Mothers of the Nation
Right-Wing Women in Weimar Germany
What role did right-wing women play in the Nazi rise to power?Mothers of the Nation analyzes the work of women in the German Peoples Party and the German National Peoples Party - parties that covered the range from the moderate to the radical right. Looking at politics on both the local and national level, the author discusses issues ranging from social welfare to foreign policy. He shows that right-wing women, in keeping with the tradition of the German bourgeois womens movement, refused to stand up primarily for womens interests and instead invoked the Volksgemeinschaft (community of the people), a vision of harmony and cooperation of the groups involved in production.These right-wing campaigners believed that German women should use their newly won political rights to strengthen the Volksgemeinschaft by reconciling the divided nation and by infusing it with a higher morality. This stance proved to be both a liability and an asset. The emphasis on the Volksgemeinschaft made it difficult for female conservatives to fight for specific womens rights. Yet it also allowed them to paste over the conflicts between interest groups that tore apart Germanys bourgeois parties prior to 1933 and that divided politically active women as well. The ways in which women sought to contain the fragmentation that ultimately rendered their parties defenceless against the Nazis sheds new light on Weimar politics.Bringing the controversial story of right-wing women to life, this book offers a compelling account of gender and politics during a crucial period in German history.
Raffael Scheck Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department,Colby College
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256pp, bibliography, index
|'A significant and valuable contribution, not only to the history of the DNVP and the DVP, but to the social history of politics in the Weimar era in general.'Matthew Stibbe, Lecturer in History, Sheffield Hallam University'In this excellent study, Raffael Scheck explores a series of fateful paradoxes that imperiled Weimar democracy: attachments to household and motherhood propelled women into the public arena; the mobilization of female voters strengthened the nationalist, anti-democratic Right; the effort to imbue middle-class parties with the virtues of the people's community only helped the Nazis; and the campaign to protect Christianity legitimized eugenic legislation. Scheck's great contribution is to trace so well the seams of Germany's political culture between 1918 and 1933.'Peter Fritzsche, author of Reading Berlin 1900 and Germans Into Nazis'Raffael Scheck has brought together many disparate threads of evidence in a closely-argued and entirely coherent thematic stud|