In the first three decades of this century Germany was concerned to protect its Volkskorper, the body politic, from the ravages of a social "disease" which affected all western Europe. This "disease" was a decline in the birth rate. The "solution" to this "disease" involved interfering with the Frauenkorper, the female body. German women's sexuality was to be controlled so that the number of healthy children required for a powerful state would be produced. However the politics of reproduction carried a potential conflict between Volkskorper and Frauenkorper, between collective and individual interests. This conflict is central to this study which analyses the tactics which the German state and its agencies used to regulate the size and balance of population to accord with their social, economic and political beliefs rather than with the views and wishes of individuals. During the Weimar Republic individual women and families were the target of intervention in four different areas of policy those of maternity, sexuality, contraception and abortion.
In this study birth control is understood to encompass all the popular practices of avoiding unwanted children as well as the two different aspects of fertility control, individual reproductive choice and state population planning. This book is concerned with the effects of the declining birthrate and not with its causes. It examines the fear demographic change instilled in policy makers and the opportunities it opened for, and constraints it imposed upon women. It gives a brief overview of imperial policy and examines in detail Weimar policies which introduced important welfare legislation and legal reforms concerning sexuality and fertility control.
List of Plates - Preface - List of Abbreviations - Introduction: Historic Background to the Population Debate - Maternity: Production Versus Reproduction - Sexuality: The Battle against Sexual Immorality - Contraception: A Cure for the Body Politic - Abortion: Politics and Medicine - Conclusion - Appendices - Notes - Bibliography - Index
Series: Studies in Gender History
Number Of Pages: 324
Published: 7th April 1992
Publisher: SPRINGER VERLAG GMBH
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.59
Edition Number: 1