Gertrude Scholz Klink was in charge of women’s policy in Nazi Germany. The expectations and policies towards women revolved around the three K’s, kinder, kuche, kirche.
(children, cooking & church). In a speech made by Hitler to the National Socialist Womens Organisation, Hitler said that men inhabited the “great world” which involved responsibilities like the affairs of state and the service of the community, whereas he believed women inhabited the “small world” which revolved round the home.Women in Nazi Germany were going to have a very specific role, and Hitler was very clear about this. They should be good mothers, bringing up children, while their husbands worked.
Except from certain special fields, Hitler saw no reason why a women should work. Education taught girls from early years that this was the lifestyle that they should lead. The nazis had a number of different policies towards women, which were each tackled by different measures that varied in success. In this essay I aim to describe these policies and explain the reasons for them.
The first policy that I am going to dicuss is Population Growth. Hitler had an aggressive and firm population policy because he wanted to encourage ‘racially pure’ women to bear as many ‘Aryan’ children as possible, therefore increasing population growth. The first step towards nazi population growth was encouraging marriage. Marriage for a young couple under the 3rd reich was definatley not an easy task, as I will describe further on in this essay.
If the couple could prove that they were of pure German descent, then they were allowed to marry, and had great benefits.Young married couples received loans of up to 1,000 Reich marks, interest free, as long as the female agreed to quit her job. For each child that the couples had, their loan debt would be cut by a quarter, so if a couple had four children the debt would be completely liquidated, and the loan free. This was a very attractive policy, especially for newly weds who did not have much money.
Once married, women left there job, or were forced, and pressurized into giving it up.There new role was to stay at home and give birth. To encourage his policy he offered rewards to women, such as the marriage loan that I described above, tax allowances, health services and medals-August 12th had been the birthday of Hitler’s mother. On this day each year, the motherhood Cross was awarded to women who had given birth to the largest number of children.
The gold cross (from Hitler personally! ) went to women who had produced 8 children; silver was for 6 children and bronze was for 4 children.From their earliest years, girls were taught in school that all German women married at a young age to a pure German man, and that the wifes task was to keep a decent home for her working husband, and to have children. He even publicly praised women for their “services to the state, and race. ” As a result they were more willing to co-operate with his policy.
He thought that it was their duty to assure the future of the human race. They failed to oppose him, and let him control their minds and accept their traditional house-wife role.The policy came to its most extreme when the nazi’s built Lebensborns (spring of life) clinics, which were buildings where selected unmarried women with ideal nazi characteristics could go and become pregnant by a “racially pure” SS man. They provided shelter for the offspring, birth documents, and financial support.
These were not buildings that were hidden away in the back street, they were openly publiscied and had a special flag so that they could be identified, which just shows how far the nazis would go to achieve their population boomInfact, the Nazi desire to increase the population was so great, that in 1943 they discussed a new law, that said that all women- married or single, should have 4 children with a ‘racially pure’ father. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS was particularly keen on this idea. If a family already had 4 children, the father would be obliged to father more children outside his marriage. This law never came into being as even the Nazi leaders realised that it would cause rebellions, especially with front-line soldiers.
Hitler did all these things to encourage his population growth policy toward women.Now I am going to explain the reasons for his policy. The aim of the law that encouraged marriage, as I described above, was very simple- to encourage newly weds to have as many children as possible. There was also a more long-term and sinster aspect to this.
If Hitler wanted to achieve his policy of “lebensraum” (living space) Germany would need to start a war and Hitler new this. The children that these mothers were going to give birth to would provide the army that Hitler needed. He knew perfectly well that lots of Germans were going to die, and this was just another reason for war.These new soldiers would take over his conquest, and replace those that were going to die.
He wanted to have a constant supply of perfect Aryan soldiers. He also thought that the population had to increase for the country to become more powerful. Women played a vital role in his plan to develop an ideal German Community and make Germany more powerful, as he believed that a larger, racially purer population would aswell as enhancing Germanys military strength, they could provide ‘settlers’ that could settle down in, and convert the new territory that Germany would take over in Eastern Europe.Another reason for his policies that encouraged population growth was that Hitler had to encourage and somehow justify his beliefs that the ‘aryan’ race was superior.
In order to be ‘superior’ it had to outnumber, and excel other populations, particularly Russia and Poland that were also growing fast. Poland knew that Germany wanted its land back, and its population was steadily increasing- so Hitler wanted to satisfy his fears that they may outnumber him, he knew that they were a growing threat.In addition to the policies Hitler forced on women to encourage population growth, He also made laws and policies regarding Racial Purity. Marriage for a women under the Third Reich was definatley no easy task.
In order to marry, women and their husbands had to undergo rigorous exams to ensure that they were the purest German blood. Interracial marriages were not allowed, or recognized. It was considered a crime against the state if a woman or a man were to marry someone who was Jewish, or someone of Jewish descendence.Even though Hitler was generous to German women who gave him children, if one did not fit into his idea of the ‘superior race’ then they would be punished.
For example, if women or men suffered from a mental illness or a weakening disease, like schizophrenia, epilepsy, deafness, blindness, they were sterelised, and prevented from any marriage at all. Now I am going to explain the reasons for his outragouse and flawed policies. Hitler believed that Germany was being polluted by intermarriage with non-Germans that he thought to be inferior, especially the Jews that he had extreme hatred for.He thought that these ‘inferior races’ were reproducing at a higher rate than the Aryans were, which is why he tried to stop interracial marriages.
It was not only important for his women to produce babies but they had to be of the best ‘quality’, pure and Aryan, he thought that there was no room for other races. The third policy towards women that I am going to discuss are the Nazi concerns about unemployment. The Nazis had policies that forced women to leave their job. For example, during Weimar, women had lots of career and educational opportunities.
The nazis tried to stop this, by banning them from professions and putting pressure on those who worked. Work forces were encouraged to take on and favour men instead of women. The numbers of women allowed to enter university was also restricted. Infact, the only women who were allowed to work outside the home were single women, because it was understood that they needed to work in order to survive.
The reason for this policy was that Employment Oppurtunitys were low, and Hitler had to keep up his promise of providing jobs for the people and keep them happy.Women were removed from their jobs so that men could occupy them, and ensure that they could have jobs to support their wives and children. Another reason for his policies towards unemployment was that Hitler wanted women to have more time for children, and domestic work. It was part of his plan to force women back to their ‘traditional roles’ as wives and mothers.
Hitler did not really believe that women were intelligent enough to do more than bear a healthy baby, he described them as ‘inferior.He did not like the womens weak nature, and did not want them to compete for jobs with men, who he thought were far more ‘superior’ than them. An interesting fact is that Hitler actually went against these policies, when he soon discovered that he could not completely do without women in the workforce. With all of his capable men gone to fight the war, the Nazis had to invite women into certain Jobs to keep the economy going.
The final policy that Hitler had towards women that I am going to discuss is indoctrination. These were certain policies that defined the role of women in society.They used images as propaganda of the ‘ideal nazi family’. The women was shown to have blonde hair, blue eyes, heavy hips (for child bearing), no make up, and no desire for a career.
Their lives were controlled, women were not expected to wear make up, trousers, revealing clothes or perms. The also presented their views on women in the educational system. The girls education was divided into a number of different lessons, each one encouraged life at home, e. g Hauswirtschaft- This involved domestic science, cooking, house and garden work.
They were taught that women had to have children and look after their husbands. They were told not to smoke, or diet, as it could affect their ability to have healthy babies. Women had to wear plain and simple dresses, with flat shoes. They had to change their everyday social habits- they could not show-off their sexuality, or have sexual relationships with more than one person.
All the reasons for his propaganda policies link back to previous policies and reasons. Hitler viewed women as ‘inferior’, and only good for re-production.He enforced propaganda policies to try and return women back to their traditional roles as mothers and housewives of future Germany. Hitler wanted healthy and good babies for his new Germany.
He wanted women to act like women, and stop trying to be men. This is part of the reason why he removed women from the work force. Once they had been indoctrinated, their children would be born to believe the same idealogy, that men were more important, and more productive. Conclusion In the end, however, the Lebensborn program was never promoted aggressively.
Instead, Nazi population policy concentrated on the family and marriage. The state encouraged matrimony through marriage loans, dispensed family income supplements for each new child, publicly honored “child-rich” families, bestowed the Cross of Honor of the German Mother on women bearing four or more babies, and increased punishments for abortion. In spite of Hitler’s attitude towards women, they did play a significant role in the Nazi program. Women within the party had some semblance of power, and this power corrupted them just as it did the men under Hitler.
While women were not allowed to hold any leadership positions within the party, they were permitted to join the SS, Hitler’s secret police force. The women in the SS corps were just as brutal as the men, some were stationed at the concentration camps during the Holocaust. There are stories which exist that tell of female SS officers ripping babies out of their mother’s arms and beating the infant’s head against the wall until they were dead, right in front of the mother’s eyes. They also oversaw the gassing of Jews.
In addition to the horrors that women were guilty of, they also made it possible for Germany continue throughout the war. They kept the economy going and the soldiers supplied with ammunition. These two points prove that women were guilty for the horrors which occurred under Hitler’s rule. That is not to say that there were not women who formed resistance groups against him, but women were his largest group of supporters.
If it were not for them, it is quite possible that Hitler would have never risen to power. By the start of the Second World War, very few German women were in fulltime work.However, such was the skills shortage in Germany, that in 1937 a law was passed in 1937 which meant women had to do a “Duty Year”. This meant that they could work ‘patriotically’ in a factory etc.
to help the Nazi’s “economic Miracle”. The marriage loan was also abolished in this year. Family and Husband. Hitler said that these two worlds were crucial to each other and that neither could survive without the support of the other.
This in essence is the Nazi view of women and their ideological beliefs spread from this base.