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On the Need to Incorporate an Action Component in History Didactics

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In his highly acclaimed speech, Education after Auschwitz, that was broadcast on public radio in 1966, influential German educator and philosopher Theodor Adorno declared as the pedagogic imperative goal of all education that an event as horrific as the Holocaust must be prevented from recurring by all means: ‘Die Forderung, dass Auschwitz nicht noch einmal sei, ist die allererste an Erziehung. Sie geht so sehr jeglicher anderen voraus, dass ich weder glaube, sie begründen zu müssen noch zu sollen […]. Jede Debatte über Erziehungsideale ist nichtig und gleichgültig diesem einen gegenüber, dass Auschwitz nicht sich wiederhole’ (Adorno, 1970, 92).1


  • Action Component
  • German Democratic Republic
  • French Revolution
  • National Socialist State
  • Historical Learning

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  1. Rummel has undertaken several studies that highlight the extent of death by government. Another of his works I recommend for further research is, Rudolph J. Rummel (1997) Power Kills: Democracy as a Method of Nonviolence (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers).

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  2. The writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau greatly influenced the Jacobin Club during the revolution in France. See Leo Damrosch (2007) Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

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  3. François-Noël Babeuf has been considered a proto-communist because of his engagement as a political agitator during the French revolutionary period. For an in-depth examination, see R. B. Rose (1978) Gracchus Babeuf: The First Revolutionary Communist (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press).

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  4. David Phillips (ed.) (2000) Education in Germany since Unification, Oxford Studies in Comparative Education (Oxford: Symposium Books). Also see Rosalind Pritchard (1999b) in regard to education restructuring.

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© 2016 Marc T. Voss

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Voss, M.T. (2016). On the Need to Incorporate an Action Component in History Didactics. In: Regimes of Twentieth-Century Germany. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-137-59803-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-59804-2

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