By B. Blessing
This research explores the historical past of the recent institution that built within the postwar interval and its position in speaking antifascism to youngsters within the Soviet area. Blessing strains how the selections approximately the right way to train youth after the nationwide Socialist dictatorship grew to become a part of a broader dialogue concerning the way forward for the German country.
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Extra resources for The Antifascist Classroom: Denazification in Soviet-occupied Germany, 1945–1949
Its assistance in mapping out their emerging nation ideologically, even in the face of unclear physical and temporal borders, proved Germany’s right to membership in the community of nations. At a time when international public opinion on the German national character was of vital importance to the country’s future, antifascism became an important bargaining chip. 15 A country of antifascists, hoped educational reformers, would regain the world’s respect for the German nation. Many individuals and even countries looked skeptically upon Germans’ desire to establish normalcy at home and in international relations.
Their agreement to work together also resulted from a desire to avoid divisive ideological disagreements. Political leaders from all parties, especially the workers’ parties, deplored their failure to have created a united front against Hitler’s National Socialists. Their vow not to repeat interparty fighting, however, entailed a decision not to examine too closely their sometimes conflicting definitions of antifascism or democracy. 30 The Communist and Social Democratic Party leaderships’ postwar decision to put aside decades-old animosities and join forces was a significant new policy direction for both parties.
Antifascist educators in the Soviet zone believed first and foremost that the “new school” should right all of Germany’s past wrongs by creating a unified and democratic population that could not be divided by fascist politics again. This chapter explores antifascism as the key foundational concept of the Soviet zone. I first show how educators across the political spectrum used the “antifascist education” program to help define the Soviet zone’s “ideological borders,” both internally and externally.