A time, specifically before, during, and after the Second

A time of inhumanity, a period like no other, the Third Reich lasted from 1933 to 1945. After Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in 1933, Germany was never the same. German men, women, children, and elderly all felt the change in power. While incredibly important to acknowledge those who lost their lives during the Nazi Regime, this paper will focus on the  effect of the Third Reich on women and children living in Germany and the culture and arts of the time. From solely allowing specific types of art to banning abortions in Germany, the policies were strict and changed the way people lived. This paper will include discussions about the experience of German motherhood, teenage sexuality, career and politics for women, the deep artistic and cultural characteristics, and the role that German women played in creating the social and political environment of the Nazi state through activism and  indoctrination. Principally, it will argue the extent of the impact of Nazi Germany on the lives of women and children and the social and political changes they endured over time, specifically before, during, and after the Second World War. Firstly, by offering some background on the idea of motherhood in Nazi Germany, the pivotal change that the Nazis demanded will allow for a more critical analysis of the situation. Women were of serious importance to the creation of the Volksgemeinschaft, also known as the “people’s community” in Germany, but there existed specific roles and rules about what they were and were not allowed to do. Women were not to be seen holding office or in high-ranking jobs, let alone working for the government. According to Hitler, a woman was the foundation of the German family, which was the core of the Nazi ideology. Hitler made sure that the ideology was attractive to women, as their main roles were as wives and mothers and he hoped to continually increase the population and purify the German race for a perfect future population. He depended greatly on women to carry this out, and did this through awards and monetary prizes. Hitler was seen as an “idol” by the majority of women, which helped his goals greatly. Soon enough, however, female roles changed, and as will be discussed towards the end of this paper, women became critical players in the German armed forces. Also, the majority of women in Nazi Germany were a part of the Nationalist Socialist Women’s League. This league, along with other policies, set specific moral obligations that defined what roles women had. ” The most basic of these proportions was that women were properly confined to the domestic sphere of home and family, where an ambience of peace, harmony, and repose corresponded to the innocence, emotional sensitivity and passivity thought to be fundamental to the feminine character.” Activism was also banned for women, as it was seen as an action that caused a women to be aggressive and act outside of her regular domestic actions. These ideal images of a women were dominant facets of the nationalistic ideology of the mid twentieth century. Within the society and through Hitler’s followings, there existed women who promoted the submissiveness of females, such as Gertrud Schlotz-Klink. She had six children, travelled with Hitler’s entourage to promote the superiority of men, and stressed that all the women in Nazi Germany needed have as many children as they could carry. She was a key component of propaganda for the Nazi regime, yet was left out of political meetings and was not allowed to make any decisions, showing that no matter how crucial of an aspect she was to propaganda, men were always superior. Also, newlyweds were encouraged to have big families, and in doing so received up to a six months salary as a reward. Women who bore four children or more earned the “Cross of Honor of the German Mother.” which promoted Christian motherhood and made other women alike strive to make big, “pure Aryan” families. Among the safe, traditional ways of creating families during the second world war, there existed a couple “illegitimate” approaches that the Nazis promoted, including the Lebensborn, that supported women with all kinds of situations, no matter how bad. A program that advertised German procreation, The Lebensborn, was a place that cared for single mothers, mediated adoptions, and supported women pre and post pregnancy. It was also a place instituted by the Nazis where German women could go to to be impregnated by “healthy” and single SS leaders. This form of conception was popular among single women who wanted to support and grow the German population. Vandana, an author of journals concerning gender roles within the Nazi regime, sums up the way materialism plays into the operation of avoiding the birth of children who would not be racially pure: What was special about the nazis was that this maternalist concern was cast in an exclusivist racial mould, in which a set of ingenious ways were adopted to persuade ‘racially worthy’ women to be prolific outside the traditional institution of marriage, and Lebensborn was a manifestation of that. However, it was part and parcel of the broader nazi vision, in which equally ingenious anti natalist measures were devised to prevent the birth of ‘undesirable children.Abortions were banned while racially pure births were the only ones allowed, which further supported Hitler’s sterilization propaganda. The Nazi state changed the way people viewed unwed mothers and SS fathers. “The nazi regime thus created a new sense of sexual morality. ” Within the Lebensborn project, the number of births from “racially worthy women” that were single actually outweighed the births from married couples. The organization protected the privacy of all the mothers it supported and made sure to respect the dignity of each and every woman to maintain a secure reputation for its future. Furthermore, as described in the quote below, the marital status of women in Nazi Germany was a large determinant in how society perceived them. Being a leader of a women’s movement concerned the married status of the woman and was a central concern among the organizations that existed. Divisive gender politics seriously affected everyday female roles in society and how married and unmarried women were perceived. However, different perspectives towards how women should be treated in society were spoken of publicly, specifically by Nazi militants, who stated that women were just as capable and as intelligent as men and could contribute a lot to the German society besides just being mothers.Nazi militants were always looking for support and constantly expressing their opinion, as in the early years of the Nazi party, gender policies were not as strict. Militants believed in following, “the historical nature of Germanic society, rather than the desirable nature of the future German society. After the war, however, these kinds of opinions were banned from being said publicly, giving women less opportunity in the society. In addition, the private sphere, referred to as one’s home and private life with family, was where many argued that women should belong. The public sphere was dedicated for men and the private sphere was for women. Dollard, a European historian, stated, “Bourgeois women, both married and single, had not questioned their social and legal status as long as they found their “livelihood and meaningful life” in the private sphere.” In regard to National Socialism and how it viewed women, it was an ideology that praised and termed women fundamental to the success of the German nation. Now, this did not mean that women were allowed to vote or participate in any kind of political action. Joseph Goebbels summed up exactly what the Nazi regime believed was the role of every woman: “A woman’s primary, rightful, and appropriate place is in the family, and the most wonderful task that she can perform is to present her country and people with children.” When looking at the change from pre-war to post-war motherhood, cinema especially emphasized the importance of having children before the war as films revolved around central themes of “maternity” and “childbirth.” Once the war hit and all the men were conscripted, women were called to take over the men’s jobs to keep the economy running. They had to balance single motherhood, a demanding job, and protecting their family while living in a fairly unstable country that was fighting a violent war. Additionally, this next paragraph will analyze the effect of Nazi gender policy on the careers and lives of women in Germany. ” In June 1934 the girls in one Münster Gymnasium graduating class received their diplomas with great pomp and ceremony. But immediately after the celebration, the mood among the graduates turned somber and many of them wept. These female graduates had been warned that “it would be utterly pointless” to continue their studies.” Women knew that during this time in Germany there were many restrictions against women’s educational opportunities, removal from professional careers, and limits to their roles in public. Nationalist Socialist policies supported women to work at home and only at home. The below article, written by Michelle Mouton, argues that even though the Nazis destroyed female