women in totalitarian states: history links to the role of women in key single party states of the 20th century   

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    casahistoria - web site for students of modern history!

  on this page
Browse down the page or just click one of these sections.... 
1. Fascist Italy
Family & Motherhood |
Resistance to Fascist Policies
2. Stalin's Russia
The role of women | Women & economy |Women and art | Women and the Purges | Great Patriotic War
3. Nazi Germany
Role of women | Nazi women: case studies | Women & art | Eugenics & sterilisation |
Women & the camps | women & war
4. China before the Communist Revolution
5. China & Revolutionary Change
6. China after 50 years of Communist Change
7. Further Research
Other core casahistoria women pages:

 Pre industrial Revolution
Researching Women's history | Medieval Women | 17th & 18th century | Witches & Witchcraft
19c - Industrialisation & Emancipation
(a) Great Britain: Social position | Work | Emancipation movements
(b) USA: Work | Emancipation movements | African-american women
Suffrage Movement in Gt Britain
Suffrage Movement in the USA
20th century: the impact
Women & Modern War | Women in Art & Science | Women in the Developing World | Women's Issues | Girls and Education



casahistoria is recommended by many sites including:




1. Fascist Italy
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  Mussolini's Italy Go to this casahistoria site for links to fascist Italy  

  • Totalitarian Life Under Fascism - Fry Collection Exhibit. Excellent site with a difference. Set out like museum exhibits, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's archive of printed items relates to the fascist movement in Italy from 1922-1945. It includes information and digital reproductions of original documents exploring the nature of Italian fascism covering political, educational, social, and racial policies. As a starter go to the section: Women and Fascism
  • The Legacy of Liberal Patriarchy Extract from the book "How Mussolini Ruled Italian Women" by Victoria de Grazia.This extract looks at  background: the attitude towards womens rights in Italy before 1914.
  • Beyond the Black Shirt Interesting review article of the book on Fascist fashion by Eugenia Paulicellil Looks at the attempts by the Fascist party to control fashion and the fashion industry to create the the New Italian Woman who would be "the model of femininity as represented by the body-emphasizing cuts of knitted sportswear, and she would accept her place in the patriarchal family, bound up in the hand-tatted lace and embroidered aprons of traditional matronly attire".
  • Female beauty in the Fascist era Useful extract from the book Bellissima: Feminine beauty and the Idea of Italy  by Stephen Gundle which draws attention to the fascist intention to elaborate an alternative model of women. For the new Fascist woman physical health and exercise were the best basis for beauty.....
  • Peasant Women and Politics in Fascist Italy: The Massaie Rurali A very detailed and useful review of the Perry Willson book by Jane Slaughter, Professor of History, University of New Mexico. A worthwhile read. The Massaie Rurali was the Fascist Party's section for peasant women, which, with three million members by 1943, became one of the largest of the regime's mass mobilizing organizations. For the Google version of this book:
Family & Motherhood


Resistance to Fascist Policies
  Mussolini, his family & mistresses Click to explore links to Mussolini’s relationships with his wife & mistresses from the casahistoria page on Mussolini's Italy  




2. Stalin's Russia
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  Stalin 1927-39 Click to explore extensive links to other aspects of Stalin's USSR or to return to your casahistoria Stalin page.  

The role of women
  • Women at the Gates: Gender and Industry in Stalin's Russia useful review by Choi Chatterjee, California State University, of the book by Wendy Z. Goldman
  • Women and Youth Under Stalin This page has been created by Katrina Van Gorp. Includes sections on: The roots of a  feminist movement; The reality of sexual equality under Stalin; The effects of the 5 year plans; The burdens of a working women §
  • Women and Marxism Under Stalin, many laws from the 1920s related to women's emancipation were undone in favour of strengthening the family. Divorce and child support if unmarried, became more difficult to obtain, abortion was made illegal, and women lost rights in the family. This is a selection of documents by Stalin about the role of women. §
  • Women and Marxism  List of extracts from marxist women (eg Rosa Luxemburg). Very comprehensive
Women & the Economy Women and art
  • Nazi & Soviet Art  Includes the perception of women in Nazi and Soviet political art movements 


Women and the Purges
  • Gendercide Watch: Stalin's Purges Under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, tens of millions of ordinary individuals were executed or imprisoned in labour camps that were little more than death camps. Gender played an important role, and this site attempts to show how the Purge period of Soviet history can be considered the worst gendercide of the twentieth century.
  • Gulag women An excellent site - especially as it details a number of victims specifically and is well illustrated. Especially good on camps.


Women and the Great Patriotic War


3. Nazi Germany 

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Click to return to your casahistoria page or to explore the extensive links to other aspects of Nazi Germany:

  Hitler's Rise to Power & Collapse of Weimar
  Hitler Home Page & Structure of the Hitler State
  Living in the Nazi State  
  The End of Nazi Germany  

The role of women
  • Women in the Third Reich Concise overview from Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • German Wife And Mother: The Role Of Women In The Third Reich extract from The Face Of The Third Reich by Joachim C Fest
  • Women and children under Hitler Outline but worthwhile site for an overview by Stephanie McKenna. §
  • We Women in the Struggle for Germany's Renewal 1934 Article by Erna Günther from the "Frauen Warte", the Nazi Party's biweekly illustrated magazine for women. This 1934 article explains what the role of women in the Nazi state was to be. Rather than being active in politics and public life, they were to form their homes and raise their children in ways consistent with the Nazi worldview. Calvin Propaganda Archive
  • Impact of Nazism on family life Well produced student page on the transformation of German social life under Nazism. The information is based on a summary of an excellent and detailed account of social life in Germany between 1933 and 1945 by Grunberger, R 1987, Social Life in the Third Reich.
  • A New Look at Hitler's Mistress Eva Braun By Klaus Wiegrefe. A new biography of the woman who was Hitler's wife for a mere 40 hours casts doubt on the image that Eva Braun as little more than an apolitical accoutrement to the dictator.
  • Nazi Chic?  BBC audio report (about 10mins). How fashion was used as a tool of Nazi policy....
Nazi women: case studies
  • Women of the Third Reich A series of biographies of women linked to the History of the Third Reich
  • Nazi Women Useful descriptions of a variety of women during the Nazi period in Student projects of UC Santa Barbara
Women & art
  • Nazi & Soviet Art   Includes the perception of women in Nazi and Soviet political art movements 
  • Reich Art  and "Degenerate" Art Two well supported sites on art during the Nazi period. Include examples of how women were to be represented. Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology
Women & the concentration camps Eugenics & sterilisation programmes Women at war
  • The Role of Women in Nazi Germany 1939-1945 How did Their Status Change During the Second World War?  Concise starter article by Fiona Allison
  • Frauen Warte This was the Nazi Party's biweekly illustrated magazine for women. The issues here are a sample of those published between 1935 and 1945, and provide interesting examples of Nazi propaganda directed to women. By 1939, its circulation was 1.9 million. See also these translations of typical articles:
  • Ready to Die, Ready to Live 1st June issue, 1940. It encourages German women to have children, even in the midst of war. It is also an example of the relentless Nazi drive for an optimistic outlook on life.
  • Comrade Nurse 1942  story presents nurses as partners of the troops, but also emphasizes the Nazi anti-Bolshevist propaganda line. All from Calvin Propaganda Archive
  • The continuum of sexual violence in occupied Germany, 1945-49 By Hsu-Ming Teo, University of Sydney, Australia. Difficult & lengthy article from Women’s History Review, 1996, presenting a historical explanation for the male sexual violence against German women in Occupied Germany, 1945-49.
  • A Woman in Berlin Excellent review of the 1945 (anonymous) diary by Linda Grant who played a role in publicising the mass rapes of Croatian and Bosnian women by Serb militias in the 1990's. The review gives many examples from the book of the dehumanising process of the initial Red Army occupation as well as placing the effect on Berlin's women in the context of modern war. Finally it looks at the question of the evidence - how trustworthy is it (the familiar question to students .......) and comes up with an uneasy parallel.



4. China before the Communist Revolution 

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  Mao Tse-Tung and China & the West: Click to return to your casahistoria page or to explore extensive links to other aspects of China.  




5. Communist China & Revolutionary Change 

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  Mao Tse-Tung and China & the West: Click to return to your casahistoria page or to explore extensive links to other aspects of China.

One child policy  
  • For whatever reasons, a number of these sites have been removed (often from government education sites), perhaps indicating a fear to upset a newly strong China.... Fortunately the ones remaining here have been archived and are still available.
  • One Child Policy Australian School Resource material but clearly set out with documentary support to all the key points §
  • Science, Modernity, and the Making of China's One-Child Policy This 2003 article by Susan Greenhalgh is much more detailed: an academic analysis of why the policy came about in 34 sides.
  • Long March of China's Women Continues by Nailene Chou Wiest Reuters. Good article. Takes a personalised case-study approach to look at the reality & impact of the changes.
  • Case Study: Female Infanticide Focus: (1) India (2) China Detailed article from Gendercide Watch
  • Cover-up of China's gender-cide by Joseph Farah, in Western Journalism Center/FreeRepublic, 1997 which refers to the gendercide as "the biggest single holocaust in human history."  §
  • The Dying Rooms Trust Site for the Brian Woods BBC documentary that showed if a Chinese infant girl is turned over for adoption rather than being killed, she risks being placed in one of the notorious "Dying Rooms". Although they are described as orphans, very few of them actually are; the overwhelming majority do have parents, but their parents have abandoned them, simply because they were born the wrong sex." Woods estimated that "up to a million baby girls every year" were victims of this "mass desertion," deriving from "the complex collision of [China's] notorious One Child Policy and its traditional preference for sons. §


See the next section for the longer term impact on Chinese women.



6. China after 50 years of communist change  

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  Mao Tse-Tung Click to return to your casahistoria page or to explore extensive links to other aspects of China.

  • New women, old problems in China BBC. Looks at reality of women in modern China.
  • Growing Sex Imbalance Shocks China John Gittings in The Guardian, May  2002. Describes a rise in the sex ratio of newborn infants in China that suggests increasing numbers of female foetuses are being aborted by parents intent on having a male child.
  • China's Widely Flouted One-Child Policy Undercuts Its Census Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times, April 14, 2000 looks at the deception arising from the one-child policy
  • Unintended Pregnancy and Induced Abortion among Unmarried Women in China: A Systematic Review Research article by Xu Qian et al. BMC Health Services Research, Jan. 2004
  • Red Light District 1999 study of prostitution in China by Pan Suiming, People's University. Clearly presented
  • Move over Mao, today's Chinese revolution is sexual By David J. Lynch, USA TODAY, 2003. Examines China's growing sex industry.
  • Witness Accounts: Audio excerpts from a US PBS 12-part, half hour radio series on the heart and soul of China's emerging women musical and performance artists.  §
  • A Daughter's View The daughter of China's first woman conductor, Su Zheng, shares her difficulties living in the shadow of her famous mother, and the responsibilities she shared with her mother during the Cultural Revolution.
  • COBRA - China Rocks! China's first all-female rock bands talks about government censorship of rock lyrics, and the hostility of male rock bands.
  • Female Buddhist Monk In a remote section of northeast China, a female Buddhist monk who has led her Manchu community for 50 years sings Buddhist chant, which historian Pi-yen Chen analyzes.
  • Tang Dynasty Today Members of the China Conservatory recreate old musical traditions on ancient instruments. Are modern audiences interested?
  • Anti-Japanese Protest Songs 77 year-old composer Qu Xi-xian, conductor Zheng Xiaoying, and a 13 year-old pianist in Shenyang relay the experiences of writing and performing music to protest the Japanese invasion of China. Professor Lu Xiaobo discusses the role of non-violent protest.


7. Further Research

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  • Genesis is a mapping initiative, funded by the UK Research Support Libraries Programme to identify and develop access to women's history sources in the British Isles. The database holds descriptions of women's history collections from libraries, archives and museums from around the British Isles. Use it to search the Genesis database by using a search box on the opening page.
  • H-Women Discussion Group Scholarly discussion to communicate current research and teaching interests, to test new ideas and to share comments on current historiography.
  • WWW Virtual Library of Women's History This virtual library contains a very comprehensive list of women's history in institutions and organizations
  • Uncovering Women's History in Archival Collections  Maintained by the Archives for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Texas at San Antonio, this list is the most comprehensive source of information about Internet sites related to women's archival collections. Over 70 collections are identified and listed geographically. A massive, serious, list arranged geographically, this is the place for one-stop shopping
  • Library Collections Library collections of original sources (letters, diaries, papers, etc.) on the topic of women's history.  From about.com



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