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Foundation of the Advanced School of the German Reich

Advanced School for Reich Studies
Bundesarchiv Berlin
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tags: bureaucracy education

type: Report

Although Adolf Hitler was the undisputed leader of the Nazi Party, there were constant rivalries and conflicts within the regime's leadership.1 Disagreements among officials and various administrative offices often affected Nazi higher education policy. Alfred Rosenberg was the upper-level party official who played the most active role in reforming higher education. Rosenberg gained control over the Reich Surveillance Office in 1934, and he often clashed with the Ministry of Education in his attempts to expand his influence into universities.

The featured source documents a portion of Rosenberg's most ambitious plan—the creation of a research institute known as the Advanced School of the Nazi Party. This decree from Hitler, issued in January 1940, declared the school the "central site for National Socialist research, teaching and education." The attached budget describes which academic subjects were of the greatest importance for the training academy, focusing on antisemitism, Germanic studies, folklore, ancient history, and the natural sciences. Rosenberg's original plan called for the establishment of ten research institutions across Germany, but due to funding shortages during the war, only the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question officially opened.2 

Establishing the institute enabled Rosenberg to reform the German university system in the interests of Nazi ideology. By establishing independent institutions,3 Rosenberg and other ambitious politicians could generate loyalty among scholars and exercise some control over their research and teaching. Such research institutes produced some of the most poorly grounded scholarship of the period, often conducted to suit the specific interests of the leaders overseeing the institutions.4

Ian Kershaw, "'Working Towards the Führer': Reflections on the Nature of Nazi Dictatorship." Central European History, vol. 2, no. 2 (1993): 103–118.

The Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question helped to catalog plundered goods, including the entire libraries of Jewish cultural organizations. On the research of the institute see Alan E. Steinweis, Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). Rosenberg also used his position as a curator of "cultural heritage" and as head of the Reich Ministry of Occupied Territories to plunder art, books, musical instruments and other objects of cultural value as Germany continued its conquest of Europe. See Mark Glickman, Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016).

Rosenberg's efforts with the Advanced School were mirrored by SS leader Heinrich Himmler, who established a research institute known as the Racial Heritage Research Foundation.

Himmler's Racial Heritage Research Foundation pursued research into a theory called glacial cosmology, which sought to offer an alternative theory for the origins and laws of the galaxy in contrast to Albert Einstein's supposedly "Jewish" theory of relativity. 

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For the Information of the Party and State Offices.

The "Hohe Schule" [Advanced School] is one day to become the central location of National Socialist research, doctrine, and education. Its building will take place after the war. However, to encourage the preparatory work that has been begun, I decree that Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg shall continue this preparatory work—particularly in the area of research and creation of the library. The offices of the Party and the State are mandated to render him every support and assistance in this work.

Adolf Hitler [Signature]

Berlin, January 29, 1940

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Bundesarchiv Berlin
Source Number NS 15/335
Date Created
Berlin, Germany
Document Type Report
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