Lothrop Stoddard on Nazi feminism

[Here’s a quick one-off post on a subject the vast majority of people have been taught to regard as an oxymoron, and also as an appendix to my prior essay on NS thought. I hope to come out with more essays soon now that I have more free time ahead of me.]

Just about everyone equates National Socialism with social conservatism, not least of which contemporary sympathizers of National Socialism who regard it as the traditionalist philosophy par excellence, capable of invigorating the mind, body and soul of the great European race like no other.

It is therefore worth bringing up some observations from Lothrop Stoddard, a figure I believe every racialist would regard as a trustworthy source. One of his lesser known works, Into the Darkness (1940), documented his four-month tour of the Third Reich.

Chapter XIII, “Women of the Third Reich,” is particularly notable. It consists primarily of his conversation with leader of the NS-Frauenschaft, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink. Its testimony poses quite a challenge to interpretations of National Socialism as being traditionalist, conservative or reactionary on even a social and familial basis.

So we read:

I started the conversation by telling her [Gertrud Scholtz-Klink] some of the organizational activities I had seen, and asked her what was the basic idea on which they were conducted. Unhesitatingly, she answered: “Encouraging initiative. You can’t just command women. You should give them guiding principles of action. Then, within this framework, let them function with the thought that they themselves are the creators and fulfillers of those ideas.”

This rather surprised me, and I told her so, remarking that in America there is a widespread impression that woman’s position is less free in National Socialist Germany than it was under the Weimar Republic, and that this is especially true regarding women’s professional opportunities and political rights.

Frau Scholtz-Klink smiled, nodded understandingly, and came back with the quick retort: “That depends on what you mean by political rights. We believe that anyone, man or woman, thinks politically who puts the people’s welfare ahead of personal advantage. What does it matter if five or six women are members of Parliament, as was the case in the Weimar regime? We think it vastly more important that, today, sixteen million women are enrolled in our organization and that half a million women leaders have a weighty voice in everything which concerns women and children, from the Central Government and the Party down to the smallest village.”

“How about professional opportunities,” I put in. “Are German women still in the universities and in lines like higher scientific work?”

“They certainly are,” she replied, “and we are glad to see them there. It is true that when we first came to power seven years ago, some National Socialists were opposed to this because they had been prejudiced by the exaggerately feminist types of women who were so prominent under the Weimar Republic. Today, however, this prejudice has practically vanished. If occasionally we run across some man with an anti-feminist chip on his shoulder, we just laugh about him and consider him a funny old has-been out of touch with the times.

“That’s interesting,” I ventured.

Yeah, it sure is.

Stoddard then continues to narrate:

Nazi women orators denounced the Weimar regime as having degraded German womanhood into “parasites, pacifists, and prostitutes.” It was these feminine zealots who converted their sisters wholesale. The “Woman’s Front” of the Nazi movement soon became one of its most influential branches. And the interesting point is that it was run by the women themselves. The activities of this Woman’s Front are complex and far-reaching.

They overlap into many fields which we have already surveyed, such as the feminine sectors of the Labor Service and the Hitler Youth, together with phases of the great social – service enterprise known as NSV, which we will describe in the next chapter. Its earliest enterprise was the “Muetterdienst,” or Mothers’ Service — a network of adult schools giving courses of instruction in infant care, general hygiene, home nursing, cooking, sewing, and the beautification of the home itself. Permanent quarters are established in all cities and large towns, while itinerant teachers conduct courses in villages and the remotest countryside. The system has now reached throughout the Reich, and several million women have passed through this domestic education — an intensive course with classes limited to twenty – five persons, since instruction takes the form, not of theoretical lectures, but of practical teaching by actual demonstration in which the pupils take part. Alongside these courses for housewives are others for prospective brides.

Most foreign observers agreed that this domestic education has helped many German women to be better wives and mothers. I myself investigated the large Mother School established in “Wedding” , a Berlin suburb inhabited by working folk. This institution also serves as a sort of normal school where teachers are trained. I met and talked with the members of the current class, drawn from all parts of Germany. They appeared to be earnest, capable young women, well chosen for their future jobs. Another major field of service is in industry, where trained “confidence women” actually work in factories, stores, and offices employing much female labor. These women are thus in personal touch with working conditions.

Naturally, such women are the best sort of propagandists for the Party and its ideas. Still other fields of activity might be described if space permitted in a general survey like this. At least half a million women are actively engaged in these various lines of endeavor. This, of course, is the answer which Frau Scholtz-Klink and her colleagues make to the charge that National Socialism has driven women out of public life. They claim that it has changed the nature of those activities to more fruitful channels.

As a matter of fact, the whole economic trend in the Third Reich, by transforming mass unemployment into an acute labor shortage, has driven women into all sorts of activities outside the home circle — which is certainly not what Hitler promised his feminine followers. It is estimated that nearly 12,000,000 women were gainfully employed in the Reich when war broke out, and that figure will undoubtedly be vastly exceeded as men are continually mobilized for war service. Yet, in these new developments, it is probable that the Nazi attitude and policy will remain basically unaltered.

Now, is it possible that Frau Scholtz-Klink was bluffing in order to flatter a foreign visitor like Stoddard?

It doesn’t seem like this is the case. Stoddard’s claim in 1940 of a feminine sector of the Reich Labor Service (Reicharbeitsdienst) is independently verifiable — it was made compulsory for both sexes as early as 26 June 1935, although enforcement would not be ramped up until the war effort starting from September 1939.

The official magazine of the BDM (Bund Deutscher Maedel) — the female youth wing of the Party, promoted surprisingly tomboyish ideals.

Furthermore, here we have BDM leader Jutta Ruediger outlining her organization’s principles in 1938:

We also expect that, consistent with the wishes of the Reich Youth Leader, each BDM girl will receive training in home economics. That does not mean that we make the cooking pot the goal of education for girls. The politically aware girl knows that any work, whether in a factory or in the home, is of equal value.

At twelve, the Jungmädel must pass the Jungmädel athletic test, and besides some more physical standards, are to be familiar with organizations and structure of the party and the Hitler Youth. The Jungmädel receives a merit badge, but only when her whole Jungmädel group has passed the test. Through this, even the youngest girl will learn that the greatest goals can only be achieved by the community working together.

At 14, the Jungmädel joins the BDM. Most enter the job market at the same time. As a result, the BDM’s educational activities are strengthened and deepened so that they are suited to employment and practical life. The Reich Youth Leader had established a merit badge for the BDM in bronze for athletic accomplishments that can be won by any girl with average abilities.

Such a “liberation” of women is also fully compatible with the contours of National Socialist thought, concerned as it was comradeship, people’s community and the transcendent heroics of the New Socialist Man, as I have discussed previously.

Indeed, it seems we have good reason to believe this process would not have scaled back but rather ratcheted forward in the event of a National Socialist victory.

And with such white nationalist luminaries as “Grindr” Greg Johnson recently being leaked [NSFW] holding fascinating opinions, like: “I oppose a package deal of White Nationalism and social conservatism. White Nationalism is for all white people. My idea of a utopia is a place where we are still fighting over abortion and feminism, but it is only white people who are doing it. I think these reactionaries are a ball and chain on WN.”

Well, I for one am in emphatic agreement. One does not need family, as long as we all have a high enough frequency of Y-DNA haplogroup R1b. Onward, comrades!

8 thoughts on “Lothrop Stoddard on Nazi feminism

  1. The Futurist roots of the Fascist mind are highly instructive here. Although vehemently anti-Feminist, the Futurists demanded that the family, romantic love and indeed sex be altogether abolished in the name of unleashing the creative power of the individual. In short, they beat the radical feminists of the 60s-70s (Shulamith Firestone, etc.) to the punch-bowl by about 50-60 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hitler was primarily an innovator. Though undoubtedly influenced by newspaper articles and current affairs ideas, he was a master of image, and also provided a complete theoretical underpinning for his state. He even ventured into religion, cursing Christianity’s unsuitability for the Reich-Empire he wished to institute for a thousand years. Overall, I would place him on the same level with Napoleon in terms of quality of legal and political thought, within the state context.

    To illustrate one example: Joy Divisions. Keeping females for sex by your troops is a departure from past civilized moral norms. Indeed, Hitler despised much of civilization, and extolled willpower over conscience, inner discipline over free-thinking, despite his artistic background. It’s interesting that the German approach to Joy Divisions was not challenged by the old society, but humbly accepted, with dissenters swallowing their Adam’s Apples to “go-along-to-get-along.”

    — xwarper.wordpress.com


  3. There is nothing really anti-traditional here. Did you even read the sources you quote? Or are you perhaps unaware of traditional roles of women in Germany? Somewhere there is a confusion.


  4. AFAIK Hitler mentioned somewhere in his letters something along the lines that Bolsheviks and National Socialists are the only ones whose women “do not run away when the trouble starts.”

    Of course, Nazis with their support of abortion, euthanasia, and drug use aren’t traditional. Well, for the most common values of “traditional” at least. Of course there’s also this, as La Wik says:

    “Lebensborn provided welfare to its mostly unmarried mothers, encouraged anonymous births by unmarried women at their maternity homes…”


  5. Pingback: The left-right spectrum put in its proper meaning and context | Carlsbad 1819

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