Hitler’s Furies and Women in Nazi Germany

Hitler’s Furies discusses the role of women in the Nazi regime during the Second World War.  Wendy Lower analyzes how women were portrayed, as well as the things they did in the interest of the Reich.  Many of the themes and ideas she discusses seem to argue that although it is not often believed, women were also witnesses, accomplices, and perpetrators of crimes in Nazi Germany, and the eastern territories they conquered.  

Throughought the book, Lower discusses the idea that women moved out to eastern colonies, not because of political ideology, or a desire to commit atrocities, but as a means of advancing their economic status.  Women in the nazi regime were not equals and Hitler proclaimed that the ideal women stuck to Kinder, Kuche und Kirche or children, kitchen, and church.  Despite this, the economic hardships of the war made it necessary for many women to become the primary caretakers of the family and needed money to sustain this.  

Lower discusses how in roles such as teachers, nurses, secretaries, and wives, women committed many of the same atrocities as men during the Nazi regime but was this out of an inherent evil in their hearts, or a genuine belief that this was the only way to survive in the regime.  The contemporary narrative surrounding Nazi Germany is that the regime was inherently evil, therefore anyone who participated in it were evil.  While certainly many of the women who participated in the regime were likely motivated by a genuine hatred for the Jewish people, others simply found themselves in a situation where they believed they were doing the best thing for themselves, and their country.  These women adapted to their political reality and attempted to make the most of it while navigating the lack of agency they held during the period.  This begs the question, are those who participate in the Nazi regime inherently evil?  Or can their actions be justified to an extent through necessity?  

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