Who won the fight to be the Third Reich’s ‘first lady’ and why ...

Ideas

Who won the fight to be the Third Reich’s ‘first lady’ and why it mattered

Adolf Hitler presented himself as a lonely bachelor, so it was vital that Nazism cultivate a female face

James Wyllie

In 1931, Carin Goering, the Swedish wife of leading Nazi Hermann Goering, died after years of ill-health. Ever since she and Goering settled in Munich a decade earlier, Carin had devoted herself to Nazism. She treated Adolf Hitler as some sort of demigod. If anything, she was even more fanatical than her husband.

Yet Carin’s ideological zeal was combined with the grace, charm and sophistication of a society hostess, which made her an invaluable asset when it came to convincing key members of the German elite to support Nazism.

After her death, she quickly gained the status of a martyr: a glowing biography of Carin, written by her sister, became an instant bestseller...

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