyer
Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany The Hitler Youth (HJ) To foster feelings of radical emotionalism and unison among the young of Germany, the Nazis used the Hitler Youth to mold its children from ages Though it began in the 1920s, the dynamic of the organization had changed greatly when Hitler gained power. Images (left, top-right, bottom-right) [Youth Serves the Fuhrer], [Hitler Youth] [The Mindset of the Hitler Jugend] Pojer HIJ

23 Clip From Triumph of the Will
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Click the image to view the video on YouTube (you must have a web browser). NOTE--The link will only work when viewed as a slide-show. It’s a bit long, so you only need view the first 1:45 min. When you are done, exit the web browser and the slideshow will resume [Triumph of the Will]. The clip you are about to see is from Triumph of the Will (1934), considered to be one of the most prime examples of propaganda film in history. The film, directed by Leni Riefenstahl, seeks to depict the return of Germany as a great power after World War II, and portrays Adolf Hitler as a great German Leader who restore Glory to the Nation [“Triumph of the Will”]. Imagine you are a Nazi citizen watching this film in a theater. Notice how the film is directed—how the music in the beginning plays as a soundtrack to influence your emotions, how the film cuts to the beat of the music as if it were a movie, and how the camera moves to cast grand, sweeping images. What Hitler actually says is not that relevant. The visuals are much more important. For instance, the images show how admired Adolf Hitler is: when he first comes out, the camera captures images of the children eager to get a look at him. Clearly, the directors of the film want their viewers to be loyal as well. As stated earlier, anti-intellectualism is mostly about what fills the place of intellectualism. See how radical emotionalism was so prevalent, and how individuals are nothing when compared to the giant mob of children acting in unison? The young boys in this film are serious and militaristic beyond their age—not because their minds are so mature, but because they have been groomed in the Hitler Youth to serve the Fuehrer. Pojer HIJ

24 Why was the HJ Necessary for Nazi Germany?
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Hitler understood that his ideology needed to be passed down to younger generations as quickly as possible [The Hitler Youth]. The earlier he got to them, the less likely they would think as individuals, and the more they would think in controlled unison. By indoctrinating these children with anti-intellectual, racist, and hateful philosophy, he could ensure that the next generation would know of nothing but Nazism. Pojer HIJ

25 Why was the HJ Necessary for Nazi Germany?
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Everybody had a role in Nazi Germany, and the Hitler Youth prepared children for theirs [The Hitler Youth]. Boys trained in “military athletics,” in which they learned marching, grenade throwing, trench digging, gas defense, map reading, and how to climb under barb wire [The Hitler Youth]. Women learned how to run, throw, march, swim, and make beds. Basically, they were trained to be the mothers of the “master race” [The Mindset of the Hitler Jugend]. Image: [All German Girls in the Hitler Youth] Pojer HIJ

26 David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Hitler’s 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” Just some quotes by Hitler himself on the Hitler Youth… The first quote shows why bullying was encouraged in the organization: to filter out the “weak” and to teach the “strong” that it was okay to prey on those who could not defend themselves. Clearly an anti-intellectual philosophy: beat up the nerds. The second quote speaks for itself. If you didn’t believe Nazi Germany promoted anti-intellectualism before, you better believe it now. Image: [Hitler Youth Poster] Pojer HIJ

27 Relevance of the HJ to Anti-Intellectualism
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Remember: Anti-intellectualism is not just about the removal of intellect from a culture; it is also about what values take its place. When taken in contrast with our own educational values, we can see why the HJ sought to root out individual intelligence. In the United States, among other Democratic nations, we value the intelligence of our young. Educational success is of the utmost importance, with the ultimate goals of attending college and making money. In Nazi Germany, as evidence by values implemented in the Hitler youth, Children were not worth their individual merits, but rather worth whatever they could contribute to Nazi Germany as a whole. Pojer HIJ

28 Social Atmosphere in an Anti-Intellectual Germany
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Social Atmosphere in an Anti-Intellectual Germany Finally, lets look at the overall social atmosphere in Nazi Germany, and more importantly, the source of that atmosphere. Notice how these photographs depict the feelings of unison that fascism sought to create. In a totalitarian regime, the people are of one body, of one mind, and of one spirit—all for the glorification of the state. Clearly, this sort of public sentiment did not happen on its own… Image: [Nuremberg Nazi Rally], [Unity] Pojer HIJ

29 David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Fashioning itself as a “workers’ party”, the Nazis helped to develop a populist movement throughout Germany. Populism, in this situation, was a struggle against an envied “privileged elite,” with Jews considered to be the head of the serpent [Stackelberg, 154]. Note the quote by Joseph Goebbels… Intellectuals were considered elitists and tricksters, who hoodwinked their adversaries with their superior rhetoric [Stackelberg, 155]. Pojer HIJ

30 The Volksgemeinschaft
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany The Volksgemeinschaft “The People’s 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 This was the antithesis of Rousseau’s concept of the “General Will”: The government is not founded on the will of the people, but rather the will of the people is derived from the government. The Nazis were thus hypocritical to call themselves romantics, as Rousseau himself was seen as the founder of romanticism [Wendel]. The Nazis relied heavily on propaganda and censorship to subliminally influence German culture. To maximize the efficiency of their tactics, they established an extensive bureaucracy to execute them. Pojer HIJ

31 The Reichskulturkammer
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 One such bureaucratic institution was the Reichskulturkammer (RKK), or the “Reich Culture Chamber.” Headed by Joseph Goebbels and managed by Hans Hinkel, the RKK set out to filter the “bad culture” from the “good culture.” [Wendel]. The Nazis understood very well that the only way to succeed in establishing a totalitarian government was to steer the will of the people in their direction, and to bend and refocus all information from the media in their favor. What the Nazis did not seem to understand—and this, keep in mind, is the very essence of intellectualism—was that “true culture” is moved by an invisible hand, and is progressed without any authoritarian will influencing it. Any culture that operates otherwise is artificial. Nevertheless, the Nazis required all members of the German media (from news, to entertainment, to art) to join the RKK—meaning that they could not conduct their publicly influential work without strict Nazi supervision [Wendel]. Image: [RKK Logo] Pojer HIJ

32 Divisions of the Reichskulturkammer
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Divisions of the Reichskulturkammer Reichspressekammer (press) Reichsfilmkammer (film) Reichsrundfunkkammer (radio) Reichsmusikkammer (music) Reichsschriftumskammer (literature) Reichstheaterkammer (theater) Reichskammer der bildenden künste (fine arts) As you can see in the slide, the RKK was subdivided into many levels to ensure efficiency in media supervision. There were divisions for press, film, radio, music, literature, theater, and the fine arts. With each of these divisions, the totalitarian Nazi regime could filter out any information it deemed un-German from the media. This policy severely compromised the “marketplace of ideas” that, as previously discussed, is so vital to an intellectual (and thus, free) society [Wendel]. Pojer HIJ

33 The Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 The RKK was a division of the Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, which was headed by the notorious Joseph Goebbels. The Ministry sought to root out intellectual culture, and replace it with intolerance (especially anti-Semitism) and ultra-nationalism [Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich]. Like the RKK its influence infected all mediums of art and literature. But unlike the RKK, which sought to separate and ban “bad culture,” the Ministry was far more influential in creating works of its own. The ideology of the ministry was simple: Don’t let people inquire and learn for themselves. Instead, tell them what to believe. Image: [Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda] Pojer HIJ

34 Why have a Ministry of Propaganda?
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 This ministry was critical in the 12 year reign of Nazi Germany because it molded public opinion more severely than did any other method used by the Nazis. Despite the despicable ideology it promoted, it was nevertheless very good at what it did—turning the public into good fascist citizens. Its influence was extremely broad. Duties of the Ministry ranged from promoting racial intolerance to mobilizing support for the war [Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich]. The Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda stood for almost everything that intellectualism stands against. Not only did it destroy the flow of free ideas, but it refused to tolerate: dissent, the ability to question authority, independent thought, and the use of rationalism to formulate ideas. Pojer HIJ

35 Kristallnacht “Night of the Broken Glass”
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 After the Nuremberg laws were passed, a young man in Paris named Zindel Grynszpan became outraged by the deportation of his father (who lived in Germany) to Poland. He attempted to assassinate the German Ambassador to France, but settled for a low-level officer instead [Nterior De La Sinagoga Fasanenstrasse]. Nazi officials used this event in the media to enrage the community against the German-Jewish population. Students all over Germany rampaged all kinds of Jewish-owned establishments, from stores to synagogues [Austin]. Instead of burning books like in 1933, people simply destroyed. Looking at the picture on the right, you can see why this event has come to be known as the Kristallnacht, or “Night of the Broken Glass.” Many consider this event to mark the beginning of the Holocaust. This was a clear example of how the “mob,” under orchestration of the Nazis, took over Germany. Images: [Kristallnacht], [la noche de los cristales rotos] Pojer HIJ

36 Joseph Goebbels: Head of the Anti-intellectual Serpent
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Joseph Goebbels: Head of the Anti-intellectual Serpent Though Hitler was himself immensely popular among the German people, he could not have duped the German population without the help of his chief propagandist, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels. What is fascinating about Goebbels is not that his philosophy was so untruthful and illogical, but that he knew it was untruthful and illogical. Image: [Goebbels delivers a speech] Pojer HIJ

37 Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 The Orwellian “Squealer” of the German Reich, Dr. Joseph Paul Goebbels was the head of the Nazi propaganda machine. He was a textbook example of the anti-intellectual attitude he promoted among Germany’s citizens: tremendously anti-intellectual, supremely and unconditionally loyal, incredibly intolerant of all dissenting opinion, and fervently patriotic [Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich]. His loyalty to Hitler was incredible, probably because he saw him as the perfect leader [Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich] He also was obsessed with Hitler because, in return for his loyalty, Hitler rewarded him with the recognition that he so craved [Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich]. He was one of the few Nazis who remained loyal to Hitler until the end. Furthermore, when it was clear to all others that Germany had lost the war, he remained in complete denial—as if influenced by his own propaganda. He was so much in denial that he convinced Hitler to stay in the Fuehrerbunker in Berlin when his other advisors encouraged him to leave [Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich]. As the last of those loyal to Hitler, he was appointed Chancellor in 1945, after the Nazi leader killed himself. But, according to Goebbels, this was the one order that he could not follow: he committed suicide along with his wife after they killed their children. Yet another example of Nazi anti-intellectualism: Goebbels’ complete and utter refusal to accept rational thought was the very thing that killed him [Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich]. Image: [Joseph Goebbels] Pojer HIJ

38 Goebbels on Truth and Intellectualism
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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.” The three quotes above encapsulate the anti-intellectual spirit that Joseph Goebbels infused into German culture by means of propaganda… The first points out that in Nazi Germany, character was subservient to intellectual activity. By the “building of character,” he is referring to the molding of one’s character so that it may serve the state. Some might argue that this is not character at all, as character implies a unique, individual attitude. [Goebbels, 143] The second quote emphasizes how, in the Third Reich, the people were the servant of the state—not the other way around. This is Goebbels’ foundation for justifying propaganda. Intellectualism, which allows people to think for themselves, can be suppressed if the government tells its people how (or if) to think [Goebbels, 124]. The third quote attempts to justify censorship. Intellectualism, as I have emphasized throughout this presentation, demands a marketplace of ideas, in which people can decide for themselves what information is worth listening to. Nazism filtered out the media, and left only what it thought would properly shape the public consensus [Goebbels, 103]. Images: [Goebbels], [Joseph Goebbels: Progenitor of Propaganda] Pojer HIJ

39 David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 The “Big Lie” Theory, spearheaded by Hitler and Goebbels, is one of Nazism’s most notorious beliefs. But as terrible as it is to promote it as governmental policy, it is actually pretty accurate… It speaks of a lie so big and extravagant that people begin to question as to why someone would say something so unbelievable unless it were true. Gobbles concludes that the lie is vital to the state—therefore making the truth the greatest enemy of government. This is as anti-intellectual as it gets. An intellectual would agree that big lies are a friend of those in power, and that they are inevitable in most societies. However that doesn’t mean the intellectual has to like that big lies are inevitable—in fact he would say that those who use lies are despicable traitors to the people of a nation. Enlightenment philosophers believed that the government was the creation of the people, for the purpose of protecting and serving the people. If the government lies to the people, it is essentially betraying them—rendering it not only useless but defective. Unlike the anti-intellectual, the intellectual believes that the ultimate goal of society should be an honest government. (Quote courtesy of Pojer HIJ

40 CONCLUSIONS David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany
So what do we draw from all of this? Image: [People Greeting Hitler] Pojer HIJ

41 What Anti-intellectualism Does
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 In the general sense, we can conclude that anti-intellectualism is force that a government uses to deceive and, ultimately, unify a society. Adopting tactics that censor the truth and promote propaganda, the people become of one opinion—an opinion that the government has orchestrated. Pojer HIJ

42 Is the Bush Administration Somewhat Anti-Intellectual?
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 I do not intend to prove that the members of the Bush administration are Nazis—that would be a horrendous overstatement. But are there elements of anti-intellectualism—the foundation of totalitarian rule—in the White House? For starters, there are 150 graduates of Regent University Law School (founded by Pat Robertson) working in the Bush Administration. U.S. News and World Report ranks this law school as Tier 4—its worst rating. However, the school is famous for its ultra-conservative student body. Clearly, the heads of the Administration prefer loyalty over intellectual competence. Then there is the matter of the firing of several United States Attorneys for purely political reasons. There is no doubt that the firings were political—even those within the Bush administration do not deny that. The only matter of debate is who is to blame for the incident. Images: [George W. Bush], [Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez] Pojer HIJ

43 Is the Bush Administration Somewhat Anti-Intellectual?
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany 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 Members of the Bush Administration have been known to make zealous use of the word freedom, overusing it as a label rather than a value. The term terror, conversely, is slapped on any enemy of America, rather than classify Islamic fundamentalists into Sunnis and Shiites, or Afghanis and Iraqis. Also, like Hitler’s ability to stir up radical emotionalism, the Bush Administration uses the events of September 11, 2001 as a way to anger the American public against its enemies. Image: [Mission Accomplished] Pojer HIJ

44 Karl Rove on Intellectualism
David E. Schneyer Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany Karl Rove on Intellectualism “As people do better, they start voting like Republicans—unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing”—Karl Rove An interesting statement by Carl Rove, President Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff... Do I detect anger against a privileged elite? Image: [Karl Rove addresses the assembled audience] Pojer HIJ

45 The End (or is it?) David E. Schneyer
Anti-Intellectualism in Nazi Germany The End (or is it?) Works Cited 1925 Copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf Hitler: Mein Kampf. 23 May 2007 <>. Austin, Ben. "Kristallnacht." Ben Austin's Sociology Corner. 23 May 2007 < Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. Adolf Hitler: May 2007 <>. All German Girls in the Hitler Youth. Nazi Propaganda. 2 June 2007 <>. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez When Congress Makes you Swear. < / /060206_EX_GONZALEZ_TN.jpg>. Berlin Book Burning. Looniverse. 26 May 2007 < jpg>. Book Burning, May 10, Berlin. Banned Books. 24 May 2007 <>. Books Smoulder in a Huge Bonfire Berlin. Wikimedia. <>. Flag of the Hitler Youth. MonkeyRump. 25 May 2007 <>. Frabotta, Kyle. "The Mindset of the Hitler Jugend." History.Uscb. 1 June USCB. 28 May 2007 <>. George W. Bush. George W. Bush on PBS. 2 June 2007 <>. Goebbels Delivers a Speech. The Period between 1933 and May 2007 <>. Goebbels, Joseph. The Goebbels Diaries. Reprint Edition ed. Greenwood P Reprint, Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich. 23 May 2007 <>. Goebbels. Paul Joseph Goebbels. 23 May 2007 < /goebbels4-sized.jpg>. Hitler, Adolf. "Hitler on Education." Rauschning: Hitler Speaks. Germany. 1 June 2007 <>. Hitler in Nazi Germany. National Socialism. 23 May 2007 <>. Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. New Ed 2006 ed. Vol. 1. Jaico House, Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. 2006th ed. Vol. 2. Enigma Books, Hitler Youth Poster. German WWII Posters. 26 May 2007 <>. Hitler Youth. The Mindset of the Hitler Jugend. 29 May 2007 <Ettp://>. Holocaust Memorial Center. "The Burning of the Books." Jewish Learning Site. 25 May 2007 <>. The Jewish Nose is Wide At the End and Looks Like the Number Six. Remembering the Holocaust and Combating Xenophobia. 1 June 2007 <>. Joseph Goebbels. GermanNotes. 3 June 2007 <>. Joseph Goebbels, German Propaganda Minister Joesph Goebbels: Progenitor of Propaganda. 3 June 2007 <>. Karl Rove Adresses the Assembled Audience. The Conservative Party from New York State. 3 June 2007 <>. Kengas, Steve. "Myth: Hitler Was a Leftist." Huppi.Com. 25 May 2007 <>. Kristallnacht University of Virginia. 28 May 2007 <>. La Noche De Los Cristales Rotos. Kristallnahct: la noche de los cristales rotos. 28 May 2007 <>. Leader of the Germans: Adolf Hitler. ThinkQuest. 1 June 2007 <>. Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda Wikimedia. 30 May 2007 <>. Mission Accomplished News Watch: White House Reality Check. 1 June 2007 <>. Nazi Book Burning History of the Book. 27 May 2007 <>. Nazi Eugenics. Lodge Night in Hitler's Third Reich. Freemasonry Watch. 2 June 2007 <>. Nuremberg Nazi Rally. Warwick Blog. 22 May 2007 <>. People Greeting Hitler. Hitler and Germany. 27 May 2007 <>. RKK Logo. Reichskulturkammer. 30 May 2007 <>. Triumph of the Will. Dir. Leni Riefenstahl. Perf. Adolf Hitler, Baldur Von Schirach YouTube. 1 June 2007 <>. "Triumph of the Will." The History Place June 2007 <>. Trueman, Chris. "The Hitler Youth." History Learning Site June 2007 <>. Two Jewish Students are Made Fun of by Their Class The Pictorial History of the Holocaust, Edited by Yitzhak Arad, Macmillan Publishing Company, NY, 1990, p.37. David's Holocaust Awareness Project. 20 May 2007 <>. Unity. Hitler & Germany. 25 May 2007 <>. Wendel, Marcus. "Reichskulturkammer." Axis History Factbook. 15 Feb May 2007 <>. Youth Serves the Fuhrer. The Propaganda of the Third Reich. 25 May 2007 <>. Pojer HIJ

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