Nazi Germany and Women

Weimar Germany had made great strides for women’s rights.. There were 100,000 women teachers and 3000 women doctors. Women were cheaper to employ and made up 33% of the workforce. Men resented this and the birthrate had halved.

The Big Questions

1. What were the Nazi views about the role of women

2. Were they effective in getting women out of the workplace and having children and if not why not?

3. Was Nazi Germany good for women?

Nazis had two attitudes

Traditional – women should stay at home and have children

Industrial - they are needed for industry.

They never really decided one way or the other.

Nazis and Women Working

Efforts were made to get women out of work. Mostly middle class women lost their jobs – teachers civil servants etc. In 1933 15% of women civil servants lost their jobs and 19000 teachers. But by 1933 there were more women primary school teachers and doctors.

By 1937 there were more women factory workers than before. Germany needed them to build the armaments. However Germany never managed to organize its workforce for total war as Britain the USA and Russia did.

Hitler gave a marriage loan of 1000 marks if you got married and left work. After 1937 you didn’t need to leave work.

Women and Children

Kinder Kirche Kuche – children church and kitchen

Abortions banned and contraception discouraged.

For every child you had 25% of your marriage loan paid off.

Motherhood Allowance – 10M per month for the first two children 20M per month for any more.

Motherhood Cross - bronze for four children silver for six and gold for eight.The birth rate did rise by 40% but none of the extra babies were old enough to fight in WWII.

A larger population was needed for Lebensraum, larger Armies and a larger economy.

HOWEVER:

Only racially pure Germans got these benefits - Jews did not.

375,000 women were forcibly sterilized on the grounds that their race intelligence or attitudes made them unworthy to reproduce.

Under Action T4 some 70,000 mentally and physically handicapped people were murdered between 1937 and 1941. This included children and traumatised ex servicemen from WW1.

Hitler stopped this in 1941 following a public outcry in Germany led by the Church.

Was This Good For Women?

This rather depended who you were. Aryan women who wanted to have lots of children anyway benefitted. You didn’t tend to lose your job and there were lots of financial benefits. Others were not so lucky.

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