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Scholz, Joachim; Berdelmann, Kathrin:

The quotidianization of the war in everyday life at German schools during the First World War

In: Paedagogica Historica, 52 (2016) 1/2 , 92-103


Document type
3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Beitrag in Sonderheft

20. Jahrhundert, Bildungsgeschichte, Deutsches Reich, Dokumentenanalyse, Quelle, Schulalltag, Schulgeschichte, Schulleben, Weltkrieg I

The outbreak of World War I had a powerful impact on German schools. Undoubtedly, schools were institutions of socialization that did offer support to the war. Indeed, research has shown that a specific "war pedagogy" made possible an aggressive propaganda in the classroom. This research usually emphazises the war enthusiasm for war that engulfed teachers and students in schools in the first few months of the war. However, this emphasis upon the war frenzy obscures the fact that schools were not easily transformed, in fact, into war institutions. Even if schools made a great effort to align themselves with the war, they remained independent associations, and soon after 1914, a quotidianization (akin to routinization) arose within the schools. Up to now, source materials that show this lack of the influence of wartime propaganda on schools have only been analyzed as to what they reveal about the deprivations and hardships of schools during the war. However, records from the schools shed light on the everyday routines that continued in schools during the war, and such evidence calls on scholars to reconsider the conditions for schools in World War I. In this article, we analyze selected records, including school chronicles and exam protocols from the war years, and we show that school life was often distinct from the war enthusiasm. We thereby advocate a more complex view of the relationship between World War I and the German school. (DIPF/Orig.)

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