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Women in Hitler's Germany by Mind Map: Women in Hitler's Germany
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Women in Hitler's Germany

lost senior jobs, were excluded from virtually all positions of power, had to accept lower rates of pay than men and had lower chances of higher education and poorer schooling;

In the years after 1936 the number of women in employment began to increase, but did not reach the levels of the late 1920s, the number of young women getting married had increased. The proportion of women in the wage-paid workforce had increased to a third by 1939 (7m). The increase included some women entering professions, e.g. some became doctors.

Pressure to break up barren marriages: the divorce laws were changed in 1938. You could divorce your partner for infertility or refusal to have children. This led to about 30,000 extra divorces within two years.

Ideological

Nazi leaders shared the general disapproval of modern women

Argued that women were fitted by their nature to different roles from those of men (a belief not just held by the Nazis).

They said that they respected women, who were not inferior, but that women should keep to their own roles, especially as wives and mothers.

How far can women be blamed for the Nazi regime?

Some historians have said that women voted the Nazis in. In fact very little information about how women voted. However, in a few towns women’s and men’s votes were counted separately, women did tend to vote right-wing. Many women supported parties like the Z or the Nationalists. The Nazi Party was not very different from them. More men than women voted Nazi, but by March 1933 about an equal number of men and women voted for them. But in any case the story that women particularly voted for Hitler is a myth.

It is also often implied that women were fascinated by Hitler and became hysterical on occasions when he appeared in public. The Nazis put great effort into propaganda films and photographs showing this, and women were always put into the front row when Hitler made public appearances. It is very difficult (if not impossible) to discover how much of this was simply propaganda.

Political

Women were banned from ordinary membership of the Nazi Party, and on principle from all leading positions. But the Party had affiliated organisations for women:

The NSF

The DFW

Assessment

Economic

The increase in the number of women who worked had led many Nazis to say that their main purpose was to stay at home. Therefore we might expect Hitler to forbid the employment of all women.

It would have been very unpopular, and in the ‘years of struggle’ the Nazis needed votes. Even after that, it would have had very bad effects on public morale and possibly aroused serious opposition to Nazi rule.

It would have had very bad effects on the economy.

After about 1936, shortages of labour meant that women were actually encouraged into work.

The early period

After 1936

Social

Before 1933

Nazi Policies After 1933

Were women ‘victims’ or ‘perpetrators’?

Women As Victims

Women As Innocents

Women As Collaborators