By J. Crouthamel
This eye-opening research supplies a nuanced, provocative account of ways German infantrymen within the nice conflict skilled and enacted masculinity. Drawing on an array of correct narratives and media, it explores the ways in which either heterosexual and gay squaddies 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
22 War was seen as a testing ground for manliness, and it provided the opportunity for men to demonstrate their individual worth within the collective act of defending the nation. 23 Through war, men could demonstrate their commitment to newly defined concepts of “manly valor” and “national sacrifice” that German poets and cultural elite enshrined as essentially “German” male characteristics. Notions of military camaraderie in the nineteenth century, which culminated in notions of “comradeship” during the age of total war, gave men a sense of meaning and self-actualization.
76 While most civilian groups attacked the military’s condom programs as counterproductive, some conceded that condoms were necessary as a last resort. The Bund für deutsche Familie und Volkskraft (Association for German Families 32 O An Intimate History of the Front and National Strength) published pamphlets for soldiers that touted the benefits of early marriage, exercise, and (if one must have sex) condoms as means of avoiding the spread of disease. Hoping to distribute them in barracks and at the front, the pamphlets contained testimonies supposedly from actual soldiers who expressed regret for contracting VD.
Women were spiritually calm, connected to nature, and driven by love and loyalty. They were “divine roses in an earthly life” who deserved respect and honor from men. 36 Women needed to be protected by the masculine warrior, but they also served as an emotional bulwark for men. The essential differences between men and women were depicted as immutable, and war further solidified the distinctive traits of the two genders. ” The Kriegszeitung der 4ten Armee (War Newspaper of the 4th Army) regularly published comedic supplements that often poked fun at men who were effeminate.
An Intimate History of the Front: Masculinity, Sexuality, and German Soldiers in the First World War by J. Crouthamel