Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Dictatorship Question

I noticed this in the Local this week....some research done by a university team...over how high school kids in German respond to identifying various forms of government, in particular.... dictatorships.  So the  obvious bone that the university team threw out to the high school kids....was the Nazi government of the 1930s, and if it was a dictatorship.  The overwhelming answer was that the kids weren't too sure if the Nazis were a dictatorship or not.

The university team obviously came back and said this was a huge problem....that it should have been a major agreement in the vast majority of kids quickly assessing that the Nazis were a dictatorship.

There are three observations that I can an American who has spent time in Germany and seen things up close.

First, watching my son go through the German schooling system.....I can vouch for the fact that they spent a pretty fair amount of time covering the they did covering their own German history.  I almost had this opinion that they really didn't want to go over things from 1920 to it was a subject best left on the table.  Course, you have various Roman-period TV shows and movies now that attract a lot of maybe this does make some sense.

Second, the sad truth is that the Nazis were actually voted upon in elections, and a pretty fair percentage of Germans put their vote behind the party.  It's hard to persuade folks who see the vote at work in a democracy, that a dictatorship comes out of this voting business.  This is especially true for teenagers sitting in a class....thinking that voting for Pirate Party isn't that stupid of a decision if you think consider all your options.

Finally, the university did their survey only against high school kids.  I would like to challenge them to go out and pick a couple hundred adults in their fifties and see if they get any better statistics.  My gut feeling is that it just might be the same.  In that case, this whole analysis and worried worthless, and you've got an entire country thinking the same way.

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