fandommkopf wrote in little_details

1920s-1940s German Education System

Setting: Germany, 1920s-1940s

Scenario: A female character is born to a middle or upper class family in Germany c. 1916-1918. (I’m not sure yet where she’s from, but if it makes a difference for early education, I’m thinking about Berlin, Bonn, or somewhere in Bavaria.) After her primary/secondary education she completes the university admission requirement of 6 months in the Reich Labor Service, then studies art history at Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin or the University of Bonn from the mid/late 1930s to early 1940s.

-What was the German education system at the primary/secondary level in the 1920s-1930s? Specifically what would be the path for a well-to-do girl who will eventually go to university? (Not looking for curriculum, just the actual age/grade structure.)

-What was the system at the university level in the 1930s-1940s? What were the degree types and how long did it take, for both undergrad and graduate programs? Specifics for the character’s situation would be a plus, but anything equivalent is great too.

-How did university education change under the Nazis and during WWII? I know some of the broad stuff (staff/students forced out, admission numbers for women fluctuated, admission requirements changed) and I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for here, but just anything interesting that might be relevant to her situation.

The small details don’t matter too much for the actual plot (not sure how often they’ll get referenced), but I do need some idea if only to set up a timeline and develop background. I’ve found bits and pieces to several of these questions, but no clear consensus on what I’m looking for.

Stuff I searched: German education system, German education 1920s/1930s/1940s, the various schooling levels (Gymnasium, lyceum, etc), master of arts / magister artium, staatsexamen, habilitation, abitur, university education in Nazi Germany, Reich Labor Service, Friedrich Wilhelm University / Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, bios of various era-relevant university students, related/reworded searches, “Girls’ Higher Education in Germany in the 1930s” by Jill Stephenson, “Admission to the Friedrich Wilhelm University of Berlin” in Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich by George Mosse,,


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