The Role of Women in the Third Reich
This week the class learned about the Volksgemeinschaft, the people’s community. Doesn’t that sound great? A community where everyone belongs. A group of people who have shared ideas. A group who have a shared interest in creating a happier better working community. Yes, it does, but as I read the section, the role of women caught my eye. In Sax and Kuntz’s book they had one of Hitler’s speeches on the role of women in the Volksgemeinschaft. Within his speech he was able to empathize, empower, and convince. He made the women feel like they were needed, that without them the world could not function.
The role of a woman was very important to the idea of the people’s community, because without people there can be no community. During this time in Germany there was a birth shortage. Knowing this Hitler made it a point to let the women know that the future of Germany was in there hands. Without the women taking care of the small things like the home and the children, the husband could not do his job. The women were encouraged to stay at home and help to keep the bloodlines from drying up. Hitler even gave the women awards for having children. If a woman was to have at least four children she got an award called the mothers cross. If she was to have eight or more she was awarded the golden cross. The second Sunday of May was from then on was to be called Mothering day (Sax and Kuntz pg. 266). It was dishonorable to do a men’s work, because what is greater than taking care of the little things. So, that your husband could work towards building a better community. In 1931, The National Socialist Women’s League was established. It had its own set of rules and principles that it had to run by. Making the women feel that they were not only needed at home but were able to help the party grow.
Although I can understand why they women followed and were so excited to help in any way possible. Living in this day and age where women have fought for equality, and are now able to choose how they live their life. It is hard for me to imagine my self-worth being measured by how many children I have. Or, if my husband is happy with the way the house is cleaned. It seems absurd to me.
Sax, Benjamin C., and Dieter Kuntz. Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1992. Print.