Women in Nazi Germany
1) How did life change for women in Germany under Nazi rule?
Life changed significantly for German women in the 1930’s when The Nazi Party came to power. During the 1920’s, women had had few restrictions in their lives and were able to both work and vote. Yet after the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1933, women in Nazi Germany were to have a very specific role. Outside of certain specialist fields, saw no reason why a woman should continue to work. In there had been 100,000 female teachers, 13,000 female musicians, and 3000 female doctors. Within months of Hitler coming to power, many female doctors and civil servants were sacked, closely followed by female lawyers and teachers. By the start of the , very few German women were in fulltime work. For the independent and career-minded women who had lost their jobs, the rise of the Nazi party would have had both a dramatic and negative affect on their life. Not only were they no longer expected to work, but after having been fully independent beforehand, they were now expected to stay at home and rely on their husbands and the government for support.
Education taught girls that there was a certain lifestyle that they should admire and pursue from an early age, and girls were taught that all ideal German women should marry at a young age. They were also taught that their duty as a wife would be to keep a clean and tidy home for her working husband and to have lots of children. To encourage this, Hitler passed the ‘Law for the Encouragement of Marriage’ just after he came to power. This law stated that all newly married couples would get a government loan of one thousand marks, and 800,000 newly weds took up this offer. The birth of one child meant that 25% of the loan did not have to be paid back. Having two children meant that 50% of the loan need not be paid back, and having four children meant that the entire loan was cleared. For many women, this law would have been highly beneficial. It was an easy way of receiving extra money for doing something that they saw as their primary duty- to be the ideal German woman who cared for her husband, home, and children.
German women were fully controlled and were discouraged from wearing make up and trousers, and were encouraged to wear their hair in a certain style and dress in a specific way. Only flat shoes were expected to be worn and women were discouraged from slimming, as this was considered bad for childbirth. They were actively encouraged to have a well-built figure as it was taught that slim women would have problems in pregnancy.