From Nurturing the Nation to Purifying the Volk: Weimar and Nazi Family Policy. 1918–1945
Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Fearing that the future of the nation was at stake following the First World War, German policymakers vastly expanded social welfare programs to shore up women and families. Just over a decade later, the Nazis seized control of the state and created a radically different, racially driven gender and family policy. This book explores Weimar and Nazi policy to highlight the fundamental, far-reaching change wrought by the Nazis and the disparity between national family policy design and its implementation at the local level. Relying on a broad range of sources --including court records, sterilization files, church accounts, and women’s oral histories -- it demonstrates how local officials balanced the benefits of marriage, divorce, and adoption against budgetary concerns, church influence, and their own personal beliefs. Throughout both eras individual Germans collaborated with, rebelled against, and evaded state mandates, in the process fundamentally altering the impact of national policy.