The Nazis had clear ideas of what they wanted from women. They were expected to stay at home, look after the family and produce children in order to secure the future of the Aryan race.
Hitler believed women’s lives should revolve round the three 'Ks':
The mission of women is to be beautiful and to bring children into the world.
Women were important to the Nazis, however, the Nazis believed that the role of the woman was in the home and with her family, not in the world of work.
Hitler wanted a high birth rate so that the Aryan population would grow. He tried to achieve this by:
Measures were introduced which strongly discouraged women from working, including:
However, female labour was cheap and between 1933 and 1939 the number of women in employment actually rose by 2.4 million. As the German economy grew, women were needed in the workplace.
Women were expected to emulate traditional German peasant fashions - plain peasant costumes, hair in plaits or buns and flat shoes. They were not expected to wear make-up or trousers, dye their hair or smoke in public. They were discouraged from staying slim, because it was thought that thin women had trouble giving birth.
A good mnemonic to help you remember the facts about Nazi women is: