The Phenomenology of Women in Nazi Germany

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Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 11:46 am
I am going to be writing a 20-25 pp paper on women in nazi germany through the use of phenomenology. Right now I am in the stage of gathering sources. Does anyone have any suggestions book wise regarding women in nazi germany or possibly propaganda or primary source documents (as these are some of the most important things I need for the paper on account of the phenomenological method)? Would be a great help.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 05:09 pm
@Ding an Sich,
You might take a look at Triumph of the Will, or biographies of Leni Riefenstahl who directed the propaganda movie and was "friends" with Hitler. There is a great deal of discussion about her collaboration, especially after her recent death; several interviews with her exist in which she attempts to explain (away) her infatuation.

Do you have some sort of preliminary conclusion about women in Nazi Germany? Was there a sexual element (or perhaps DerF. as a father figure) in their adulation of Hitler and was this different from other leaders for a particular reason?

There should be some accounts of Eva Braun's relationship, and Goebbels' wife might be another case (Goebbel's Diary is available, as are many of his speeches:Nazi Propaganda (1933-1945) - Joseph Goebbels)
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 05:37 pm
@jgweed,
I totally agree with Jgweed's suggestion of Triumph of the Will. That would be an excellent primary source to write about, especially as far as propaganda is concerned.

I would also recommend looking into specific female personalities. There are a few that come to mind. One personality in particular is Hanna Reitsch. She was a test pilot (and incidentally the only woman to be awarded the Iron cross, etc.). Obviously, this is contrary to the limitations of women in Nazi Germany. After the war, she broke many aviation records, opened successful gliding schools all over the world, etc. At one point in her life, she even met JFK. And some would suppose that she was still an unapologetic Nazi. Another woman to consider is Magda Goebbels. Also, you might want to look at the biography of Traudl Junge, Hitler's secretary. I think all of these women provided excellent biographies on their lives and experiences.

As far as women and Nazi Germany in general, you may want to consider a 2005 BBC documentary called Hitler's Children, which gives a very good (albeit brief) overview of the Hitler youth movement. In particular, look at the second episode called "Dedication" which illustrates the desired conceptions of women within Nazi Germany as well as the firsthand accounts of those who still survive.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 07:38 am
@VideCorSpoon,
So far what I am focusing on is the woman's role in Nazi germany. The woman, who, at her base, is the irrational or instinctive element of the Nazi Volk. She is in essence the driving force of the Nazi regime. Her sphere rests within the family life, and thus motherhood becomes a necessary part of my phenomenological discussion. So maybe what I should be focusing on is not so much the woman in and of herself, but by extension her place in the Volk through motherhood.

I have taken a look at the propaganda archive and I have indeed found some very interesting pieces that I can incorporate in my paper. The problem with this paper, however, rests on the fact that I cant read German, so a lot of the sources that I do want to read or look into I cant. Here's a list of some of the sources that I do have so far.

1. Everything pertaining to women from the propaganda archive at Calvin.edu.
2. Mein Kampf (seems obvious)
3. Nazi Culture (Just a collection of primary source documents).
4. Hitler's Speeches (Another collection of primary source documents)
5. The Third Reich: A New History (kind of a lame source but it gave me other sources that I can look into).

I will post more as I do not have the list on me. I honestly like the phenomenological method and its use when dealing with history; I find it to be rather profound when I simply understand the object I am dealing with and not try and impose myself on it.

If you want an example of how the phenomenological method is used in history, I suggest reading Boaz Neumann's article from the New German Critique entitled "The Phenomenology of the German People's Body () and the Extermination of the Jewish Body".
 
chad3006
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 08:17 am
@Ding an Sich,
I saw a documentary film called "Blind Spot" about Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge. I don't really remember the details of it, but it might have something of use. I recall elements of indoctrination and propaganda mentioned in the film.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:09 pm
@Ding an Sich,
With some reservations about interpretation, Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) is well-documented as is Toland's biography of Hitler. Another source is Mosse's The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich, 1964. The final weeks at the Bunker are the subject of Trevor-Roper's The Last Days of Hitler; you may find information about the women who were there at the time.

 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:49 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;139958 wrote:
I am going to be writing a 20-25 pp paper on women in nazi germany through the use of phenomenology. Right now I am in the stage of gathering sources. Does anyone have any suggestions book wise regarding women in nazi germany or possibly propaganda or primary source documents (as these are some of the most important things I need for the paper on account of the phenomenological method)? Would be a great help.

I can't speak for the method, and can hardly say if I understand the term since either a thing is concept or phenomenon to me, which is to say that it is recognized as a thing of a class of similar things or it is individual, and infinite, impossible to classify because it is an unknown... God may seem a concept to some, but is a phenomenon to me, if that because God is unrecognized by me as a simple thing, or really anything... But what do I know...

I would recommend: The Racial State; which talks about the great numbers sterilized, 350 K compared to a mere 10K in the US, which had similar genetic purity laws.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 05:23 pm
@Fido,
Fido;140338 wrote:
I can't speak for the method, and can hardly say if I understand the term since either a thing is concept or phenomenon to me, which is to say that it is recognized as a thing of a class of similar things or it is individual, and infinite, impossible to classify because it is an unknown... God may seem a concept to some, but is a phenomenon to me, if that because God is unrecognized by me as a simple thing, or really anything... But what do I know...

I would recommend: The Racial State; which talks about the great numbers sterilized, 350 K compared to a mere 10K in the US, which had similar genetic purity laws.


Phenomenology deals with a couple of things: 1) Isolating the object and looking at what is necessary in the object 2) understanding what the essence of the object is. Phenomenology can deal with literally anything and everything including concepts. For instance I can do the Phenomenology of a can of beer. Any object that I am concious of at any given moment I can do a Phenomenological investigation. Heres a link to help you out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_(philosophy)
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 06:54 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;140388 wrote:
Phenomenology deals with a couple of things: 1) Isolating the object and looking at what is necessary in the object 2) understanding what the essence of the object is. Phenomenology can deal with literally anything and everything including concepts. For instance I can do the Phenomenology of a can of beer. Any object that I am concious of at any given moment I can do a Phenomenological investigation. Heres a link to help you out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_(philosophy)

If you are looking at women as objects, I would have to consider that a mistake, and essentially meaningless to boot since they are infinites...You cannot classify as single woman except in the most general terms, so you cannot form a concept of women that is worth anything...So is this about the view these women held about the Nazis, because nothing other would make the least sense...
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 06:41 am
@Fido,
Fido;140408 wrote:
If you are looking at women as objects, I would have to consider that a mistake, and essentially meaningless to boot since they are infinites...You cannot classify as single woman except in the most general terms, so you cannot form a concept of women that is worth anything...So is this about the view these women held about the Nazis, because nothing other would make the least sense...


Phenomenology deals with the relationship between subject and its conciousness of objects. Did you read the wikipedia article? If you did im pretty sure it wouldve elucidated everything concerning Phenomenology. If i can intend my conciousness toward women in Nazi Germany then I can indeed do a phenomenological investigation of them, regardless of whether you consider them infinites or not. Give it about a month and a half and Ill have a whole 20-25 pp paper to prove that to you. I would also like to know what on earth you mean by infinite.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 01:03 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Any thing you cannot grasp as an object is an infinite...All moral forms are infinites...An example would be setting a value on a human life, even your own before it is well lived... Another example of an infinite is existence, which we can no more grasp than the moon... We can only have finite knowledge, if you believe Kant, and yet moral problems with all our moral forms combined present us with extreme problems, as fascism well demonstrates... So; have fun stiring the mud of human misunderstanding... That is usually where the money is...
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 02:35 pm
@Fido,
Fido;140634 wrote:
Any thing you cannot grasp as an object is an infinite...All moral forms are infinites...An example would be setting a value on a human life, even your own before it is well lived... Another example of an infinite is existence, which we can no more grasp than the moon... We can only have finite knowledge, if you believe Kant, and yet moral problems with all our moral forms combined present us with extreme problems, as fascism well demonstrates... So; have fun stiring the mud of human misunderstanding... That is usually where the money is...


What phenomenology aims to do is understand the essence of what an object is; in order to do this, one must suspend ALL biases and analytical interpretations that would, as you so elegantly put it, stir the mud of human misunderstanding. Phenomenology is about necessity and what the essence of a thing is, not upon contingency and analytical interpretations involving imposing my own moral will on the Nazi regime (and in particular women). If fascism is part (or necessary) in my phenomenological investigation of women, then I will take it into reflection through conciousness.
If a phenomena is given to us, either as concept or as an object existing outside of ourselves, then a phenomenological investigation can indeed be used to bring forth what the essence of a thing is.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 05:02 am
@Ding an Sich,
Ding_an_Sich;140670 wrote:
What phenomenology aims to do is understand the essence of what an object is; in order to do this, one must suspend ALL biases and analytical interpretations that would, as you so elegantly put it, stir the mud of human misunderstanding. Phenomenology is about necessity and what the essence of a thing is, not upon contingency and analytical interpretations involving imposing my own moral will on the Nazi regime (and in particular women). If fascism is part (or necessary) in my phenomenological investigation of women, then I will take it into reflection through conciousness.
If a phenomena is given to us, either as concept or as an object existing outside of ourselves, then a phenomenological investigation can indeed be used to bring forth what the essence of a thing is.

We do not even recognize our world as objects without a sense of their essence in the form of forms, or concepts, or ideas... Then, to turn this on people, who are not objects, and are conceived of as spiritual beings, or moral forms whose essences are unique to each is really daft... Ask even a single woman if she want to be considered as an object and see what she says...In fact, before anyone can do violence to anyone they must first be considered as an object, which I will admit the Nazis did with many; but we should be beyond that point by now...
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2010 10:39 am
@Fido,
Fido;140850 wrote:
We do not even recognize our world as objects without a sense of their essence in the form of forms, or concepts, or ideas... Then, to turn this on people, who are not objects, and are conceived of as spiritual beings, or moral forms whose essences are unique to each is really daft... Ask even a single woman if she want to be considered as an object and see what she says...In fact, before anyone can do violence to anyone they must first be considered as an object, which I will admit the Nazis did with many; but we should be beyond that point by now...


You are focusing on the will i.e., the faculty of reason which deals with practical principles which we set for ourselves. I am not making the woman an object of my will but only with my conciousness and it's understanding of the manifestations of phenomena (which is in particular women). Anything that is phenomena automatically becomes an object of my conciousness (if I intend it) or of anyone elses. A woman may indeed become an object of my conciousness, but she might not be an object of my will (which deals with the practical sphere of reason). In regards to my paper I am not making the women of Nazi Germany an object of my will and hence not even dealing with the practical sphere. In essence I am suspending all of my practical judgment (and any other interpretive or analytical dealings on my part) when I deal with this subject. That is what phenomenology does. It simply allows us to understand an object and never impose our will (practical reason) upon it. In essence there is no new knowledge necessarily generated as a result of my investigation, but simply a better understanding of the subject.

I would also like to note that an individual can indeed be made an object of ones will WHILE maintaining that they are an end in themselves. I recognize someone as an object but at the same time a subject (I) and respect them. But this has nothing to do with my investigation as I am not employing practical reason into this paper. I simply want to understand and let others understand as well women in Nazi Germany.

Also are the only things that are infinite moral? For example something that I did not grasp a year ago e.g. predicate logic, can be considered infinite in your definition. But once I grasped it, it became finite. What if I grasp the value of myself i.e., I know that, as a rational being, my value is immeasurable. Hence my worth becomes grasped, and at the same time, I know it to be of immeasurable worth. If I grasp the supreme principle of morality, then what else is there to be grasped other than ones own moral perfection? Granted one cannot grasp moral perfection but they can grasp principles and the worth of oneself (and of others mind you). So do you mean that moral perfection cannot be grasped and hence infinite? The definition you presented seems to be lacking and in need of further investigation on both my part and yours.

But once again I am not dealing with morals and I think you are mislead into thinking that I am for the purposes of my paper. I would also like to know how you define "form" and "concept". And also have you read the link that I gave you? I'm sure all of this wouldve been alleviated if you had gone to that link and read it through. Do I need to copy and paste it for you?
 
Rwa001
 
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2010 01:11 pm
@Ding an Sich,
I don't have anything to add that most people haven't already beaten me to, but I wanted to say as a Philosophy major and German minor that I am deeply interested in your topic. I've written a few papers about feminism in post-war Germany, which I realize isn't very useful to your topic. But if you ever want to compare notes or need help researching something, feel free to PM me about it.

Good luck.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2010 05:52 pm
@Rwa001,
Rwa001;141273 wrote:
I've written a few papers about feminism in post-war Germany,
Seems like that would be related. Wonder how German women of the Nazi period viewed their daughters.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 12:59 pm
@Rwa001,
Rwa001;141273 wrote:
I don't have anything to add that most people haven't already beaten me to, but I wanted to say as a Philosophy major and German minor that I am deeply interested in your topic. I've written a few papers about feminism in post-war Germany, which I realize isn't very useful to your topic. But if you ever want to compare notes or need help researching something, feel free to PM me about it.

Good luck.


Although my paper is almost complete, I decided not to employ phenomenology for it. Instead the paper will be merely descriptive. I have come to realize that I do not have the proper skills to employ the phenomenological method properly, and I would rather stick to what I am better suited in than speak like a fool.
 
 

 
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