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Life in the Reich


Among the Citizenry, literacy is around 98%, with a full state education system up to the age 18, including specialised academies, the most prestigious of which are the Kaiserin Elsa academies, which have been attended by many senior political and military figures. Children can choose to leave at 14 if they can give a good reason why, for example, going into an apprenticeship or working full-time with the Reichsjugend, although they are not allowed to join the Reich armed forces until their sixteenth birthday. For Non-Citizens, literacy is a rather lower 90%, and state education is only provided up until 16, although they can pay to remain in education until 18. The academic year runs from the 1st February to the winter solstice, and there are national examinations held at the end of each term, to make sure that standards of education across the Fatherland remain consistent.

Parents are solely responsible for the behaviour of their children until they reach 14, and can be called to account if their offspring cause problems. Between 14 and 18, children are considered to be responsible for their own actions, although they aren't considered full Citizens (Non-Citizens, etc) until their 18th birthday, when they reach the age of majority and get the vote.

As far as further education is concerned, undergraduate university courses are of four or five years, depending on the subjects studied. There is no overarching national university system in the way there is in Sable: all of the major provincial cities and many of the minor ones have their own universities, and there is considerably rivalry between them. However, below the surface, the nature of their charters, traditions and curriculum is firmly legislated by the Department of Education and Science. Potential students have a choice of going to university straight from school, or deferring until after they have done their State Service, with the potential to defer until the person is older meaning that almost 25% of Citizens will eventually attend university, with a larger overall percentage attending other forms of vocational course. For Citizens, undergraduate education is state funded as long as the student has made a commitment to undertake State Service (or indeed, has already undertaken it), or if they intend to study magic. If they have not, then the student is expected to contribute a certain amount towards their higher education. For Non-Citizens, higher education must be privately funded unless they undertake State Service, when up to 50% of their higher education costs will be met by the government.

Scientific and technological progress - both magical and mundane - are encouraged. To this end, the Kaiser Wilhelm Scientific Institute was established about forty years ago, as an umbrella organisation for academic scientific and techno-magical research at a number of locations in Berlin, and projects deemed vital to the Fatherland can receive additional funding from the Kaiser Wilhelm Fund for Trade and Industry, to which all industrial concerns pay a small annual levy.

It is not unusual for adults to return to education - both magical and non-magical - to take selected courses, a delayed first degree, a full second degree, undertake a post graduate course, or any combination thereof, at a later date. Post graduate degrees take between one and three years to complete, depending on subject. For non-magical courses, the mature student would be expected to pay their own costs. However, this can include gaining sponsorship from a duly constituted Reich company, in return for a guarantee to work for that company for two to five years after graduation; or applying to the Kaiser Wilhelm Fund for a grant. For a delayed first degree, grants will often be made available from local or regional government, especially if the potential student has done their State Service or otherwise served in the military. The government fully funds post-graduate Mage College courses.

The Reichsjugend (the Reich Youth Movement)

One of the fundamental beliefs of the Reich is that its future lies with its children, and therefore the offspring of Citizens, boys and girls alike, are encouraged to join the Reichsjugend, an organisation formed by the Lebensborn Society in conjunction with the Reich Military and the SS. Its purpose is to make sure all its members are instilled with a true understanding of the beliefs and principles of the country they live in, as well as preparing them for life in a country at war. It also serves as a youth organisation to make sure that children of the Reich are fit, healthy and have a grounding which can later be developed and built upon once they undertake State Service.

There are two branches of the Reichsjugend. Children from ten upwards join the Reichsjungvolk, where activities include team games to improve hand/eye co-ordination, sports - especially athletics, running and throwing - marching and moving together, and give a rough grounding in the history and beliefs of the Reich. At the age of thirteen, the children transfer to the Reichsjugend proper, where they remain until they reach the age of eighteen. Activities within the Reichsjugend include: shooting (mainly pistol, although the oldest children are sometimes taught the basics of rifle drill), bayonet drill, throwing and preparing for attacks (trench digging, gas defence, use of dugouts) and some unarmed combat, as well as continuing to encourage sports, including cross-country running and fencing, and a simple assault course. The older children, of sixteen and seventeen, sometimes find themselves assigned to help in the protection of the State - for example, manning road blocks or anti-aircraft weapons (the latter naturally on Shadows where airplanes are functional).

At the age of eighteen, the children often go into their State Service. If they choose to do this within the military, they enter it with the basic military grounding already in place such that they are likely to be sent on assignment within a few weeks, instead of a few months for those children who did not join the Reichsjugend programme. If they choose to take State Service in other areas, the grounding in the history and beliefs of their country attained within the movement is helpful for allowing them to progress quickly.

The Lebensborn Eingetragener Verein

The Lebensborn Eingetragener Verein is run under the auspices of the SS Ahnenerbe division. It was founded to give young, female, unmarried, patriotic Reich Citizens the chance to serve their country in a more unusual way: by bearing a child for the Fatherland, without it having the stigma of illegitimacy, or the woman having to have the responsibility of bringing the child up beyond its second year. Such children are born within special enclaves and are either brought up by their mothers within those for the first two years, or the mothers are allowed in assigned housing outside them.

On the child's second birthday, the mother is given the choice of staying within the enclave, possibly to bear more children if she wishes, or surrendering her child and then being able to go back to her previous life, but with the additional privileges which having served the Reich in this way grants her, including a substantial pension. The children are then brought up within the care of the Society, which is in charge of their education and development until such time as they leave its auspices: either by reaching their majority or, less commonly (about 30%), by being adopted by suitable Citizen families.

The Society also acts as an orphanage system for children of Citizens who have lost their parents, and it has been known for Citizen couples to give children into the Society's care, so that they can have a proper upbringing and get the advantages that being brought up within the Society can offer. This includes a comprehensive academic education, as well as a strong emphasis on the military and military procedures and discipline, plus team sports and martial pursuits such as riding, hunting, fencing and shooting.

There is also a significant element of political education, with the unsurprising result that Lebensborn children are often the most outspoken adherents of the Reich system as they enter adulthood, and over half of them end up being recruited into the SS or the Waffen-SS. There are exceptions, of course, but in general, Lebensborn children have better opportunities and slightly more freedom to serve the Reich as they choose. In addition, their upbringing within the Society also confers legitimacy upon them, thus if a Lebensborn child can later prove his or her parentage, he or she could enter into noble succession.

Very detailed records are maintained of the lineage of children who have passed through the Lebensborn system, and the Society's Keeper of the Lineage, Brigadeführer Adam Cornelius (one of the best geneticists within the Reich), is himself a child of the Society.