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Title:Front Line Weimar: Paramilitary Mobilization and Masculine Representation in Postwar Germany
Author(s):Bielanski, David James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Peter Fritzsche
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, European
Abstract:This study examines political mobilization in Germany after World War I in terms of new visions of a national collective based on gender roles realized and accentuated by the war, in particular service to the nation as a "new man" and civic soldier. War offered new opportunities to construct the male self as a cultural and political icon and assert a role of political leadership believed to have been earned by wartime military service. On both left and right of the political spectrum the war served as a point of gender orientation that fostered intense partisanship and a definition of active citizenship based on male duty to the national collective. Social myths of battlefield comradeship and discipline motivated veterans of all classes, revealing an important link between masculine self-perception in the 1920s and resonant memories of the war. The dissertation argues that paramilitary mobilization offered new ways of thinking about oneself as "German" and "male" in the public sphere and created active civic participation rooted in the male experience of soldiering. A military bond sustained by sport, commemorations, parade marches, and public violence competed with traditional cultural ties to class, political party, occupation, and family, and focused public attention on the ability of the male body as a warrior. The "new man" of the 1920s, a counterpart to Weimar's "new woman," valorized the distinctly male battlefield experience and was compelled to recruit and train other men, including his own sons, for paramilitary organizations in an effort to reclaim national unity and strength. The middle-class Stahlhelm and the socialist Reichsbanner were at the center of this new masculine culture of civic soldiering, and therefore are the subjects of the study. The public involvement of men as soldiers, and the remembrance of war, developed as political principle, and post-war male youth and women---both lacking military service---were included and excluded in ways that emphasized manly ability and the persistence of wartime gender roles.
Issue Date:2002
Description:184 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3069973
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2002

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