Richard J. Evans

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Richard J. Evans, 2015

Sir Richard John Evans, FBA, FRSL, FRHistS, FLSW (born September 29, 1947) is a British historian of modern European history.

The Coming of the Third Reich (2003)[edit]

New York, NY, The Penguin Press, 2004

  • Among those who were sent to receive political indoctrination in June 1919 was a 30-year-old corporal who had been in the Bavarian army since the beginning of the war and had stayed in it through all the vicissitudes of Social Democracy, anarchy and Communism, taking part in demonstrations, wearing a red armband along with the rest of his comrades, and disappearing from the scene with most of them when they had been ordered to defend Munich against the invading forces in the proceeding weeks. His name was Adolf Hitler.
    • p. 161
  • The National Socialist German Students’League… gained a reputation for provocative actions, and campaigned on issues such as the reduction of overcrowding in lectures (by imposing a limit on the number of Jewish students), the dismissal of pacifist professors, the creation of new chairs in the subjects like Racial Studies and Military Science, and the harnessing of the universities to the national interest, away from the pursuit of knowledge as an end in itself.
    • p 214
  • Even though total membership of the Nazi Students’ League did not even reach 10 per cent of national fraternity membership, the Nazis had completely taken over student representation in Germany. Impress by such numbers, Hitler appointed Schirach to the leadership of the Hitler Youth on 3 October 1931.
    • p. 215
  • Not just women, young people, students, and school pupils, but also many other sectors of German society were catered for by specially designed Nazi organizations by the end of the 1920s. There were groups for civil servants, for the war-wounded, for farmers, and for many other constituencies, each addressing its particular, specifically targeted propaganda effort. There was even a kind of trade union movement, the clumsily names National Socialist Cell Organizations [NSBO].
    • p. 215
  • The widespread intimidation of the population provided the essential precondition for a process that was in train all over Germany in the period from February to July 1933… The Nazi takeover of the federated states provided a key component in this process… At the same time as the state governments were being overthrown, local Nazis, backed by squads of armed stormtroopers and SS men, were occupying town halls, terrorizing mayors and councils into resigning, and replacing them with their own nominees.
    • p. 381
  • Democracies that are under threat of destruction face the impossible dilemma of either yielding to that threat by insisting on preserving the democratic niceties, or violating their own principles by curtailing democratic rights.
    • p. 452.

The Third Reich in Power 1933-1939 (2005)[edit]

The Penguin Press, New York, 2005

  • For all their deficiencies, the Hitler Youth movement and the increasingly Nazified school system were driving a wedge between parents who still retained some loyalty to the beliefs and standards they had grown up in themselves, and their children who were being indoctrinated at every stage of their lives. As one such agent ruefully observed: ‘It is extremely difficult for parents who are opponents of the Nazis to exercise an influence on their children. Either they ask the child not to talk at school about what is said at home. Then the children get the feeling, aha, the parents have to hide what they think. The teacher permits himself to say everything out loud. So he’s bound to be right. - Or the parents express their opinion without giving the child a warning. Then it’s not long before they are arrested or at the very least called up before the teacher, who shouts at them and threatens to report them. - ‘Send your father to the school!’ That is the normal answer to suspicious doubts and questions on the part of the child. If the father is quiet after such a visit, then he gives the child the impression that he has been convinced by what the teacher has told him, and the effect is far worse than if nothing had ever been said.’
    • pp. 278-279
  • There were even more disturbing reports of children whose membership in the Hitler Youth was disapproved of by their parents threatening to report them to the authorities if they tried to stop them going to meetings. For adolescents, it was only too easy to annoy parents who were former Social Democrats by greeting them at home with ‘Hail, Hitler!’ instead of ‘good morning’. ‘Thus war is taken into every family’, one wife of an old labour movement activist observed. ‘The worst is’, she added apprehensively, ‘that you’ve got to watch yourself in front of your own children.’
    • p. 279
  • The overall effect of Hitler Youth membership, some Social Democratic observers complained, was a ‘coarsening’ of the young. The suppression of any discussion or debate, the military discipline, the emphasis on physical prowess and competition, led boys to become violent and aggressive, especially towards young people who for whatever reason had not joined the Hitler Youth. Hitler Youth groups travelling by train amused themselves by insulting and threatening guards who failed to say ‘Hail, Hitler!’ every time they asked a passenger for his ticket.
    • p. 280
  • Hitler insisted that political education was a matter for the Party and not for state-run institutions or state-appointed teachers… All the staff had to undergo regular special training, and the students also had to spend time several weeks a year working on a farm or a factory to maintain contacts with the people.
    • p. 283
  • At every level, formal learning was given decreased emphasis… By 1939 employers were complaining that school graduates’ standards of knowledge of language and arithmetic were poor and that ‘the level of school knowledge of the examinees had been sinking for some time.’ Yet this did not cause any concern to the regime. As Hans Schemm, the leader of the Nazi Teachers’ League up to 1935, declared: ‘The goal of our education is the formation of character’, and he complained that too much knowledge had been crammed into children, to the detriment of character-building.
    • p. 289
  • The Hitler Youth proved a thoroughly disruptive influence on formal education. ‘School’, one Social Democratic report already noted in 1934, ‘is constantly disrupted by Hitler Youth events.’ Teachers had to allow pupils time off for them almost every week… Despite the military-style discipline in the schools, there were numerous reports of indiscipline and disorder, violent incidents between pupils, and insubordination towards teachers. ‘One can’t speak of the teacher having authority any more,’ noted one Social Democratic agent in 1937. ‘The snotty-nosed little brats of the Hitler Youth decide what goes on at school, they’re in charge.’
    • pp. 289-290
  • Like the Hitler Youth in the schools, the Nazi Students’ League and its members did not fight sly of naming and shaming the teachers they thought were not toeing the Nazi line. In 1937 a Hamburg professor complained that no student meeting had been held in the previous few years ‘in which the professoriate has not been dismissed in contemptuous terms as an ‘ossified’ society that is not fit to educate or lead you people in the universities.’
    • p. 292
  • Yet the Nazi Students’ League was not without competition in the student world at this time. Many students joined the stormtroopers in the spring of 1933, and following Hitler’s instruction in September 1933 that the task of politicizing the student body was to be undertaken by the SA, the brownshirts set up their own centres in the universities and put pressure on students to join. By the end of the year, over half of the students at Heidelberg university, for example, had enrolled as stormtroopers.
    • p. 293
  • Early in 1934 the Interior Ministry made military training organized by the brownshirts compulsory for male students. Soon they were spending long hours training with the SA. This has a serious effect on their studies. University authorities began to note a drastic fall in academic standards as students spent days or even weeks away from their studies, or appeared at lectures in a state of exhaustion after training all night.
    • p. 293
  • In a two-hour monologue before assembled Nazi dignitaries on 15 June 1935 the Leader made it clear that he expected the fraternities to wither away in the Nazi state as remnants of a bygone aristocratic age. In May 1936 Hitler and Hess openly condemned the fraternities and barred Party members from belonging to them.
    • pp. 294-295

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