You are here

"As Blond as Hitler"

Title: "As Blond as Hitler": Positive Eugenics and Fatherhood in the Third Reich.
243 views
21 downloads
Name(s): Carney, Amy Beth, author
Stoltzfus, Nathan, professor directing thesis
Grant, Jonathan, committee member
Childs, Matt, committee member
Department of History, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2005
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
Physical Form: online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In seeking to build the Thousand Year Reich, the German government under the administration of the National Socialist party constructed many different ideologies to create the foundation for its new community. Although not as highly prominent others, the ideology of fatherhood had a role in the formation of this state. Because of the scientific trends prevalent during the early to mid twentieth century, fatherhood at this time had a strong biological bent; men were mainly regarded as fathers due to their reproductive contributions. Therefore, the Nazi government wanted to encourage each man to sustain his personal lineage because a healthy, burgeoning population would guarantee the longevity of the German nation founded by its leadership. In seeking a stronger and larger population, the Nazi party adopted a contemporary science movement: eugenics. The government divided people based on racial criteria, and the individuals whom it deemed most eligible to pass on their genes belonged to the "blond hair, blue eyed" Aryan race. After firmly establishing this archetype as the ultimate goal, the state had to disseminate this information to the general population and persuade these people to adopt this racial hierarchy willingly. It propagated this information through both formal education and direct contact with the German people through speeches and publications. This instruction served to inspire healthy citizens to have offspring who would strengthen the position of Germany through racial superiority. Of the male German population, the men who best personified the Aryan elite belonged to the Schutzstaffeln (SS). As the most unwavering followers of the Nazi party and Adolf Hitler, the soldiers of the SS provided the best paternal audience. The leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, sought to convince these men that their responsibilities included supplying the Third Reich with an abundance of racially healthy children. Himmler's directives and other documents substantiated this desire to encourage his men to reproduce copiously and to furnish Germany with a new aristocracy based on blood. Furthermore, the newspaper of the SS, Das Schwarze Korps, publicly correlated many of Himmler's perspectives. Articles, editorials, and letters encourage marriage, link SS men with images of healthy families, and promote fatherhood as a respectable and natural duty. Despite these efforts, the SS did not raise the birthrate in Germany, and the inability to produce enough children resulted in the failure of the eugenical measures. However, an investigation into the role of fatherhood during this era still addresses many historiographical issues. Beyond showing one way in which the Nazi government attempted to foster a new national community, it demonstrates the changing role of paternity throughout the twentieth century as well as merges with studies of German fatherhood in the post Second World War era. Examining fatherhood also explains the attempted application of eugenics to increase the population of a country. Finally, it dovetails with existing research on motherhood during the Third Reich, and therefore provides a more comprehensive understanding of familial life and parental relations during the reign of the Nazi regime.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-4187 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2005.
Date of Defense: April 28, 2005.
Keywords: Schutzstaffeln, Fatherhood, Eugenics, Nazi Germany
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Nathan Stoltzfus, Professor Directing Thesis; Jonathan Grant, Committee Member; Matt Childs, Committee Member.
Subject(s): History
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_migr_etd-4187
Owner Institution: FSU