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Explain the reasons for Nazi policies towards women.

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Introduction

The Nazis had a very clear picture of what their ideal women; blue eyes and blonde hair (the typical Aryan German.) She would have broad hips for child bearing but also be athletic. Her clothes would be made from home-produced substitutes; she would wear a full skirt and flat shoes. Her role in the home would be to raise many children, look after her family and be a good homemaker and cook using leftovers. There was an organisation called the 'Weutsches Frauenwerk' (German Women's Enterprise.) This prepared Mother's Schools to train women for household and parenting skills. The women took part in courses, lectures and radio programmes on household topics. The modern (1930's) women were frowned upon by the Nazi's; dyed, permed-hair, slim, fashion-conscious and have a professional career. She would wear make-up, trousers, high heels and smoke. This was very different to the idealistic view the Nazi's had of women. The Nazis policies were based on two fears; the German population was growing too slowly, making Germany vulnerable of its faster breeding neighbours; Poland and Russia. Also the German people were becoming racially impure due to intermarriage with 'inferior' groups like the Jews and Slavs. So the Nazis set up a Policy of encouraging births and preventing racial mixing. ...read more.

Middle

In choosing a spouse, ask about his forebears, health is essential to physical beauty and do not look for a playmate but for a companion in marriage, also you should want to have as many children as possible. However this was yet another inconsistency because Labour services and conscription meant young mean would be less likely to marry and have children. The effect of all these penalties and laws increased marriage from 516,000 in 1932 to 740,000 in 1934. Divorces also increased after 1938. However, this increase in marriage may have been due more to economic optimism then to government policies. Later divorce was extended to help national objectives. The Nazi policies towards women suffered from contradictions for example the Nazis acted against the interest of families. The shortage of affordable housing and resulting in high rents created by the priority given to rearmament meant couples found it difficult finding accommodation to have large families. Another Nazi aim was to not only increase births but also to develop healthy Germans. As well as increasing the population the Nazis wanted to reduce the mortality rate; this was linked to producing Aryan children with eugenics. There was a vast expansion of health offices especially in rural areas. The Nazis also aimed to improve sanitation, preventative medicine, genetic and racial care; this was helped by the National Socialist Welfare Organisation (NSV.) ...read more.

Conclusion

However, it was successful and in 1933 the birth rate rose. The Nazis policies suffered from several contradictions. The main burden of their propaganda was to encourage the healthy Aryan family, as a small unit of the 'Volksgemeinschaft.' However, several of their policies undermined the family. The demands on the Hitler Youth too youngsters away from the family and encouraged them to challenge any non-Nazi attitudes of their parents. Yet another contradiction the Nazi Policies suffered from was employment. The Nazis attempt to drive women in all types of jobs increased, mainly due to the economic recovery. The "totalitarian" Nazi state was thus far less effective in utilising its resources then the liberal regimes in Britain and the USA. However, as well as unattractive aims to the policies there were benefits. In some areas, such as women's organisations and youth groups, the Nazis widened experience for women. Also social services saw an improvement. Generally the Nazi Policies had an effect. There was an increase in birth rate and marriage. Some could say due to economy rather than government policies but there was still an effect. So general health care improved, as did the public life of German women. They were open to more opportunities and became more involved in public life. So, although there were contradictions in the Nazi policies they generally had a positive effect on German women's lives. ...read more.

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