Gender, social class, and social ties in extremist social movements : the NSDAP in Munich, 1925-1929 / by Lauren C. Heberle.
Using a unique data collection of the Nazi Party membership in Munich, Germany from 1925 through 1929, this study uncovers a much higher level of participation by women in Party membership at the local level in Munich than others have documented. This finding is used to further explore the social class composition of the Munich Nazi membership and to document social ties among Nazi Party joiners. Three major questions are addressed: (1) What was the extent and pattern of women's participation in the Munich Nazi Party? (2) What does inclusion of women's participation in an analysis of the social class composition of the Munich Nazi Party change about our understanding of the membership? (3) How were the women and men who joined the Munich Nazi Party linked to each other and how were those links gendered? Key findings include that: (1) Women had a much higher than expected level of membership in the Munich Nazi Party. They contributed both to the financial resources and membership stability of the Munich Nazi Party. Once fully included in the social class analysis of the social composition of the Party, social class and gender were found to intersect, producing a membership that while broad-based, clustered in the middle class. (2) Contrary to early notions about members of the Nazi party being rootless, disconnected, marginalized men, this analysis shows that a substantial number of women joined the Party in Munich, and more important to the study of the development of the movement, both male and female joiners were connected to other joiners as neighbors and family members. (3) Confirming many traditional ideas about women, women were found to be more likely to follow others in their families, and wives were more likely to follow husbands into membership. However, women's connections to their neighbors challenge the stereotype of women as followers because women were much more likely than men to have a neighbor follow them into membership. The author proposes, therefore, that women may have been serving as an important bridge to membership from family to neighbors and the broader community.
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