Essay On Women Of The Nazi Movement

2535 words - 11 pages

Women of the Nazi Movement There were many groups of people affected by the Nazi movement, but women were in fact a very important group that is often left out. Women played a momentous role in the Nazi movement. Unlike other groups, they acknowledged their role in the movement and realized that Nazi Germany was a male leading public division in terms of establishing policies and making decisions or taking leadership, because for the most part, the history of Germany was always male domineering. Women were evidently silent and not present in public events. The Nazis regarded women as having a divided realm and an undisclosed area outside the civic role. The Nazis wanted to prohibit women from the public segments of society. However, the women of Nazi Germany did play a particular role in the Third Reich and in the structure of Nazi society in the foundation of Nazi ethnicity. Reinstating conventional roles of women were as important to the Nazis as was racial clarity in order to salvage stability, cleanliness, and vigor in the national community. The women were often subject matter of suppression and condescending opinions, which developed from a male dictating culture. Their principal roles included being devoted wives and superior mothers. They would be the producers of the escalation in population, which is crucial for the continued existence of the Nazi race. Most women were considerate of this idea. Their role was necessary to the Nazis in that women alleviated and stabilized the unevenness of a male overbearing society. Because marriage and offspring were vital to the survival of the Nazis, the "Ten Commandments for choosing a partner", (Lecture 6) were created. These were occupied to insist on racial purity. They included: "1) Remember you are German 2) Remain pure in mind and spirit 3) Keep your body pure 4) If hereditary fit, do not remain single 5) Marry only for love 6) Only marry within the "racial stock" 7) When choosing a spouse, require into his/her forbearers 8) Health is essential as outer beauty 9) Seek a partner for marriage 10) Hope for as many children as possible", (Lecture 6).Women had a fundamental role to play as mothers because they were accountable for keeping the Aryan race pure. Women were kept out of leadership and political roles and expected to fulfill more natural roles of wife and mother. This allowed women to carry out and uphold the essential role of mother and wife, which promoted the Nazi's view of keeping society conservative and natural. They were to stay home, instead of working, and apply their "intuition and sacrifice for the sake of nurturing others", (Spielvogel, p 176). Education was of no need to women in Nazi Society, however, they were expected to have household knowledge.When Germany was ruled under the Weimar Republic, women were given the privilege to vote along with equal rights. However, the laws were never approved. So essentially, women's rights were short lived and when the Nazis won power over the Weimar Republic, the Civil Code was back in power, which required women to return into subsidiary roles.When the Nazis successfully acquired political domination over Germany, all social organizations were either stringently observed by the Nazis or isolated altogether. Moreover, all women's organizations "whether political, social, professional, charitable, or religious", (Speilvogel, p 177) were edited to enforce Nazi standards and altered to benefit the male leaders of the NSDAP. In 1933, after the Nazi seizure of power, a new national organization for women was produced, and included all women organizations within it. A female leader would be chosen to run the organization, however she would have absolutely no political leadership rights in the decision making of the group. Gertrud Scholtz - Klink was the woman of preference to regulate the new organization, which was called the German Women's Bureau. She was the ideal representation of an Aryan woman. She had blonde hair, blue eyes, and four children. The Women's Bureau created a "Reich Mother's Service", which provided instruction and welfare for mothers. Instructions included house care and management, sewing, childcare and nutrition. Of course, it was concentrated on Nazi philosophy and taught women to support the Third Reich. The women held charities to raise money and volunteered in different fundraisers that would be utilized as relief funds. Ultimately, the relief funds would help 20% of the population who were on welfare. There was also another women's group, although before Nazi seizure, this group was an elite group involved in campaigning. After the Nazis gained control, this group (National Socialist Women's Association, a.k.a. NSF) would function "to direct the affairs of German women", (Speilvogel, p 178). They provided the "cultural, spiritual and political education of German women", (Speilvogel, p 178). They also were overseer to and preserved control over the German Women's Bureau.Under the Weimar Republic, women had been employed in many fields of work. These included jobs such as supporting aids, and deskwork as well as industrial work in clothing and food business. Although they were paid much less than men, many women had to work in order to endure the depression. As the number of female workers increased, so did the unemployment rates for men. This could be due to the fact that employers would hire women over men because they could pay them less than half of a man's wages. So inevitably, it saved many employers money to hire women. However, this did not settle well with everyone. Many people became angry blaming that woman workers were keeping men unemployed. In addition, since jobs were scarce, many people were furious with families whose household consisted of "double earners", (Speilvogel, p 178). The Nazis felt that men should be the key providers of the household, and men should be taken into account over women for employment. Women did not have to be removed from the work place, but instead, only work in jobs that were by Nazi standard as gender suitable. They were however strongly encouraged to reproduce as many healthy children as possible and make it a priority over working outside the home. If a single woman wanted to work, she must choose a job that was fit for the role of a woman. These jobs included nursing, school teaching, and social support. These jobs were suitable because they were not physically laborious, which if they were, would restrain the healthy development of children, according to Nazi ideology. Married women, if employed, held jobs in farm and family work which provided "cheap labor in these areas, even though they were unpopular with German working women", (Speilvogel, p 178).By July 1933, the Nazis had seized power and it was highly disapproved of for women to be employed. They employed this by releasing a Law for the Reduction of Unemployment. This was a loan given to a newly wed couple on the basis that the wife would part with her job upon marriage. The Nazis also created slogans on billboards around Germany that contained phrased like: "Get a hold of pots and pans and broom and you'll sooner find a groom!" or "Not for you the business life; rather learn to be a wife!", (Spielvogel, p 179). For the most part, the Nazi's plan was successful because the overall percentage of women workers declined, however the number of women employed continued to increase. This could be because after the Nazis came to power, more jobs opened up, although precedence was given to men.Undoubtfully, the Nazi's Law for the Reduction of Unemployment backfired and by 1936, there was a substantial deficiency of labor workers due to men being drafted. The government now convinced women to work in jobs that before were "off limits" to women. However, due to the minimal wages, indigent working environment, and tiring labor, most married women refused to work.During the supremacy of the Weimar Republic, women began to see many educational opportunities open to them. However, this was short lived when Nazi ideology announced that it was not appropriate for women to receive a higher education. Women were to be "emotionally fit primarily for their "natural" calling of being wives and mother", (Spielvogel, p 180). The school programs changed for the few women that were in school, and were now focused towards the domestication of women. Colleges and Universities, where women used to attend, were now placing limits on allowing women to enter college. In addition, strict provisions were imposed allowing only 10% of the total college population of students to be female. However, the provisions were never followed exactly, and as more males entered into the military, the need for graduates from universities increased. Therefore, the Nazis eventually encouraged females to pursue a higher education. Nevertheless, the Nazis had functional clarification for this support; they needed them in the regime.Women could operate in leadership positions only in their own division, not in the total organization. Still, the Nazis believed that the preeminent profession for women was those of assistant purposes such as nursing and social work. However, this did not stop them from pursuing all other profession, but it did make it more difficult. For example, by 1936, Hitler "decided that women could not become lawyers or judges", (Spielvogel, p 181). So, although education for women increased, women were disqualified from certain curriculums due to their gender. But once again, the Nazis reversed their decision due to the rising need of legal professional. In addition, just as they recruited women back into the work force, they began to encourage women to study curriculums that were once forbidden by the Nazis.Overall, the Nazis still put emphasis on women's roles as being that of mother and wife, and most German women were content with this idea. Being a mother and wife was an eminent role during this time, and the women felt they were contributing positively to their community.The highest priority of course, was that of marriage and children. Marriage was viewed to "serve one main purpose - the production of offspring", (Spielvogel, p 181). Families were to have children not just because they wanted to, but to increase the population of the pure Aryan race. Children were raised under state supervision to insure that the parents were raising the highest quality byproducts. However, because of the usage of contraception, birth rates had dramatically decreased since the 1900's. Hitler found ways to increase the birthrate in both optimistic and destructive ways. Upon marriage, a couple was given a loan on the justification that the wife would quit her job. Each child produced would pay off a portion of the loan. By the fourth child, the loan would be completely paid off. However, many couples realized that it would be cheaper in the long run to have two children and pay off the remaining loan. So inevitably, the number of marriages did increase, but there was no considerable rise in the birthrates. In addition, the government provided many varieties of assistance to mothers. The Mother and Child auxiliary service of the National Socialist Public Welfare Organization offered mothers food, housing for single mothers, and household help for larger families. Nevertheless, since support was in short supply, the Nazis began making it mandatory for teenage girls to work unpaid as assistants to large families. This was a disaster, and did not prove successful. Propaganda was also used to praise the importance of mothers and homemakers. Hitler introduced the German Mother's Cross in which mothers with four children "received a bronze cross, those with six a silver cross, and those with eight or more a gold cross", (Spielvogel, p 182). The crosses were awarded annually every twelfth day of August, "which was Hitler's mother's birthday", (Spielvogel, p 182).On negative aspects, birth control clinics were closed, and abortion was abolished unless the pregnancy was of mixed blood. In addition, the Nazis set up a policy in 1933 that eliminated "hereditarily diseased offspring", (Spielvogel, p 183). This included not only physical sickness, but mental illnesses as well. It endorsed the sterilization of anyone suffering from physical or mental disease. The law also banned these people from being married. From this policy, the euthanasia program was born. This included the killing of mentally or physically deformed children who were "racially valueless", (Spielvogel, p 183) and threatening to the Aryan race. About five thousand children died due to this policy. Also, the killing of the terminally ill was apart of the euthanasia program. Groups were set up to transport the terminally ill to a camp where from there, they would be placed in chambers and gassed to death. Many of the same organizations, which aided the death of these innocent people, were also occupied in the killing of Jews in the Holocaust.Birth rates were increasing as the Nazis had planned, and by 1939, the increase of live births rose to one and a half million, which was almost twice as many than in 1933. However, the Nazis were hoping to reach a goal of two million, but did not succeed.During the war, a turnaround of Nazi attitudes changed towards women. Up until 1941, resistance of female employment was common, but subsequent to that year, the Nazis began to emphasize the importance of women entering into useful work areas. The Nazis began paying tributes to workingwomen by producing articles in the Nazi magazines that read: "Women Help Win the War", (Spielvogel, p 243). These articles were published as a means to recruit women to join the labor force. However, the discouragement to women was that they were still being paid "75 to 80 percent of men's wages", (Spielvogel, p 283). Because women were unenthusiastic to work, and the Nazis needed them to work, it became a requirement for women between the ages of seventeen and forty-five to sign up for obligatory labor. Upper-class women were able to slip by with part time secretary jobs, and some women adopted enough children to excuse them from work altogether.In the end, and especially as the war progressed, women played a significant role in the Nazi Movement. They were the ultimate supporters of their husbands and producers of children to further the Nazi race. They were required to endure the "loss of husbands and sons courageously and to sacrifice everything for the Third Reich", (Spielvogel, p 244) Bibliography Spielvogel, Jackson J., 1996. Hitler and Nazi Germany, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.Sun, Ray, 2001. "Hitler and Nazi Germany", Lectures 5-7. History 468: Washington State University.


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