UK kids: Hitler a soccer coach

2009-11-06 20:13

London - One in 20 Scottish children think Adolf Hitler was Germany's national football coach, while 6% believe the Holocaust was a celebration at the end of World War II, according to a new poll.

One in five also mixed up Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels with Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who wrote a diary of her time hiding from the Nazis in an attic.

The results of the multiple-choice poll, published by a war veterans' charity, reveal that while a majority of children have basic knowledge about the two world wars, a significant minority have no clue.

The survey of 2 000 children was published ahead of Remembrance Day on November 11, when many western nations celebrate the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

Given a choice of answers, 77% of the children aged 9-15 recognised Hitler as leader of the Nazi party, but 13.5% thought he invented gravity in 1650 and 7% thought he coached Germany's football team.

Auschwitz 'a WWII-based theme park'

Likewise, 61% knew who Goebbels was but 21% thought he was a "well-known Jew who wrote a diary in the attic" - and 14% thought he was Britain's defence secretary at the start of the World War II.

While 85% knew what the Holocaust was, 6% thought it was the celebration at the end of the war.

Auschwitz was correctly identified by 70% - but 15% thought it was a WWII based theme park.

A question about which country launched the first nuclear weapon caused some confusion. More than 41% knew it was the United States, but 31% said it was target country Japan, and 19% said it was Germany.

"Some of the answers to this poll have shocked us," said Major Jim Panton, chief executive of charity Erskine.

"Schoolchildren are the future of our country and it is important that we help them to learn about our history."

The full results of the survey can be seen on the charity's website.