To What Extent Did Nazi Policy Result In A 'social Revoltuion' In The Lives Of Women?

1498 words - 6 pages

The Nazi regime changed the lives of German's in many different ways. One of the most targeted groups within society were German women. However, it has long been debated whether a social revolution ever happened in German women's lives during the Nazi period, and if so, to what extent the Nazi regime revolutionised women's lives.The first view that historians put across is that there was a complete revolution in the lives of German women during the Nazi period. This view can be supported by several different historical events and sources. Women's lives were totally changed by Nazi policies, for example the use of such offers as marriage loans, brought in with the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage. These loans offered 1,000 Reichsmarks to newly wed couple; about nine month's worth of wages. The loans could be paid off in children (two children would mean 50% of the loan was paid; four meant that 100% of the loan was paid.), or money. These loans were responsible for the huge rise in the amount of women marrying, 800,000 couple took up the offer of the loan. However there were several conditions that had to be met. Before a loan was given, the woman involved in the marriage must not be working, showing that these loans affected the working force of women as well as the amount of women considering marriage.The workforce of German women was perhaps where a revolution was most likely to be said to occur, as it was where the most change took place. In Weimar Germany it is estimated that there was 100,000 women teachers, 3,000 female doctors and roughly 13,000 female musicians. During the Nazi government, many of these women were sacked or moved to work in the areas of the economy that did not involve Nazi politics. This first jobs to have women removed from were jobs such as doctors or civil servants, as they were considered the most important type of job. Female teachers and lawyers were sacked next. By 1937 there were very few women in employment. This shows that women's lives were indeed controlled through all aspects of their lives.Another aspect of the typical German woman's life that was controlled was their thoughts and aspects on children. With the introduction of contraceptives in the 1920's, the birth rate in Germany during this period had steadily been decreasing as women concentrated more on the employment and social areas of their lives. The Nazis did not want this decline to continue as they needed to increase the population in their plans of war and increasing Germany's empire by conquering "Lebensraum" or living space. They therefore launched a huge propaganda campaign designed to make German women have more children. This campaign was hugely successful as between 1930 and 1939 the birth rate climbed from 14.7 per 1000 to 20.4. This shows that the Nazi policy did at least affect one area of women's lives.Another area of women's lives that Nazi policies affected was their appearances. One historian puts across the point that "Women...

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