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Michelle Mouton

From Nurturing the Nation to Purifying the Volk: Weimar and Nazi Policy, 1918-1945

by Michelle Mouton, Department of History

From Nurturing the Nation by MoutonBook Description

Fearing that the future of the nation was at stake following the First World War, German policymakers vastly expanded social welfare programs to shore up women and families. Just over a decade later, the Nazis seized control of the state and created a radically different, racially driven gender and family policy. This book explores Weimar and Nazi policy to highlight the fundamental, far-reaching change wrought by the Nazis and the disparity between national family policy design and its implementation at the local level. Relying on a broad range of sources - including court records, sterilization files, church accounts, and women’s oral histories - it demonstrates how local officials balanced the benefits of marriage, divorce, and adoption against budgetary concerns, church influence, and their own personal beliefs. Throughout both eras individual Germans collaborated with, rebelled against, and evaded state mandates, in the process fundamentally altering the impact of national policy.


“Since the 1980s the history of the Third Reich has been entirely rewritten as the history of the Holocaust and the racial state. Less widely appreciated is the equally far-reaching impact of women’s history. First during a time of recurring crisis, political polarization, and unbounded hopes, and then under a regime of unparalleled coerciveness and ideological ambition, biopolitical questions involving family, reproduction, and the placement of women in the imagined moral-political order moved to the centerground of politics in early twentieth-century Germany. In a salutary reminder of the radicalism of the right-wing assault on Weimar welfarism, Michelle Mouton delivers an excellent guide to the Nazi counter-ideal of a racially driven familial state.”

- Geoff Eley, University of Michigan


Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (January 8, 2007), (ISBN-13: 9780521861847); Format: hard cover, 326 pages

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