Who exactly acts in the past and in history? Is it solely the rulers or is Bert Brecht’s literary critique in his poem “Questions from a worker who reads” as necessary today as it was in 1935? It seems that in the classroom a reductive and a balanced approach stand clearly opposed.
Hitler as a pars pro toto
In an Austrian highschool textbook, we can read:
“Adolf Hitler became Chancellor and President of the Reich shortly thereafter. Immediately after seizing power, Hitler began eliminating all democratic institutions. […] Hitler gradually rescinded the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. The major powers let him do as he pleased; it was the invasion of Poland in September 1939 that led to the outbreak of the Second World War. After several successful ‘blitzkriegs’, in 1942, Hitler was at the height of his power.”
This textbook presents Adolf Hitler as a f…