Keywords: Pronatalism, German Empire, First World War, German Military, Welfare
When the German Empire was founded in 1871, the country had one of the highest birth rates in Europe. In particular in contrast to its French neighbour, the German population was massively growing. From a military point of view, this development was seen as a huge advantage. With its population surplus, the German army had more than enough soldiers and was able to conscript only the fittest recruits. But the situation changed in the years before and during the First World War. The German birth rate started to decline and reached an all-time low
during the war. This article analyses the army’s perception of the change in the demographic development and its influence on pronatalist policies in Imperial Germany with a focus on the First World War.