This series examines the role of women in the Third Reich through a contemporary lens of women as active participants in all aspects of German society.
The role of women in the rise and implementation of Nazi Germany is rarely featured in the history of World War Two. To the extent that women in the Third Reich are portrayed it is mostly as passive homemakers who were allocated a defined and subsidiary role in Nazi Project. The reality is more complex and far darker. Women play a central role in enabling Hitler to carry out the war and the holocaust.
The overarching thesis is that the Nazis could not have succeeded without women and the factors which lead to the Nazi/Fascist State and the genocidal practices are not a relic of history or a particular time and can repeat.
The approach looks at broad categories of female engagement in Nazi Germany and adopts a biographical examination of individual women to illustrate the types of engagement in the Nazi regime. There will be a particular focus on women and the Eastern territories of the Greater Reich- the bloodlands of the holocaust- where the bulk of the war was fought, and often downplayed in the Western narrative of the war.
EPISODE 1: FEMALE FUHRERS This episode will examine the women that surrounded Hitler once he came to power, and how they were propped up as the Aryan Ideal to strive for once Hitler approved of their positions.
The Nazis re-shape Germany in their own vision. Women are portrayed as the backbone of the Reich as the 'national community' is developed. Women are not to compete with men but are to work together with men: 'Aryan Motherhood' is an ideal but the reality is far more complex, especially with the start of the war. Although constrained by reinforced patriarchy, women at the head of the women’s and girls’ organisations help carry out this transformation. This episode explores and interrogates the Nazi’s ideal of “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” and how reality ultimately fell short of their ideals.
EPISODE 2: NAZI SHE-DEVILS This episode explores how women were active and often violent participants and perpetrators in the war and its attendant atrocities- especially the Holocaust.
The war against the USSR unleashes the full horror of the Nazis on Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine and Russia. 500,000 German women serve on the Eastern front and the settlement of conquered lands commences. The local people make way for the colonisers and the death camps are established. It can’t be done without the secretaries, administrators, SS wives, and female concentration camp guards. This episode explores how women were active participants and perpetrators in the war and its attendant atrocities- especially the Holocaust.
EPISODE 3: COUGARS AND FANTASISTS This episode explores the fanatical women who took Hitler under their wing and, through love and devotion, trained him in the methods of high society to launch him to power, only to be left behind once he achieved it.
In September 1934, Hitler addresses the NS-Frauenschaft, the main political organisation for Nazi women. He says,‘the national socialist movement has from the very beginnings of its existence not only seen but also found women to be its most loyal followers'. This episode frames the series and lifts the veil on the role women played in the Third Reich. It will focus on the women who turned Hitler from a rabble-rouser to a politician, the women who pioneered the Nazi Party, and the women who voted him in. This episode will look at the work women did in bringing Hitler to power.
EPISODE 4: HITLER’S LOVERS This episode explores the many lovers of Adolph Hitler – and charts the unfortunate demise of all who dared resist his love, affection and sexual appetite.
Eva Braun is perhaps the most famous girlfriend in history - but she was not Hitler’s first lover. Piecing together a baffling parade of young women - some related to him - Hitler is revealed as a sexually perverse and often absent lover. Mysteriously, many girlfriends died in mysterious circumstances, and conspircy theories abound.