Publication Date

Fall 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Mary Pickering

Subject Areas



The aim of this thesis is to describe how both the state school system and the Hitler Youth educated girls during the Third Reich. Conventional theories have suggested a number of ideological suppositions regarding the overall curricular emphasis, but this study contends that such simplistic determinations do not capture the full spread of the educational experience. This thesis asks if girls in Nazi Germany were truly just indoctrinated or if schooling had legitimate academic purposes. Based on actual textbooks that were studied by girls for every subject area, at different grade levels, and in different types of schools, as well as Hitler Youth handbooks and pamphlets detailing every girls’ activity, this research reveals a complex situation. The state school system offered a diversified syllabus containing academic, practical, and also ideological elements. The scope of the Hitler Youth instruction was more narrow, and part of its implicit goal was to subvert the authority of the state schools. This finding suggests that the school curriculum for girls under National Socialism was more multifaceted than is commonly thought, and the Hitler Youth sabotaged the regular educational process and impinged upon the right to instruct Germany’s youth.