Women at Work in Nazi Germany

Women at Work in Nazi Germany

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The Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler in particular spun the belief that a woman's place was in the home. The Nazi ideal was that a woman would raise children and look after her husband after he had completed a day at work.

“”If one says a man's world is the state, his struggle, his readiness to devote his powers to the service of the community, one might be tempted to say that the world of the woman is a smaller world. But where would the greater world be if there were no one to care for the small world? Providence has entrusted to women the cares of that world which is peculiarly her own. Every child that a woman brings into the world is a battle, a battle waged for the existence of her people.” (Hitler in 1934)

However, what Nazi propaganda wanted to portray in Nazi Germany and what actually went on were at odds with each other. The German economy had a healthy number of women working in it in the lead up to World War Two and during the war itself when many men were away in the military. In fact, without the input of women the German economy may well have faltered and Goebbels desire for 'Total War' may well have been impossible. The statistics clearly show that a great number of women were engaged in work at any one time. Albert Speer may have wanted to use more women and 'Inside the Third Reich' gives the impression that the Armaments Minister was in despair that he had to use more and more slave labour when he wanted to use German women who he believed would be more loyal to the cause. But in industry the number of women at work in Nazi Germany during the war never fell below 3.5 million. Likewise, agriculture needed a large female input and the figure for women workers here never fell below 5.5 million. During World War Two itself, the total figure for women at work in Nazi Germany never fell below 14 million - despite the impression the regime wanted to portray.


May 1939: 6,495,000

May 1940: 5,689,000

May 1941: 5,369,000

May 1942: 5,673,000

May 1943: 5,665,000

May 1944: 5,694,000


May 1939: 3,836,000

May 1940: 3,650,000

May 1941: 3,677,000

May 1942: 3,537,000

May 1943: 3,740,000

May 1944: 3,592,000


May 1939: 2,227,000

May 1940: 2,183,000

May 1941: 2,167,000

May 1942: 2,225,000

May 1943: 2,320,000

May 1944: 2,219,000

Domestic service

May 1939: 1,560,000

May 1940: 1,511,000

May 1941: 1,473,000

May 1942: 1,410,000

May 1943: 1,362,000

May 1944: 1,301,000


May 1939: 954,000

May 1940: 1,157,000

May 1941: 1,284,000

May 1942: 1,471,000

May 1943: 1,719,000

May 1944: 1,746,000


May 1939: 14,626,000

May 1940: 14,386,000

May 1941: 14,167,000

May 1942: 14,437,000

May 1943: 14,806,000

May 1944: 14,808,000

June 2012

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