Explain the reasons for Nazi policies towards women?
The main objective for the Nazi’s with regards to women was to use them to help with increase the population, as Germany had a declining birth rate, the Nazi’s heavily promoted higher birth rates among the Aryan race. One reason for the Nazi policies was to increase pure Aryan German births; one major factor for trying to get women to have more children was the financial incentives like birth grants and marriage loans, the more children they had, the less money they had to pay back. Hitler believed he could women to produce and care for his next generation of strong Aryan fighters, and women were tempted to have more children in different ways, for example women with large families were awarded the motherhood cross. Younger women were also encouraged to take motherhood and homecraft classes. Unmarried women were still expected to have children; even if they were not married, the Nazi’s even went as far to introduce Lebensborns, where unmarried women could go to get pregnant by a ‘racially pure’ SS man However, only racially desirable in the view of the Nazi’s, pure Aryan women were encouraged to have children, mentally or physically disabled women were classed as ‘unfit’ to have children and were sterilised as were Jews and ‘racially undesirable’ women. Hitler was determined to build a strong Aryan army and minimised the amount of disabled and racially undesirable births as they didn’t fit in with the Nazi image of a ‘perfect’ Germany.
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Hitler was a strong believer in the traditional role that women held, that they should stay at home, clean the house and care for the children, it was the man’s job to be the breadwinner for the family. Women were not expected to work in Nazi Germany, but they were expected to bring up the next generation of Nazi’s, teaching their children the Nazi theories and ensuring they attended the Hitler Youth. Women were strongly discouraged from working and many female civil service workers were sacked as Nazi’s took rule, female lawyers, teachers and doctors shortly followed. Women were also expected to wear plain clothing and hairstyles and were discouraged from dying their hair, wearing make-up or smoking as it was deemed ‘unladylike’ and ‘ungerman’ to do so. Women were also discouraged from slimming, as it was thought it was bad for childbirth.
In conclusion, the Nazi policies were put into action to control nearly every aspect of women’s lives, the main reason for this was to increase the population of the ‘pure’ Aryan race and raise Hitler’s next generation of soldiers so they could spread and invade other countries, the rise in births would provide Hitler with a stronger, larger army. While at the same time keeping them in the traditional role and preventing what they believed ‘undesirable births. The role of German Aryan women in Nazi Germany was to build a strong, loyal Germany and give their support to the men making Germany great.