Any advice on pre-military training

Hermann Giesecke

About this edition
This 17th volume of my collected writings contains works from the years 1982 and 1983. In that year (since 1967) I worked as a professor for education and social education at the University of Education in Göttingen. Further biographical information can be found in my autobiography My life is learning, Weinheim: Juventa Verlag 2000.

The texts are arranged according to their year of publication.

The placement of the footnotes has been standardized; you are now at the end of the respective article. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Beyond that, however, the originals have not been changed. Subsequent comments by the editor are marked with (*) or an abbreviation ("H.G."). In order to ensure that the texts can be cited, the original page references were included and appear in the left margin of the text; they end the respective text page of the original.

The contributions are numbered from "1", the previous work can be found in the earlier volumes.


Contents of volume 17

131. Do we still need educational goals? (1982)

132. Thought aloud at the wrong time (1982)

133. Did Hitler seduce the youth? (1982)

134. Changes in the Relationship between Generations (1983)

135. The Search for the Meaningful Time (1983)

136. Youth in Associations and Organizations (1983)

137. Education, Political (1983)


131. Do we still need educational goals? (1982)

(In: Neue Sammlung, H. 4/1982, 357-365)

(This text was broadcast on May 12th, 1982 in NDR III as a radio lecture. It was only supplemented by a few comments)

If there is public uncertainty about the goals to which the next generation should be educated, then this is always a sign that political, cultural and moral norms in society in general have become questionable and are no longer self-evident. Educational goals become unclear and controversial when basic life orientations are unclear or ambiguous. We have been in such a phase since the mid-1960s. Since then we have experienced bitter school policy disputes over new guidelines for school subjects; In the mass media, articles on education and advice on proper pedagogy take up a lot of space; A few years ago, well-known conservative scientists and politicians promulgated much noticed - and much criticized - theses in which they called for a new "courage to educate". Education, they believed, had to teach those old virtues again, without which living together in society would not be possible: for example tolerance, loyalty to duty, diligence, hard work and modesty. Personal pursuit of happiness and individual interests must remain subordinate to these virtues. Some citizens - they call themselves anti-pedagogues - consider education to be superfluous in general, as a mere claim to power for the suppression of children; the children - they think - could very well raise themselves if you let them go and only offer them help. Many accuse the schools of having become pure teaching factories, and education that could shape personality is hardly taking place any more.

Above all, those who have to practice their upbringing are insecure: first and foremost, the parents, but also teachers and other professional educators. According to which standards should they orient themselves in their educational task, which educational goals should they adhere to? (1)

One could argue that such uncertainties about fundamental social values ​​such as educational goals are nothing unusual for a democratic society, because such a society is ultimately yours


Essentially pluralistic, that is, it lives from the fact that people not only have different political opinions, but also different views on the fundamental questions of human life, including educational goals. To put it simply: one can be an atheist, a socialist or a devout Christian with us. Perhaps - one might suspect - this discussion about educational goals only serves to narrow this pluralistic scope, i.e. to reintroduce and enforce authoritarian educational goals that are valid for all?

It is true that this plurality is constitutive for every democratic society, but it is questionable whether it is also a good principle for the upbringing of the individual child. For example, there is an important difference whether a child grows up in the cultural framework of a community - for example the labor movement or a church - and therefore receives its basic human and social orientations - mediated through the parents - and from this basis becomes productive deals with other positions and lifestyles, or whether the plurality, and that also means: the contradiction and ambiguity of norms, judgments and expectations confronts him in a disordered arbitrariness like a kind of warehouse, so that it hardly has a chance to really deal with it and to gain your own continuous position.

Plurality as a political principle is by no means also a productive educational principle per se, at least as long as it is not filled by social affiliations that are important for the individual and that can make up an important part of orientation and thus also of identity.

After 1945, for example, the two churches in particular, but also the traditions of the labor movement, had a lasting influence on the public recognition of educational goals. By the mid-1960s at the latest, the public and private importance of these educational powers quickly declined, and their educational goals lost approval. The change is particularly evident in the area of ​​sexual behavior. The norms traditionally valid here did not only apply to human sexual relationships, but also to fundamental principles of human coexistence in general. Liberalization of sexual behavior, for example, results in a change in the norms applicable to family life and thus also in a change in important educational goals.

However, where educational influences recede as just described, there is no blank. Rather, the behavior is shaped by other instances. We speak of upbringing when claims to the behavior of children and adolescents are planned by people to go out in an immediate "educational relationship". This is particularly the case in the family and at school. Ideally, these expectations are based on what is good and right for the child now and in the future. In addition, there are a number of influences on children that are neither controlled pedagogically according to plan nor primarily have the best interests of the child in mind, which rather


simply start from the respective social conditions, for example from the mass media, from consumer advertising or from groups of the same age. We don't call such influences education, but socialization. To the extent that educational norms and claims are pushed back, socialization influences take their place, which - as I said - are neither pedagogically planned, nor are they personally responsible, nor are there for the purpose of serving the well-being of the child. The two most important socialization effects of our social system are: individual, competitive striving for achievement with the goal of a professional career on the one hand and maximum consumption of goods and services on the other.

Now these two socialization principles are not new, they are children of the "economic miracle" after the Second World War. What is new, however, is that they rarely encounter a cultural alternative such as that represented by the norms and values ​​of the so-called "educational powers" - for example the churches - so that they have, as it were, radically established themselves. Many parents have also adopted them in their own upbringing concept. These two principles - individual professional striving for achievement in competition of all against all and maximum consumption as a reward - are evident in direct socialization tendencies. They are not only transported directly - for example through consumer advertising - but also indirectly through groups. With a certain exaggeration one can say that the personal responsibility, which is fundamental for every educational relationship, has been replaced by the irresponsible "others". Here are a few examples: In the upper level of the grammar school as in the modern comprehensive schools, the individual student has to expend considerable social energy in order to assert himself in constantly changing social groups. At schools and universities, all those involved are increasingly forced by the administration to plan and control their work collectively in bodies and committees. Parents find their educational goals less and less from their own insight and experience, but rather through reference to collective models of the mass media, which are particularly subject to fashionable wear and tear, or in self-help groups in which parenting problems are discussed. Not to forget the influences that emanate from groups of the same age and which a child or adolescent can hardly escape if one wants to belong. Such societies have taken over to a large extent what education provided earlier. Why is this problematic for the education of adolescents? First, those principles of socialization are only Effectsfor which no one is personally responsible, yes, which most people probably do not even notice. The people the young person confronts, for example the teachers, all too easily appear as agents and functionaries of socialization. The concept of upbringing, however, necessarily includes the category of personal responsibility, only if an educator presents himself in his personal version - whereby he should definitely emphasize general normative principles - the child can get involved with his claims and with them


deal with. Second, this tendency towards personal irresponsibility is supported by the socialization of the educators described above. Teachers, for example, secure themselves from the parents' representatives, mothers get their justifications from the mass media or from groups. The child, however, runs into emptiness, as it were, and has no solid ground under his feet. Upbringing becomes volatile in this way. Educational goals and strategies change in these socialization processes, depending on the changing fashions. For a child, however, consistency is important, what applies today and what it is based on today must also apply tomorrow, otherwise orientation is no longer possible. Thirdly, these principles contain no leitmotifs that stabilize personality. They suggest a throw-away attitude towards things and people. Needs seem unlimited, what one has - in things like in human relationships - is always less than what one could have as long as there is no authority that makes a selection and makes this selection personally meaningful and binding. This authority can be the respective inwardness, i.e. trust in one's own thoughts and feelings, or a generally accepted cultural norm, but the socialization principles mentioned do not provide such an authority; on the contrary, they oppose any limitation that is not those of the market is. On their own, they are hostile to upbringing because they do not have a stabilizing effect on personality, but on the contrary move people to constant change and dissatisfaction with their respective existence, for example according to the motto: What you have is not enough; what you are is not enough; what you can do is not enough. The cultural crisis, the consequence of which is the educational crisis, consists in the fact that the pedagogically relevant principles of our society can no longer be pedagogically "translated" into an educational concept that takes the whole person into account; the corresponding cultural norms and horizons are lacking for this. Professional achievement and competition, for example, is only an educational value if it is balanced with other values ​​such as solidarity or brotherhood. But that is not possible in the abstract; such values ​​must also be able to be lived and experienced in concrete social contexts. Another example: The consumption of goods and services is only justifiable from an educational point of view if it is embedded in a context of values ​​and meaning that cannot arise from consumption itself, but only from other cultural horizons. The insight, for example, that one must and cannot consume people and human relationships, that basic human needs such as love, recognition, security cannot be satisfied by goods and services, but only by human activities that are independent of them, must be ignored by consumer advertising. as can be observed daily. Quite a few children have learned to treat their parents as if they were their servants, and quite a few parents project their own wishes, hopes, and disappointments onto their children, for example driving them to school achievements that they are not up to. These are everyday examples of the consumption of human relationships


genes that could be multiplied. So the question arises where the principles for balancing values ​​could come from.

In addition, we have experienced rapid political and cultural change since 1945, which also led to a change in important educational goals. No generation that has grown up since then has been able to pass the standards by which it was brought up and socialized to the next without deep breaks. What was binding for those who grew up in the fifties was largely wiped off the table by the "cultural revolution" of the student movement; what was important for this generation for the upbringing of its own children has, in turn, become largely insignificant for them. In general, this development is described as progress, education has become more liberal and less restrained, and the needs and interests of children and young people have increasingly been taken into account. But one must also be clear about what this change means for the relationship of the generations living with one another today. Surely it is an important part of human identity that what one has considered good and right in one's own upbringing remains essentially valid afterwards. The feeling of having been brought up incorrectly in his youth for the expectations and demands that the adult faces, must lead to profound insecurity in questions of upbringing.

But even such educational goals, which still applied to the generations living today, are now gradually becoming obsolete as a result of technological and cultural change.

All generations living today, for example, have more or less been brought up to make work and professional careers the center of their lives, from which all other dimensions of life such as family and leisure get their meaning (2). Our whole life has been constructed according to this principle: In childhood and adolescence we grow up away from the world of work, go to school and are trained for a profession; as adults we step into the center of our life, into the profession from which we then quit again in old age. Our upbringing is also based on this course of life, namely that we accept work and profession as the center of our life and that we subordinate all other expressions and demands of life to the demands of our profession.

To the extent that economic growth is shrinking, affordable work has become scarce and the high structural unemployment may force a redistribution of work, i.e. a reduction in working hours - it is precisely to this extent that our lives can no longer simply be grouped around work. But what then becomes the social center of our life? So far, leisure time has essentially been a balance for work, leisure time as an end in itself or even as the center of our life - that is something we have not learned and which our upbringing is not designed for either. In any case, it is very likely that we too will


educate the current young generation according to principles that they will not be able to realize later in their life context. Even this prospect does little to put trust in the current upbringing.

Now the crisis of education just outlined leads in many cases to the hope that the state can help, for example by prescribing the necessary educational goals in schools. The school is generally used as a social correctional institution.If too many young men do not want to join the armed forces, if too many people perish in traffic, if there are too many political radicals: one always expects the school to take countermeasures through educational and teaching measures. Many citizens also hope that the school will establish and implement the necessary basic educational goals. In fact, such targets can also be found in school laws. For example, the Lower Saxony School Act states that the school should convey the values ​​on which the federal and state constitution are based, and the pupil should also learn "to act according to ethical principles and to recognize and respect religious and cultural values" , and his "to shape relationships with other people according to the principles of justice, solidarity and tolerance".

That is not a little if it can be realized. Essentially, the school can educate in two ways: On the one hand, through the subjects of the lesson, in that, for example, the fundamental values ​​of the Basic Law are made accessible to the pupils. However, the school can no longer plan to what extent this insight will also be educationally effective in that the pupil also incorporates it into his behavior. This essentially depends on whether and to what extent these values ​​actually apply in the students' lives. School cannot circumvent the cultural crisis, it cannot make what is controversial outside its walls undisputed in the classroom. Measured against the influences of the parental home, the peer group, the mass media and the leisure and consumption sectors, the educational influence of the school must remain small, although the pupils spend a considerable part of their time there. This restriction also applies to the other educational option, namely the social experiences that students can have in school. Can the pupil really experience in school how relationships with others are structured according to the "principles of justice, solidarity and tolerance"? Doesn't he learn exactly the opposite outside of school and also largely in school, namely to strive for his own advantage without consideration for others? When the grades - often with tenths behind the decimal point - decide whether someone gets a place at university, then there is little room for solidarity and brotherhood.

In summary it can be said that the current educational crisis reflects a profound cultural crisis, that it is its expression. This means that the uncertainty in questions of upbringing can only be eliminated when we have found convincing answers to important basic questions in our lives: What we want and can do with our life and


how do we want to do it? This question is currently attracting increasing public interest. All attempts to simply formulate educational goals or even to prescribe them to the students who do not find any resonance in the social context of life are of little use. On the contrary: upbringing in the classical sense, where parents and teachers tried to bring the child into any desired form, is hardly possible under our socio-cultural conditions; the authority of cultural institutions is lacking for this. Upbringing is now only possible as private action in families; public upbringing has largely assumed the character of irresponsible social associations. In this situation, education can only have a chance as an aid to self-education, that is, the educational goals must be found to a large extent by the children to be educated themselves. Strictly speaking, the term "educational goal" becomes unusable because it is primarily not about oneself For certain goals and against to decide others, but rather to find a subjectively satisfactory balance between different norms and demands and to make a selection between the different ways of shaping life that is subjectively convincing and corresponds to one's own possibilities. "Self-education" under our cultural conditions no longer takes place through the drafting of educational goals, which one then wants to correspond to as closely as possible, but rather by drafting and shaping one's own life plan step by step by participating in the environment and dealing with its contradicting expectations. But what could help for such a self-education mean?

First, we should pay more attention to the personal relationship in dealing with young people. The public discussion of education and the advice of the mass media are all too easy to mislead us into education technically to be seen, for example under the question: What do I have to do and how do I have to do it in order to achieve this or that with the child? However, this does not result in education, but manipulation, and young people in particular have a keen sense of this difference. What they need are people - parents and teachers - who get involved with them with personal commitment, which includes understanding as well as honest discussion. The "understanding" that is being propagated today is often seen in the light of the word as just a form of manipulation that shows more indifference than interest. However, the times are over when the older generations knew exactly what was good for the younger ones, so that they could derive a claim to superiority from it. What is needed is not superiority, but experience in the broadest sense of the word - including knowledge and ability - as well as, conversely, the ability to engage with the experiences of younger people and also to learn from them; because no one can dispose of the experience of another person - including a child - and it cannot be planned pedagogically. By taking the experience of the other seriously, i.e. what has become of his previous life in his own imagination, you also take him seriously as a person. Within the framework of such an exchange of experiences, the younger can educate and educate himself.


Second, direct experiences should not only be possible with people, but also with things and facts. This is especially true for school. It has destroyed the direct relationship, for example, to literary texts, historical sources, music and art through a jumble of learning objectives and other regulations. Here the manipulation can be grasped with hands. State guidelines have meanwhile assumed the size of Karl May novels for some subjects. What should come out of preoccupation with a thing is always prescribed by learning objectives. It could be that a thing gets a different meaning from the student's experience than the learning goal maker thought. Insofar as the school regards the children's experience only as a disruption of the planned lesson, it also reveals its most important educational option - even if it does not even reveal the attraction of the matter, but rather lets it drown in the hasty chatter of the group is sometimes passed off as "experiential teaching". In school, the pupils should have the opportunity to work out well-ordered ideas about the world with serenity and without external pressure to perform, in order to create a stabilizing center in the midst of cultural and normative ambiguity and contradictions.

The school would have the task of breaking through the communicative narrow-mindedness of everyday life - including that of the family - with the aim of making fundamental dimensions and structures of nature and culture accessible to the pupil's reflection, so that he can distance himself from his and his group's subjectivity able to win.

Thirdly, the immediacy of social coexistence should be used in an educational way. This applies primarily to the family. Fundamental social experiences can still be acquired here, as they correspond to the maxims of tolerance, solidarity and brotherhood, as long as the parents do not educate themselves cunningly (3), but also emphasize their needs and interests in addition to their willingness to love and care , and insofar as they also put their experience with their errors and weaknesses up for discussion. In this case, important social and normative foundations for self-education could arise that do not arise from educational sermons, but from direct coping with everyday life.

The educational crisis forces us to reflect in several ways: to reflect on how we will actually live in the future, which of the available options we want to choose, but also to reflect on the elementary principles and rules of human coexistence in everyday life. There


it turns out that the educational aspect is a part of living together, for example in the family, that results from it. Life in the family as a whole is not planned pedagogically, rather it consists of a series of activities that family members carry out individually or together, and which in and of themselves have nothing to do with planned upbringing. But What there happens and how it happens, determines the climate for educational activities, whether, for example, a more harmonious or a more conflictual, a more authoritarian-fearful or a more open-minded basic mood prevails. Either way, however, educational interventions do not serve that purpose planning of living together, but of his correction: they only take place when the child has something not correct makes. What it does "right" is not the result of educational will, but grows out of one's own initiative in the context of the climate of coexistence. Where parents, on the other hand, try to organize their coexistence primarily for the purpose of a systematic upbringing of their children, not only this upbringing but also coexistence itself is endangered. We can find examples of this in almost every neighborhood today. In doing so, the insight is lost that upbringing is a two-way process, that the child, in a certain way, also brings up its parents by his Bringing thoughts, feelings, and desires to bear and getting his parents to engage with them. Only when one becomes clear about such connections can one recognize how hostile school pedagogy is, which not only wants to include the thoughts of the pupils, but also their feelings and social behavior in their planning, so that all impulses emanating from the pupil , either fit into this planning or must be rejected as a disturbance.

As a result of our considerations, it can be said that a discussion about educational goals is of little use at the moment. We do not need any old or new educational goals, but rather conditions in the family and school so that education as a humanly binding exchange of experiences between the generations becomes possible again.



(1) Help is hardly to be expected from current educational science, because it only reflects the cultural crisis and has not insignificantly promoted the technocratic and socialization tendencies criticized in the following. See E. König / P. Zedler (Ed.): Educational research: positions, perspectives, problems, Paderborn - Munich 1982, especially the contributions of K Mollenhauer, H. v. Hentig and H. Giesecke.

(2) Cf. R. Dahrendorf: In the disappearance of the working society. Changes in the social construction of human life. In: Merkur H. 8/1980, pp. 749-760.

(3) The increasing psychologization of the pedagogical relationship has meanwhile led not only in pedagogical training but also in many families - especially the middle class - to a "clientelization" of the child, the "un-mediated" human relationships between the generations more or less difficult. An important feature of this tendency is that the How the relationship is in the foreground and becomes more and more meaningless, What one does with each other.


132. Thought aloud at the wrong time (1982)

(In: German General Sunday Gazette, No. 18, 2.5.1982)

In a conversation with representatives of the West German Rectors 'Conference, Otto Esser, the President of the German Employers' Associations, recently introduced "considerations for discussion", "also in the university system to introduce market-based control elements, in particular also cost-oriented tuition fees - with corresponding loans a more effective and shorter course of study, on the other hand the universities are given additional leeway in the quality competition. "

Now the motivation to study would certainly improve here and there if one had to pay something to attend a course. But on the whole, such a proposal could hardly solve any of the important problems in higher education; he would only meet and discourage the financially weak again.

First namely, a more effective, i.e. shorter, degree would in many cases only increase apparent unemployment. The university has long since become a kind of "custody institution" for the de facto unemployed, and it will probably have to get involved in this new "socio-educational" function even more than before.

Secondly "Cost orientation" can only mean that the student has to pay more for an expensive course (such as a natural science) than for a less expensive one (such as the humanities). But this would only make sense on the assumption that the later incomes show a similar difference, which one can hardly say. At present, such a "cost orientation" would mean that the anti-technical tendency to study, which is widespread in the younger generation, would still be honored.

But if you were to give unpopular but required training qualifications with a bonus, then that would not be a principle of the market, but of bureaucratic intervention.

Third Finally, it quickly turns out that "market-based control elements" tend to cause unemployment rather than eliminate it, at best they shift it from university graduates to secondary school leavers according to the motto: the ("training") lasts the dog.

Otto Esser makes his considerations at the wrong economic point in time. One could also "rationalize away" part of the teaching staff at universities by rewarding those students who cause the least costs, that is, who get by with the fewest courses; because the "schooling" and the abolition of independent studies caused by it do indeed cause superfluous costs. But even that would only increase academic unemployment.

What is more important today is for the university to distance itself from economic and labor market considerations and prognoses. She can no longer anticipate the future professional fate of the students, and the more she tries to be "professional", the more she arouses false hopes. Studying should at least again be understood more as a "cultural luxury" that one allows oneself as a young person, especially since experts believe that the "end of the working society" is in sight for the coming generations.


133. Did Hitler seduce the youth? (1982)

About the relationship between identity and violence

(In: deutsche jugend, H. 10/1982, pp. 457-467)

Preliminary remark: The following text is based on a radio manuscript that was broadcast under the title "Die Verführbarkeit der Jugend - Lehrbeispiel: Seizure of power by the Hitler Youth" from the third program of the NDR. The original text has been significantly shortened and revised.

Youth and Politics 1930-1933

"The turning away of the youth from the liberal parties, their gathering together under the most flat slogans, the stressed plebeianism in their multitudes, the desire to drill and the willingness for anyone who wants to command them are natural, youth-appropriate reactions to a threat to life and morality from the point of view of the spirit The hostility of youth to spirit is based on primitive revolutionary instincts.

A revolution has never started from the youth. The situation of our youth, however, if one takes their economic hardships in addition to what has been said here, their being abandoned to the emergency system prevailing today is such that it is material charged with misery, hatred, anger and noble indignation, ready for every revolution. A real revolutionary thought can also awaken revolutionary vigor in it at any moment "(1).

With these words Peter Suhrkamp finished an essay in 1932 entitled "Sons without Fathers and Teachers". In it he tries to describe the problems and needs of the young generation at the time. Six months later, on January 30, 1933, the "revolution" had arrived: Hitler had seized power. A large part of the younger generation had supported his movement partly actively and partly passively.

With the exception of the core of the youth organized in the SPD and its youth associations, the overwhelming majority of the youth had left the republic


turned away.In the September elections of 1930, which ushered in the end of the republic, young voters between the ages of 20 and 30 in particular helped the NSDAP gain 18.3 percent of the vote. Two years earlier, this party had won 2.6 percent of the vote. But in 1928 the turnout of new and young voters was also considerably lower. From 1930, the party fatigue among young voters gave way to increasing political commitment. However, it did not benefit the established democratic parties, but rather the radical parties KPD and NSDAP, which in 1930 won around two thirds of all young voters, with the vast majority turning to the NSDAP. How can this be explained?

At first glance, the answer is that the economic situation, for example high youth unemployment and the resulting uncertainty about the future, were the causes. Many young people would have hoped at the time that Hitler would give them work and bread, as he had promised. But this explanation is too simple, as oppressive as the material hardship with its psychological consequences has been; for it was no less in many industrialized countries without a comparable political movement having developed there (2). Rather, there must have been a "correspondence" between the "character" prevailing at the time, that is, the "socialization type", the younger generation and the Hitler movement. That means: What the National Socialists addressed in the young generation must have penetrated deeper structures of the personality and found a response there; a purely economic explanation would be too "reasonable".

In July 1932 there were 1.45 million unemployed under the age of 25. This not only meant material misery, but also had socio-psychological consequences.

"Through the emergency ordinance of July 5, 1931 ... all unemployed people under the age of 21 who were entitled to maintenance from family members were exempted from support. Crisis relief was dealt with in exactly the same way. One can say that unemployment made young workers an artificial one and experienced a terrible phase of youth, which brought her into an unprecedented relationship of dependency on the parents' generation and also depressed the standard of living of wage earners as a whole. In addition, these measures were designed to completely destroy domestic peace in many families "(3).

In addition, there were disappointed hopes for advancement. The Weimar Republic had deliberately opened access to grammar schools and universities. In Prussia, for example, only 1.9 percent of elementary school students went to higher school in 1910, compared to 17 percent in 1929.

"The disappointment of having to leave high school for financial reasons led to profound insults and existential despair, especially among talented young people. I have found some ... such young workers among functionaries of the communist youth organization, who, due to their origins, are class struggle and socialist were set, but only after the disappointment of their hopes for advancement did they become fanatical haters of the republic and put themselves fully and uncritically into the service of the party, where they could find an intellectually demanding and 'meaningful' task "(4).

However, those who had failed to graduate from school or university had little chance of finding a suitable job:

"The result was soon a relentless race for the last apprenticeship and university places, an onslaught that quickly turned into a kind in an atmosphere of unleashed emotions


The class struggle increased, whereby the unemployed faced the employed and the professionally challenged young person faced the young person excluded from professional probation "(5).

All in all, the Weimar state did little to help the young people; on the contrary: he saved primarily at their expense. There was practically no youth policy concept.

Successes of the HJ

But that was what the Hitler Youth had. It was the only youth organization at the time of the decline of the republic that also practical did something for the needs of young people, while the other youth associations either only made political demands or, like the "Bünde", discussed the problems without practical consequences.

"What drew both working-class youth and small and upper-class young people ... magically to the Hitler Youth were the social welfare intentions recognizable within the HJ leadership. Although some of the actions planned by the HJ only got stuck in modest beginnings, they received before Socio-economic background of the catastrophically spreading economic crisis since 1929 ... an exaggerated importance ... The HJ leadership ... worked out a detailed social program for young workers and apprentices, which was intended as the basis for a 'Reich Youth Law' to be created later ... The often repeated example of unemployed young workers, apprentices or smaller employees who were kept afloat economically by unselfish HJ subordinates, so that the HJ preceded the reputation of a charitable association like in some places the SA, failed to make an impression even among senior citizens not "(6).

That here Deeds attempted, made an impression in the face of the general impotence of the politicians. In addition, the National Socialists' ideology addressed a widespread "mood": the Weimar parliamentary system had run down; the party system only serves the egoism of individual groups; the republic is an event organized by the Jews to oppress the German people; the ideas of liberalism and civil liberties would only have led to the disintegration of the people.

In the face of this enemy image, National Socialism appeared to be the only possible savior. He promised "national community" instead of a party system; Fight against the Jews in the people and the state, a new, work-based social integration in which everyone can find their appropriate place again, instead of liberal freedoms that alienated the individual only in his or her popular social "community". The Nazi ideology was not a party program like others. It contained little information on what should actually happen after the seizure of power. It was a conglomerate of feelings and desires, which, however, could serve to win over as many people as possible to support one's own claim to power. Before 1933 there was a strong social revolutionary wing with anti-capitalist and partially socialist ideas. These were especially widespread in the SA and the Hitler Youth. That is why the Hitler Youth was able to give the impression that it was fighting for a social revolution, while Hitler had long since begun to switch off the social revolutionary impulses in his party.

On the other hand, important elements of Nazi ideology such as anti-parliamentary


rism and anti-liberalism as well as ideas about a future anti-democratic "national community" not only in the "Bündische Jugend", but also in the denominational youth associations - especially the Protestant ones - widespread (7). The Nazis hadn't invented any of this, they just picked it up and turned everything into political violence.

So there is no doubt that by 1932 a large part of the bourgeois youth was on the side of National Socialism. That was less evident in the membership figures of the Hitler Youth. In January 1933 it only had around 50,000 members. That was only 1 percent of the young people who were recorded by the youth associations grouped together in the "Reich Committee of German Youth Associations". But in the Reich Committee, the forerunner of today's Federal Youth Association, only those youth associations worthy of support were included, which were primarily concerned with educational and youth care tasks. This did not include the "military associations", which primarily pursued party-political goals. The defense association of the NSDAP was the SA. It had around 60,000 members in November 1930, around 291,000 in January 1932 and around 700,000 in January 1933. 59.1 percent of them were 19 to 24 years old. And it was the SA that primarily shaped the public image of the National Socialists. The Hitler Youth was subordinate to the SA until 1932, intended as its youth organization and auxiliary force. Every Hitler Youth had to leave the Hitler Youth at the age of 18 and join the SA.

The attractiveness of the SA - and later also the SS - for the 20 to 30 year-olds lay not least in the fact that they offered this age group a direct field of activity. The other youth associations had nothing comparable to offer. You could become a member of a party, but the established political apparatuses were only of interest to a few. It was characteristic that the attempts of the Young Socialists to integrate into the SPD as a young generation failed because of the resistance of the party. Your organization was dissolved in 1931.

In the political and social system of Weimar there was no public social position between work and private leisure time for the 20 to 30 year olds. The SA found this loophole. She offered tangible action instead of brooding problematizing, as well as a sense of security in a male bond.

The problem of identity

The turn from thinking to action, to action was in any case a characteristic moment of the "generation feeling" already mentioned in the younger generation at the time. This feeling was called "heroic skepticism" by contemporaries. This generation was shaped by the war and the needs of the post-war period, it was no longer youthful, it was more adjusted, emotionally cool and aloof without deep intellectual interests, focused on the practical and concrete, turned towards modern technology, the world of work, the mass media and the conventional social standards. At the leadership meeting of the Reich Committee of German Youth Associations in 1928, youth leaders and experts discussed the subject of "The spiritual formation of the youth of our time". Hermann Maass, who came from socialist youth work and was managing director of the Reich Committee, characterized the new generation feeling as follows:


"The existence and maintenance of life of this youth were threatened in the time of their childhood and maturity ... threatened, physically, mentally, emotionally. Securing life was an unknown or an early questioned term to them; 'disorder and early suffering' all the more familiar than in the time of becoming conscious Civil war, inflation, economic crises, unemployment, professional needs fell. What has so far formed and condensed into human traits of this new youth now acts like a reaction and self-help of nature: That instinctive inclination and ability to first secure and secure the external existence of life increase; that grasping of the closest, the turning away from the distance; that strong sense of distancing, which was tried out in childhood and early adolescence as a safeguard of the ego; that rejection of shocks and emotions that one cannot and cannot afford because they only increase the pressure under which one already lives (8).

The dominant feeling was the loneliness in the crowd: "We are a lonely sex, even where we are in the middle of the crowd. This does not contradict the fact that we willingly integrate ourselves into communities; that is only the outside: inside we are always all alone "(9). This is what it said in a book by Frank Matzke, which was highly regarded at the time, with the title "Youth confesses: This is how we are!"

This generation had particular problems finding their identity. The mentioned feeling of loneliness, of being dependent on oneself, had not only the already mentioned life-historical causes, but also social ones. This generation had to grow up in a society that offered little normative orientation. The political form and the values ​​to which this society should feel committed - the parliamentary system and the liberal freedoms - were not recognized by a large part of the adults. The youth grew up in a state that could be attacked in its substance by politically important groups and persons with impunity. For many, the opportunity to gain identity through identification with democratic principles was lost. The substitute objects recommended by the anti-democrats, such as people, nation and leaders, only had to increase the hostile distance to the values ​​of the republic.

But the normative disorientation also affected many young people directly and personally. The middle classes, especially the educated bourgeoisie, had lost their previous social position along with their material security. So they could hardly offer their offspring anything that was worth identifying with. The normative pluralism that was now permitted, based on the ideas of liberalism, made everything appear arbitrary, even in the private sphere: there was nothing to stick to or to grapple with.

This was less true of those groups that still lived in reasonably intact ideological ties: for organized youth workers, for example, and for Catholic youth. But here, too, traditions that were taken for granted were shaken. Even the reform pedagogy of the time, which replaced the old learning and cramming school and propagated a freer, more creative interaction between students and teachers, heightened the uncertainty instead of setting points of orientation. Peter Suhrkamp, ​​who himself was a committed reform pedagogy teacher, summarized his experiences as follows:

"The more applause I had, the greater my disaffection. I found that the enthusiasm of the students probably increased, that ... suggestions opened them up and everyone


Abilities peeled off in them; they got ideas, imagination, and courage, and even occasionally betrayed spirit. But when they were completely open, down to the delicate heart leaves, they no longer closed. They could only get more limp and more skinny. They failed when concentration was required ... They got bored easily. They were grueling restlessness. Her flame got thinner and thinner. Overall, the result was inability to live, inner pettiness, self-love and fear of life "(10).

Reform pedagogy offered young people the concept of a personal, autonomous lifestyle, which should be based on their own "inwardness", i.e. on trust in their own thoughts and feelings, and should enable them to make individually responsible decisions. But what before the First World War - as such concepts emerged within the framework of Wilhelmine culture - had a liberating effect under historically overdue traditions, now often had to be experienced as an intensification of disorientation, especially as the "basic relationships", the family and the fundamental ideological ties were in question.

The alternative to this concept is submission to an idea or leadership that relieves the individual of the burden of value and life decisions.

Willingness to use violence without goals

From this point of view, the hatred of the Weimar system and its liberal impositions can be understood. It required constant self-demands to work out one's own identity, which many were not up to. The youthful radicalism that arose in this way was combined with the already mentioned tendency to act at the expense of thought to the violent scenario that characterized the political disputes in the last years of the republic. It was basically a contentless and aimless readiness for violence. It did not serve the purpose of achieving anything, it had an enemy - the republic with everything it embodied - but no concrete perspective to guide action. It was - as paradoxical as that may sound - deeply apolitical. Some contemporary observers also recognized this. The educator Erich Less wrote:

"The economic situation with its insecurity of existence, the hopelessness of most career paths, the questionable social position, all of this leads to a state of affairs in the youth, the expression of which is radical activity. It would therefore be completely wrong to leave out the directions of will given in radicalisms to take anything other than the moving tendencies of radical youth and to tie in with them. They are merely symptoms of our situation. The real direction of will of this youth goes in a completely different direction, towards self-assertion in the struggle for existence and to share in the goods of life, and because access to them is blocked, one seeks and finds satisfaction in radical ideology and activity. That is why radicalism as a mass movement has never meant so little spiritually as it does today, as much as it can spoil for the moment "(11).

Hermann Schaff, a well-known leader of the youth movement at the time, also saw the lack of meaning in the radicalism:

"Action has to be taken, and it is basically not so important which power group you actually join ... The connection takes place in such a way that you are unconditionally committed to the idea of ​​the movement and the organization that supports it ... Instead of the conversation


with the opponent kicks brass knuckles and knives.That awareness of solidarity with others in a final basic attitude across the differences of direction, as it was in the beginnings of the youth movement, is almost completely destroyed "(12).

The willingness to use violence and the associated militarization of youth also affected other youth associations or they tried to take up such impulses for themselves (13).

"Marching, uniformly dressed groups of boys in closed, disciplined ranks. They keep step, the flag at their head, which is once the red flag of the coming socialist state, or the swastika flag as a symbol of the coming Third Reich; at other times the cross Catholic or Protestant Youth or the black flag of resistance against the Versailles violent peace. Standing and marching in rows is all an expression of their strongest attitude towards life, means an elementary experience for everyone, has an intoxication on everyone "(14). Without a doubt, the desire of many members of this generation for identity through integration into some form of community became evident here. This generation was just waiting for someone to accept their request, which also contained an offer. It was the National Socialists who picked up these young people from where they were, and they didn't have to be asked first. On the contrary: since 1930 their agitation has concentrated on the younger generation. The Nazis had at least understood the material, social, and psychological problems of youth to the extent that they knew how to use them for agitation. The young people were offered a sense of importance and a new sense of self. "The NSDAP is the party of the youth", formulated Baldur von Schirach.

The Nazis weren't the first to flatter the youth at the time. During the Weimar period there was a real youth cult; every adult association and every political party wanted to secure as many young people as possible as offspring. Some expected her to overcome party rule in favor of a national community; the others hoped that the youth would make socialism a reality. In between there was an abundance of organizations, from the churches to the life reform movements, all of which relied on the youth to the extent that they believed themselves at the end of their latitude. But everything was just a "cult"; There was no help to offer for the real problems of the young people. "The youth as a symbol is celebrated, the youth as an age is suppressed" (15).

At the end of the republic the feeling was widespread that the "old" were at the end of their wisdom and that only the young could still be able to bring everyone a better future. And the National Socialist movement offered itself as an executor with no discernible alternative. This is how Günter Gründel saw it in his book "The Mission of the Younger Generation", which was widely acclaimed at the time:

"The ancients believe today that they are at the end, we leave them their pessimism, because for them it is right. But we are at a new beginning: At the beginning of the German revolution, on the morning of the fourth occidental day of creation. The ancients cannot believe more because they are at the end. But we believe because we are at the beginning. At every beginning there is a great belief. And from it - and only from it! - grows the will that gives birth to action ... We believe to our mission. We are obsessed with our calling. That means: We feel ourselves as an instrument of a higher will "(16).


Such ideas of the mission of a young generation, which should shape the new national community beyond all parties and all particular interests, seemed to be realizable after the seizure of power. Baldur von Schirach, the "Reich Youth Leader" appointed by Hitler, took these ideas at their word, called for the dissolution of all other youth associations and the recognition of the HJ as the only unified national youth organization (17). After one got involved with the ideology of National Socialism or even helped to create it, the desire to keep their own youth organizations could only appear as backward, as a club dairy and a refusal to participate in the new national community.

In view of the developments described here, it is questionable whether the relationship between the Hitler movement and the younger generation can be described as one of seducers and seduced. Basically, Hitler made no false promises to the youth; the great majority of them followed him voluntarily, yes, one could almost say: she practically forced herself on him - out of weakness and insecurity:

"All one-sided radicalism is basically only intellectual Self-defense of people who feel powerless over the colorful multitude of things and yet want to create something whole ... Only those who have a reason to feel insecure inside will become rabid; Fanatically intolerant only those whom the self-defense of their own primitiveness forces to blatant simplifications; Nationalist only those who suffer from the internal discrepancy between the size of their wide-ranging goals and the total inadequacy of their means and abilities are tense. In short: Fanatic radicalism is the intellectual self-defense of the inadequate "(18).

Identity and Violence Today

Does this interpretation also apply to current forms of youth radicalism, to neo-Nazism, for example, or to violent demonstrators? Are they also the "inadequacies", whose violent radicalism only expresses powerlessness in the face of the gap between what you want and what you can?

Certain parallels between then and now cannot be overlooked: social and normative disorientation; deeply disturbed "basic relationships"; Afraid of the future; Anger against the apparatus of the state, the parties and the workers' organizations; Longing for simple, manageable life contexts and affects against social complexity. Lessons from the liaison between the younger generation and the Hitler movement at the time can perhaps be as follows:

Liberal democratic societies with their pluralistic value competition offer problematic prerequisites for young people's socialization and identity formation. In societies with a strong tradition, identity essentially takes place through identification with the social origin and with the perspectives that can be derived from this origin. In liberal societies, on the other hand, the adolescent must instead make a number of important decisions personally, such as with whom and with what to what extent to identify. The yardstick for this is no longer in the social response from outside ("You are one


von uns "), but in the respective subjective inwardness. Individual responsibility is required with a relatively large scope for freedom of decision-making. However, since this type of identity finding is very difficult and requires a high degree of insight and empathy, many young people are overwhelmed therefore tend to seek that old, simple form of identity through - possibly total - identification with a group, which is adhered to with fanaticism, because any relativization would endanger the unstable self-confidence.

The problem is reduced or can be compensated for if society offers attractive fields of activity that, for example, open up professional advancement and thus also social affiliation. If, however, as at the end of the Weimar Republic, there are millions of unemployed people and bleak prospects for the future, then the search for identity becomes radical. The radicalization of the identity problem can then lead to political radicalism. Hatred and anger arise against the political system, which expects people to be constantly overwhelmed without offering suitable compensation. But this hatred can only be destructive without productive political goals and insightful political consciousness. The radicalism is, as it were, devoid of content and precisely for that reason politically exploitable. In addition, it is difficult to access rational arguments.

Presumably we are dealing with the youth revolt today, at least in part, with this type of radicalism, but also with the fact that compensation is being sought for unstable identity. If, for example, squatters refuse to move into a classic family apartment, then you should take it seriously because a house full of like-minded people may represent or enable such compensation. And if young people join neo-Nazi organizations because they find their version of identity through total identification with their ideologies and through security and recognition in the group, then the problem is not solved by banning such organizations.

In democratic societies it is not in the hands of politics to organize society in such a way that optimal conditions for socialization and identity formation arise - different ones for different needs. In order to maintain inner peace, it is therefore important that there are reasonably satisfactory compensation options for unstable identity. But politics can hardly plan this; they are usually invented by those affected. However, politicians can tolerate this or even encourage it. This is always politically risky, but it would be much more risky to let hate and anger rest as politically exploitable capital of violence without the possibility of compensation, as happened before 1933.

Under the influence of certain social-scientific theories, it has also become common in youth policy, according to the causes to research youth problems in the expectation that by eliminating them through social planning, the problems can also be solved. That is illusionary and politically naive. The conflicts between state organs and youth rebellion show the limits of what is feasible in this way: At most, one can plan certain external conditions, but not successful compensations (otherwise, for example, welfare education would have to be a complete success).

A comparison of the young generation at that time with the current one reveals - in addition to similar problems - also considerable differences. At that time, for example, wanted to


the boys adapt to the achievement principle; they wanted to learn, work and get a job. But they could not achieve their desire for social inclusion through diligence and work. As paradoxical as it may sound, they became radical because they were unable to adapt to the usual.

Today, on the other hand, it seems rather that the sense of this type of integration through work and social advancement has become questionable. Certainly there is still youth unemployment today, which in many cases is experienced as a burden. On the other hand, however, it is becoming increasingly unclear whether the exertion of training and work and the associated prospects for life are still worthwhile. The "alternative scene" shows that the meaning of work as the center of life and thus also of identity is disappearing.

Behind this are important social changes, the consequences of which cannot yet be foreseen. The payable Work is becoming scarcer - a development that is still largely masked by socio-political countermeasures. On the other hand, our lives have so far been shaped by the idea that professional work is the center of our existence. Work has regulated all other dimensions of our life, for example family, leisure and consumption, socially and normatively. If work loses its central position in our life, then initially there is no point.

"For a long time work, as the radiating force of life, held together the remaining aspects of its social construction ... God was not yet dead, and the family was still catching the lost individual. Then, as work shrank, the various components fell away apart - and a shattered emptiness became visible, which no longer seemed suitable to fill anything familiar "(19).

If that is the case, then the young generation of today faces completely different problems than those of 1933. Although they too must find their identity in an open, pluralistic society, for many the traditional view of the value of professional work is neither the focus nor the focus Can be compensation.

It is difficult to predict whether this situation, which is very difficult for the youth because it is new, will result in a new potential for political seducibility or - more precisely - a new offer to radical politicians.



(1) Peter Suhrkamp: Sons without fathers and teachers. in: Neue Rundschau 1932, p. 681 ff., here: p. 696.

(2) See H. J. Kocka: Causes of National Socialism. In: Supplement to the weekly newspaper Das Parlament No. 25/1980, p. 3ff.

(3) I. Götz von Olenhusen: The Crisis of the Young Generation and the Rise of National Socialism. In: Yearbook of the Archives of the German Youth Movement, vol. 12/1980, p. 53 ff., Here: p. 62f.

(4) Ibid. P. 65.

(5) H. Küppers: Weimar School Policy in the Economic and State Crisis of the Republic. In: Vierteljahresheft für Zeitgeschichte, H. 1/1980, p. 33.

(6) M. H. Kater: Bündische Jugendbewegung and Hitlerjugend in Germany from 1926 to 1939, in: Archive for Social History 1977, p. 127ff., Here: p. 146ff.

(7) See H. Giesecke: From the Wandervogel to the Hitler Youth. Munich 1981, p. 169ff.

(8) H. Maass: Spiritual shaping of the youth of our time. Berlin 1931, p. 11f.

(9) Quoted in Maass, loc. Cit., P. 11.

(10) P. Suhrkamp, ​​loc. Cit., P. 691.

(11) E. Less: The youth and the vital forces of the present. In: H. Maass, op. Cit.,
P. 41ff., Here: p. 44f.

(12) Hermann Creates: Youth in the Present. In: Die Jugendpflege, H. 1/1932, S. 4ff., Here: S. 7.

(13) See H. Giesecke, op. Cit., P. 175.

(14) J. Fischer: Developments and changes in the youth associations in 1931. In: Das Junge Deutschland, H. 2/1932, S. 38ff., Here: S. 39f.

(15) L. Dingräve: Where does the young generation stand? Jena 1931, p. 5.

(16) E. G. Gründel: The mission of the young generation. Munich 1932, p. 441.

(17) On the process of monopolizing the Hitler Youth, see H. Giesecke, op. Cit., Pp. 184ff.

(18) E. G. Gründel, loc. Cit., P. 297.

(19) R. Dahrendorf: In the disappearance of the working society. In: Merkur, H. 8/1980, p. 749ff., Here: p. 756.


134. Changes in the Relationship between Generations (1983)

(In: Neue Sammlung, H. 5/1983, S. 450-463)

(This text is the revised version of a lecture that I gave as part of the lecture series "Youth - Whose Problem?", Which was offered in the 1982/83 winter semester by the Faculty of Education at the University of Göttingen.)

In 1914 the pedagogue Herman Nohl wrote an essay entitled "The Relationship of Generations in Pedagogy" (1). The reason for this was the youth movement (Wandervogel and Freideutsche Jugend) that had arisen around the turn of the century and claimed that youth could organize and educate themselves. Its radical representatives, first and foremost Gustav Wyneken, even demanded that the adults be excluded from the educational process as far as possible, so that the self-education of the youth could have its way as uninfluenced as possible; for the elderly have become incapable of education because they no longer see ideal goals in life for themselves, but instead lead a life frozen in conventions and characterized by materialistic interests. An improvement in social life can only be expected from a young generation who, far from these conventions and interests, develop their natural dispositions with "pure" motives and are able to advance to the highest human ideals and spiritual values.

Nohl saw this tendency towards the emancipation of young people both positive and critical at the same time. For him, this claim was only the final consequence of a development that began with the Enlightenment and which gradually led to the autonomy and self-determination of the individual. All future pedagogy will have to respect the individual rights of children and young people and include them in their planning.

On the other hand, this development has changed the pedagogical significance of the relationship between the old and the young generation, but not abolished it, as the radical representatives of youth culture believed. The beauty of youth is based on their naturalness, on their naivety. That intellectuality, "the eternal debating, criticizing and persuading" (p. 118), as the representatives of youth culture demanded and practiced, actually shows an "youthful" because it is abstract reflexivity. The youth also need a "healthy dullness of inner growth", a "wealth of concrete and undiscussed life". It is a mistake to assume that young people, detached from their relationships with other generations, can achieve the moral autonomy and intellectual freedom that the representatives of youth culture had in mind. On the contrary


for this it is necessary to dare to break with the beautiful youth and to come to terms with the intellectual claims represented by the elders; for the spiritual ideas could never become significant in their abstractness, but "only through the shape of the personalities in which (the youth) experience them" (p.120), i.e. only through personally binding mediation. Despite the proper rights of the child and adolescent, a relationship between young and old remains necessary, on the one hand through authority, on the other hand through "obedience, that is (through) the free acceptance of the adult's will into one's own will and (through) inner subordination up to the moment of Maturity and independence "(p. 119). Only in direct, personal dealings with the older generation, by no means limited to their peers, can young people gain important experiences, acquire a morality and experience fundamental feelings such as "awe and respect, piety and gratitude".

So Nohl saw in the intergenerational relationship, more precisely in its gradient: ripe - immature; independent - dependent the indispensable foundation of upbringing and education in general. Should this relationship no longer exist, or should it even be reversed, then the concept of education would have to lose its meaning and its object.

Since many voices are currently calling for a new "courage to educate" or at least complain about the lack of educational impulses, for example in school, and since, on the other hand, the "conversation with the younger generation" is often sought at a loss, the question arises as to whether the relationship has been since 1914 of generations has changed so much that we have to reinterpret it pedagogically. Is what education once meant historically out of date?

Following on from Nohl's mentioned thoughts, I would now like to make a few reflections on the change in the intergenerational relationship. Three tendencies come into focus that are closely related to one another:

- the politicization of the intergenerational relationship,

- its functionalization,

- the separation of generations.

I start with the tendency towards politicization.

Nohl's thesis that youth could not be culturally productive in a serious sense and certainly not take their upbringing completely into their own hands seems to be confirmed by the fact that the "youth culture" of that time was formulated not by young people but by adults and was organized. The famous festival of the youth movement on the Hoher Meissner in 1913 was not least a gathering of adults who wanted to win the youth over to their goals with their partly ethnic-nationalistic, partly life-reforming ideas. The youth movement, which wanted to open up a self-determined free space for free time, called on a large number of men who - as Nohl demanded - expected voluntary obedience in a personally binding relationship for their will and their authority. This tendency intensified during the Weimar period, for example within the framework of the so-called "Bündische Jugend", but also within the framework of an all-encompassing political wooing of the youth, the


as is well known, its climax came in the supposedly "young" party of the National Socialists (2). To the extent that young people can evade traditional educational powers such as family, school and church, they become a market for young adults and their organizations. In a newly emerging leisure space, it will be available for all possible social expectations and promises, for contradicting norms and values ​​as well as for different professional and ideological careers. Yes, even more - and that's just the downside: it becomes a reason for legitimation or even a pretext for the ambitions of adults. Most of what is being written about the youth crisis today, for example, is of this type: you want to wipe out your political opponent or attack the state administration or upgrade an educational profession - which can all be very sensible - and that's where you come the youth problems just right. One can easily recognize this type of literature by the fact that it either flatters young people or defines them as the helpless victim of social conditions without entering into a serious confrontation with them.

The professional educators play a particularly problematic role here. We educators live - in the material and ideal sense - from the fact that children, young people and z. For example, students also have problems for which we are technically competent, and where they do not have any problems on their own, we define which ones. For example, we make study regulations so complicated that we force the need for advice, which can then be reflected in capacity calculations. One can easily write the history of youth in this century as a history of their political and educational exploitation. If you - like today - discuss the specific problems of young people as a sign of a general "cultural crisis", then you are not discussing unemployment and the lack of housing, but rather what other people or certain professions can make of them for themselves. The young people themselves do not want to and cannot produce theories critical of culture, they just want to live in a certain way.

In this respect, the widespread distrust of the young towards the older generations, especially when they appear as representatives of public organizations and institutions, is by no means unjustified. The failed attempts to hold televised discussions with young squatters are just one particularly visible sign of this. The fundamental mistrust that emerged here, against every adult who represents something, so to speak, has a background that has to be taken very seriously. It is anchored in the actual relationship between the generations under our social conditions.

Politicization creates unmistakable framework conditions for every direct relationship between the generations. It still allows for binding and personally satisfying relationships, but no longer naive; because the personal


Political categories that oppose a binding nature such as mistrust, control, propaganda, tactics, etc. must first be overridden.

The practice of scrutiny when recruiting into the public service, from which a large number of posts now live, which ultimately also have to show "successes", is a single political vote of no confidence in the younger generation; socio-political grants z. B. at youth centers or alternative projects are undoubtedly also an instrument of social and political control; By discriminating against young minorities, to whom the political opponent is assigned as a "seducer", openly propaganda for the goals of one's own party or government is carried out. In this respect, a teacher is naive who believes that his friendly behavior must be responded to accordingly by the students. Even more naive, however, are those politicians who seek dialogue with the younger generation in front of the television screen because their function defines them as a political one To have a conversation and not a personally binding one that can only be disturbed by the public. In truth, the politician on television does not speak to his partners at all, but with a view to a calculated public reaction, and without this public response he can hardly get involved in such conversations because his time cannot be increased and he it - from his Private life aside - has to concentrate rather stingily on his political work. This is not a bad will, but a structural imperative. Failure to understand this is, in turn, the limitations of the younger generation, who set irredeemable expectations in the wrong social place.

This refers to a second change in the relationship between generations, which I consider his Functionalization want to denote. In addition to parents and family friends, every adult today faces young people as a functionary, i.e. as someone who comes with a mission and with a purpose. In professional life this is clear anyway, but in the leisure sector this also applies, whether it is a paid leisure educator or a disco owner or a representative of a youth organization. And even many parents treat their children like clients according to the pedagogical wisdom spread through the mass media, as if they did not want to live with them, but wanted to treat them. Nohl's idea that ideas and cultural values ​​should be brought closer to the young through dealing with adults, i.e. with mature personalities, is no longer even an official model for schools today. In teacher training, too, there is hardly any mention of the "personality" of the teacher, that is, of that unmistakable and special version with which someone merges his personality structure with his professional tasks. We are talking about "lesson planning" and "teacher behavior", that is, communicative and manipulative techniques. What the teacher teaches need not interest him at all. This is also logical, insofar as the teacher, at least since the introduction of curriculum thinking, is no longer supposed to represent any ideas and cultural objectifications. It is no longer about an abundance of ideas, thoughts and fantasies, but about instructions for action and behavior in standardized life situations.


Another example: Many social pedagogues who work in a youth center, for example, complain that they have good relationships with young people, but that their pedagogical efforts constantly fail. So instead of enjoying these good relationships and getting involved with what they really are, can and think, they are constantly plagued by a guilty conscience, because after all they would be paid for the educational work. Far from it is the thought that they are paid by society, that they simply have time for young people, that they are available for discussion and help and that they can do what they enjoy themselves. The continuous pedagogy of the generation relationship is an important and particularly problematic part of its functionalization, because it alienates the generations from one another in a particularly sustainable way.

Criticism of "pedagogy" is not meant here as "anti-pedagogical". On the contrary, as A. Flitner (3) has shown, for example, the so-called "anti-pedagogy" functionalizes the pedagogical relationship because it wants to make the relationship between generations - in an analogous or actual sense - a mere legal relationship. The legalization of pedagogical relationships, like their therapeutic approach, is to a large extent responsible in our pedagogical institutions for the functionalization of the intergenerational relationship and is its most visible expression; because here the comprehensive pedagogical responsibility, which is conventionally constitutive for the concept of education, is reduced to a legal or (pseudo-) medical "professional responsibility". As necessary - because all those involved protect against each other - legal relationship regulations in educational institutions, when they become overpowering, they make the educational encounter inauthentic - both in the human sense and with regard to the matter. Legalization turns the educational relationship into a regulatory one. "Pedagogy" as the guiding principle of professional-pedagogical action is characterized by this lack of authenticity: by the lack of interest in the dignity of the cultural objects (the "substances") as well as by the personal irresponsibility for the individual educational path of the child and young person. So "pedagogy" is not a part of upbringing, but just one of many factors of socialization.

The mass media have assumed a similar and reinforcing role. When Nohl spoke of the irreplaceable educational importance of meeting adult personalities, he was not yet familiar with television. With television and other instruments of mass communication it has become conceivable what Nohl thought was impossible: namely that a young generation with a minimum of personal relationships can grow up with the older generation, and yet be so culturally controlled that they are not brought up as ,


but can still be viewed as socialized. Obviously, the mass media have to a large extent taken over the function of the cultural and moral tradition, which Nohl still regarded as a constitutive element of the immediate intergenerational relationship. Yes, the mass media and, above all, television have largely eliminated the difference between the generations, are spreading a culture of non-generation, driving away the secrets that lay over the thinking and behavior of adults from the perspective of children - for example sexuality - and thus also the Curiosity about it, which was an essential motive for wanting to grow up. As was recently read in "Spiegel" (4), an American media scientist predicted that in the long run due to the influence of television in particular, the phase of childhood, which is an invention of modernity anyway, will disappear again would restore medieval conditions to this point.

There is no doubt that the relationship between the generations has become less meaningful, which can be interpreted pedagogically as a change from education to socialization, i.e. as a change from personally responsible educational influence to anonymous cultural control. There is one expressed in it Separation of the generations. In school and college, and especially in their free time, the boys keep to themselves. Many leave their parents' home as early as possible in order to find their own apartment - often together with other people of the same age. Contacts to the world of life and imagination of other generations are made through the mass media or through functionalized representatives such as teachers, university lecturers or social workers. Young people are banished into a ghetto of their peers, as are retirees, who, especially when they live in old people's homes, often complain about the lack of relationships with other generations.

And even in so-called intact families, where everyone feels more or less at ease with one another, the children and especially the young people spend most of their free time with their peers and thus significantly reduce the content and scope of the personal educational influence. On the other hand, if the parents try to spend as much free time as possible with the older children and young people for educational reasons, this usually has a convulsive effect, because it is deliberately staged and must therefore easily appear implausible.

Some of the results of the latest Shell study "Jugend '81" (5) are worth considering in this context.