"Everyday Heroines"

Nazi Visions of Motherhood in Mutterliebe (1939) and Annelie (1941)

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Author: Jo Fox
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National Socialism idealized maternal bravery, selflessness, devotion, and sacrifice as essential to the health of the nation, particularly in the context of World War II. This article critically assesses the Third Reich's projection of and women's reactions to the national cult of motherhood in Gustav Ucicky's Mutterliebe (Mother Love, 1939) and Josef von Baky's Annelie (1941). Though supported by a wide range of state-sponsored socio-economic initiatives and marketing strategies, these films reveal significant tensions between the ways women imagined themselves and the lives that the regime attempted to dictate for them. Because Nazi cinema also offered female viewers the opportunity to engage in escapist fantasies of adventure and romance, making dutiful motherhood appealing was always a challenge, and grew increasingly difficult as material hardships increased over the course of the war.

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