Primary Sources: Weimar Society
Rigid class separation and considerable friction among the classes characterized pre-World War I German society. Aristocratic landowners looked down on middle and working class Germans and only grudgingly associated with wealthy businessmen and industrialists. Members of the middle class guarded their status and considered themselves to be superior to factory workers. The cooperation between middle and working class citizens, which had broken the aristocracy’s monopoly of power in England, had not developed in Germany. In Weimar Germany, class distinctions, while somewhat modified, were still important. In particular, the middle class battled to preserve their higher social status and monetary advantages over the working class.
Gender issues were also controversial as some women’s groups and the left-wing political parties attempted to create more equality between the sexes. Other women’s groups, conservative and radical right-wing political parties, and many members of the clergy resisted these changes. The constitution mandated considerable gender equality, but tradition and the civil and criminal codes were still strongly patriarchal and contributed to perpetuating inequality. Marriage and divorce laws and questions of morality and sexuality were all areas of ferment and debate.
Primary Sources: Society
- Antisemitism - Overview
- Bertha Pappenheim's Letter on Antisemitism (1923)
- Der Stürmer Antisemitic Cartoon - "Jewish Culture"
- Der Stürmer Antisemitic Cartoon - "Nothing the November Republic Promised...,"
- Der Stürmer Antisemitic Cartoon - "When the Vermin are Dead...,"
- The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1927)
- Exhibition on the Role of German Women (1933)
- German Women Voting (1919)
- Jewish Women Asked for ID Cards (Berlin, 1920)
- Cartoon of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld
- Paragraph 175
- "The Lavender Song" (Das Lila Lied), music by Mischa Spoliansky, lyrics by Kurt Schwabach (1920)