Is this for you?
The notion of ‘the private’ as a dimension of experience, practice, knowledge, or social space defined in contrast to those matters or spaces constructed as more ‘public’ is a pervasive ideology in modern bourgeois societies and liberal policies that helped shape ideas about the body and sexuality, the domestic sphere and leisure, marital relations, property rights and the expression of belief.
On the face of it, such a model of ‘the private’ clashed head on with the Nazi regime’s claim to control and penetrate all aspects of German life. Contemporary critics and observers emphasised the degree to which the regime not only set out to crush individuality and privacy, but also succeeded in doing so.
Historians, meanwhile, have begun to point to a more complex picture – one in which the regime did not merely seek to control those aspects of life that took place behind closed doors, but also suggested to those Germans who conformed politically and racially to the regime’s norms that they might expect to enjoy a degree of security and privacy from the demands of Party and state.
There is much, however, that remains to be explored about different agencies’ and individuals’ handling and understanding of ‘the private’ in specific contexts, the ways in which gender norms and racial hierarchies shaped individual chances of achieving ‘private’ satisfaction or gratification, and the degree to which aspirations to defend and enjoy ‘the private’ were promoted, permitted, contested or forcibly crushed by the regime.