Gendered Ideas in Women's Publications: West German Women, 1945-1950
The postwar period in West Germany offered women a unique opportunity to extend their traditionally limited sphere. German women accepted new roles as providers in the home and laborers in the work force in the crisis period that followed after the zero hour. These new roles have peaked gender historians interest. Historians' descriptions of postwar German women lead one to assume women's new roles would make them feminists, as women would realize the significance of their postwar contribution. However, German women continued to cling to traditional roles and ideas that had existed since the turn of the century. This work examines a variety of postwar women's publications to hear women's traditional and feminist arguments and discern their expectations for life in the new Germany. Ultimately, the interplay of West Germany's historical experiences and West German women's expectations for social, economic, and political acceptance, reflected in their writings, illustrates their conservative expectations for equality after World War II.