How successful were Nazi policies
towards women & the family?
Education played a major part in winning the hearts & minds of
the young. The Nazis directed what was taught in schools &
placed special emphasis on subjects they considered suitable.
So History showed the success of the Nazis
& Biology explained Nazi racial beliefs.
Physical Education time trebled in the 1930s.
Other subjects, like Race Studies & Ideology,
also appeared on the timetable, as Nazi
beliefs were taught as excepted facts.
Girls' education had a
greater emphasis placed
on domestic science &
subjects for motherhood in
girls' schools. Whereas
military training was mainly
emphasised for boys in
In the classroom, textbooks had been rewritten to present Nazi
beliefs. Only teachers who supported the Party taught in
schools. 97% became members of the National Socialist
Teachers' League, from propaganda & intimidation. The League
was founded to encourage teachers in the 'correct' way of
Geography lessons emphasised the harshness of the
T.O.V, Physics concentrated on weapon making & even
Maths lessons for young children were sometimes about
bombing Jewish ghettos. Of course the superiority of the
Aryan race and the inferiority of blacks, Eastern
Europeans and in particular Jews was emphasised.
Nazis had very strong views about the place
of women in society. It was their duty to
remain at home as child-bearers & as
supporters of their husbands. They were not
considered as equal.
Employment opportunities for women declined
under the Nazis. Women were banned from jury
service because they were said to be incapable
of thinking without emotion. As a shortage of
workers developed, (particularly in the war
years), more women were encouraged to work,
but were never allowed to join the armed forces.
The Nazis encouraged women to have as many children as
possible. Hitler was alarmed at the falling birth rate in Germany, so
contraception was discouraged & mothers with 8+ children were
awarded a golden Mother Cross (silver for 6 & bronze for 4).
Motherhood & family life were also
prominent in Nazi propaganda. Posters &
broadcasts emphasised the qualities of
'traditional'. German women & smoking was
banned for them (in some cities), because it
was 'unladylike' & make-up & the latest
fashion was discouraged. Ideal German
women had flat heels, plaited hair & no
Of course, many German women objected to their role
as second-class citizens, & some joined illegal
opposition political parties to campaign for better status,
even though not they were not considered equal in the
30s. Nazi beliefs about women were not necessarily
unusual, just more extreme in some cases.