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.
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Drew Maynard
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Post by Drew Maynard » 15 Sep 2004 13:36

Fr. Valkyrie:

Will look up the badge in the book (if I can find the book in the disorganized library.. :oops: )

I'd have never thought there would be so many faked- then again look at all the fakes of the Germanic Proficiency Rune- mind you- much more well kown than the RDK badge.....will have to look it up.

Back to the topic of birthrates (sorry for the highjacking of the topic)-

my thoughts always were that as the pool of 'available' men declined, the birthrate would decline steadily no matter what the policies of the day were, unless someone instituted some odd polygamy type program (the bormmandirektorate? lol)

such is the problem with wars and great societies- the infirm, and the 'non-suitable' (begin the flames) are at home and the virile and the healthy and of good physical standards are sent off to the meat grinder....mind you- i shouldn't start as i've always thought the same about christian monasteries and nunneries- 'oh fantastic- people who are highly skilled, knowledgeable, artistic and smart- let's lock them away from society and alow them not to breed...'

8)

all in all, i think had germany stayed out of major conflict then the birthrate would have risen steadily as the party tried to reverse direction from existing policies...

my two cents

vinland

(plus my 20 cents and 5 euros)

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Vikki
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Post by Vikki » 16 Oct 2004 06:35

Vinland,

Bear in mind that birthrates are based most essentially on the available fertile female population, not the male (i.e., to put it bluntly, one male can impregnate many females). So even with decimation of the male population by war, birthrates theoretically can increase as long as the fertile female population remains intact---assuming your “odd polygamy type program” was put into effect.

The addition to the equation with humans is of course the social aspect: Would the cultural/social atmosphere of the time have tolerated that sort of polygamy program? Definitely not. (See my comments below on the acceptance of propaganda).

On considering whether birthrates might have increased if there had been no major conflict or threat of it, a more subtle social aspect comes into play. Birthrates normally increase when people feel secure about their longterm ability to successfully rear the young they produce. Periods without major military conflict, as you point out, are normally good times for increased birthrates. (This is the flip side of the quote by Claudia Koonz I cited.)

On a closer scale, however, on the purely domestic (national) level, and excluding war or the threat of war: Did the majority of the German people as a whole “buy into” Nazi propaganda favoring higher Germanic birthrates (as Einsamer Wolf has asked)? Even more basic than whether they accepted the propaganda, did they feel secure in the social/legal/economic basis of their country and their personal situations within it? From the personal accounts I’ve read, my answer to the first question is: No. Propaganda, and the reports of its success, are by their very definition exaggerated. And the firsthand accounts I’ve read indicate otherwise. As to the second question: I’m not sure they did. Many remembered the social/financial devastation of the 20s and 30s, and seem not to have been so sure of the stability of the current social situation either.

So, referring again to the axioms quoted from Koonz’ book (and that quote also refers to the 1930s, before the war or threat of the war), I don’t think that even all the propaganda and attempted social engineering would have produced a “steadily” higher level of birthrates---and definitely not to the level envisioned by Nazi politicos---even if the war had never happened.

~FV

walterkaschner
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Post by walterkaschner » 16 Oct 2004 10:27

I hope no one will take too great offense if I intercede in this learned discussion with a very brief, and perhaps to some minds cynical, poem which I heard long ago and still recall with some amusement, and which I believe may have some faint bearing on the theory that birthrates are based most essentially on the available fertile female population. It goes like this:

"Higamous, hogamous: Women monogamous;

"Hogamous, higamous: Men are polygamous!"

Well, I could not resist that puerile temptation, nor indeed another to comment on a point raised earlier on this thread concerning the military's encouragement of the use of condoms. I strongly suspect that the German military was no different than the U.S. in this regard, and the motive had nothing whatsoever to do with the discouragement of procreation. Rather, it had everything to do with the prevention of venereal disease, which has been for centuries a publicly unadvertised but nonetheless pervasive "occupational hazard" and plague among the military, which can literally cripple the combat effectiveness of an armed force.

I can vividly recall that during the Korean War before allowing the troops to go on leave or liberty, we required their attendance at the showing of moving pictures displaying in sickening detail the end results of various venereal diseases, and before leaving his ship or post each man was required to visually show that he had a supply of condoms in his possession. If not, complementary ones were freely provided.

Nevertheless, unfortunately lust all too often overcame prudence, and the VD rate amongst the military remained inordinately high.

Regards, Kaschner

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Vikki
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Post by Vikki » 16 Oct 2004 18:11

walterkaschner wrote:I hope no one will take too great offense if I intercede in this learned discussion with a very brief, and perhaps to some minds cynical, poem which I heard long ago and still recall with some amusement, and which I believe may have some faint bearing on the theory that birthrates are based most essentially on the available fertile female population. It goes like this:

"Higamous, hogamous: Women monogamous;

"Hogamous, higamous: Men are polygamous!"




Herr Kaschner,

Not cynical at all! Simply an adage that is perhaps more true about human nature and the difference between the sexes than a lot of people might want to admit. And one with some basis in biology and reproductive strategy.

I've heard that poem a long time ago too---actually set to music, I believe? Do you know the rest of it, or who the author is?

~FV

walterkaschner
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Post by walterkaschner » 16 Oct 2004 23:07

Sehr verehrtes Fräulein!

That bit of doggerel is attributed to William James, who is said to have come up with it while testing the efficacy of laughing gas (Nitrous oxide). However, I don't have a source for this other than my memory, which is becoming progressively less reliable day by day. As far as I know, there is nothing more to it than the two lines quoted, and I've never heard it put to music.

Regards, Kaschner

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Vikki
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Post by Vikki » 20 Oct 2004 04:38

Sehr geehrter Herr Kaschner,

What a shame that there is no more to the poem! With those two lines as a beginning, I'm sure the rest of it would have been full of insights!

~FV

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Mysteron
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Post by Mysteron » 23 Oct 2004 17:17

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

Regards
Mark


Your birth rate graph is very interesting Mark, however it fails to take into account the high infant mortality rate in past centuries. A woman in the late 1900's may indeed have had 5 children, but European and North American history shows us that most likely only one child would survive to become an adult.
Childhood illnesses took a huge toll until vaccinations came into use in the 1940's and 1950's. A birth rate graph is meaningless without taking this into perspective.

David (Mysteron)

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Post by nondescript handle » 23 Oct 2004 19:30

Mysteron wrote:[...]Your birth rate graph is very interesting Mark, however it fails to take into account the high infant mortality rate in past centuries. [...] A birth rate graph is meaningless without taking this into perspective.[...]


David,
Your observations are true.
But one would only take the high infant mortality rate into account if we would dicuss "Nazi Germany's High Population Growth: Ideology or Nature?" (but census data directly providing the population would be of course preferred).
But we're discussing "Nazi Germany's High Birth-Rate: Ideology or Nature?".
The only thing one should really wary off is the fact that before 1910 or so there was no reliable method of contraception, so that the earlier birth rates didn't reflect the whishing for childs like the later ones.
But I still believe a chart of bith rates is quite meaningful in a discussion of birth rates :wink:

Regards
Mark

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Mysteron
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Post by Mysteron » 24 Oct 2004 03:06

nondescript handle wrote:David,
Your observations are true.
But one would only take the high infant mortality rate into account if we would dicuss "Nazi Germany's High Population Growth: Ideology or Nature?" (but census data directly providing the population would be of course preferred).
But we're discussing "Nazi Germany's High Birth-Rate: Ideology or Nature?".[...]
But I still believe a chart of bith rates is quite meaningful in a discussion of birth rates [...]


Ok, you do indeed have a point here Mark. Although I have studied all aspects of the Third Reich for many years, I am new to this forum and will be more careful in sticking to the precise topic of discussion in the future. :)
Your graph did interest me very much in showing the effect of both World Wars on the birth rate in Germany.
My personal opinion is that NSDAP ideology must have played at least some role in increasing the birth rate. It did, after all, affect a great many other aspects of German lifestyle and culture, and having children was very encouraged as a way to keep the population of the Reich strong and growing.
Having said that though, it is also true (as others have pointed out) that the death and destruction of war in general has a powerful effect on increasing the sex drives of those directly affected by it.
To Einsamer_Wolf, I would say don't get too repulsed by Bleuel’s Sex and Society in Nazi Germany. Like most books, the authors personal bias is bound to affect the way he researches and especially how he writes such a text. I find that the truth of a subject such as this comes from reading, or even viewing TV documentaries, as wide a variety of historical sources as possible. The anti-Nazi bias of this author guarantees that he will want to make Nazi ideology as repulsive as possible. That's his opinion. It certainly is not mine.
Thank you all for your contributions to a most interesting discussion! :)

Sincerely,
David (Mysteron)

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Vikki
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Attn: Vinland

Post by Vikki » 05 Mar 2005 05:40

Vinland wrote:fraulein;

thanks for the info. never heard of that badge - the reichsbund badge- do you have any photos of it? Laff- going for gold does have a different meaning than it does in the olympics when you look at the mothers' cross, laff...


Fraulein Valkyrie wrote:Vinland,

Check J.R. Cone's book on enamel badges of the Third Reich. But, as I know you're also a collector, beware that the RDK badges are heavily faked. Who'd have thought there would be so much interest in that kind of badge, to reproduce them?

~FV


Vinland,

Check this site for an example of the RDK pin. (Scroll all the way to the bottom of the "Deutsche Frauenwerk" & RDK section under Political and Civil Organizations of the Third Reich: http://germanmilitaria.com/

Although the pin is misidentified on the site as Small Animal Breeders' pin (Reichsverband Deutscher Kleintierzüchter), it is in fact a Reichsbund der Kinderreichen pin---note the "clutch" of "little ones" under the wings, and the different angle of the eagle's wings from the Small Animal Breeders' insignia. This particular badge is "sold" anyway, and I wouldn't attest to the authenticity of the actual pin---I only buy enamel pins in person, never from web photos---but it should give you an idea of how the original of the badge is configured.

We must look for a good original one for you, as congratulations for your upcoming fourth child!


~FV

seppalar
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Post by seppalar » 08 Mar 2005 04:33

Hello All,

You are all looking for your answers in incorrect ways. If you want to know if Germany's policies yielded a higher birth rate than other policies would have you should be introducing the birthrates of other countries into the debate.

Someone could, for example see if Germany's birthrate trend during the 1934-1946 period was very different from Britian's birthrate trend for the same period. If it is a higher birthrate it is reasonable to conclude that it was a successful policy.

I will see if I can find such numbers tomorrow.

Respectfully yours,
Rick Seppala

Heinrich_von_Will
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Post by Heinrich_von_Will » 12 Mar 2005 15:01

Image

:(

thats pretty sad, german people will be gone soon...

if we dont make a change, like sweden, norway or ireland

seppalar
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Post by seppalar » 14 Mar 2005 01:00

I have been unable to find a chart of wartime British Birth Rates which is detailed enough to really tell year by year trends. I would really like to see if Britain could match the 1939-1940 spike seen in the graph floating around in this thread.

I can't say I have tried too hard on this, I have looked in the British Stats Service site and a few other on-line sources and not found what we need. Some of you who seem to be more interested in this might try to find a month by month birth rate table and turning it into a graph to settle this issue. I'm not sure that I will get around to it anytime soon.

Sorry,
Rick Seppala

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

Post by Fides Germania » 13 Feb 2017 04:07

After all that talk about things unrelated to the subject, I was wondering please if any members have the figures (and source) for births per 1000 women per annum for Germany, from 1933 to 1945, or even 46 - 50 if possible. The Weimar info is easy to find - as usual -!
The research I'm conducting is the house construction figures compared between Weimar and NS Germany, so if anyone has info on numbers, preferably including how many people they could house, I would be extreamly grateful.

PS for Wolf ( the green knight )
If you are ever reading a book on the NS period of Germany and it starts to make your head spin, put it down as 99.9% of the time it is bulls#it. Unless its about allied atrocities against Germans and Eastern Europeans who fell foul of Stalin, then it is probably understated.
Regards
Robert from Australia

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