THE Germans must be "reëducated;" on this the occupying Powers are unanimous. At Potsdam in 1945 they agreed that education in Germany should be controlled, with the aim of eliminating Nazi doctrines and making possible the development of democratic ideas. Each Power has subsequently proceeded to carry out the agreement in its own way. Each has initiated reforms in the methods and content of instruction in schools and universities in its own zone and, with varying degrees of thoroughness, has "denazified" the teaching and administrative personnel. In these endeavors the educational officers have naturally tended to transplant the pedagogical methods and principles which experience in their own country has shown to have produced good results.
Each occupying Power recognizes that the reëducation of the Germans must be more than skin deep. It is not merely a matter of changing curricula and textbooks. An attempt must be made to transform the outlook on life, the Weltanschauung, of millions of adolescent and adult Germans, and if possible to convert aggressive nationalism into a spirit of peaceful coöperation. For support of this broader and deeper purpose each of the four Powers has developed a cultural program supplementing its educational reforms. These programs, even more than the school reforms, reflect the national ideals of the sponsors. Characteristically, the French program is marked by a sincere belief that learning and culture can produce civilized men, coupled with an anchor to windward in the form of strict economic controls.
In their attack on the problem of reforming German education the French have been faced with the lack of teachers and textbooks, inadequate buildings and shortage of teaching materials common to all the zones. Like other occupying Powers, the French have eliminated from their schools practically all of the textbooks introduced during the Nazi régime, substituting for them new books written by German émigrés in the United States or by Germans in Switzerland. In printing new textbooks the French have done an admirable job
Loading, please wait...