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Theme 4 – Aspects of

Life in Germany and

West Germany
Role and Status of Women, 1918-32
 Pre-WW1 women couldn’t vote, single women could study for profession but
couldn’t take exams to qualify and practise, married women no legal status at all
 Weimar’s attitude was liberal in theory but more traditional in practice
o 12 November 1918 – emergency government gave women vote
 Constitution said “in principle” women had equal rights, marriage should be equal
union and women should be able to enter professions, no change in legal status

How WW1 Affected Women’s Jobs

 During war women took place of men in factories, farms and almost everywhere
o 1913 – armament manufacturer had no women employees, 1918 – had
20,000 and by the end of the war 75% of working age women in work
 1.6million men killed in war, those without men now significant part of population
 Work was expanding after the war, though percentage of female workers
remained similar to pre-war (34%), actual number rose
 Weimar policy was that women should give up jobs to returning soldiers
 Opposition as single women working seen as temporary, professions needed
long-term training

Types of Industries that Women Worked In

 Clerical and shop work, could also qualify as lawyers (1933 had 36)
 Work in lower levels of legal profession (1925 = 54, 1933 = 251)
 1925 – just over 2500 women doctors (almost doubled by 1933)
 1925 – over quarter of a million did poorly paid work from home, 1935 - doubled
 Of 36% working in 1925, over half in poorly paid manual jobs

The “New Woman” and Being Treated Differently to Other Women

 Young, educated, unmarried women who had come of age during the war
o Wanted independence
 Wore more revealing clothes, cut hair short, smoked and drank, worked more
“white blouse” jobs, behaved with the freedom of a man
 Mostly city based and part of racy city culture emerging in 1920’s
 Opposition from politicians/media (called immoral, urged to marry, settle down)
 Advertising and film used them to aspire “new women” for them to live up to
 Faced wage discrimination and sexual discrimination
o Many did settle down to marriage but were still unlikely to have equal one

Great Depression Affecting Role of Women

 Women suffered less steep level of unemployment as cheaper to employ
 1932 – 46% men and 33% women unemployed
 30 May 1932 – Decree passed for dismissal of married women in government
service if husbands earning

How Role and Status of Women Changed Between 1918-32

 Role of women did change as seen before as “Kinder, Kuche, Kirche” but later
seen as working people who had more of a role in the country
 Given the vote which they didn’t’ have before giving them more of a role in the
running of the country and wanted to have this role
o Turnout of in 1st election was 90%, took seats in local govt./Reichstag
o 112 women elected to the Reichstag between 1919 and 1932
o Shows role changed as they wanted and were able to take part
The Impact of Kinder, Kuche, Kirche Policies and
WW2 on Women’s Lives, 1933-45
Role and Status
Women in Nazi Germany
 Impact of Nazi Policies
o Women who were “racially suitable” and wanted to be wives and mothers
had higher level of health care and higher status
o Many women lost jobs
 Highly skilled workers still expected to work suitable jobs
 Many women (especially married ones) lost jobs
 Single women could still find some work (not high levels)
o Mothers of dead or working soldiers given more support
o Mother expected to eat well, get enough exercise and no smoke
 Be a good housewife and faithful wife
 Kinder, Kuche, Kirche
o Wanted women to have children to produce good Nazis
 Stressed the virtues of family and family being their job
 Said women were equal to men, just different physically
 Women as Mothers
o “Pure” men encouraged to mate with a many “racially pure” young women
as possible to produce Aryan children
 Bund Deutscher Madel, children the adopted
o Anything outside of the home was man’s job
 Reichstag emptied of women as politics for men
o Were meant to have as many children as possible

Women after World War Two

 Government only used women in some war work (mines/heavy industry)
 October 1940 – women allowed to join armed forces but not rigorously enforced
o Introduced compulsory military service for women aged 18-40
o 1944 – shortage of men so great women trained to operate anti-aircraft
guns and sent to work signal stations on front
 Extra pressure on production
o Forced shift in attitudes towards women working
 Women urged to join war work even if married (more child care)
 Number still far less than WW1
 1913-18 = number employed went up 76%, 1933-39 = number employed
went up 27%, 1939-44 = number employed went up 2%
 “Foreign labour” from conquered lands, so need for women workforce less
 Many women reluctant to work and organisations reluctant to have them
o Organisations told volunteers with children to go home

Similarities Differences
> In Great Depression law passed to dismiss > More chances to not follow tradition in
married women with earning husbands Weimar
(Weimar) > WW1 – 76% increase employed
> Similar to Nazi policies having married WW2 – 27% increase employed
women lose their jobs > Weimar liberal in theories and traditional in
> Both challenged by govt. through laws practice but Nazis traditional in theory and
> Brüning in Weimar, Nazi marriage law practice
> Role of mother central in both > Nazis used women to achieve their own
> In both, unmarried women could work but ends (Aryan race)
after marriage faced job discrimination > Lebensborn programme

Role and Status of Women in the FRG, 1945-89

Similarities in the FRG Similarities in the FRG Differences in the status
compared to Weimar compared to Nazi and role of women in
Germany Germany the FRG
> There were “surplus > Role of women as > In FRG women had to
women” due to both mother and wife key, work and worked at
world wars in both seen as important and anything and everything
Weimar and FRG traditional role whilst in Weimar and
> 1913 – 27/100,000 > Very few women in Nazi Germany they
> 1932 – 65/100,000 politics were allowed to work (to
> 1948 – 80% higher > 30 June 1933 – all an extent in Nazi) but
than 1946 women in civil service not manual/heavy
> Women more dismissed (N) industry work
independent > Indoctrination of > 1977 – marriage and
> Role of women as Nazi policies meant family law passed which
mother and wife key, many women didn’t gives women equal
seen as important and want to have jobs in rights in marriage
traditional role industries such as civil > 1977 – Civil Code Law
> Married women service, even though overturned so women
needed permission from they had the opportunity could work no matter
husband to work up to to (F) what, even if it interfered
1977 > Financial benefits with family
> Civil Code Law meant given in both for women > Shows role of
women could only work being in traditional role women changing and
if it didn’t interfere with > Gave marriage not expected to have
being wife and mother loans and grants for family role
> Reinforces having children and > Financial benefit in
traditional role and motherhood cross (N) FRG were as support
shows people want role > Ministry for Family rather than “incentive” or
of women to be familial Affairs in 193 gave manipulation under FRG
> Both Reichstag and financial benefits to > Abortion rights
Bundestag were split on wives and mothers (F) > 1974 but revoked in
equal rights for women > Civil Code Law same 1975 to protect the
as Weimar rights of the foetus
> 1982 – 70% men and > Much more liberal
68% women thought opposition/liberal groups
women should stop formed by women in
working when married 1960s and 1970’s
> Similar to “Kinder, > Such as abortion
Kuche, Kirche” rights
Education and Cultural Experimentation in the Weimar
Republic, 1918-32
How the > Temporary socialist government tried to establish fairer education system of state schools (mixed
Education genders, no religious education)
System > Compulsory schools for 6-10’s, stopped clerical inspections of schools, parents allowed to
Changed remove children from religious education
after WW1 > Significant divide between different parties when writing constitution on how education should be
handled (especially with religious schools)
Aims of the > Set up compulsory school for children aged 6-10
Provisional > No religious education
Government > State schools having mixed intake (both genders) to make fairer
for Education > Some people in towns and cities in northern Lander approved, southern Lander objected
in 1919
How Far > Achieved
Educational > Wanted to teach wide variety of RE
Aims of > 1931 – 29,020 protestant schools, 15,256 Catholic schools, 97 Jewish schools, 8921 common
Provisional schools and 295 secular schools
Government > Failed
were > Wanted to introduce federal school law in 1921 and 25 but Reichstag did not agree
achieved by > Resulted in secular schools being set up to compromise and ensure wide variety of education
1933 available
> Many faith schools as Reichstag constantly divided
How Religion > Wanted to remove religion based schools
Made Issue of > Many people against so created controversy and disagreement
Education > Ruined aims of government for an education system not based on religion but instead fair to
Controversial every child despite religion
How Post 10 > Education above age of 10 had to be paid for
Education > No way to get free from state or subsidised
Policies could > Many people couldn’t afford it
be seen as > Haptschule (5 years schooling leading to apprenticeship), Realschule (6 years followed by
Controversial technical training) and Gymnasium (9 years schooling leading to university)
> Meant child’s career path decided at 10, was impossible to change

New Culture > Art elite culture

> Group formed by artists, intellectuals and writers favouring modernism/expressionism
> Movement influenced art, music, literature, opera and theatre, creativity highly valued by rich
> Government subsidised culture
> Govt. subsidised theatres, orchestras and museums to bring culture to very small towns
> Subsidies were small, majority of cases social welfare took priority
> Popular culture
> Young people in urban areas heavily influenced by consumer culture, advertising and music
> Felt films should show real life rather than unrealistic fantasy stories
How Weimar > Freedom of speech right to citizens
Constitution > Censorship to protect under 16s from pornography, people could paint/sing/write more freely
Controlled > Allowed expressionism to flourish and govt. to express views freely
some Level of > Criminal Code still had paragraph 184
Culture > Allowed banning of obscene films and publications which were widely applied pre-war
Who Rejected > Many right wing supporters worried about the decadence and increasing number of influential
Cultural Jewish writers, artists and musicians
Experiments > Also worried about increasing Americanisation of culture (jazz, “new women’s” behaviour)
Why it was > Moved away from traditional beliefs
Controversial > Linked in with “new women” who were not liked by all
Education and Cultural Experimentation in Nazi Germany,
How Nazis > April 1929 - Set up National Socialist Teachers League
Changed > January 1933 - Had 6000 members
Structure of > Kept state school structure but private primary school education abolished
Education > 20 April 1933 – Opened National Political Education Institutes (Napolas)
System > Free boarding schools to train elite group of boys as government administrators
> Changed curriculum to focus on Nazi ideology and physical fitness
Role of > Indoctrinate children into Nazi ideology (taught them loyalty to Hitler and Germany)
Teachers in > Not shown much respect as Nazis didn’t value intellectuals
Nazi Regime > Schools and teachers only seen as ways to indoctrinate children
Purpose of > Main teaching focus on loyalty to Hitler and Germany, physical fitness and racial purity
Education > History focused on creating sense of nationhood
Under Nazi > Taught Aryans superior race, Jewish source of all problems
Regime > Biology focused on race, eugenics and motherhood for girls
> Maths included propaganda (calculating how much money could be save for marriage loans if
money for keeping mentally ill in care was “saved”)
How Extra- > Boys joined – Pimpfen at 6, Jungenfolk at 10, Hitler Jugend at 14-18
Curricular > Girls joined – Jungmadel at 10, Band Duetsches at 14, Glaube und Schoneit at 17-20
Activities in Nazi > Groups reinforced ideas taught in school
Germany > Went to summer camps teaching issues like the unfairness of ToV, racial purity and
Reinforced Key importance of having children
Educational > Spent most of time either in school or at Nazi groups both teaching same Nazi ideals
Historian Steve > Subjects all focused on teaching Nazi ideaology
Lee’s > 22 out of 76 pages in official mathematics textbook had Nazi ideological references
interpretation of > Children prepared for stereotypical gender roles (men trained for war, women trained for
Nazi Education children
> Jews forced out of German schools and into Jewish ones
Why > Teachers didn’t like educational developments (undesirable teachers sacked, April 1933 law)
Educational > Teaching not seen as valued profession so many people didn’t want to be one
Developments > 24 September 1935 – Nazis had control over which teachers employed
Controversial > Children and teachers not allowed own opinions, had to follow Nazi ideals in schools

How Nazis used > Censored radio and press, all operated under government
Censorship to > Had to follow specific instructions to keep with Nazi ideology
Control > October 1933 – Decree making all published material responsibility of editor
“Unacceptable > 10 May 1933 – Book burning, over 25,000 books considered “unsound” burnt
Cultures” > Mainly books by Jewish authors, included textbooks, foreign authors and ones with an
unacceptable message or were “intellectual”
Acceptable > Goebbels set up Reichskulturkammer with main goal to control and distribute culture to people
Cultural > Wanted artists to have nationalistic image, showcase rural lifestyle, encourage Nazi ideology
Activities and > Sport promoted to make people healthier
Reinforcing > Aryan Olympic athletes, prohibited Jews and non-Aryan athletes from competing in events
Them > Used “Strength Through Joy” scheme to promote
> Took trips to theatre/opera/art galleries so exposed to culture Nazis encouraged
> Made lots of holidays on calendar including Mother’s Day
Why Cultural > Public holidays Nazis made filled with military parades often led by propaganda speeches
Developments > Large cities also had armoured vehicles and tanks
Controversial > Made culture seem more militaristic
> Book burning was dramatic and controversial event as tried to destroy other forms of culture
> Belief Nazis tried to destroy old Weimar culture and replace with more traditional culture
Education in the FRG, 1945-89
Aims of the > Wanted to de-Nazify curriculum and re-educate German society/culture
Allies for > May 1946 – banned Nazi books, films and anything teaching Nazi ideals
German > Vetted teachers for Nazi sympathisers
Education > Prevented career selection at age of 10
System > Wanted primary and secondary schools to be same for all
> 1945 – US zone = class size of 85 for children aged 6-10, 510,000 children this age had no
school, US also brought in over 5 million textbooks
> Soviets set up teacher-training courses, soon had 40,000 teachers from working class
backgrounds (also teaching communist values)
> Introduced system of 8 years followed by 3 year apprenticeship or 4 years high school,
followed by university
Allies Success > Successful
in Achieving > Reformed most of pre-university education
Aims > Weeded out Nazis from Universities
> 1945 – Allies said schools would reopen
> Failed
> Ex-nazis who lost their jobs got them back as no one was qualified
> 1947 Bavaria – 85% of the teachers who lost their jobs were reinstated
> Allies pressed for reform of the system but hadn’t been changed by time FRG was set up
Role of Lander > Under Basic Law, Lander remained responsible for educational and cultural policies
in Education > Resulted in very few secular schools in South and more in North
> In charge of creating reforms for education
> Created problems as even if federal government agreed on reforms, still had to convince
Lander to adopt them which rarely happened
> Had meetings throughout 1960’s-70’s discussing education being made widely available to
everyone on a fairer basis
> Resulted in indoctrination of comprehensive schools
Education Crisis > Concern’s that university system failing to serve Germany’s needs
in 1960’s > Student numbers increased and facilities being provided were inadequate
> Curriculum too old fashioned and people wanted a more democratic education
> Didn’t teach technology or economics
> Mainly catered to children of academics, civil servants and the rich
Overcoming the > State provided free education up to end of secondary school
Crisis > Parents encouraged to keep children in secondary education
> Number of children in Gymnasium increased (853,400 in 1960 to 2,019,000 in 1980)
> More students went to university (1960 - 239,000, 1980 – 749,000)
> 1971 – Federal Education Promotion Act gave mixture of state funding and state loans
> Encouraged students from working class families to go
Why > After war parents will have wanted their children to work to get money for the family
Educational > Switch to democratic approach and wanting children to stay at university made this happen
Developments less, potentially long term causing less children to work
Controversial > Would have caused tensions to government with some families
> FRG failed to de-Nazify as ex-Nazis still employed into education
> Seemed unfair as most students upper class so widened the gap
Cultural Experimentation in the FRG, 1945-89
Cultural > Traditionally, Germany seen as leader of European culture
Tensions > After war, older generation wanted to return to this
> Easy to remove Nazi control and reintroduce culture they had banned
> Also able to introduce free press with limited censorship
> Found hard to adapt to new cultures Allies brought with them
> Shakespeare from UK and Hollywood from USA
Cultural > Number of social movements in FRG meant they appealed to all ages
Cohesion > Anti-nuclear, ecological and alternative lifestyle movements key examples
> All rejected consumerism and wanted peaceful and equal society
> Wanted an established society to save it from destruction
> Everyone demanded change in one form or another and were united in their cause
Cultural divide > Before 1960’s, main genre focused on films about Germany
in Cinema in > After 1960, films mainly focused on American culture, attractive locations and romance
1960’s stories, contrasting the bombing in Germany
> Regionalist characters contributed to development of FRG’s “regional culture”
> Young film makers developed new styles and themes
> Focused on Germany’s immediate past or on social problems in FRG
Generational > Older generation wanted to see 1945 as Year Zero
Tensions > Younger generation wanted to focus on past (“What did you do in the war, daddy?”)
> Older wanted to return to traditional German culture and comfortable consumerist lifestyle
> Younger wanted less consumerist lifestyle and culture facing present and past rather than
embracing distant past or American culture
Why Nazi Rule > Generational
Significant in > Older people who lived through Nazi rule wanted more to hide/cast a line over Nazi period
Developing and be in favour of “Year Zero” policy
Cultural and > Younger demanded older confront and deal with past, wanted to know what happened in this
Generational period as many older avoided talking about it
Tensions > “What did you do in the war, daddy?”
> Cultural
> Nationalistic and conformist nature of Nazi period may have influenced older generation to
be more loyal to traditional values
> Younger generation more enthusiastic to absorb Western culture into Germany’s
Non-Nazi > Generational
related Cultural > Many youth protested against government’s involvement with nuclear power for weapons
and and fuel (alliance with NATO)
Generational > Young more keen to embrace Western Culture (especially US culture) and reject strict Nazi
Tensions values
> Rise of the Green Party (1976 – 0 seats, 1987 – 42 seats)
> Cultural
> FRG removed Nazi controls and reintroduced a “regenerate culture”
> Free Press was re-established alongside Ally run newspapers (promote democracy)
> “Cultural offerings” given by Western country’s running zones
> Hollywood in US zone, Shakespeare in British zone
> Rejection of consumerism and desire for peaceful and equal society developed
Why Cultural > Embracing Western Cultures led to Germany’s own traditional culture being modified and
and changed
Generational > Went completely against nationalist protection of German culture and country that Nazis had
Tensions > Generations had complete opposing views on how to treat the past
Controversial > Older wanted to avoid completely, younger wanted them to confront it and learn what “really”
> Especially seen in film culture like “Der Junge Torless” exposing brutal past of Nazis’
Jewish prosecution
The Status Of, and Attitudes Towards, Ethnic
Minorities, 1918-32
Legal Status of Ethnic Minorities
 Received lower wages
 Article 113 of Weimar Constitution – social groups speaking a different
language could not legally be stopped from using it
o Could not legally be stopped from preserving national identity in
way they ran their schools and daily lives
o Liberal law, not always implemented
 Didn’t control laws made against minorities by Lander and
had regional variation
 Less likely to be hired than a “German” man
 Dependent on where they lived as to level of discrimination

Ethnic Evidence of Evidence of discrimination towards these groups

Minority acceptance/tolerance
Jewish > Had huge influence on culture > Called Berlin “Jew Berlin” (Anti-Semites) as about 1/3
people and some became politicians lived there
> 5 held cabinet posts > Criticism towards government for appointing Jews
> 1922 – Walther Rathenew > Rathenew assassinated shortly after appointment
became foreign minister > Anti-Semitic groups/organisations
> Government banned some > German People’s Offensive and Defensive Alliance
anti-Semitic organisations after most aggressive
assassinations > 1919 – 25,000 members, 1923 – 170,000 members
> Jewish organisations set up to when disbanded
fight anti-Semitism > Said Jews conspired with Allies when lost WW1
> Reich Federation of Jewish > Some conservative judges were anti-Semitic and made
Front soldiers racist remarks with their judgements
> Stressed they fought in the > Jews given blame for depression
war > Many political parties were anti-Semitic and grew in
> 85,000 fought, 12,000 died strength as depression worsened
Gypsies > No federal legislation against > Gypsies discriminated against despite Article 113
and other Gypsies > Moved around a lot so didn’t contribute to the country
ethnic > 1926, Bavaria passed series by working, paying taxes or becoming involved in
minorities of laws against Gypsies community
> Controlling their movements > Several Lander passed laws to try to control them
and trying to get children in > Prussia and Bavaria
school and adults in work > 1927 – Bavaria said all Gypsies should carry identity
> Could be seen as cards
discrimination but had good > Hostility towards Poles as had fought Germany in war
intentions > 1925 – 200,000 Polish speakers in Germany and
> 1923 on – about 500 mixed 500,000 spoke both, 1925-33 – 30,000 left the country
race children born > Black people met rising hostility after 1923
> Musicians and writers were > Due to French army of occupation that took over Ruhr
accepted in cities had black units
> Mixed race children seen as “Germany’s shame”
> Black adults previously living in Germany before 1923
found come areas more hostile after occupation
Nazi Racial Policies, 1933-45

Why Did the Final Solution Start in 1942 and Not Before?
 Before 1942 – had already begun to remove Jewish people in rather extreme
ways (killing squads and centres)
 However, final solution was implemented in 1942 as an almost last resort in order
to try and ensure the extermination of all the Jewish people throughout Europe
o German army was practically unbreakable by 1942, were very powerful
and had control and/or support of many countries in Europe
 1942 – Final Solution brought in as they had power to try and exterminate all
Jewish people in Europe at this point

Was the Status of Ethnic Minorities in Nazi Germany very Different from Weimar
 Jewish people had relatively bad status in Weimar in view of some of the public,
government, etc.
o “Jew Berlin”, assassination of Rathenew, anti-Semitic groups
 However Article 113 worked to make ethnic minorities status equal
o Was liberal law that wasn’t always implemented by Lander
 Other ethnic minorities also had lower status and were highly discriminated
o Mixed race children seen as “Germany’s shame”
o However, was no federal legislation against Gypsies
 Still had a very low status in Nazi Germany but decreased and was made worse
by Hitler’s hatred of Jews
o Status made lower as essentially treated like animals and were killed and
disposed of without second thought
The Status Of, and Attitudes Towards, Ethnic Minorities in the
FRG, 1945-89
Initial View towards > Initially seen as a problem as needed housing and feeding
How the Economic > Created a need for more workers so government wanted to recruit them
Boom of the 1950s > Unions feared it would force wages down and undercut existing workers
Changed the > Government guaranteed non-German workers same wages
Governments Attitude > Agreed to give preference to German workers when hiring
Federal Office for > Set up in Nuremburg to run offices in countries where West Germany had labour
Labour Recruitment recruitment treaties
and What it > People could apply for work and have a physical examination to ensure fit
guaranteed > Signed contract for particular job which couldn’t leave for one year
> Employers provided basic accommodation and work for them
Did it improve the > Didn’t improve status much as accommodation provided by employers generally near
Status of Foreign factories or outside of town so were cut off from the community
Workers? > Couldn’t integrate with them so people unlikely to change their opinions of them meaning
status wouldn’t improve much
Types of Jobs > Generally gave guest workers heavy manual labour jobs
Germans got from > Doing jobs Germans didn’t want to do so weren’t taking work from them
1961-73 due to Guest > 1961-73 – 3million German workers switched from industrial work to white-collar jobs
Workers > 1961-71 – about 870,000 Germans left jobs in mining and taken by 1.1million guests
Organisations that > Presumed stay was temporary so didn’t have same rights as a German citizen
Helped Guest > Some unions helped them adjust to work, less helpful about long-term assimilation
Workers > Support from church organisations and own organisations
> Catholic organisation Caritas and Protestant organisation Diakonisches Werk
How the Recession > Created hostility to guest workers, especially if didn’t speak German or try to integrate
Affected Attitudes > Many landlords refused to take in guest workers
towards Guest > Helped confine them to living with other guest workers in poorest areas
Workers > After recession demand for guest workers returned, still faced hostility from some right-
wing groups
> Made worse when started to demonstrate for better working and living conditions
How Guest Workers > Oil crisis and rise in unemployment put pressure on guests to leave jobs and Germany
were treated after > November 1973 – government put stop on hiring and banned permits for families of guest
1973 workers already in country, number of workers fell to just under 2million
> 1974 – Ford car works offered guest workers “voluntary severance packages” based on
time working at factory as mass layoffs and contracts not renewed otherwise
> Many accepted but not realised legally workers laid off on points system so German with
2 children laid off before Turkish guest worker with 4
> 1975 – government gave guest workers children same benefits as other children
> 1977 – ban removed, workers started coming in again
> 1978 – first Federal Commissioner for Foreigners’ Affairs appointed by Helmut Schmidt
> Worked for rights of foreign workers and promote their integration
> Clear set of rules applying for unrestricted residence, not citizenship, made
How Education > Basic Law stated a “democratic education” with equal opportunity for all
Affected Treatment of > Tried to persuade Lander to provide mixed culture learning groups
Guest Worker > Give children books in their mother tongue and German
Children > Number of foreign guest work children rose (1976 – 165,000, 1983 – 200,000)
> 60% Muslim so faced cultural problems with education provision
> Most Muslim guest worker children started school at 6 with no pre-school education and
language help as most pre-schools run by Christians, mainly Catholics
> Many set up own national schools as children not learning in state schools further
hindering integration