Saturday, April 25, 2009

Education and Politics

As I was doing some reading this morning, I came across the following math problem -

The iniquitous Treaty of Versailles imposed by the French and English enabled international plutocracy to steal Germany's colonies. France herself acquired part of Togoland. If German Togoland, temporarily under the administration of the French imperialists, covers fifty-six million square kilometers and contains a population of eight hundred thousand people, estimate the average living space per inhabitant.

For the curious, this math problem comes from a 1930's German textbook mentioned in a book entitled "The Black March" by Peter Neumann. The book is an autobiography of a young German student who served in WWII. An interesting example of the mixing of education and politics and the dangers of ultranationalism.

2 comments:

Kiggavik said...

That is interesting. And to us, now, seems rather disingenuous and obvious, but probably wasn't so obvious to the student (and perhaps teacher) at the time.

I think that the treaty of Versailles, while probably the logical outcome after the slaughter of the Great War, and the attitudes towards Germany of the allies after the war, was the biggest reason there was a second World War. It definitly created the climate that allowed Hitler and his ilk, to thrive after the war. History of course can't be changed, but I wonder just how different the world would have been if we had reached out to Germany afterwards, similar to what we did with the Marshall Plan after WWII.

That is the chicken said...

Wow...that is quite fascinating!
What a window on history contained in a math problem. It would be an interesting excercise to come up with similar problems worded from different points of view for modern political antagonists...it would make for fascinating reading!