War calculation tasks: modern complement to the arithmetic book for rural training schools in Lower Saxony on native soil
This maths problem is one of about 300 in a book dedicated to the war. Children are given a calculation using the statistic that two million prisoners of war had been taken by German troops as of 1 September 1916. The children were asked: a) Calculate the distance if all prisoners were lined up, allowing a 0.75m (29.5 inch) space for each person b) How many rows of prisoners can be made if they lined up along the Hanover to Berlin railway line (256km or 159miles long).
Other questions involved the amount of wool used for knitting gift parcels for the troops, the total number of German soldiers, the hours a German Zeppelin would need to reach London and the extra pay given to a soldier who has lost his right hand. Nearly all the questions helped spread propaganda of a mighty and successful German nation among school pupils.
- Article by:
- Ian Cooke
Curator Ian Cooke discusses the ways in which propaganda influenced children’s perceptions of World War One, encouraging them to develop particular values and to contribute to the war effort.
- Article by:
- Heather Jones
- Life as a soldier
What was the reality for prisoners of war in World War One? Dr Heather Jones looks beyond the propaganda to consider the facts around prisoner mistreatment, labour and death rates across Europe.