What I found most interesting when reading about the Nazis in Germany was the shift in the German government system, from constitutional monarchy to democracy and to dictatorship when Hitler was elected as chancellor. Before reading this book, I had no clue that Germany had a democratic government for around 20 years before they switched over to dictatorship.
After the Industrial Revolution, the social hierarchy changed among Europeans. Nobles and clergy constituted the upper class. Educated professionals and government workers made up the upper middle class. The new lower middle class consisted of office workers, secretaries, clerks, and teachers.
Industrialization produced a new group of workers which can be categorized as the working class, this class consisted of factory workers and industrial workers who perform manual hard labor. The working class differs from the middle class because they usually perform hard manual labor under an industrial setting. This passage from the book Nazis in Germany summarizes the gender norms during the Industrial Revolution “ The language of separate spheres and domesticity suggested that the appropriate place for women was in the home taking care of children and supporting their husbands and families.
Men, on the other hand, should go out into the public world, work to provide for their families, and run the affairs of the state.” (6) Married women had no choice when it came to job selection, the gender norm casted them into a position where their sole duty is to stay at home and take care of the children. Women who were single or married but working outside the usual home setting were labeled as a “social problem” among the society. These gender norms demonstrated the inequality between genders during the Industrial Revolution.
Conservatism in Germany meant a resistance to any attempt to move greater democracy in Germany, this group was mostly made up of big landowners and old aristocrats who firmly believed in a natural hierarchy in society, and resisted equality. Liberalism in Germany supported limitations on the government.
Many liberals sided with a constitutional monarchy if it protected their basic rights, and allowed free trade and development. Most of the liberals did not support “political equality,”they fear that the poor and uneducated public could not make the right decisions when it came to politics.
Before World War I, social democrats represented the most democratic force in Germany. Social democrats stood for true social equality, allowing women the right to vote. They had a good understanding of the economy and the state, believing that the government can intervene in the free market and raise the well being of the citizens. They also wanted more democratization of the policies that would secure the economic well being and voice of the masses.
The social democrats supported the working class, helping them achieve a greater well-being under dangerous and unfair working conditions. Due to the number of working classmen, the social democrats became a threat to the existing order, they became the strongest voice in democratizing Germany in the 19th century.
Liberals and conservatives did not want to grant all the citizens the right to vote in government politics, liberals thought the poor and uneducated working class men were incompetent of voicing their opinions, while the conservatives resented a democratic Germany all together.