Kinder, Küche, Kirche

Children, Kitchen and Church. A rather strict philosophy, wouldn't you agree? There are so many things one can do other than take care of children, be in the kitchen and go to church. How about working, how about going out with your friends, how about getting an education and working? You may never hear anyone asking these questions in Germany today, but they were thought of before 1918 and after 1933. An interesting period in the history of the rights of women in the face of conservative, reactionary, and, ultimately, the fascist backlash against the growing place of women in the German public sphere.

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    Kinder Küche Kirche Women

    With the end of the First World War, the German Empire was no more and the Weimar Republic was born. Within the Weimar Republic, women made strides of progress toward achieving equal rights. In 1918, women were given suffrage and in the years 1923 - 1929 during the golden age of the Weimar Republic, women experienced freedom like never before in Germany.

    Suffrage

    The right to vote

    Women were now given extended privileges in the new German liberal society. It was exactly during this period when Germany experienced an all-time high desire to pursue higher education for women. The right and desire to pursue higher education was no less a privilege than the privilege of being able to vote. What is more, in the coming decade, the Reichstag was home to over 100 female representatives.

    Kinder, Küche, Kirche, Women in Weimar Republic, Wikimedia Commons. StudySmarterFig. 1: Women in the Weimar Republic

    A giant leap forward for the German female movement. However, this progress would be halted by none other than Adolf Hitler, once he came into power and was elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933.

    Origins of Kirche Küche Kinder

    Kinder Küche Kirche Meaning

    Kinder, Küche, Kirche literally translates to: "Children, Kitchen, Church".

    Kirche Küche Kinder Germany

    The term "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" was promulgated by Kaiser Wilhelm II. It must be known that much like the rest of the world the German Empire was not exempt from treating women as inferior beings compared to men. Though the term "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" was used as a political slogan, it directly indicated what was expected of women: Kinder: to raise children; Küche: stay at home, cook and be a good wife; and Kirche: to go to church and be good Christians.

    Again, much like in the vast majority of the rest of the world at this time, girls belonged to their fathers until they came of age and were ready to marry. After a certain age, a girl became a woman was married and was then prepared to give birth. Thus the cycle continued.

    Kinder, Küche, Kirche, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Wikimedia Commons. StudySmarterFig. 2: Kaiser Wilhelm II

    Hitler Kinder Küche Kirche

    The cycle broke during the Weimar Republic, though only for about a decade. Even though women in the Weimar Republic were given freedoms unimaginable to their mothers such as suffrage, the opportunity to pursue higher education, and the chance to enjoy a liberal lifestyle, it did not last. Germany eventually reverted to its old ways following the rise of Adolf Hitler, who brought back the idea of the German woman adhering to the "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" philosophy.

    Women for Hitler?

    Did you know that over a quarter of German women voted for the Nazi Party in the 1932 German federal election? Though this number initially showed female support for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, this number grew substantially as the years went on.

    Kinder, Küche, Kirche, Adolf Hitler, Wikimedia Commons. StudySmarterFig. 3: Adolf Hitler

    Kinder Küche Kirche Propaganda

    During Adolf Hitler's leadership, the "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" became a staple of propaganda. The Nazi Party often accused the emancipated women of the 1920s for deserting their homes, their children and their morality. What is more, as women began working, the Nazi Party made the Familienväter look like the victim, who no longer had found themselves without "bread or work".

    What is a Familienväter?

    Familienväter translates to "family man" or "father of the family". This points out to be the man of the house, the breadwinner and overall chief of the family.

    To return to the roots of Wilhelm II's "Kinder, Küche, Kirche", the Nazi Party began a propaganda campaign which sought to return the German woman to her housewife and child-baring ways. According to them, the only way a woman could raise a good German boy as if she was a good German mother. And what did Good German mothers do? They stayed at home, took care of their children and went to church.

    Kinder, Küche, Kirche, Cross of Honour of the German Mother, awarded to mothers in Nazi Germany for exceptional merit to the Reich. StudySmarterFig. 4: Cross of Honour of the German Mother, awarded to mothers in Nazi Germany for exceptional merit to the Reich

    Kinder, Küche, Kirche, Cross of Honour of the German Mother. StudySmarterFig. 5: Awarding a German mother with her Cross of Honour of the German Mother, most likely in honour of her son giving his life for Germany in World War II

    As Hitler consolidated power, the definition of the German woman became far more prominent as a stay-at-home mother. Soon after the total establishment of the Hitler Youth in Germany, young girls were taught ways to be good mothers and housewives when they grew up. It was precise during the years leading up to the Second World War when the Nazi Party successfully implemented the "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" into their female society.

    Kinder, Küche, Kirche - Key takeaways

    • Kinder, Küche, Kirche means Children, Kitchen, Church.
    • The term was introduced by Kaiser Wilhelm II to refer to German women's roles in German society.
    • The "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" philosophy disappeared during the Weimar Republic but returned after Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany.
    • The Nazi Party used "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" as one of their primary initial propaganda messages

    References

    1. Paul Roland, Nazi Women: The Attraction of Evil (2014)
    2. Jill Stephenson, Women in Nazi Society (1975)
    3. Fig. 1: Women window cleaners, Berlin LOC 15101101807 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Women_window_cleaners,_Berlin_LOC_15101101807.jpg) by Women window cleaners, Berlin (LOC), licenced as public domain
    4. Fig. 2: Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany - 1902 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kaiser_Wilhelm_II_of_Germany_-_1902.jpg). Author unknown, licenced as public domain
    5. Fig. 3: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-0703-506, Adolf Hitler vor Rundfunk-Mikrofon retouched (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1987-0703-506,_Adolf_Hitler_vor_Rundfunk-Mikrofon_retouched.jpg) by German Federal Archive, licenced as CC-BY-SA 3.0
    6. Fig. 4: Deutsches Reich Mother's Cross of Honour (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deutsches_Reich_Mother%27s_Cross_of_Honour.jpg) by Deutsches Reich government, licenced as public domain
    7. Fig. 5: Morsdag,1943 (5492788722) (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Morsdag,1943_(5492788722).jpg) by Morsdag,1943, licenced as public domain
    Frequently Asked Questions about Kinder, Küche, Kirche

    What were women's role in Nazi Germany?

    Nothing exemplifies more than the women's role in Germany more than the three Ks. The three Ks refer to Kinder, Küche and Kirche. The three Ks outlined the three main objectives of all German women, to bear children, to take care of the home and to adhere to a Christian lifesty

    What were the 3 K's for women? 

    The three Ks stood for Kinder, Küche and Kirche. Simply put, the three Ks outlined the three main objectives of all German women, to bear children, to take care of the home and to adhere to a Christian lifestyle.

    What are the 3 K's?

    The three Ks stand for Kinder, Küche and Kirche.

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