Erziehung und Entbürgerlichung, oder: Wie bürgerlich war die NS-Elitebildung eigentlich?

Presented at an international symposium entitled ‘Wie bürgerlich war der Nationalsozialismus?’, Jena Center for 20th-century History, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, 22 October 2016.

This paper uses the elite education provided by the Napolas (Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten), the Third Reich’s most prominent elite schools, as a case study of the manifold ways in which elements of a bürgerlich habitus were cultivated during the Third Reich, despite the Nazi movement’s claims to embody socialist principles.

Given sufficient time, it seems highly likely that the Napolas would have become instrumental in helping to consolidate a new, National Socialist caste structure – a class system of stratification based no longer on the twin pillars of bourgeois society, ‘Besitz und Bildung’, but on the uncompromising values of the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft.

Articles based on this talk has now been published in German in Wie bürgerlich war der Nationalsozialismus?, ed. Norbert Frei, Göttingen (Wallstein), 2018, pp. 154-172, and in English in Global Perspectives on Boarding Schools in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, ed. Daniel Gerster, Felicity Jenz, Basingstoke (Palgrave Macmillan), 2022, pp. 79-100.