Antinatalism, Maternity, and Paternity in National Socialist Racism

TitleAntinatalism, Maternity, and Paternity in National Socialist Racism
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsBock, Gisela
EditorCrew, David F.
Book TitleNazism and German Society, 1933-1945

In this chapter, the author examines those aspects of Nazi rule which she thinks most directly affected women – the cluster of measures that constituted a racist population policy. Although Nazism has sometimes been seen as a pronatalist regime, the author argues that the essence of the population policies pursued by the Nazis were primarily antinatalist. The Nazis did not believe that all German women possessed the genetic capacity to produce desirable children and the regime focused more of its attention on preventing the births of “inferior” or “worthless” children than on promoting population increase. The Nazis sought to purify the next generation of the Aryan race by forced sterilization and compulsory abortions. While both men and women whom the Nazis judged to be genetically inferior were subjected to forced sterilization, the author argues in this chapter that women suffered more, both physically and emotionally, from the destruction of their ability to have children.

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