Life in Nazi Germany Viktoria & Nanou

Women in Nazi Germany

  • The Nazi's believed women's role as something described in three words: kinder, kirche and küche
  • The Law for the Encouragement of Marriage was introduced as a financial incentive for women to have more children (4 children meant 1,000 marks which was the equivalent to 9 months wages)
  • The Motherhood Cross was awarded to mothers with the most children: gold was for 8 children, silver for 7 and bronze for 6
  • The Nazi's were successful: the birth rate increased from fifteen per thousand in 1933 to twenty per thousand by 1939
  • Lebensborn meant it was illegal for a healthy mother to have an abortion
  • The Law for Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring
  • German Women's Entreprise merged all women societies in Germany together and was controlled by Nazi's - it organised mothers schools and trained women to be parents/housewives
The change in women's life
THE WAR: Women's role changed in society due to the war effort. Many women started working in war industries due to less unemployed men and propaganda like this poster enforced this.

The Youth in Nazi Germany

  • The curriculum was based on main subjects: German language, History, Geography, Chemistry and Mathematics
  • The Hitler Youth created 'military athletics' where boys participated in marching, bayonet drilling, grenade throwing, trench digging, map reading, gas defence, use of dugouts, how to get under barbed wire and pistol shooting
  • The League of German Maidens made girls able to run 60 metres in 14 seconds, complete a 2 hour march, swim 100 metres and learn how to make a bed
  • As a child your first loyalty was to Adolf Hitler
  • Even though many were attracted to the youth movements only half of German boys were members in 1933 and only 15% of girls were
  • In 1936 it was compulsory to join the Hitler Youth and by 1939, attendance of meetings was compulsory

The Middle Class and Big Businesses

  • They were grateful that the Nazis had eliminated Communist threat to their businesses and properties
  • However, small businesses suffered because Hitler's promises did not hold: the only ones that succeeded were small engineering businesses who did well from rearmament spending in 1936
  • Big businesses hugely benefitted from Nazi rule and some household names today such as Mercedes and Volkswagen prospered from the Nazis

The Workers and Farmers

  • The Strength Through Joy (KDF) programmed gave cheap theatre and cinema tickets, organised courses, trips and sporting events to loyal workers
  • The Volkswagen Beetle was known as the 'people's car' and was the symbol of a prosperous new Germany for the workers
  • The Beauty of Labour movement improved working and living conditions in factories
  • In September 1933 Hitler introduced the Reich Food Estate under Richard Darre and this set up increased buying of agricultural produce and distributing it to markets across Germany
  • The Reich Entailed Farm Law gave peasants a state protection for their farms and incorporated the racial idea of 'Blood and Soil,' the idea that peasant farmers were the basis of the master race


  • Idea of national community
Nazi rule caused life to change for some people drastically and these are examples of people persecuted early on
  • Jews: In the end the Nazis devised the Final Solution of genocide - it was the Holocaust.
  • Gypsies were treated almost as badly as the Jews - 85% of Germany's gypsies were killed.
  • Black people were sterilized and killed.
  • 5000 mentally disabled babies were killed 1939-45.
  • 72,000 mentally ill patients were killed 1939-41.
  • Physically disabled people and families with hereditary illness were sometimes sterilized. 300,000 men and women were sterilized 1934-45.
  • Some deaf people were sterilised and put to death.
  • Beggars, homosexuals, prostitutes, alcoholics, pacifists, hooligans and criminals were also regarded as anti-social, and they were put in concentration camps.

The Impact of the Second World War

General impact

  • Food rationing began soon after war started in September 1939 and clothes rationing followed in November 1939
  • People support of war was huge positive for Nazis as people made sacrifices - 1.5 million fur coats were donated to army in Russia
  • Civilians had to reduce heating, work longer hours and recycle rubbish
  • From 1942, moral changed completely after an attack on Soviet Union was stalled
  • Albert Speer directed Germany's war economy
  • Bombing affected Germany worst especially industrial and residential areas of major German cities: Feb 1945 Dresden was bombed- most estimates are around 135,000 in 2 days
  • July Bomb Plot (1944)

Impact on youth

  • By 1939 the youth movements were going through a crisis
  • Popularity of movements decreased and anti-Hitler movements appeared
  • The 'Swing' Movement listened to American music and sang English songs, they danced American dances and accepted Jews in their clubs
  • The Edelweiss Pirates went camping and would sing songs like Hitler Youth, but would change the lyrics to mock Germany, and when they saw bands of Hitler Youth they would taunt and attack them
  • In November 1944 twelve ringleaders of pirates were publicly hanged
  • Neither group had strong political views

Impact on Jews

  • The Ghettos: after defeating Poland in 1939, Jews were rounded up and taken to sealed areas were they were used for slave labour
  • Mass murder was done by the Einsatzgruppen - they were made to shoot lots of Jews of Eastern Europe
  • The Final Solution was organised when senior Nazis met at Wannsee to put the SS & Gestapo
  • Slave and death camps were built at Auschwitz, Treblinka and Chelmo
  • Resistance: there were 28 known groups of Jewish fighters


How far did people benefit from Nazi Rule?


  1. 6 million unemployed when Hitler came to power. By 1938 Hitler had reduced this number to just 250,000
  2. Big business benefited because they had contracts. Also they benefited because strikes were illegal and trade unions were banned
  3. The army benefited because it managed to re-arm.
  4. Workers also benefited from new organizations like the 'Strength Through Joy' movement


  1. However, workers also lost their freedom of choice. They had to join the German Workers' League, worked for longer hours and. for less pay but many didn't mind, as they had bread and work, which was better than being unemployed
  2. The Jews were hated by Hitler and the Nazis. Discrimination (treated unfairly) began against them as a soon as Hitler came to power.
  3. From 1942 the Final Solution to the Jewish problem led to the holocaust or mass murder of many Jews in death camps such as Auschwitz, Dachau and Belsen. By the end of the war six million out of eight million Jews had lost their lives under the Nazis.
  4. Anyone who opposed the Nazis was also persecuted. Individual church ministers such as Bonhoeffer and Niemoller paid heavily for speaking out against the Nazis.
  5. There were other minority groups that did not benefit from life under the Nazis. The gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill -people, beggars, prostitutes, habitual criminals were all persecuted. Some lost their lives and others were thrown into the concentration camps.
  6. All other opposition parties did not benefit because they were banned under the Enabling Act.
  7. Ordinary Germans lost their freedom of speech and choice. By 1945 most had lost a lot more as Germany "lay in ruins, and many had suffered under the Allied bombing of the German cities. In the end therefore it is difficult to say that the people of Germany did benefit from Nazi rule.


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