Germans Share How WWII Is Taught In Germany

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Vote up the personal anecdotes that give you a new perspective.

The effects of World War II are far-reaching. Despite what many believe, Germany does not shy away from its history regarding the war. The entirety of Germany has not forgotten nor will forget about the role they played during the war. In order to prevent history from being repeated, Germany is almost fanatical in its teaching of WWII. 

Many schools go into extensive detail when outlining the events leading up to, during, and after the war. Yet not every school learns the history of WWII the same way. Some will start teachings about the war much earlier, and the curricula surrounding what war-era literature is discussed will vary. 

It can be stated that Germany is one of the few countries to take full responsibility for its actions by educating its population in extreme detail about WWII. Additionally, it can be argued that Germans know more about WWII than any other country because they are educated on it so thoroughly, as these first-hand accounts from Redditors attest.

  • 1
    866 VOTES

    Most Schools Require A Visit To A Concentration Camp

    From Redditor u/dillingtonesquire:

    At my school, we went on a school trip to Auschwitz to learn history outside the classroom. The tour began with a 20-minute documentary film about the liberation of the camp; then, the guide shows you the exhibits in some of the remaining prison blocks, as well as the gas chamber and the crematorium. It's a lot to deal with as a 10-year-old.

    From Redditor u/yokelwombat:

    Most schools include visits to at least one concentration camp during field excursions (I have been to Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Theresienstadt), and there is a very interesting art project called Stolperstein, which indicates where Jews were persecuted in Germany.

    From Redditor u/daeneryswaters:

    We are constantly educated on the Holocaust and Hitler's dictatorship in general. In grade 5, I think, we were first introduced to Hitler and his crimes, and after grade 9/10, we learned more and more about the structure and the politics. I'm in grade 12 now, and here we learn how to cope with the memory of the Holocaust. My school organizes trips to concentration camps, to memorials and museums, to make sure no one forgets what happened. 

    866 votes
  • 2
    664 VOTES

    WWII Is Taught Early And Often

    From Redditor u/misswyatt:

    I had 4 years Grundschule, then 9 years Gymnasium and the first movie we watched in fifth grade was Schindler's List - already talking a lot about the Holocaust and the war crimes, always showing pictures of starving Jews and mass graves.

    From Redditor u/xTyrez:

    In short, every german student has at least 5+ years of history that is either directly or indirectly about WW2, and its effects on the world we live in today. I can only speak of my personal experience, which to make this easier to understand was four years in the Grundschule, followed by six years on the Realschule, and topped off by two years on the FOS. (Currently studying, but there is no real impact.) Of these 12 years, I had history lessons starting at 6th grade officially. 

    664 votes
  • 3
    529 VOTES

    Their Holocaust Curriculum Is More Meticulous Than Any Other Country's

    From Redditor u/pumple:

    I don't know how you think it is taught. It is taught very objectively. We got to read Anne Frank. I went to museums, even once in 9th grade, I think, to a concentration camp. Nothing gets prettified.

    From Redditor u/michaeladams94:

    It started in 5th-grade history. They would teach it to you every year or two, each time from a different angle. They would start with WWII and Hitler. Then they would relate it to the Post-WWI economic situation that even led Hitler to win the election and get into office.

    Then - in about 9th grade - you would learn about the details of the Holocaust. How many millions of people died, what methods they used, how people would be identified as Jews, what happened to them, and we would visit at least a labor camp, if not a concentration camp, for a retreat. 

    From Redditor u/gilbatron:

    We had Nazi time-themed lessons in pretty much all major subjects. History (at least three times), German (at least two times), religion (private school, at least three times), English (only about WWII, not concentration camps), politics (more about implications for today's world politics). In detail, including horrific movies, talks with eyewitnesses and survivors, museum trips, trips to a KZ if possible, and more. There are also a lot of TV documentaries about the war, the Nazis, and the Holocaust.

    529 votes
  • 4
    534 VOTES

    They Learn About Japan's Actions In WWII That The Japanese Downplay

    From Redditor u/N1_Source:

    Their country [Japan] has and still does hide/deny large parts of what they did in WW2.

    From Redditor u/Thotsakan:

    I have a Japanese host family. My Japanese family knew. My host brother knew about WWII. They're ashamed, man. 

    From Redditor: u/Donchovi:

    My mom has a friend from Japan whom she attended college with. When her friend found out all the horrible things Japan did in the war, she started going up to elderly people and apologizing for what her people did and explaining they're different now.

    534 votes
  • 5
    396 VOTES

    Germany Covers It From All Angles

    From Redditor: u/sfw_pseudo:

    The German view of events may be permissive at times and, depending on the teacher, may omit this massacre or that one, but the collective guilt of Germany and the undeniable slaughter that happened is addressed. 

    From Redditor u/nowhere_near:

    Yeah, German high school graduate here. Basically, we will have the whole Nazi period repeated so that it fills up about 70% of our history studies. It definitely felt that way. Many schools also visit old Concentration Camps (KZ's), and we also had a Jewish survivor tell his story. 

    From Redditor u/Loki-L:

    Actually, from what I remember of being taught about WWII in school in Germany, this topic gets almost talked to death. Rather than being ignored or downplayed like you might expect, this gets played up to an almost impossible degree in parts.

    396 votes
  • 6
    486 VOTES

    Germans Never Stop Learning About It

    From Redditor u/redchindi:

    And it's not only history class where WWII is brought up. We dissected famous war speeches in German class (e.g., the "Sportpalastrede"). We also covered the subject in politics, in religion class, and later in advanced English class.

    From Redditor u/Saturnious90:

    In Baden-Württemberg, we had a history unit every year that discussed what happened before and especially during WWII, and every year, the lessons got more detailed.

    From Redditor u/Loki-L:

    In Germany, we never stopped learning about it. There were several semesters about WWII, the run-up to WWII, the aftermath of WWII, etc. It was also a major part of many other subjects such as Religion.

    486 votes