In its determination to take absolute control, the Third Reich focused on the nation's youth, reserving for the schools the vital task of refashioning the German psyche. This book examines these propaganda efforts-one of the most radical and far-reaching experiments in educational history. The book focuses on the manipulation of the German past, one of the primary means of state intervention to ensure the triumph of the racial idea in history. It shows how textbooks written by National Socialists equalled or exceeded the most imaginative fiction, with an itinerary that extended from Valhalla and the Germania of Tacitus to the Prussia of Frederick the Great, before mounting to the pinnacle represented by the Third Reich. The primary source materials for this study consist of a broad, representative collection of history textbooks, primers, and books of readings containing historical instruction.
Gilmer W. Blackburn is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of History at Gardner-Webb College.