The effectiveness of the Nazis’ actions and policies by 1939

There were some successes for the Nazis.

  • Most women complied with the Nazis’ policies.
  • Many women, especially from the working class, actually approved of the three 'Ks': Kinder, Küche, Kirche (Children, Kitchen, Church) and accepted a traditional role.
  • Hitler gained supporters because of his policies on women and the family. Lots of women were pleased with the Nazis’ stricter rules in society - they had disapproved of the moral decline of the 1920s. They enjoyed the leisure activities, such as evening classes, outings to theatres and sports events, run by the Strength Through Joy (KdF) movement.

Some actions and policies, however, were not successful, which show the limits of Hitler’s power.

  • Although the birth rate increased, it was still lower in 1939 than in the early 1920s.
  • Many women, especially manual workers, managed to keep their jobs due to a lack of replacements. The number of women in employment actually rose by 2.4 million between 1933 and 1939 because there was a shortage of workers for the rearmament factories and the autarky drive. In 1939, the Nazis had to reverse their employment policy and encourage women to return to the labour force.
  • The annual number of marriages increased at first, but then the rate levelled off.
  • Hitler claimed to be a supporter of the traditional family but some of his policies contradicted this, for example making divorce easier and the setting up of Lebensborn.

Overall, there were changes to the lives of women, but their status in society was not significantly changed.

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