Marriage and children

Hitler wanted to increase the amount of Aryan marriages and raise the birth rate. He tried to accomplish this by:

  • introducing the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage in June 1933 which gave newlyweds a loan of 1,000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250 marks for each child they had;
  • giving incentives to women who had a large number of children, such as the Motherhood Cross which awarded bronze for 4 children, silver for 6 and gold for 8 or more. Other examples included tax incentives and welfare benefits, cheap theatre tickets and being allowed to jump queues;
  • starting family allowances to help low income families;
  • taxing single men and childless families heavily;
  • making divorce easier by the Marriage Law of 1938. For example, if a man already had 4 children with a woman, he had the right to divorce her so he could remarry and have more children. Couples could also divorce if they were childless or after three years’ separation;
  • ensuring contraception was difficult to obtain;
  • making abortion illegal in 1933 - although later this was allowed if mothers had a “defect”;
  • using propaganda and peer pressure.

He tried to ensure only racially pure Aryan children were born by:

  • legalising sterilisation and abortions for those with “disabilities” and those who were “undesirables”;
  • encouraging unmarried women to have babies with Aryan SS men in a Lebensborn home;
  • demanding proof of racial purity before a marriage could go ahead under a new law in 1935;
  • passing the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour of 1935, which forbade marriages between Aryans and Jews, people of colour and Roma.