Skolemarxismens kulmination og debatten om faghæftet »Historie 1981«

  • Anders Holm Thomsen


The Culmination of Marxism in Danish Schools and the Debate on the Instruction Guide "History 1981"In the autumn of 1971 work was begun on a new official Danish instruction guide for teaching the subject of history in the Danish primary schools. The goal description and curriculum of the then current guide, dating from 1960, had been criticized, especially for the preponderance allotted Danish history, an overly chronological approach, and a view of world history seen from Denmark as the focal point. It was asked how such a guide could still be imposed on the municipal schools at the beginning of the 1970s after a decade of change attesting to the infeasibility of continuing a common commitment to a cultural heritage. Trend-setting circles in the field of education tended, in any case, to raise the question in such terms. The debate was still going on at the end of the 1970s, when work commenced on yet another new instruction guide, and from this emerged a new subject instruction guide entitled History 1981. The elaboration of this guide, however, marked a radical change: controversial key concepts such as view of history and types of society moved to the foreground. These concepts, especially around the time of the guide's publication in 1981, led to accusations of built-in crypto- Marxism. The crucial argument was that it was characteristic of Marxism to operate with such a rigid and simplistic approach to history as exhibited in the key concepts of the guide. Faced with these accusations of indoctrination, the principal theoretician of the project, Vagn Oluf Nielsen, lector in History at the Superior Teachers' College, vigorously retorted that the sources of inspiration for the project were of an entirely different kind. Nevertheless, after a conservative- liberal coalition government came to power in 1982, the new Minister of Education, Bertel Haarder, set about replacing the 1981 guide with a new one, History 1984. In the present study's treatment of the professional and public debates from 1978 to 1981 on the origins, development and frame of interpretation of History 1981 the following questions are posed: What precisely were the positions of the debate's leading participants regarding the ‘view of history' approach before work on the guide began in the autumn of 1979? How were their views represented in the elaboration of the guide and subsequently presented during the hearings phase, when the work was completed in December 1980? Finally, was there a difference in the way the results were presented internally among professionals and externally to the general public? The study's conclusions for the most part support the criticism levelled against History 1981. Translated by Michael Wolfe


Anders Holm Thomsen
Holm Thomsen, A. (2013). Skolemarxismens kulmination og debatten om faghæftet »Historie 1981«. Historisk Tidsskrift, 106(1). Hentet fra