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CHILDREN: A VULNERABLE AUDIENCE DURING THE NAZI ERA Propaganda is a tool with immense power and potential. Its great strength is based on its ability to sway the opinions of masses relatively easily. When used with good intentions, this strength can leave a very positive impact. For example, human rights groups such as Amnesty International use propaganda in order to expose the plight of maltreated human beings. However, when used with negative intentions, propaganda has potential to be unimaginably dangerous. This was the case in Germany and surrounding countries in the early twentieth century when Nazi leaders used propaganda to gain support for their evil cause. For the Nazis, propaganda proved to be a weapon just as powerful, if not more powerful, than warplanes, bombs, and guns. Nazi propaganda took many forms- speeches, songs, movies, books, posters, pamphlets, post cards, etc.- and had various purposes- winning elections, recruiting soldiers, spreading anti-semitism, etc. Although every varying form and purpose left a deep scar in our history, no form was more evil than that targeting young children. In this report, we examine propaganda that specifically targets young children. In doing so, we analyze a Nazi pamphlet called Die Judenfrage im Unterricht (The Jewish Question in Education) and then three of the most gruesome children books that have ever been created: Trau keinem Fuchs auf grüner Heid und keinem Jud bei seinem Eid (Don't Trust A Fox in A Green Meadow Or the Oath of A Jew) , Der Giftpilz (The Poisonous Mushroom) , and Der Pudelmopsdachelpinscher (The Poodle-Pug-Dachshund-Pincher) . “The disgust which [Aryan children] have towards [Jews] steadily increases, as does their dislike when they meet a representative of the Jewish race. However young he may be, a child asks himself the reasons for this dislike and disgust and wants an explanation from his
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teacher. That provides the foundation for successful education.” This excerpt, taken from The Jewish Question in Education published in 1937 , foreshadowed the impact that propaganda had on children during the Nazi era. In the late 1930’s, spreading anti-semitism became such a top priority for the Nazi party that it was forced into every school curriculum. By 1937, 97% of all teachers belonged to the National Socialist Teachers' Union. Every member of this union had to submit an ancestry table in triplicate with official documents of proof. Even courses and textbooks soon reflected the aims of Hitler . The Jewish Question in Education was a pamphlet that not only urged teachers to incorporate anti-semitism into every part of the curriculum, but also taught them how to do so effectively. In the introduction to The Jewish Question in Education Julius Streicher made the following statement: "The National Socialist state requires its teachers to teach German children racial theory. For the German people, racial theory means the Jewish problem." The pamphlet maintained that the best way to accomplish this was to include the “Jewish
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