Should Kievan Rus’ be Forgotten? (German Gymnasium History Textbooks of the Late 20th Century)
Keywords:Kievan Rus’; German textbooks for gymnasiums; history teaching methods; FRG
It is not irrelevant to wonder about how deeply and consistently the history of the Russian state, which is historically and culturally connected with Germany, is reflected in German gymnasium history books. This article compares the details and quality of information on Early Rus’ presented in the gymnasium textbooks of the FRG between the 1950s and the early 21st century, following the reunification of Germany. The information they contain corresponds to the course of the school reform, big politics, and publication traditions. The author demonstrates that since the late 20th century, the information field connected with the history of Kievan Rus’ has become so narrow that some textbooks do not mention this mediaeval state at all. According to the author, this is wrong for a number of reasons. Firstly, it leads to Old Rus’’s and, consequently, Russia’s separation from the history of Europe, which, in turn, exacerbates the cultural and political separation of the nations. Secondly, the mediaeval history of the three peoples whose origins are connected with Kievan Rus’ play a decisive role in education, as they demonstrate the genesis and evolution of ethnic consciousness.