For this critique, the overriding problem is that a communist party existed at all and by its existence caused the disaster that followed. Did the fault of the KPD, and the source of it weakness among women, derive from the external source of the Comintern which was itself dominated by Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union? A recent study by Norman LaPorte on Saxony has forcefully challenged the prevailing belief that the KPD was a bolshevized puppet lacking any autonomy in its local structures and political work.
It was Rosa Luxemburg who wrote the founding manifesto of the KPD, and in it she fundamentally underestimated the strength of the SPD government and its ability to employ the Freikorps to maintain itself in power. Commenting on Weimar just before its collapse, Simone Weil wrote:.
Vijay Joshi's Documents
They boast that they are a party capable of fighting fascism effectively, and they are unfortunately wrong. It was true, as further argued by Sneeringer, that the KPD. It was equally true that Luxemburg and Liebknecht were the initial leaders of that front, and set the tone of struggle well before Lenin, and then Stalin, took control of the international communist movement. The KPD as a political party, and German communism as a social movement, drew its considerable strength from unskilled and semi-workers, the unemployed, and radicalized intelligentsia because of its uncompromising commitment to revolution.
This commitment was also its biggest weakness for reasons that had nothing to do with the Communist International or the twists and turns of Soviet foreign policy.
Careless whispers: how the German public used and abused the Gestapo
The promise of revolution, which so inspired the poorest workers, also frightened the middle class and alienated women of all classes. The weaknesses of communism existed simultaneously with the growing strength of the conservative, nationalist movement in Germany of which the Nazi Party was the most dynamic component. To fully gauge the failure of one, it is necessary to look at the improbable success of the other. The ability of the Nazis to incorporate and use women on a national scale set them apart from the failure of the KPD to expand its base of support beyond proletarian men in the most industrialized regions of the country.
From the very beginning, however, women were involved in the Nazi Party. According to the police report on the mass meeting where Hitler seized control of the NSDAP in , there were 50 women in attendance out of total.
1. Weimar Germany
Small as a percentage of the population as party members were, the growing presence of women as members or supporters indicated an ability to make inroads into the larger society watching the Stormtroopers march. What was the attraction of this contemptuous misogyny to the women who followed, voted for, and then supported a regime based on bigotry, discrimination, and racial nationalism?
What attracted women to a party that epitomized hyper-masculinity and thuggish aggression? Of all the reasons that can be surmised, one constant was the fear of socialism and especially hostility to the Communist Party. For Koontz, Nazi women willingly embraced a subordinate position in a movement dedicated to the masculine exertion of a racial community in which women would be both protected and mobilized in their domestic sphere of home and family.
For many of these women, what they most feared was the threat of socialist egalitarianism and a future in which the world was no longer organized according to sharply differentiated sexual poles.
In the words of the Hitler Youth Leader,. As boys aim to be strong, so girls aim to be beautiful…, something which the harmonious development of the body is intrinsic… They girls can dance and be happy, but they should understand that they will have no private lives; rather they will remain a part of their community and its exalted aims. Girls will willingly approach their future destiny as mothers of the new generation. What this model does not explain is the degree to which the Nazis maintained their popular support apart from the reliance on secret police and, by contrast, the failure of a very resilient communist underground to pose any real challenge to the regime.
A look at the statistics of repression in Nazi Germany compared to the later German Democratic Republic shows that the weight of police surveillance was much less under the Nazis. There was only one Gestapo agent for every 2, people, whereas in East Germany the Stasi maintained one agent for every people and ran a far larger group of informers.
I. General Readings
The point made by LeBor and Boyes is that,. Contents The private becomes public : wives as denouncers in the realm of the family Fishing in troubled waters? ISBN Notes Includes bibliographical references p. Keywords and Subjects. Subjects National socialism and women. Informers--Germany--Historyth century.
- Female Denouncers and the Gestapo (1933-45);
- MDS: | LibraryThing.
- Crime, Identity and Power : Stories of Police Imposters in Nazi Germany.
- Melvil Decimal System: 973.0860?
- Frauen und die rote Fahne: Gender and the Destruction of the Kommunistische Partei Deutschland.
Women--Germany--Historyth century. The full text of this article hosted at iucr.
The Gestapo and Nazi Terror State with Professor Frank McDonough
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