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Hitler’s Attempt to create a Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community). What were Hitler’s aims? How far did he succeed?. Definition of Volksgemeinschaft. People’s community - ideal German society Racially unified and hierarchically organized body

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Hitler s attempt to create a volksgemeinschaft people s community

Hitler’s Attempt to create a Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community)

What were Hitler’s aims?

How far did he succeed?

Definition of volksgemeinschaft
Definition of Volksgemeinschaft

  • People’s community - ideal German society

  • Racially unified and hierarchically organized body

  • Interests of individuals would be strictly subordinate to those of the nation, or Volk

  • The people's community would be permanently prepared for war and would accept the discipline that this required

  • Mystic Utopia

  • Required that all its members be centred on the same goal, dedicated to hard work and prepared for self-sacrifice

  • Those who would not fit in – the ‘asocial’, the ‘workshy’, homosexuals, political opponents – and those who could not fit in – ‘aliens’, the ‘ineducable’, the ‘incurable’ – had to be excluded, even eradicated.

Hitler s policy on women
Hitler’s policy on women

"Take hold of kettle, broom and pan,

Then you’ll surely get a man!

Shop and office leave alone, Your true

life work lies at home."

"In the Germanic nations there has never

been anything else than equality of rights

for women. Both sexes have their rights,

their tasks, and these tasks were in the

case of each equal in dignity and value,

and therefore man and woman were on

an equality."

  • Hitler in 1935

"The mission of women is to be beautiful

and to bring children into the world. This

is not at all as.........unmodern as it

sounds. The female bird pretties herself

for her mate and hatches eggs for him. In

exchange, the male takes care of gathering

food, and stands guard and wards off the


  • Joseph Goebbels, writing in 1929.

Very specific policy
Very specific policy:

  • 25 points published in 1920 - disapproval of women working

  • Good mothers bringing up children at home while their husbands worked

  • 1933 Law for the Encouragement of Marriage

  • Stated that all newly married couples would get a government loan of 1000 marks which was about 9 months average income

  • 800,000 newly weds took up this offer

  • This loan was not to be simply paid back.

  • The birth of one child meant that 25% of the loan did not have to be paid back

  • Two children meant that 50% of the loan need not be paid back

  • Four children meant that the entire loan was cleared.


  • Encourage birth of children: future soldiers and mothers of the Reich - Lebensraum

  • Proposed law of 1943 - 4 children: extreme

  • Female professionals sacked

  • But: by 1937 skills shortage so "Duty Year” - also marriage loans abolished

Life for women
Life for women


  • Make up, trousers, smoking, slimming

  • August 12th birthday of Hitler’s mother: Motherhood Cross awarded to women who had given birth to the largest number of children

  • Gold = 8; silver = 6; bronze = 4

  • Lebensborns - buildings where selected unmarried women could go to get pregnant by a "racially pure" SS man

  • Identifiable - openly publicised

  • Women driven to join left wing groups

Gertrud scholtz klink
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink

  • Reich Women's Leader and head of the Nazi Women's League.

  • Promote male superiority and the importance of child-bearing.

  • ”The mission of woman is to minister in the home and in her profession to the needs of life from the first to last moment of man's existence."

  • July 1934 Scholtz-Klink appointed as head of the Women's Bureau in the German Labour Front

  • She now had responsibility for persuading women to work for the good of the Nazi government

  • In 1938 she argued that "the German woman must work and work, physically and mentally she must renounce luxury and pleasure."


  • Eliminating women from workplace increased male employment (and overall unemployment)

  • Birth rate rose: 1.2 million in 1934 to 1.41 million in 1939

  • But: Nazi success or better economic circumstances (T.W. Mason)

  • Practicalities overcame ideology: 1939 33% of work force (still banned from professions though)


  • Summary

  • How does this compare with Stalin’s policy towards women?