Background[ edit ] Under the Weimar Republic , the status of women was one of the most progressive in Europe. The Weimar Constitution of January 19, proclaimed their right to vote articles 17 and 22 , equality of the sexes in civic matters art.
But Weimar did not represent a huge leap forward for women's liberation. German woman secretary, in While most of the other parties under the Weimar Republic ran female candidates during elections and some were elected , the Nazi party did not.
In , Joseph Goebbels justified this position by explaining that "it is necessary to leave to men that which belongs to men ". For example, Gertrud von Seidlitz, a widow of a noble family, donated 30, marks to the party in ;  and Helene Bechstein, who had an estate on the Obersalzberg, facilitated Hitler's acquisition of the property Wachenfeld.
It places women in situations where they cannot strengthen their position with regard to men and with society — but it only weakens them. The Nazis' policies pertaining to women were one aspect of their efforts to stem what they viewed as the decadence of the Weimar Republic. On the whole, in my view, we have too much masculinized our life, to the point that we are militarizing impossible things [ For me, it is a catastrophe that we other poor male fools - I speak generally, because this does not mean you directly, we want to make women an instrument of logical thought, to educate them in everything possible, that we want to masculinize with time the difference between the sexes, the polarity will disappear.
The path to homosexuality is not far. The movement, the ideology cannot be sustained if it is worn by women, because man conceives of everything through the mind, whereas women grasp everything through sentiment. This policy created worry among the militants in the NSDAP, who were concerned that it would harm the number of female graduates, a reservoir needed for future party ranks.
The five years of Latin classes and three years of science were replaced by courses in German language and domestic skills training. Female doctors were no longer allowed to practice, until their loss had a harmful effect on health needs and some were recalled to work; also dissolved was the Association of Medical Women, which was absorbed into its male counterpart.
On June 8, , a decree stipulated that only men could be named to these posts, if it was not in a social field. Nonetheless, on February 21, " in an individual and exceptional capacity " following lobbying by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink ,  one female scientist Margarete Gussow obtained a post in astronomy. Mathematician Ruth Moufang was able to receive her doctorate, but could not obtain the right to teach and was forced to work for national industry.
Physics researcher Lise Meitner , who directed the Department of Physics at the Kaiser Wilhelm Society , was able to remain in her post until , but this was only due to her Austrian nationality, which ended with the Anschluss ; she then left for the Netherlands, and then Sweden. In the scientific field, there were almost no nominations of women; in , a woman was not permitted to direct a scientific institute, despite the fact that no male candidate had applied.
There was no substantial resistance to this control. The bourgeois women's associations reasoned, as did many others, that the Nazi government was a vulgar phenomenon that would soon fade, and that through their participation they could still exert some influence.
With respect to the widespread tendency to underestimate the threat that the regime presented, the historian Claudia Koonz highlights the popular proverb of the era: A mother, her daughters and her son in the uniform of the Hitler Youth pose for the magazine SS-Leitheft February New Woman[ edit ] The Nazi woman had to conform to the German society desired by Adolf Hitler Volksgemeinschaft , racially pure and physically robust.
She did not work, living in the naturalization of motherhood and following the slogan of the former emperor William II of Germany: Thus, Magda Goebbels declared in If a German girl must choose between marriage or a career, she will always be encouraged to marry, because that is what is best for a woman".
On the contrary, they were expected to participate at the ground level in the roles of mother and spouse. Without a doubt, a conservative electorate and a fringe part of the population very critical of the image of the emancipated woman from the s found a certain satisfaction in the new regime. But the goals were different, asking each woman to take part in the building of the "Reich of years".
Prohibitions and obligations[ edit ] The wearing of makeup was generally prohibited, and a certain modesty was demanded of women, contrasting with the Weimar Republic period, which experienced more freedom on a moral level. Sexuality was banned, unless for a reproductive goal; liberated young women were considered "depraved" and "antisocial". Mothers were encouraged to have children: Cross of Honour of the German Mother for mothers having brought into the world more than four children.
A "German Mothers' Day" was also created; during that of , three million mothers were decorated. Young women of the BDM practising gymnastics in Physical standards[ edit ] In line with Nazi racial theory , the Nazi government promoted the " Aryan " Nordic archetype as the ideal physical appearance: This image was spread as much through advertising as through official art, then through ancient art, and more specifically through Greco-Roman statues.
Academic Monique Moser-Verrey notes: Yet it is striking that the image of women projected by women's literature of the s is clearly contrary to traditional views of sweet housewife spread by Rosenberg and Goebbels. The heroines of women's novels during this period are often a strong and tenacious type of woman, while the sons and husbands are quickly delivered to death.
Everything happens as if one perceives through these fictions a true antagonism between the sexes generated by the constant mobilisation of these two groups independent of one another. The Nazi government wanted to propagandize the "Aryan" woman. In various posters and other forms of media, this ideal Nazi woman was strong, fertile, and wore historically traditional German clothing. However, although there was disagreement over how to ideally fashion German "Aryan" women, anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-French Nazi rhetoric played a key part in molding German women's fashion ideology.
Regimentation of women[ edit ] The compulsory education for girls was not neglected and boys and girls were placed on the same footing at schools. Girls were encouraged to pursue secondary education but university courses were closed to them. Beginning in they were required to fulfill a work period of six months for the benefit of the service of women's work, the Reichsarbeitsdienst Deutscher Frauenarbeitsdienst.
Adolf Hitler declared, on April 12, , that the schools of the Reich must gather "boys and girls from all classes" to meet "all the youth of the Reich". Nazi propaganda published pamphlets that enjoined all German women to avoid sexual relations with all foreign workers brought to Germany as a danger to their blood. Enforcing Racial Policy — writes about such cases of German women being found guilty of sexual relations with prisoners of war and foreigner workers.
One case in March was of a married woman who had an affair with a French prisoner of war had her head shaved and was marched through the town of Bramberg in Lower Franconia carrying a sign which said, "I have sullied the honour of the German woman. She had her head shaved and was placed in the pillory of her town of Oschatz near Leipzig, with a sign that proclaimed, "I have been a dishonourable German woman in that I sought and had relations with Poles.
By doing that I excluded myself from the community of the people. These institutions did not have a purpose of enabling women to re-enter political life but of endowing the best with the cultural baggage required to occupy posts related to the management of women's affairs.
This concerned a very small minority. However, on June 5, , the MInister of Finance Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk , a conservative politician, threatened to cut grants to the second school, if it did not become a simple internship for adolescents, rejecting all political education for girls. Adolf Hitler decided otherwise on June 24, , promising the construction of three new Napola.
Founded in , the movement was needed after the law of December 1, There also existed a required six-month work service, the Reichsarbeitsdienst der weiblichen Jugend National Young Women's Work Service , completed in with six extra months in the Kriegshilfsdienst for the war effort.
For young women aged 18 to 25 years old wishing to find work, in the Pflichtjahr was instituted, one year of obligatory service in farming or domestic work. Women could be members of the Nazi Party , but newcomers to the party were only admitted if they were "useful" nurses or cooks for example. On 31 December , the NSF counted , members.
Her views on women were obviously in agreement with those of Adolf Hitler, but she still defended access to some positions of responsibility. She did not participate in major meetings of the party but was invited to the party congress.
It is notable, however, that although there were numerous courses for domestic training, gymnastics and music, they deserted those oriented towards antireligious teaching. It defended the role of the mother of the family at home, conscious of their duties at the heart of the community. Adolf Hitler had already affirmed in a speech to activists of the National Socialist Women's League on September 13, Other women also worked in factories or in military education.
Military members of the Reichsbahn National Company of Railways or the Feuerwehr firefighters wore uniforms appropriate to the era, especially with a skirt. We often hear, even from the women, the most diverse objections against work in arms factories. The question of knowing whether we can require such work of this or that particular woman is now well past. Beginning in , the Reich Minister of the Economy introduced the job training program called Berufsausbildungsprogramm Ost for farming duty in the East not to be confused with the ethnic cleansing of Generalplan Ost.
Adolescent girls were employed in the Brandebourg Market for the agricultural work program. They are wonderful during times of peace, but are a waste of time in a time of war. Our wives and our daughters will be able to welcome our victorious soldiers without their beautiful peacetime adornments. They cannot and will not ignore our request.
The duties of women are huge. This is not to say that only those included in the law can work. The more who join the war effort, the more we free up soldiers for the front. We no longer have the right to speak of the weaker sex, since both sexes show the same determination and the same spiritual force. In , there numbered , women auxiliaries in the Wehrmacht Wehrmachtshelferinnen ,  who were at the heart of the Heer , the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine.