Nazi ideals and feminine graces hardly go together. Or do they? I've decided to read Cate Haste's Nazi Women to find out.
Initially, the book focuses specifically on Hitler's women - his mother (I was surprised when a photograph showed her to be a really beautiful girl), niece, early romantic interests and various female supporters. Interesting material in itself, but it doesn't really answer my question - why would majority of women of a nation support Nazism?
Further on the book's focus shifts to general population and the picture becomes somewhat clearer.
Propaganda is a powerful weapon. According to Haste, once the Nazis came to power the big brainwashing began. All the official channels projected the sparkling vision of a dutiful, healthy, child-bearing female, always ready to sacrifice her personal happiness for the sake of the nation. It didn't end with verbal promotion either - the right attitudes were rewarded with benefits and thus, better quality of life, while disobedience was severely punished. Apply this treatment from early age, continue for some years, throw in a pinch of charisma now and again - this is the recipe for mass mind control.
It seldom happjust as effective as they were eighty years ago. People are just as pliable.
Or have we learned something?ens that a book makes me physically sick, but in case of Nazi Women I had to take a break once in a while to get some fresh air. It has nothing to do with the qualities of the book itself which appears to be well-researched, with named sources and reference list after each chapter. It's the described phenomenon that is nauseating. The vision of an army of automatons, uncritically swallowing the official bullshit. Mothers proud of their sons turning into murderers, for the greater glory of the nation. Simply mind-blowing.
Worst of all, the knowledge that it did happen fills me with fear that it might happen again. Not necessarily in Germany, but in any country that puts national ideas above ordinary human compassion. Propaganda techniques are just as effective now as they were eighty years ago. People are just as pliable.
Or have we learned something?