Social Policies


The Nazi regime established control over the school system in two main ways – control over the teachers and the curriculum. The Nazi control over the teachers dismissed any teachers for political alliance or for being Jewish. They vetted textbooks and pressured the teachers into joining the regime’s teaching union. Their indoctrination permeated every area of the school curriculum from military drills in PE, to German lessons where they learnt the consciousness of being German, and Geography used to learn about Lebensraum. The Nazis downgraded the importance of academic education, so access to higher education (universities) was severely restricted. Women were restricted to 10% of the places, and Jews 1.5%. Most universities voluntarily followed the regimes new requirements.

Youth: Boys

The Hitler Jungend was created in 1926 and at first was unsuccessful. In 1936 a law was passed making it compulsory for all boys to be members of the HJ. There was a constant indoctrination in the HJ, and physical activity, and the emphasis was on competition, struggle, heroism and leadership. The opportunities for camping trips, sporting trips and staying away from home made the group attractive to young Germans, but there were reports of poor attendance and resentment once it was compulsory and had become more rigid.

Youth: Girls

The BDM or League of German Girls was the female equivalent of the Hitler Youth. It was part of the process that prepared girls for their future role as housewives and mothers. They were taught about being healthy as their bodies belonged to the nation, the needed to be fit as a mother and housewife and they were taught handicrafts, sewing and cooking. Many girls enjoyed going to the BDM, and found their experiences liberating.


Hitler had very clear ideas about the woman’s role in the Nazi state - she was the centre of family life, a housewife and mother. Hitler even introduced a medal for women who had eight or more children! The Nazis had clear ideas of what they wanted from women; Women were expected to stay at home and look after the family. Women doctors, teachers and civil servants were forced to give up their careers. Even at the end of the war, women were never asked to serve in the armed forces. Their job was to keep the home nice for their husband and family - their life should revolve round the three ‘Ks’: kirche, kinder, kuche (church, children, cooking). Hitler wanted a high birth rate, so the population would grow. The Nazis even considered making it law that families should have at least four children. The Law for the Encouragement of Marriage gave newly wed couples a loan of 1,000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250 marks for each child they had. Mothers who had more than eight children were given a gold medal. Unmarried women could volunteer to have a baby for an Aryan member of the SS. Women were supposed to emulate traditional German peasant fashions - plain peasant costumes, hair in plaits or buns and flat shoes. They were not expected to wear make-up or trousers, dye their hair or smoke in public.


Hitler wanted to control the workers because he wanted to ensure their loyalty and obedience to his regime. Before 1933 the workers had tended to vote for the left-wing parties; he needed to ensure their productivity increased, so he could achieve his ambitious foreign policy. To achieve this, the Nazis set up three groups:The German Labour Front (DAF) was the Nazi organisation that replaced trade unions, which were banned in May 1933 because they could interfere with Hitler’s plans. It was run by Dr Robert Ley. Workers could not strike, bargain for wages or leave their jobs without permission. The DAF nearly always followed the wishes of employers, rather than employees. 20 million workers joined the DAF within two years. 2. Strength Through Joy (KdF) was set up in November 1933. Its aims were to make workers support Hitler by offering them rewards and to keep them occupied outside the workplace with organised leisure activities. It was run by Dr Ley. Activities and rewards included: evening classes; theatre trips; picnics; very cheap or free holidays. There were walking holidays in Switzerland and skiing holidays in Bavaria. Two big cruise liners were built to sail people around the Canary Islands for only two weeks’ wages. The KdF also started a savings scheme for workers who wanted to buy the Volkswagen Beetle, known as the “People’s Car”. They were to save 5 marks per week until 750 marks had been paid into the scheme. 3. Beauty of Labour (SdA) was to help Germans see that work was good and that everyone who could work should do so. It also encouraged factory owners to improve conditions for workers, for example better lighting and washing facilities.

Protestant Churches

A state Reich Church under the leadership of the Nazi Bishop, Ludwig Müller was established to unify the different branches of Protestantism. This enabled the Nazis to use a group called the ‘German Christians’ within the Reich Church to promote Nazi ideas. The Reich Church attempted to ban the use of the Old Testament in religious services as it was considered a ‘Jewish book’. Many protestants opposed the Reich Church, and in 1934 Martin Niemöller established the Confessional Church and openly attacked the Nazi regime. He was arrested and sent to a concentration camp in 1937. Eight hundred Pastors of the Confessional Church, a non-conforming Protestant group, were arrested and sent to concentration camps. In 1937, Hitler was forced to return control of the Church to the old Protestant leadership, in return for a promise that the Church would stay out of politics. Both Protestant and Catholic clergy played a large role in opposing Hitler and the Nazis, for which they often paid a high price.

Catholic Churches

In 1933 Hitler agreed a Concordat with the Pope, which said that he would not interfere in the running of the Catholic Church if it stayed out of political matters. Hitler didn’t keep his side of the bargain, however, as the Nazis attempted to infiltrate the Church and spread their propaganda. The Nazis attempted to stop Catholics using the crucifix in church, though this attempt was not successful. Catholic schools and youth organisations were supressed, with German children being educated in state schools and taught a Nazi curriculum, as well as being expected to join the various branches of the Hitler Youth. Catholic newspapers were banned and Bishop August von Galen of Munich became a leading voice against Nazis policies. In 1937, Pope Pius XI publicly criticised the Nazis and as a result over 400 Catholic priests were sent to Dachau concentration camp. Attendance at Catholic churches increased substantially under the Nazis, especially during World War Two, showing that Hitler’s attempts to reduce the influence of religion in Germany were ultimately unsuccessful. Both Protestant and Catholic clergy played a large role in opposing Hitler and the Nazis, for which they often paid a high price.

When did the Hitler Youth become compulsory?
How did the Nazis control indoctrination in education?
Your answer should include: Teachers / Curriculum
Explanation: Through teachers and the curriculum.
What were the three Ks used to make women follow new social protocol set by the regime?
Your answer should include: Kinder / Kuche / Kirche