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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 86 (March 1947)

Press and radio comments,   pp. 23-24 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 24

have been condemned to death? A well-
considered answer is impossible, but the prob-
-abilities are that the average- German is
largely unimpressed by these trials . . . The
day we sat in the courtroom a mere sprinkl-
ing of GeIrmans was on hand. The natives
appear considerably bored by the whole
business. Maybe they think the trials are
fair and maybe they don't. At all events,
there is little reason for believing that they
attach much significance to them. Such is
the opinion of various persons in a position
to know, including several German news-
papermen with anti-Nazi records.
All this bears on the question whether the
Germans can be "reoriented." . . . Dr. Tay-
lor and his aides are trying to make it easy
for the Germans to teach themselves dem-
ocratic thought processes, and are keeping
away from anything which savors of trying
to ram democracy down German threats.
For example, they are not writing text-
books for the Germans, but are letting the
anti-Nazi Germans write their own texts.
Meanwhile the schools are using the texts
which were approved in Germany in the
years immediately preceding the coming of
the Nazis to power. Nine curriculum laboir-
atories and textbook writing centers are be-
ing operated at this time in the American
Zone, and it is anticipated that the Germans
will be able to produce sound texts before
too long. These texts will be published, as-
suming that the paper is available, and then
the elementary and high school pupils will
study books from which the Nazi poison has
been removed by their fellow-countrymen.
The denazification program has ousted all
active Nazis from the school system, and has
put the teaching in the hands of Germans
who believe in freedom and the democratic
way. At the same time, it is not contemplat-
ed that these teachers will attempt to reg-
iment their pupils in democratic thinking.
Their approach will be generally similar to
that which prevails in the American schools.
Pupils will be given the opportunity to learn
about democracy, and its virtues will be
emphasized, but there will be no totalitarian
pressure. Those in charge of this program
for OMGUS are optimistic for its ultimate
success.
In the field of youth'training of all sorts,
Dr. Norman Hiemes, Chief, Office of Special
Educational Institutions and Agencies, E&
RA Branch, IA&C Division, OMUGS, de-
clares that "we must find a creative sub-
stitute for the Hitler youth." He states that
whereas much stress has been placed hitherto
on athletic programs, we must put emphasis
henceforth on "getting at the minds of youth."
Some 7,500 youth groups have been formed
in the American Zone, and have a total
membership of 651,000. This is about 25
percent of the former Hitler youth member-
ship for the same area, but the latter was
compulsory, whereas the United States au-
thorities are operating on a voluntary basis.
Of late they are making a particular effort
to enlist the interest of German girls ...
All this may ultimately get the desired re-
sult, and it may not. The mayor of Berlin,
Dr. Ostrowski, a German of strongly demo-
cratic views, declared the other day when
we discussed the problem with him that
"many of our people are born Nazis": and
that nationalistic and militaristic teachers of
the past 100 years must be eradicated.
Anybody who looks around him today at
the wreckage of the city over which Dr.
Ostrowski presides, can hardly fail to be
vastly impressed with the thought that war
has brought overwhelning calamity to the
Reich.  The center olf Berlin is the most
gigantic wreck in the history of the world. .
Such is the low estate to which Hitler
brought Berlin and Germany. The people
are wretched, cold and hungry. Those in
the urban regions are living under well nigh
incredible hardships. Have they learned the
lesson that this shattering defeat should have
taught them, or are they even now plotting
another drive for world dominion?   Can
they be taught to think in democratic terms,
or will they continue to be the disciples of
Frederick the Great and Clausewitz, Moltke
and Treitschke? We probably must wait 25
to 30 years before getting the answer.
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