History Topic 4 - Nazi Domestic Policies - Women

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Topic 4

Nazi Domestic Policies 1933-39


WHAT CHANGES HAD OCCURRED FOR WOMEN IN WEIMAR GERMANY?

 

In the 1920s women advanced within German society in three areas: Political, Economic and Social.

 

Pre-1920s women were thought generally to be oblivious to politics. However, women over twenty gained the right to vote in 1918, the year WW1 ended, and since then were absorbed into the world of politics- so much so that by 1933 one tenth of the Reichstag were females.

 

The economy of Germany was in turmoil as war had all but bankrupted the country. Women began to take up work- not in the home as was common in Britain, but in traditionally male professions. Women worked in the civil service, law, medicine and teaching. In some professions they earned equal amounts to their male colleagues.

 

Socially, women gained their freedom. It became the norm for women to go out without company and drink and smoke in public. Being thin was fashionable, along with short skirts, hair and make-up.

 

THE IDEAL NAZI WOMAN

 

The ideal Nazi woman shouldn’t wear make-up, but should wear flat shoes and a full skirt. She should have blonde hair, wide hips and be adept at raising children and cooking. She shouldn’t smoke or work but should look athletic.

Some general rules were: no trousers, hair should be in plaits or buns and no high heels.

HOW DID THE ROLE OF WOMEN CHANGE UNDER THE NAZIS?

 

Marriage, Family and Work

The Nazis were worried about a decreasing birth rate which had dropped by over half from 1900 to 1933. They used propaganda to advertise large families. Another tactic the Nazis used was providing loans so that young couples could marry, but only if the woman quit her job. Couples could keep one quarter of the loan for every child born up to four. Hitler even went so far as to, on his mothers birthday, award medals to

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