Hitler also changed the lives of the women in Germany. Under the rule of Weimar, Germany had been a very decadent society. So, Hitler was keen to get away from that. He believed that the place for women in Nazi Germany could be summed up by the three Ks – Kinder, Kirche und Kuche, which meant Children, Church and Cooking. Also, he encouraged young women to get married and have large families of racially pure children (Aryans). Hitler wanted Germany’s birth rate to increase as it was falling, and the Nazis wanted more soldiers.
In order to make this seem desirable to women, he employed many tactics. The “Law for the Encouragement of Marriage” was passed in June 1933. This gave all newly married couples a loan of 100 marks. For every child born, the family could keep 25% of the loan. This marriage loan system worked, and the number of marriages rose from 0. 5 million in 1932, to 0. 75 million in 1934. It did not, however, result in more babies, with most couples continuing to have two. The Government also introduced family allowances.
Another way of encouragement was awarding medals to the most fertile mothers each year, with 5 earning a bronze, 6 or 7 earning a silver, and 8 or more earning a gold. Women were also subjected to propaganda and education, and studied subjects such as domestic science, physical fitness, and racial studies. However, a “Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring” ordered that women deemed unfit to be mothers must be sterilised. By 1937, almost 100 000 women had been sterilised. Also, Women’s groups were “brought into line” after 1933, merging into a single “German Women’s Enterprise”, the Deutsches Frauenwerk.
It had almost 6 million members, and organised Mothers’ Schools to train women in household and parenting skills; and courses, lectures, and radio programmes on household topics. Hitler also targeted the youth living in Germany, in an attempt to have them grow up hearing the Nazi message. After families, schools were the biggest influence on the youth. Schools in Germany were used to encourage loyalty and obedience to the Nazi regime, whilst promoting anti-Semitic views. The Nazis controlled what was taught, to indoctrinate children with Nazi beliefs and ideas.
After 1933, teachers could attend training camps to help them efficiently teach Nazi beliefs. By 1939, 97% of teachers were members of the National Socialist Teachers’ League. Teachers who did not cooperate with the Nazis, and Jews, were sacked. Nazi curriculum stressed the importance of subjects like PE, history, and geography, adapted to suit Nazi beliefs. All textbooks had to be approved by the Government, and boys had a different curriculum to girls. SS schools taught the future leaders of Germany, whilst boys identified as potential political leaders went to the Adolf Hitler Schools for a military-style education.
As well as schools, movements and groups were used to take control of the youth. In 1932, just over 100 000 young people were members of the various Nazi youth groups. After 1933, Nazis encouraged young people to join the Hitler Youth movement, and nearly all other youth groups were shut down or brought under their control. The young people had to pass tests in physical fitness, and went to training camps, where the boys were given military training, and the girls were encouraged to be physically fit as future mothers.
There were 2 organisations for boys: Young German Folk for ages 10-14, and Hitler Youth for ages 14-18. In the same way, there were 2 organisations for girls: Young Girls for ages 10-14, and League of German Girls for ages 14-18. By 1936, it became almost impossible not to join Hitler Youth groups, with membership becoming compulsory in 1939. Youths were subjected to advertising and propaganda, encouraging them to join the groups. By then, the groups had over 7 million members.