December 16, 1938: How Bad Could Hitler Really Have Been? He Gave a Medal to Mothers!

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A Brief History

On December 16, 1938, world famous dictator and villain Adolf Hitler directed his Nazi German Empire (Reich) to issue a new medal, one only for mothers of German ethnicity living within Germany or later within other areas incorporated into the Reich. 

Digging Deeper

3 Mother's Crosses (l.-r.) Gold, Silver and Bronze

3 Mother’s Crosses
(l.-r.) Gold, Silver and Bronze

In order to qualify for the award, the mother had to have given birth to at least 4 children and to have exhibited probity and exemplary behavior.  (Probity is having a strong sense of morality, honesty and decency.)  The medal was known as the Cross of Honour of the German Mother (Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter in German) or simply the Mother’s Cross (Mutterkreuz).  It was issued at three different levels: Bronze for 4-5 children; Silver for 6-7 children; and Gold for 8 or more children. (Did they think this was the mother Olympics, or something!?).  The medals were awarded every year on the 12th of August, the birthday of Hitler’s mother.  The women were also accorded certain privileges such as always being given a seat on public transportation.  They were also given preferential treatment by law authorities and government agencies and other members of society, e.g. they never had to stand in line and got the choice cuts of meat and the best loaves of bread from butchers and bakers. 

Obviously, this award was intended to encourage women to bear as many children as possible in order to populate the Reich with as many Germans as possible.  Other countries had similar awards programs for motherhood, notably France and the Soviet Union.  Understandably, the German version lasted only until the end of World War II.

Current trends, however, would indicate that Germany should think about reinstituting it.   In 1940, the world population was 2.3 billion.  Today it is 7.2 billion.  That is a tripling in the number of humans and is reflected in many countries, but not in Germany. 

For example (numbers approximate):

USA 1940: population 132 million – USA Today: 300 million

Mexico 1940: population 20 million – Mexico Today: 123+ million

China 1940: population 500 million – China Today: 1.3 billion

India 1940: population 315 million – India Today: 1.2+ billion

and lastly,

Germany 1940: population 70 million Germans in the “mainland” plus 10 million additional Germans from the annexed areas of Austria and the Sudetenland = approx. 80 million –  Today: population 78 million and expected to shrink

With the lowest birthrate in Europe, only an average of 1.36 kids are born to each German mother. 

Nowadays, German women are focusing on education and their careers and are delaying having children until they are in their late 30s and early 40s.  Government programs to encourage and support mothers who choose stay at home to raise their children are not yielding the expected results.  If nothing else has worked, perhaps German women will let themselves be swayed with a Mother’s Cross!

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Historical Evidence

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.