Work and Home


Women expectations

1. Nazis didn't want women to have too much freedom. They believed the role of women was to provide children and support their families at home.

2. Women were banned from being lawyers in 1936, and the Nazis did their best to stop them following other professions.

This didn't quite go to plan for the Nazis - after 1939, the war caused a shortage of workers, which meant lots of women had to go back to work.

3. The League of German Maidens spread the Nazi idea that it was an honour to produce large families for Germany. Nazis gave awards to women for doing this and encouraged more women to marry by offering financial aid to married couples.

4. Women were expected to dress plainly and were discouraged from wearing make-up and smoking. At school, girls studied subjects like cookery. It was stressed that they should choose 'Aryan' husbands.

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Unemployement Fell

1. Hitler started a huge programme of public works, which helped to reduce unemployment - e.g. from 1933 jobs were created as a result of the construction of autobahns (motorways).

2. All men between 18 and 25 could be recruited into the National Labour Service and given jobs. Industrial output increased and unemployment fell.

3. Hitler also brought in military conscription and encouraged German industry to manufacture more ships, aircraft, tanks and weapons for the military. This rearmament meant further falls in unemployment.

4. Trade unions were banned, and workers had to join the Nazis' Labour Front instead. The Labour Front acted like one big trade union, but it was controlled by the Nazis. Workers couldn't go on strike or campaign for better conditions, and wages were relatively low.

Although enemployment fell, after the Depression, the Nazis fiddled with the statistics to make it look lower than it really was - e.g. they didn't count women or Jewish people without jobs in the official unemployment statistics.

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Some groups in society Felt Better Off

1. Nazis made efforts to maintain the support if German workers. They wanted workers to feel important and believe that they were an essential part of the Volksgemeinschaft (a community of people working hard towards the same aims).

  • The Nazis introduced the Volkswagen (the 'people's car') as a luxury people could aspire to own.
  • They also introduced the 'Strength through Joy' - a scheme which provided workers with cheap holidays and leisure activities.
  • The 'Beauty of Labour' scheme encouraged factory owners to improve conditions for workers.

2. Many in the middle classes also felt better off, e.g. small business owners were able to advance more in society than previously.

3. But even though many people felt better off, workers and small-business owners had lost out in some ways.

  • The cost of living rose by about 25% - but wages didn't go up.
  • Workers didn't have the right to strike or resign.
  • Small businesses had to pay high taxes.
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