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ERIC Number: EJ1093778
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Singing about Soldiers in German Schools, from 1890 to 1945
Kennedy, Katharine
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v52 n1-2 p76-91 2016
A crucial historical intersection of war and education asks how schooling contributed to convincing people to fight and to sacrifice their own lives, and those of their loved ones, in wars. This article addresses this question by asking how primary schools, in one country, namely Germany, over several tumultuous generations, used songs to teach children about soldiers' lives and deaths. Songs, because they are short, often repeated, and laden with emotion, merit attention in studies of education for war. Examination of school songbooks and curricula shows that songs commonly taught in German primary schools from the late German Empire, through the First World War and the Weimar Republic, and into the Third Reich and Second World War consistently exalted sacrificial death for fatherland. The routine presence of these songs contributed to presenting death for the fatherland as a holy cause, and making sacrificial death in battle imaginable. Wartime sources suggest that songs learned at school also went to war. Engaging with scholarship concerning continuity and change in the history of German education, as well as with work concerning sacrificial death in the construction of the nation, this article compares older soldier songs with songs introduced by the Nazis, showing how National Socialism appropriated older songs, while imposing its own more expansive, less personalised conception of war and resulting death.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A