99 percent of Germans over the age of 15 can read and write (this does not include the recent immigrants from the Middle East and elsewhere). Only 1 percent of native Germans over the age of 15 can't read and write.
(14 percent of citizens born in the US can't read or write.)
Historically, Germany has had one of the highest literacy and general education levels of all nations. At the time of the rise of Nazism into a dominant position in Germany this nation was one of the most literate and generally well-educated on the planet. This fact had practically no preventative impact on what happened in Germany with the rise of Nazism/Fascism. And this ongoing fact has not kept Germany from becoming a tool for the Oligarch/Fascist agenda in our time.
My point here is not that education level in a society is meaningless, but rather that even a relatively high level of education in the conventional sense of that term will not in itself prevent the rise of tyranny. This preventative process happens on a deeper level of human reality than the conventional education process. What the conventional education process fails to do (usually by design) is to consciously connect itself with the deeper levels of human reality. What this leads to time after time is the profoundly sad spectacle of the truly ethical people of a society becoming merely fading torches in the rising darkness that swallows the nation. There were many admirable intellectuals and artists in Germany who raised their torches against Nazism only to have them brutally snuffed.
Of course we know that the rise of Fascism in Germany was greatly facilitated by the anti-German machinations of other powerful nations after WWI. The Treaty of Versailles was basically a war crime on paper and an open invitation to more nightmare. But once the process started the level of German education and culture was practically powerless to prevent.
The connection between education (dissemination of information) and the deeper levels of human reality is missing. Data alone, no matter how replete, does not create human consciousness that is immune to the contagion of fear manipulated power-lust that leads to nation-swallowing Fascism.
I trust it is clear that I am not saying that because the US historically has a generally lower level of literacy than Germany that the US is therefore less vulnerable to Fascism. On the contrary, the US has not even reached the level of Germany and is therefore even more vulnerable. The idea that the people of the US are more familiar with democratic experience and the deeper levels of reality and are therefore relatively invulnerable to brutal tyranny is a very dangerous lie. If it could happen to the Germans it can most certainly happen in the US and is in fact happening now.