(Image courtesy of “Politicizing Pronatalism: exploring the Nazi Propaganda of Women through the Lens of Visual Propaganda”, by Katherine Rossy)
This image, taken from the Nazi party’s magazine for women, Frauen Warte, depicts a mother taking care of her baby daughter while her husband goes off to war. This particular image is from a 1937 issue, two years before World War II began. At this point in history, Germany is Nazi-occupated and Hitler’s power is rising. The picture illustrates clear gender roles that show the woman as a loving creature whose duty it is to make children just as it’s the men’s duty to fight. The Nazi Regime preached pronatalism to those “worthy” enough to reproduce, which was the Aryan race in their eyes. It was these women’s duty to make good German children. While women were getting more and more involved in the workforce, it goes to show that their first and foremost priority, at least as taught by the state, was to heighten the birthrate of the German population. Because of the alarmingly high divorce rates, and this new “modern woman, the state became highly concerned about the now declining birthrate. While this sparked Pronatalism regimes across Nazi Germany, it wasn’t an isolated situation. Several other countries across Europe began to outlaw abortion and contraception to rebuild the importance of the family unit.