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Linie 4: The dream of the "strong man”

Veröffentlicht am 10. May 2023, 14:15 Uhr

Linie 4: The dream of the "strong man"

 

Reich President Friedrich Ebert parading an honorary company of the Reichswehr on 11 August 1923, the bank holidays in the Weimar Republic (Photo: Georg Pahl, BArch Bild 102-10884)

Convinced republicans were a rarity in the military of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933). Most soldiers in the Reichswehr had a conflictual relationship with the state they had sworn an oath to. In her presentation "Von ‘Herrennaturen’ und ‘Eunuchen’ – Das schwierige Verhältnis der Soldaten zur Weimarer Republik" ("Of ‘Gentlemen's Natures’ and ‘Eunuchs’ – The Difficult Relationship of Soldiers to the Weimar Republic") in the public lecture series Linie 4, which the BGHS is organising together with the vhs Bielefeld, historian Carolin Kaiser explores the reasons for this. 

In addition to the origin of many soldiers from nationalist circles and an elitist self-image, she identifies another factor – the relationship between masculinity and politics. At the time of the Weimar Republic, the language of politics was often peppered with allusions to gender and sexuality. Thus the Versailles Peace Treaty was described as a "rape", its arms restrictions as "emasculation" and pacifists as "eunuchs". It was not only the National Socialists who dreamed of a "strong man" at the head of the nation. In the conflict between a democratic and an authoritarian regime that characterised the 1920s and early 1930s, the latter was considered the "manlier" option. Carolin Kaiser looks at the impact of this social atmosphere on the military and asks: Was the understanding that many soldiers themselves had of what a man and soldier should be like simply incompatible with the image they had of democracy and parliamentarism?

Carolin Kaiser studied history and comparative literature at the universities of Bochum, Stockholm and Tours. Since 2021, she has been doing her doctorate on the topic of "Masculinities in the Reichswehr. Soldiering and Gender in the Weimar Republic" at the BGHS. She is a scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation.

The presentation will take place on Monday, 22 May 2023 at 6.15 pm in room 240 at the vhs Bielefeld, Ravensberger Park 1. The event will be held in German.

Here you will find information about Linie 4 and the presentations in the series.

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