In Nazi Germany during the Third Reich, which began in the early 1930’s, the role of Women in the society was greatly affected by different policies that were created by the totalitarian government system. Some of these policies included the Law of Encouragement of Marriage, the Lebensborn program, and the Law for Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). The law of Encouragement of Marriage said that newly wed couples would be given a loan of 1000 marks and for each child that they had they would be allowed to deduct 250 marks from their loan (Trueman).
This meant that if a family had 4 or more children they would pay their entire loan off. The Lebensborn Program of 1936 meant that racially pure Aryan women, usually unmarried, would live in Lebensborn houses while they carried the children of SS men in secret (The “Lebensborn” Program). Once the child was born, they were given to the SS organization to educate the child and facilitate their adoption. All men and women who applied to live in the Lebensborn houses first needed to pass a racially pure test.
This test included tracing the family’s genetics back at least 3 generations and blonde hair and blue eyes were preferred (The “Lebensborn” Program). The Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring meant that women who were considered to be racially impure or undesirable were sterilized so that they would not be able to produce more offspring. These laws were designed to increase the population of “pure” Germans and increase the amount of soldiers and mothers that lived in Germany (Turk).
The policies that were imposed upon women in Nazi Germany can be considered both successful and unsuccessful. When these policies were first imposed, everyone complied with the policies and women began bearing more children (Women in the Nazi State). As a result, women were forced to commit themselves to the domestic life thus forfeiting their chance to be employed outside of the home. While more women committed themselves to domestic life, more men were able to take their jobs. Through these laws the population increased dramatically and women and girls now had the opportunity to help support the Nazi organizations (German Women and 3 K’s).
The policies were unsuccessful because Germany lost the war and thus they did not need all of these pure Germans to populate these territories because they lost control of them when the war was lost. The women were also needed to work when the war was in its most intense period, but due to the policies that were imposed on women, they were used to living a solely domestic life and did not want to return to the workforce (German Women and 3 K’s). The policies were unsuccessful as well, because there was a large amount of discrimination towards women, limiting their rights as German citizens. The Nazi party, through imposing these policies, increased the German population from 66 million people in 1933 to 68 million people in 1938 (Ganse), which is the main reason these policies could be considered a success.
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