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Volksgemeinschaft. Did the Nazis achieve a social revolution between 1933- 1939?. How far did the Nazis succeed in winning over the hearts and minds of ordinary German citizens?. What is meant by Volksgemeinschaft?. Hitler aimed to create a ‘national people’s community’

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Did the Nazis achieve a social revolution between 1933- 1939?

what is meant by volksgemeinschaft
What is meant by Volksgemeinschaft?
  • Hitler aimed to create a ‘national people’s community’
  • Weltanschauung- shared ideals- a common world view
  • Volksgenossen- Fellow Germans
  • Blut und Boden- Blood and soil
  • Outsiders

What problems are there with the concept of Volksgemeinschaft?

  • What do you think Hitler was really trying to achieve?
role of women
Role of Women
  • ‘One might be tempted to say that the world of women is a smaller world. For her world is her husband, her family, her children and her house’
  • Kinder, Kirche, Kuche- Children, Church, Kitchen
  • Family as the ‘germ cell of the nation’

State backed motherhood- made an attractive financial proposition

how did women fit in with nazi ideology
How did women fit in with Nazi ideology?
  • Volkisch ideas about role of women – subservient wife, prolific mother, guardian of moral virtue & racial purity
  • Three K’s – Kinder, Küche, Kirche
  • Restrictions – women excluded from judiciary, medicine & civil service; university places limited to 10%
  • Incentives – free loans to newlyweds,, tax rebates, medals
  • Nuremberg Laws, 1935 – banned sexual intercourse between Germans & Jews
  • Lebensborn – impregnation by SS officers
  • Organisations – National Socialist Womanhood; German Women’s Enterprise
  • Reactionary- in response to the Weimar trend- full employment, vote, fashion, freedom of women- Nazis picked up on a Depression era reaction
  • Contradictions in Nazi policy- family unit, but Hitler Youth, sterilisation programme, euthanasia programme, Lebensborn programme- birth outside marriage
  • Nazi economic recovery-women stayed in employment
  • Ideology versus economic need- many laws relaxed as demand for workers increased
  • Did women absorb Nazi propaganda?
  • Nazi family values an extreme version of Catholicism
  • Increase in social services for women
  • Unable to reconcile social policy with political,economic and military ambitions
  • No evidence that policies were unpopular- secured the approval - ‘tolerance’ by women
  • Modernism versus traditionalist tendencies within the Third Reich
  • Family used a tool of the totalitarian state- reproduction
  • Shared values?- family / state / nationalism (Lutheranism) anti- communism
  • Church an obstacle to achieving total control
  • Hitler speaks of a need for ‘Positive Christianity’
  • Catholic 32% population / Protestant 58%- Lutheran / Calvinist
  • Catholic Zentrum / BVP political parties
  • Provincial religion- protestant state based
third reich and religion
Third Reich and Religion
  • Reich Church- ‘coordination’ of Protestant churches
  • German Christians- ‘racial based’ Christianity (Ludwig Muller)
  • Confessional Church- breakaway from Reich Church- (Niemoller) (Bonhoffer)
  • German Faith Movement- ‘pagan’ Nazi Faith (Alfred Rosenberg)
  • ‘Only insititution which had both an alternative ideology…and retained organisational autonomy’
  • Subservience to the state
  • Ensuring the survival of insititution through cooperation- self defence- rather than political oppostion
  • Individuals rather than Institutions opposing the regime
  • Highlights the limits of the Totalitarian State
overall did hitler break down the classes
Overall- did Hitler break down the classes?
  • How much had society changed by 1945?
  • Descriptions of life in the 1930s before the outbreak of war (Lutz Niethammer 1986)- comments about life - ‘quiet’, ‘good’, ‘normal’
  • People seem more concerned with employment, economic stability, order and peace.
  • Class structures probably not altered as a result of Nazi rule.
  • ‘Revolution of form, not substance’- Hitler’s aim to deceive the people. VMS a propaganda gimmick.
conclusions continued
Conclusions continued
  • Social effects were at times contradictory- sometimes modernising/ sometimes reactionary
  • Deep social divisions and discontent existed beneath the propaganda- this was dealt with by repression.
  • If a social revolution was achieved it was as a result of the elimination of people
  • Strongest argument for social revolution is based on the regime’s social destruction- things changed as a result of war- but this was not intentional. Nazi Germany had an impact on society beyond its own existence.