Reforms, Regulations, and Rationalism: The Female Reproductive Emancipation in Weimar Germany, 1918-1933

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Undergraduate student
Date created: 
2020-04-10
Keywords: 
Weimar Germany
Population politics
Abortion
Reproduction
Gender,
Sexuality
Abstract: 

Bevölkerungspolitik, population politics, shaped the politics of gender and sexuality during the Weimar Republic. With birth rates falling by the year in the post-war period, Germany was having a crisis. The state implemented different services to promote children among married couples, such as sexual and marital counselling. These reforms were based on eugenics, such increased access to birth control to prevent people the state though undesirable from reproducing. The emancipation and liberalization in Weimar Germany are well established in literature, however many historians have neglected the contribution of the need to control reproduction to these topics. This article aims to provide an overview of the ways in which the need to control female bodies influenced the liberalization of sexuality and reproduction for women. The ideologies of sex reformers were permeated by beliefs about eugenics and that women were meant to be mothers. The government and reformers brought sexual education to the public, with the purpose of creating pleasurable marriages to ensure children. This article investigates primary sources and the historiography of the period to support the argument that female emancipation was not truly achieved because the state maintained control over female bodies and reproduction.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Rights: 
Rights remain with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lauren Faulkner Rossi
Department: 
History
Thesis type: 
Honours (Bachelor of Arts)
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