How successful were Nazi policies towards women?

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Lizzi Middleton

How successful were Nazi policies towards women?

The Weimar Republic destroyed the lifetime traditions of German women. Suddenly, everything that they had once believed in vanished and life that was previously based on hierarchy and order took a very ambiguous form. The discontent of the women lay in the outcome of the First World War and its by-product, emancipation, was not welcomed by most middle class women. In addition to this the inflation worsened the outcome of the emancipation and working on the streets became a major source of income for many. At the same time, men that returned from the war demanded their work positions back, which meant that women had to go back to the kitchen. The inflation had irreversibly affected the historical and economic status of the women who were, at this time, not receiving comfort in either public or private life. Women felt torn between the reality and the past, not knowing what to do with the lives that they were being forced to lead.


Hitler seemed to be a very appealing leader amidst the anarchy of the Weimar period and to women, he seemed even more charismatic because he spoke of the old tradition, and it was the loss of their traditional place in the family that made women felt as though they were now without an identity. The Nazi regime offered German women the restoration of this identity, a return to the familiarity of their homes and the right to bare and care for their offspring all of which with seemingly small economic and psychological cost. It offered them a ‘quick-fix’ for the problem, an offer that Germany’s women could not refuse. It is often said that women were also fascinated by Hitler and became hysterical on occasions when he appeared in public which was primarily down to Hitler’s manipulative use of propaganda in and for electioneering campaigns.

Having played a significant part in Hitler’s consolidation of power, women were quickly placed under his ideology, as was everyone in Germany on Hitler’s accession in 1933. Nazi ideology stressed that women should be confined to a purely domestic role in society; their duty was to produce healthy Aryan children, uphold conservative principals and comfort their husbands in their service to the state all of which was aimed at Hitler’s Volksgemeinschaft ideals. These ideas were advertised, and can be summed up in the Nazi slogan of Kinder, Kűche, Kirche, the central theme of the Nazi policy towards women. Many of the policies towards women suffered from contradictory opinions and the Nazis were not as successful as they intended to be on implementing Nazi policies and ideology on the women in Germany.

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The first step taken by the regime to bring women in to line with Nazi ideology was the creation of the Women’s Front by Robert Ley on 10 May 1933. The aim of which was to take women from the major decision making roles and from positions of power such as being members of the Reich but to keep a feeling of morale amongst them.  All 230 women’s organisations in Germany were to expel their Jewish members and integrate into the Women’s Front or face being disbanded. Most organisations happily obliged to this and were pleased to support a ...

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