The Attitudes Toward Women and Family in 1930's

The Attitudes Toward Women and Family in 1930's

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The Attitudes Toward Women and Family in 1930's

Germany had been through a major depression and due to this found that
birth rates were decreasing although this wasn't the only reason. It
was also due to improved standards of living; this now meant
contraception was available. Also there was a desire for better
education for women. Between the years 1900 and 1933 female employment
had increased by a third. One reason for this was due to the war,
women had been drafted into the factories to help with he war effort,
they found that they enjoyed having the jobs and didn't really want to
leave them. Another reason was due to woman having the vote; they were
no where near to having equal rights with men although it did make a
huge difference to them.

Although this all changed when the Nazis came to power in 1933 they
had very traditional ideals about women. They believed that nature had
created women to give birth and that they shouldn't stray form this
duty. They believed that women had two important roles: one was to
have children and look after them, the other was to look after her
husband. Most women were happy to take on this role as it meant they
didn't have to compete with men for jobs. For all they had a lot of
rights taken away from them they were never made to feel like second
class citizens. They were the future of Germany and were precious to
Hitler and the future he had planned.

Hitler summed up his ideas at Nuremberg in 1934 where he delivered his
theory of women and their role in Germany. He believed that woman had
their own world, which was smaller and it focused on her children, her
husband and housework, the man's world revolved around work and power.
The two worlds were never in conflict and could only continue
functioning whilst the other one co-operated. The Nazis publicised
this theory with the slogan "kinder, kirche, kuche", the three most
important things to a woman: children, church and kitchen.

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To make
sure that woman could live up to this role young girls were taught how
to be a wife by learning domestic skills. They were taught in the
Jungmädel/German Girls' League which encourage membership from the age
of 10.

The new measures that the nazis would take to get the women out of the
factories and back at home were going to affect the middle class
professional women the most. Hitler wanted to encourage the woman to
stay in the home and act more feminine. He made steps to control the
dress and behaviour of women by discouraging them to stop wearing
make-up, trousers, stop smoking and wear simple peasant style clothes.
This was a success in some areas especially the German Girls' League,
although there was some rebellion over these requests. The Nazis
Woman's League taught woman that their place was in the home, they
were never banned from having jobs. The woman just complied with the
request of staying at home with children. Woman were also excluded
from important positions in the nazi party itself including the
reichstag, they were only given important roles in specific interest
groups.

Hitler wanted to encourage a birth rate increase; it had almost halved
from the beginning of the century. He aimed at making children seem
more appealing to newly-weds. They began to introduce a number of
grants, interest-free loans and schemes aimed at increasing the
population. But there was a catch the couples could only receive this
aid if the wife pulled out of her job.

For all the Nazis wanted to keep the woman at home their most
important priority was to increase the birth rate and therefore
increases the population. So they began to introduce other ideas which
would benefit couples having children. Especially those having more
than three or four children. Such as family allowances being improved,
an extra 10 marks was introduced for the third and fourth child and
for a fifth it was doubled to an extra 20 marks. Fertile mothers were
also awarded the honour cross on August 12 of each year. If she gave
birth to four children she would be awarded the bronze, for six
children she would receive the silver and for gold eight children were
required. For all this wasn't a reward of money it made the couple
feel very proud of having received it this therefore encouraged more
couples and in turn should increase the population.

Rewards were also given to those who had larger families, such as a
subsidy given to those on limited incomes; this was a lump sum that
could be spent on clothes and furniture. Then as a gift a quarter of
the marriage loan would be paid off when the first child was born then
the second quarter when the second was born and so on until the entire
loan was repaid.

When the war began mothers were given preferential rations and air
raid shelter especially when mother-worship was at its peak. She was
able to boost "I have donated a child to the Fuher". This would
encourage the birth rate to increase even though Germany was at war.

But not all the ways included benefits anti-abortion laws were
enforced as well as contraceptive advice and facilities becoming
restricted. Marriages were also arranged between a single person and a
divorcee, usually the divorcee having to leave an infertile partner.
Medical inspections also occurred they discouraged 'racial inferior
stock' to having children as well as them being put on a sterilisation
programme.

The Nazis were in power for 12 years and six of those they spent at
war. Due to the small amount of time it was probably impossible for
the Nazi ideas to work completely. The amounts of births and marriages
rose from 1932 until 1934, from there onwards they stayed level. This
shows that the policies didn't have that much of an effect. Although
it is impossible to tell if there was an effect but there was
something else countering it.

For all the Nazis Women's League only encouraged women to give up
their jobs and return to their traditional roles, many of those
watched their jobs being taken away form them. Women were dismissed
from the civil service, medicine and the judicial system. Although the
Nazis didn't managed to dismiss all women from their jobs the amount
of female teachers fell in 1933 but then regained all lost ground by
1938. Even though the Nazis did everything in their power to encourage
marriage divorce was still high and continued to rise.
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