By J. Crouthamel
This eye-opening examine offers a nuanced, provocative account of the way German squaddies within the nice battle skilled and enacted masculinity. Drawing on an array of proper narratives and media, it explores the ways in which either heterosexual and gay infantrymen expressed emotion, understood romantic beliefs, and approached intimacy and sexuality.
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Extra resources for An Intimate History of the Front: Masculinity, Sexuality, and German Soldiers in the First World War
Similar to men, women’s bravery was defined as the ability to display selfcontrol and self-sacrifice. Soldiers’ newspapers depicted women as passive and The Ideal Man Goes to War O 25 grateful for their husbands’ steadfast defense of the fatherland, meaning that they did not distract their men with their “selfish” needs in the face of national crisis. ” described the emotional state of his “little wife” (“Frauchen”). ”50 Lieutenant L. imagined that his wife gained this strength by reading the Liller Kriegszeitung, where accounts of heroic soldiers gave her confidence and she derived her own sense of determination reading about other women in her situation: My young little wife read the “Liller” just a few days ago.
4 Emancipated women, neurotic men, Jews, and homosexuals were seen as the enemies of middle-class standards of discipline and chastity. 5 The Ideal Man Goes to War O 17 In the decade just before the war, “manliness” was also becoming increasingly medicalized, as doctors took it on themselves to prescribe a bulwark against male degeneration. Leading psychiatrists in imperial Germany’s universities and medical clinics warned that modern industrial society bred degenerate psychological drives and behaviors, including sexual perversion.
55 The soldier and wife/mother presented a perfect dichotomy of the dedicated front fighter and the resilient, loyal woman on the home front. This dichotomy created some tension for soldiers as they psychologically tried to commit to both worlds. On one hand, the madonna-like German woman motivated the front soldier to fight for her honor and survival. However, she could also distract him from his manly duty as a warrior. In a 1917 edition of the Scharfschützen-Warte (Snipers Watch), soldier Willy Runge recounted how mesmerized he was by the exciting, patriotic spirit of 1914.