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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nazi Women

"A male-dominated and male-oriented movement, nazism almost completely ignored women and women's issues during the early 1920s. The relatively few women who associated themselves with the Nazi cause in this phase of its development did so on their own initiative without encouragement, guidance, or control from the party. Although generally older than their male counterparts, Nazi women tended to share many similar characteristics with them. Of middle— and lower—middle—class origin, Nazi women were also predominantly Protestant, extremely nationalistic, anti-Marxist, and cultural traditionalists; some were also religious and anti-Semitic. Fearful of the rising tide of the socialist masses and distressed by the decline of the German middle classes after World War I, these women resented the modern economic and political trends of the Weimar Republic, which they held responsible for the social displacement of their class and the threats to their country. Moreover, these women were disillusioned with the female emancipation and legal equality provided by Wemiar. To some traditionalists, the rise of the “modern woman" degraded and endangered the natural role of women as mothers and wives. For other, the promises of emancipation and equality turned to disappointment and disillusionment. Instead of improving their economic condition, such changes really meant low—paying work or poverty, while stripping away traditional protections as well as the respect and status afforded by traditional roles for women in society. Reacting against the supposed causes of their plight as women and Germans, Nazi women sought a movement that would save their country and class through reestablishing a strong state and return the protection and stability for women that had been provided by stable families and traditional society."

--- A History of Nazi Germany: 1919-1945 / Joseph W. Bendersky
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