Hitler’s Housewives, German Women on the Home Front

The experiences of German women in wartime Germany have not been covered well in comparison with the lives of British women through the war years. The author provides views of women and their changing roles as the war progressed. – Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Hitler's Housewives, German Women on the Home Front
FILE: R3157
AUTHOR: Tim Heath
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £19.99                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:  WWII, World War II, World War 2, World War Two, Second World War, 
German Home Front, Nazis, society, women, 1,000 Year Reich, Aryan breeding, 
families, bombing, fire fighting, anti-aircraft artillery, concentration camps

ISBN: 1-52674-807-X

PAGES: 204
IMAGE: B3157.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y7hbs2la
DESCRIPTION: The experiences of German women in wartime Germany have not 
been covered well in comparison with the lives of British women through the war 
years. The author provides views of women and their changing roles as the war 
progressed. – Highly Recommended.

The Nazis swept into power behind the financial turmoil and social stresses of the 
1920s. They brought with them a philosophy that was directed towards the 
establishment of a dominant Aryan Germany. How this affected Jews and other 
minority groups in Germany has received much coverage by historians, but it 
permeated through German society and immediately affected German woman who 
were encouraged to hand over their jobs to men and occupy themselves with raising a 
family. That contrasted strongly with British women who had been empowered 
during WWI when they filled the jobs vacated for men volunteering for the military. 
In 1918, the end of WWI saw returning soldiers and sailors expecting to take back 
their old jobs and resentment amongst women who had become wage earners and full 
citizens. There was something of a compromise with more jobs remaining available 
to women who were confident to take them. In Germany there had not been the same 
mobilization of women but there were still women who had found war work and 
wished to continue working. The Nazis largely reversed this with a concentration on 
women keeping the home and breeding. 

Hitler appealed to German women and had little difficulty in selling his view of 
domestic life. He provided hope for so many Germans, he appealed to their darker 
side and prejudices, and he seemed to be winning back much of what had been lost 
in 1918/19. His military fell in behind him as each gamble in expanding Germany 
seemed to be working effortlessly. There was more wealth and many Nazi sponsored 
activities to entertain the population and divert it from those things that were risky. 
In 1939, Hitler was surprised to find a new determination on the part of the British 
and their French Allies. He did not believe they would go to war. When they did he 
believed they would sue for peace and in 1940 his forces swept through to the 
Channel Coast and France surrendered. To that point everything still appeared to be 
a huge success and women enthusiastically supported Nazi policy.

At that point, very few German women were serving in any active military role or 
even in war production, beyond those working on the land with their families. 
However, it was all about to go rapidly downhill, leading to a terrible conclusion 
where women paid the price disproportionately, particularly in the parts of Germany 
over run by the Red Army. Through the war years, German women were increasingly 
brought in to active roles. Many became fire fighters or anti-aircraft gunners, as the 
Allied bombing campaign built up and ranged across the German homeland, turning 
the cities to rubble, causing terrible casualties and making thousands homeless.

The author has charted this changing environment through a selection of women. The 
contrast between the early years when Hitler appeared to be triumphing at everything, 
offering a dramatically better life, to the final Wagnerian stage where starving 
Germans moved through the rubble and tried to rebuild their lives.