Nazi Germany's High Birth-Rate: Ideology or Nature?

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Vikki.
User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Nazi Germany's High Birth-Rate: Ideology or Nature?

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 05 Sep 2004 20:30

SALUT!

I am presently reading Bleuel’s Sex and Society in Nazi Germany. I must confess that much of what I have learned about Nazi ideology is disappointing to me, even offensive at times. It appears that the top Nazi leadership regarded German womanhood as nothing more than a baby-making machine to replace German soldiers delegated to the role of being Hitler's cannon-fodder. To me, women are lovers and companions who can think as well as nurture, just as children are more than just tomorrow’s soldiers.

Notwithstanding this, I must say the premium the Nazis placed on the critical importance of a high birth rate to the survival of a nation and people does resonate with me, precisely because race, ethnicity and demographics do matter. To that the extent that National Socialism is responsible for this, I am in applause. Consider that Germany had a birth rate so high that she had a higher population after the war than before it, notwithstanding the unbelievable carnage in war and terror bombings. Contrast that with Europe today, in which the death rate exceeds the birth-rate by over 7:6, coupled with disastrous immigration policies where illicit waves of foreigners from the third-world supplant Mother Europa’s native populations, so that mosques are now replacing churches and steeples to such an extent that, in the absence of a wide-spread right-wing movement, we all may witness the Death of Western Civilization in our life-time.

With this background on my own reflections on the matter, the question I wanted to pose to you as I evaluate and assess the advantages and disadvantages to the Nazi system is this: to what extent can we attribute Nazi Germany’s high birth-rate to Nazi ideology and state policy, and how much of it can we attribute to basic human nature divorced from ideological considerations?
As I consider this question, I cannot help but be reminded of when yours truly was inducted into Phi Delta Alpha, the nation’s honor society for the study of Germanics. Our induction was followed by a lecture on Women in the Third Reich. During the answer and question portion of the lecture, this very issue was raised, in which an elderly German man discussed how, for one example, when a German solider was sent on home leave, the commanding officer specifically reminded him that he better get his wife pregnant. Despite the taboo against pre-marital sex before the Nazi years, soldiers were also strongly encouraged to impregnate mere girlfriends or fiancées, as Bleuel explicates how the Nazi regime—once again I believe most wisely—took great steps to remove the taboo of having children out of wedlock, though still promoting marriage. The text even suggests that a soldier’s leave was coordinated in such a way to maximize the probability of bearing children.
The lecturer, who was a very attractive German lady in her late 30s, a visiting professor in fact (she was Hitler’s wet dream, blue-eyed, blonde and leggy) retorted that high-birth rates were not necessarily the product of Nazi ideology. She contended that concentration camp populations also had a high birth-rate. Not because they wanted children, but because death and destruction piques human sex drive. So too in Germany, soldiers, fearing their own death as they regarded the death of so many of their comrades, would live while they were alive by enjoying unadulterated pleasure with their lovers before being sent off to the front once again and the grave perils it presented them with. Another example to support this claim that I can think of is the Baby Boom we experienced here in the States. American soldiers, thankful to be alive, did what they could took suck the marrow from life. Marry their sweethearts, if they were not already married, get a house and make a bunch of babies.
So, with these considerations in mind, what say you, my esteemed contributors? Germany is already in trouble with a low birth rate. Imagine the stew she would be in if the war time birth rate was not what it was, given the appalling amount of casaulites suffered during the war. The question I pose to you then is this: how much can Germany thank Nazi ideology for this, and how much can she owe to basic human nature regardless of ideological considerations?

Einsamer Wolf

nondescript handle
Financial supporter
Posts: 1837
Joined: 27 May 2003 00:01
Location: Berlin, Germany

Post by nondescript handle » 05 Sep 2004 21:13

Just to put the "nazi high birth rate" into perspective.

Regards
Mark
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Witch-King of Angmar
Member
Posts: 915
Joined: 28 Feb 2003 20:40
Location: Europe

Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 05 Sep 2004 21:19

1. "Before the Nazi years" meant the Roaring Twenties - hardly an age of "taboo against pre-marital sex" in Europe.

2.
top Nazi leadership regarded German womanhood as nothing more than a baby-making machine


Given the majority of German civilian employees in all fields were female, it hardly applies to everyday life in the Reich.

3.
She contended that concentration camp populations also had a high birth-rate. Not because they wanted children, but because death and destruction piques human sex drive. So too in Germany, soldiers, fearing their own death as they regarded the death of so many of their comrades, would live while they were alive by enjoying unadulterated pleasure with their lovers before being sent off to the front once again and the grave perils it presented them with. Another example to support this claim that I can think of is the Baby Boom we experienced here in the States. American soldiers, thankful to be alive, did what they could took suck the marrow from life. Marry their sweethearts, if they were not already married, get a house and make a bunch of babies.


Active sexual life and birth-rate are two separate issues, and when speaking of "sex drive", should be two mutually exclusive issues - those seeking "unadulterated pleasure" would hardly burden themselves with children (at least, this should they do).

These being said (I do not expect our friend Einsamer_Wolf to understand 100%, for known reasons ;) ) state authority hardly can influence people into having(or not having) children, given that it just imposes it - most people will dodge in no time. In fact, what an authority can do and be sure it will work, is to fight on two fronts: 1) a psychological one, making childless life "socially unacceptable" and 2) a social one, making childless life a burden by comparison to married life. Neither of these could Hitler do, for the simple fact his tyranny was a pretty inefficient type; this can be recognized by the fact he had to use violence to quench internal strife, something which an efficient tyrant would not do. Really perfected tyrannies do not need force.

~The Witch-King of Angmar

User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 05 Sep 2004 21:32

Witch--

Given that birth control was banned in Germany, sex drive and birth-rates are link. Even with birth-control, copulation and birth-rates are linked, though there is certainly not a perfect correlation.
As to the taboo of having children out of wedlock, the roaring twenties notwithstanding, birth certiicates of these children were still stiigmatized with nomenclature of bastard and the like, to name just one instance in which traditional morality prevailed. The nazi regime reformed much of this, particularly if the father was a solderi killed in action.
Additionally, the regime did try and encourage families to hasve more children, some of them more successful than others. it is not the case the regime only had the option to compel people in a coercive manner. It could be that ideological reasons actually resonated with the rank and file. THat is what I would like to get to the bottom of.
Finally, your petty insult notwithstanding, I am capable of understanding much more than you think I can.

EW

User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 05 Sep 2004 21:36

nondescript handle wrote:Just to put the "nazi high birth rate" into perspective.

Regards
Mark


Mark, your pretty graph just shows the birth-rate plummted in the last year or so, as well as in the immediate after-math of the war, for reasons that are self-evident. I fail to see how this implicates a failure of Reich policy on this manner, other than the very basic failure to start a war that Germany could finish. This defect is very obvious, however. So, again, I fail to see what this proves.

EW

nondescript handle
Financial supporter
Posts: 1837
Joined: 27 May 2003 00:01
Location: Berlin, Germany

Post by nondescript handle » 05 Sep 2004 21:58

Einsamer Wolf,

in your openig post you gave the impression that the policy of the TR had somehow the effect of a unusual high birth rate.
But both the Empire and the Federal Republic had higher birth rates for a longer time than the Third Reich.
The birth rate during the TR is pretty mediocre with one short, and in comparison with the 20s and 65s not very impressive, "Hitler-boom" and the steep decrease of the war.
So "the premium the Nazis placed on the critical importance of a high birth rate to the survival of a nation and people" yielded not very impressive results IMHO.

Regards
Mark

Witch-King of Angmar
Member
Posts: 915
Joined: 28 Feb 2003 20:40
Location: Europe

Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 05 Sep 2004 22:15

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Witch--

Given that birth control was banned in Germany, sex drive and birth-rates are link. Even with birth-control, copulation and birth-rates are linked, though there is certainly not a perfect correlation.


1. It's Witch-King :P

2. The ban was not entirely enforced. Rubber condoms were still in use, and were even issued to the troopers. (Given the scarcity of rubber in Germany, was it a wise measure?...)

~The Witch-King of Angmar

Brotherhood of the Cross
Member
Posts: 123
Joined: 22 Feb 2004 03:45
Location: Au

Post by Brotherhood of the Cross » 06 Sep 2004 10:26

Witch-King of Angmar wrote:The ban was not entirely enforced. Rubber condoms were still in use, and were even issued to the troopers. (Given the scarcity of rubber in Germany, was it a wise measure?...)



Even the soldiers encircled in Stalingrad had a good load of condoms parachuted by Goerings' men so it is clearly there was an 'excess' of such product.

It would be relevant to see if abortions were banned and if there were any incentives/advantages for women/families with lots of children (I am just drawing a parallel with the Romanian communist policy during Ceausescu who wanted his little army of slaves as well)

I have read somewhere that there is a higher proportion of boy-babies concieved/born during the times of war. Anyone knows more?

User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 06 Sep 2004 11:42

That condoms were available to soldiers abroad would not mean much to me, because that would not necessarily mean that they were permitted between husband and wife, thouigh even the Nazi state might find such a distinction hard to enforce.
Non-descript regards the boom as mediocre at best. I would be curious to see if other statistics are available. However, I find the fact that Germany had a higher population after the war than before to be no less than astounding, irrespective of what he may say. It might be worth considering that birthrate figures are skewed by various state policies that only favored the "racially fit" to propagate. Whether one disagrees with such policies or not, any data should account for the fact that the Nazi regime took concerted efforts to boost birth-rates among what it considered to be desirable, and eliminate the birth-rate among others altogether. I think if you consider the numbers with these two factors, it is even more impressive. Finally, the graph non-descript showed us does not delineate specific year very clearly. As I said, it looks like things really plummeted in the last year orso and in the immediate post-war period. With terror-bombings waged by the Western Allies on civilian targets and massive rape and murder on behalf of the Red Army, coupled with near starvation and total deprivation, how could these be otherwise? Conversely, the boost we see in the late 30s is not unremarkable.

Einsamer Wolf

nondescript handle
Financial supporter
Posts: 1837
Joined: 27 May 2003 00:01
Location: Berlin, Germany

Post by nondescript handle » 06 Sep 2004 12:09

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:[...]However, I find the fact that Germany had a higher population after the war than before to be no less than astounding, irrespective of what he may say. [...]


Exept that this 'fact' is totally unproven:
The figures of the Statistisches Bundesamt (the German 'Census Bureau') don't support that 'fact':
1939: 69 million population
1947: 66 million population

http://www.bmgs.bund.de/download/statis ... 1/1.01.pdf

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:[...]That condoms were available to soldiers abroad would not mean much to me, because that would not necessarily mean that they were permitted between husband and wife, thouigh even the Nazi state might find such a distinction hard to enforce.[...]


Could you please show any law or decree that made it illegal to use condoms, or is this just hearsay?

Regards
Mark

User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 06 Sep 2004 12:32

nondescript handle wrote:
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:[...]However, I find the fact that Germany had a higher population after the war than before to be no less than astounding, irrespective of what he may say. [...]


Exept that this 'fact' is totally unproven:
The figures of the Statistisches Bundesamt (the German 'Census Bureau') don't support that 'fact':
1939: 69 million population
1947: 66 million population

http://www.bmgs.bund.de/download/statis ... 1/1.01.pdf

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:[...]That condoms were available to soldiers abroad would not mean much to me, because that would not necessarily mean that they were permitted between husband and wife, thouigh even the Nazi state might find such a distinction hard to enforce.[...]


Could you please show any law or decree that made it illegal to use condoms, or is this just hearsay?

Regards
Mark


Well your stats conflict with what I had read in the past. At this time I have no numbers to put up against yours. I am hoping other contributors can help me out on this, because it is something I read a number of times before. The contention was also inserted in History Channel, hardly something that meets our lofty standards I know, as I myself have recounted too many erros on the History channel to recount. Indeed, the fact that the History channel backs my claim counts against me!
As for the birth-control issue, Bleuel's text, which I am reading now stated that birth control was banned inside Germany, but allowed for soldiers in occupied territories. Obviously, it was compulsory for those the Reich regarded as undesirable. Unfortunately, it does not describe in detail the nature of the ban. The ban could pertain only to the pill and abortion.

EW

nondescript handle
Financial supporter
Posts: 1837
Joined: 27 May 2003 00:01
Location: Berlin, Germany

Post by nondescript handle » 06 Sep 2004 14:38

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:[...] Unfortunately, it does not describe in detail the nature of the ban. The ban could pertain only to the pill and abortion.[...]


The pill was introduced 1960.

Abortion in Germany is regulated in the article 218 of the penal code since 1871:
In the 1871 version abortion is banned without exeption.
In 1925 the highest court (Reichsgericht) ruled that an abortion to save the mother from serious harm is not punishable.
In 1935 there is a law which determined the exact procedure to judge what "serious harm" is, the same law aggravates the punishment if the child is healthy and arian to death.
After 1945 the 1935 law was repealed, the 1925 rules stayed in effect until 1972.

So in a summary: from 1871 to 1972 abortion was banned in Germany, unless there was a danger for the mother.

Regards
Mark

User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 06 Sep 2004 15:29

Ok--so to redirect--what do contributors make of state policies regarding birthrates? Beneficial or no? Do you think they caused new families to beget more children?


EW

User avatar
HaEn
In memoriam
Posts: 1911
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 00:58
Location: Portland OR U.S.A.

kids

Post by HaEn » 06 Sep 2004 16:19

Ja !
With or without families :)
There were large facilities where "unwed" mothers could have their babies at government expense.
There were parties orgnized between young SS men and B.D.M. young women. They danced, jumped over the rope, disappeared, and "made the baby" :)

Slogan painted on locomotibe tenders: "Räder müssen rollen für der Sieg", under which someone had scrawled: "und Kinderwagen für die nächste krieg". :)

H.N.

User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 06 Sep 2004 16:49

Hi Haen--

I think the prevalence of that has been a little overstated. Bleuel's text, which is fiercely anti-Nazi, concedes that much of the notorious Lebensborn was geared to helping pregnant girls escape the stigma cast upon them by society, taking htem in, then finding a suitable family for infertile couples. The more notorious practices have an infamy that overshadows the rest.
One might also note that the public did not always regard these sorts of hook-ups in the best light. Nonetheless, one anecdote in the book recounts an instance in which a young lady, perhaps not even 18, admonished her parents, stating that if you dare so much as touch me, I am turning you into the authorities. So I suppose I cannot confidently surmise how prevalent this was, and to what extent it was a success or failure.
And that sums up a lot of the personal conflict I have. To a large degree I am admittedly pro-Nazi, quite sympathetic to much of the ideology. But a lot of what I have learned in this book repulses me. Plundering Nordic looking children from families in Eastern Europe, the failed chicken-farmers pathetic advocacy for bigamy, but only for the Waffen SS, and young girls running off to get knocked up, threatening to turn in her disapproving parents for trying to protect her. One word comes to mind: fuerchtlich! However, none of this repulses me as much as the current demographic trends I related earlier. I am very much a conflicted soul at this point. I guess I always have been. That is why I am anxious to continue this discussion with my fellow contributors a bit, to help me free myself from the confusion I am presently tormented by.

EW

Return to “Women in the Reich”