Goebbels speech on March 18, 1933:
"German women, German men !
It is a happy accident that my first speech since taking charge of the
Ministry for Propaganda and People's Enlightenment is to German women.
Although I agree with Treitschke that men make history, I do not
forget that women raise boys to manhood. You know that the National
Socialist movement is the only party that keeps women out of daily
politics. This arouses bitter criticism and hostility, all of it very
unjustified. We have kept women out of the parliamentary-democratic
intrigues of the past fourteen years in Germany not because we do not
respect them, but because we respect them too much. We do not see the
woman as inferior, rather as having a different mission, a different
value, than that of the man. Therefore we believed that the German
woman, who more than any other in the world is a woman in the best
sense of the word, should use her strength and abilities in other
areas than the man.
The woman has always been not only the man's sexual companion, but
also his fellow worker. Long ago, she did heavy labor with the man in
the field. She moved with him into the cities, entering the offices
and factories, doing her share of the work for which she was best
suited. She did this with all her abilities, her loyalty, her selfless
devotion, her readiness to sacrifice.
The woman in public life today is no different than the women of the
past. No one who understands the modern age would have the crazy idea
of driving women from public life, from work, profession, and bread
winning. But it must also be said that those things that belong to the
man must remain his. That includes politics and the military. That is
not to disparage women, only a recognition of how she can best use her
talents and abilities.
Looking back over the past year's of Germany's decline, we come to the
frightening, nearly terrifying conclusion, that the less German men
were willing to act as men in public life, the more women succumbed to
the temptation to fill the role of the man. The feminization of men
always leads to the masculinization of women. An age in which all
great idea of virtue, of steadfastness, of hardness and determination
have been forgotten should not be surprised that the man gradually
loses his leading role in life and politics and government to the
It may be unpopular to say this to an audience of women, but it must
be said, because it is true and because it will help make clear our
attitude toward women.
The modern age, with all its vast revolutionary transformations in
government, politics, economics and social relations has not left
women and their role in public life untouched. Things we thought
impossible several years or decades ago are now everyday reality. Some
good, noble and commendable things have happened. But also things that
are contemptible and humiliating. These revolutionary transformations
have largely taken from women their proper tasks. Their eyes were set
in directions that were not appropriate for them. The result was a
distorted public view of German womanhood that had nothing to do with
A fundamental change is necessary. At the risk of sounding reactionary
and outdated, let me say this clearly: The first, best, and most
suitable place for the women is in the family, and her most glorious
duty is to give children to her people and nation, children who can
continue the line of generations and who guarantee the immortality of
the nation. The woman is the teacher of the youth, and therefore the
builder of the foundation of the future. If the family is the nation's
source of strength, the woman is its core and center. The best place
for the woman to serve her people is in her marriage, in the family,
in motherhood. This is her highest mission. That does not mean that
those women who are employed or who have no children have no role in
the motherhood of the German people. They use their strength, their
abilities, their sense of responsibility for the nation, in other
ways. We are convinced, however, that the first task of a socially
reformed nation must be to again give the woman the possibility to
fulfill her real task, her mission in the family and as a mother.
The national revolutionary government is everything but reactionary.
It does not want to stop the pace of our rapidly moving age. It has no
intention of lagging behind the times. It wants to be the flag bearer
and pathfinder of the future. We know the demands of the modern age.
But that does not stop us from seeing that every age has its roots in
motherhood, that there is nothing of greater importance than the
living mother of a family who gives the state children.
German women have been transformed in recent years. They are beginning
to see that they are not happier as a result of being given more
rights but fewer duties. They now realize that the right to be elected
to public office at the expense of the right to life, motherhood and
her daily bread is not a good trade.
A characteristic of the modern era is a rapidly declining birthrate in
our big cities. In 1900 two million babies were born in Germany. Now
the number has fallen to one million. This drastic decline is most
evident in the national capital. In the last fourteen years, Berlin's
birthrate has become the lowest of any European city. By 1955, without
emigration, it will have only about three million inhabitants. The
government is determined to halt this decline of the family and the
resulting impoverishment of our blood. There must be a fundamental
change. The liberal attitude toward the family and the child is
responsible for Germany's rapid decline. We today must begin worrying
about an aging population. In 1900 there were seven children for each
elderly person, today it is only four. If current trends continue, by
1988 the ratio will be 1 : 1. These statistics say it all. They are
the best proof that if Germany continues along its current path, it
will end in an abyss with breathtaking speed. We can almost determine
the decade when Germany collapses because of depopulation.
We are not willing to stand aside and watch the collapse of our
national life and the destruction of the blood we have inherited. The
national revolutionary government has the duty to rebuilt the nation
on its original foundations, to transform the life and work of the
woman so that it once again best serves the national good. It intends
to eliminate the social inequalities so that once again the life of
our people and the future of our people and the immortality of our
blood is assured..."
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