Article ID: CBB001201414

Johanna Haarer and Frederic Truby King: When is a Babycare Manual an Instrument of National Socialism? (2013)


In 1934, the physician Johanna Haarer published a babycare manual entitled Die deutsche Mutter und ihr erstes Kind (The German Mother and her First Child). Published by Julius Friedrich Lehmanns, a prolific publisher of Nazi literature, the book went through numerous editions and by 1945 had sold nearly 600,000 copies. In 1936, Lehmanns published a follow-up, Unsere kleinen Kinder (Our Little Children), which gave advice on raising children between the ages of two and six. Haarer's advice manuals have recently elicited interest from a range of scholars from different disciplines, raising questions about the relationship between Haarer's childcare guidance and Nazism. This article explores what was specifically National Socialist about Haarer's manuals by comparing her writings to childrearing advice popular in Britain at the time: advice based on Frederic Truby King's `mothercraft' movement, first advocated in the 1920s, but common into the early 1950s. Paying attention to the cultural contexts in which the advice manuals were written and disseminated, the article provides comparison of the most important instructions they contained concerning the mother--child relationship, feeding, sleep, crying, and the overall `training' of the infant, to provide a historically nuanced assessment of Johanna Haarer's manuals. Key words

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Authors & Contributors
Kravetz, Melissa
Lisa A. Bitterich
Dechert, Andre
Kinnebrock, Susanne
Sorvillo, Craig
Zeidman, Lawrence A.
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Social History of Medicine
New Books Network Podcast
European Journal for the History of Medicine and Health
Medizinhistorisches Journal
Wallstein Verlag
Oxford University Press
Franz Steiner Verlag
Medicine and politics
National Socialism
Women in medicine
Mothers and children
Physicians; doctors
Saethre, Haakon
Haedenkamp, Karl
Hadrich, Julius
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
21st century
Weimar Republic (1919-1933)
Hamburg (Germany)
United States

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