Expectations of women

Hitler had very clear ideas about the role of women in the Nazi state. They were the centre of family life, as housewives and mothers.

  • Female doctors, teachers and civil servants were forced to give up their careers. Even at the end of the war, women were never asked to serve in the armed forces.
  • Their job was to keep the home nice for their husband and family.
  • Hitler wanted Germany to have a high birth rate, so the population would grow. The Nazis even considered making it law that families should have at least four children.
  • The Law for the Encouragement of Marriage gave newly-wed couples a loan of 1,000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250 marks for each child they had. Mothers who had more than eight children were given a gold medal.
  • Women were supposed to copy traditional German peasant dress - plain peasant costumes, hair in plaits or buns and flat shoes. They were expected not to wear make-up or trousers, dye their hair or smoke in public.