Birth rates during the 1920s had fallen all over Europe but especially so in Germany
At the rate the population was diminishing, Germany would full from its current position of strength
This was worrying as the Nazis wanted lebensraum but wouldn’t be able to populate the new space
Thus, by the 1930s, increased birth rate because a key domestic policy
It was hoped that by having more marriages so that couples would have a number of children
In many ways this was a by-product of the other policies
It mainly referred to Aryan-Aryan marriages as Jewish-Aryan marriages were banned and those already would be encouraged to divorce
Evidence – Source 8 (page 188 in your textbooks)
The source shows that the number of births, population and marriages increasing suggesting that their aim of increasing birth rate and population was achieved
The number of marriages seem to have increased until 1940 because of the war
However, this could be more because of the new land taken by Germany rather than because the Nazis were effective
There is a dramatic fall in the number of births in 1932 and ‘33 because of the Depression although the population and number of marriages increased
The provenance of the course is unknown so the figures could be fixed by the Nazis to make themselves appear very successful when they wasn’t
In many respects, it is limited by not knowing where the figures come from and also who it refers to: Aryans? All?
Generally the source suggests that the Nazis aims were achieved although it could also be suggested that the number of births would have increased naturally and the numbers dipped where it is expected
Aims: the unemployment of women As the Nazis held family values in such high regard, one important aim of the Nazis was to remove women from the workplace, instead having them doing things which were more suited their gender, they encouraged women to stay in the home, marry and bear children. In turn, the unemployment of women would mean the employment of men, as women leaving the work would mean a gap in the job market, which was hoped to be filled up by males. This particular aim of employment was pivotal as it would have allowed the some of the other aims directed at women to be fulfilled, such as the increase of birth-rate and marriage.
Linking back to the 25 point plan ‘ 11. the first duty of every citizen is to work with his mind or body. Each individual must work to the general good of the people.’ The Nazis believed that for the general good of the people, women were to be unemployed. They were expected to work at home, looking after their children and husbands. This aim had the people’s community in mind, as women were seen to be better suited to raising German youth as opposed to having a job, which any man could fill.
Source 13 (page 188 in your textbooks) The source above illustrates that the Nazis wanted to actively decrease the number of employed women, showing a drop of 6% within the time period of four years. As said previously, the Nazis believed that the ‘right’ place for women was the home, as wives and mothers. However, it must be taken into account that the statistics are not convincing, as there is only a slight drop in the employment of women. Of course, as the provenance of this source is unknown, the reliability of the source is questionable as it is unclear who collected these figures and at what time. It is important to keep in mind that the corruption of figures was not uncommon at the time, so the statistics may not even be correct. Nevertheless, this source is useful in that it shows that the Nazis, presumably, acted on their aim of trying to get women out of the workplace. Proportion of women in employment 1933 – 37% 1937 – 31%
In 1934 the Ten Commandments for the choice of a spouse were compiled. They included: 1. Remember that you are a German. 2. If you are genetically healthy you should not remain unmarried. 3. Keep your body pure. 4. You should keep your mind and spirit pure. 5. As a German choose only a spouse of the same or Nordic blood. 6. In choosing a spouse ask about his ancestors. 7. Health is also a precondition for physical beauty. 8. Marry only for love. 9. Don't look for a playmate but for a companion for marriage. 10. You should want to have as many children as possible.
The ideal woman in Germany had to appear to be frumpy with wide hips. They had to wear long skirts and they were not allowed to be ambitious. The modern trend of being fashion conscious, having a perm, wearing make up and having the ambition to work were frowned upon and discouraged.
This poster shows how women were seen as inferior to men within Nazi Germany as it illustrates how the women were suppose to care for their husbands. The man is dressed in authoritative uniform with a whip which shows dominance over the recessive woman, who is crouched down at his feet. This was used as propaganda to encourage women to be submissive to the male dominance.
This is an example of how extreme the Nazi views of women were and how elite they were. In this case the young girl was not permitted to have children because of her disposition “feeble mindedness”.
Appearance and purpose- almost looks like a military award. Shows that there is much emphasis and significance of being a mother in Nazi Germany. It infers that its part an overall effort for the Fatherland. The fact that there is a cross reminds women of the KKK as it is a Church Symbol. The swastika is places in the centre of the cross which reflects how the Nazi regime should be at the centre of their life (donating children to the Fhurer).
The medals are ranked gold, silver and bronze, depending on how many children have been ‘donated’ to the Fhurer, this encouraged competition between women to make more babies!
How successfully did the Nazis impose their ideology on German women?
The Nazis' emphasis on the ‘traditional’ role of women found some support amongst the German people, including those for whom the Depression years had removed other opportunities. Many women, especially those from lower classes, rejected the ‘New Woman’ image of the Weimar years.
Falling birth rates weren’t to do with the failures of Nazi ideology but was a concern across Europe.
‘ The evidence suggests that women approved of the regime’s glorification of domesticity since for most women employment in the circumstances of the 1930’s was not a particularly an attractive proposition. Moreover, men too seemed to have approved of this emphasis which reaffirmed traditional distinctions discriminating between men and women, and flattered their male pride.’
Historian, on reactions to Nazi policies, From Noakes and Pridham…1984
Despite Nazi policies, female employment remained high, with the overall numbers increasing. In addition, many female professionals ( except in politics and law) were able to continue their careers
Several contradictions in Nazi policy because while promoting family life, due to young men being sent from home for military service, women had to deal with labour shortages and by 1943 were conscripted into war work.
There are examples of continuity between the Weimar and Nazi years. Attempts were made to reduce the number of working women from as early as 1930
The Nazis set up several women’s organisations that involved women outside the family sphere.
Women’s opportunities in universities were constricted, but this policy was later reversed
The Nazis stressed the importance of family life, but increasingly they were prepared to encourage divorce and extra-marital sex to breed more genetically pure Germans
Contradictions between Source 18 and Source19
‘The conditions which must be filled before the grant of a marriage loan are as follows…That the future wife pledges herself not to take up employment so long as her future husband receives an income’ , 1933
I permit wives who have received a marriage loan to take up employment provided their husbands have been called up for the Labour service or for training by the armed forces’, 1937
No significant increase in the number of live births