June 28, 2012

Half of German teenagers unable to distinguish between democracy and dictatorship, study shows

About half of young Germans are unsure whether the Nazi state was a dictatorship – and even more are not sure whether the socialist East German regime was one, a new study shows.

The widespread ignorance is described in a study called, “Late Victory of the Dictatorships?” conducted by researchers at Berlin’s Free University.

“This is shocking,” said study author Klaus Schroeder. More than 7,500 school pupils aged around 15 were asked how they viewed the various governments that have ruled Germany.

Only around half were definite that the Nazi government was a dictatorship. Just over a third were certain that the former East German government was also a dictatorship.

And about half said the former West German government was a democracy, while around 60 percent were sure that the current united German government was democratic.

“The low estimation of historical knowledge is clearly having an effect.”

The students most able to tell the difference between dictatorship and democracy were in the former eastern states of Thuringia and Saxony Anhalt, while those with the least idea were from the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.


  1. This is not much of a surprise, given what the so-called democracy does in the country.

    The people don't want to support Bush's illegal wars. The government supports Bush's illegal wars.

    The people don't want to give billions of Euros to bail out banker criminals. The government does just that.

    The people don't want the total surveillance state. The government is building it.

    The people want to have a say in what happens. The government turns over more and more control to the antidemocratic unelected EU commission.

    So if this is the definition of democracy, how is dictatorship different?
    Is the difference that in a "democracy", there's elections (even if you can only pick between 2 parties with nearly identical agendas)?
    East Germany had elections... How is it different?

    Those teenagers have never even seen a proper democracy, but they keep being told they live in one. It's not a surprise they can't tell it apart from a dictatorship.

  2. All American teenagers are unable to distinguish between democracy and dictatorship.

  3. Even the most highly educated (re. indoctrinated) spokespersons cannot distinguish between the choices offered. A facist/corporate state was not among the choices. So much for BS polls, and the intentional dumbing down of populations. Rob

  4. if you tell the goverment what you want that is a republic when your goverment tells you what to do thats democrocy now whats the differance between dicktatership or democrocy? i beleive they allow you to think your vote matters but they pick the option

  5. And these are the smarter kids in the West. No wonder Poles object to Obama's inaccurate phrase, "Polish death camps."