In what ways did the lives of women change under the Nazis in the years 1933-39?
In Weimar Germany, creditable progression of feminist work entitled women over the age of 20 the right to vote, this strongly encouraged a greater female interest in politics and by 1933 nearly one-tenth of Reichstag members were female. The women of Weimar Germany enjoyed social freedom; typically, they enjoyed a drink and were encouraged to smoke. They wore short skirts, wore make up and had their hair cut short. Rapid progress in female employment was strongly evident- many took up careers in professions and in some cases women earned the same pay as men. Things were looking hopeful for German women, years of male and female dispute had almost concluded.
Female developments abruptly reversed by 1933- Hitler held traditional views regarding the female role which he believed raised them to an imperative position in society. Women had vital role in producing the genetically pure Aryan race which would grow to be supreme Nazis. Hitler realised he needed to increase the birth rate to fundamentally strengthen the Third Reich; with a larger population would come more strength, superiority and pre-eminence. Removing women from the job market also reduced the problem of male unemployment and when women weren’t working they carried out traditional female domestic tasks such as cooking, cleaning, bearing children and nurturing the family. They would have a natural and clean appearance with long hair, no make-up and long skirts, rarely would they ever smoke or drink. Hitler knew the power of German women as demonstrated by their earlier progression so he came up with policies to undermine their well earned pride and ultimately terminate any further progression to coerce women to stay at home and have children.
Propaganda was an essential device used by the Nazis to enforce ideas of the ‘perfect German woman’. Posters of typical Aryan mothers and wives with long hair, holding children were...