National Political Training Institutes were one of three new types of school/college introduced into Nazi Germany. National Political Training Institutes, along with Adolf Hitler Schools and Order Castles, were introduced to teach the next generation of elite leaders in Germany – be they political or military. The National Political Training Institutes looked to educate the next Nazi Party leaders that would take on the work started by Adolf Hitler.
National Political Training Institutes (Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten) attempted to recreate the type of education that the old Prussian academies had done in bygone years; it was a recognition by Hitler that while he believed that the heart of ideological Nazism lay in the south of Germany, the real powerhouse of pre-World War One Germany had been Prussia that as a state had set itself apart from the rest of Germany. Hitler believed that what underpinned such state power was the education system that deliberately targeted the creation of an elite who would operate at the peak of government administration and military leadership. The National Political Training Institutes were meant to recreate such an approach with, Hitler assumed, the same success.
The institutes operated outside of the normal educational structure that existed in Nazi Germany. The first one opened in May 1933 in the city of Pöln under the direction of August Heissmeyer. The boys who went to such schools usually came from three backgrounds: the families of loyal Nazi Party members, the families of army officers or were boys who were recognised as doing very well in the Hitler Youth movement.
As time progressed the institutes came more and more under the control of the SS. In time only a SS-Obergruppenfuehrer could nominate candidates for entry. Boys who attended National Political Training Institutes had an education that created a “soldierly spirit, with attributes of courage, sense of duty, and simplicity.”
By the end of 1938, there were twenty three institutes; eighteen were in Germany, four were in Austria and one in the Sudetenland. While the basis behind their education was that those who graduated went on to become senior party leaders, the reality was that World War Two was declared and the military needed their services. Many graduates from the National Political Training Institutes went straight into the military.