By J. Crouthamel
This eye-opening research provides a nuanced, provocative account of ways German infantrymen within the nice battle skilled and enacted masculinity. Drawing on an array of suitable 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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Additional resources for An Intimate History of the Front: Masculinity, Sexuality, and German Soldiers in the First World War
Fischer admitted that some men would continue to have sex with prostitutes anyway, and he provided advice on prophylaxis. Condoms, including brands by Viro and Samariter, could be purchased at The Ideal Man Goes to War O 31 pharmacies, or as a last resort, men could wash their genitals after having sex with prostitutes. “However, all of these protective measures are not certain,” Dr. Fischer reiterated. “The only sure-fire method is abstinence. Each soldier must realize that venereal disease is like a self-inflicted wound.
The men were for the most part conscripted, and the women treated us as they would have treated their husbands. ”31 German men saw themselves as respected across national boundaries. German soldiers who stayed temporarily in the town expected loyal women who missed their husbands to treat visiting soldiers as their own. ”32 Thus he saw himself as fulfilling the idealized masculine image of the pious, universally idolized heroic warrior. The letters that were approved for the mass media publication by the War Ministry painted an image of soldiers as successfully making a transition from youth to manhood through their experience in war.
47 In his poem, the nurse rescued soldiers by providing a sense of normal existence and sharing love and friendship with her damaged men. Though they occupied a different sphere and possessed a different nature in the imaginations of brutalized men, “good sisters” came exceptionally close to being “good comrades,” sharing the traumatic experience of the front firsthand. 48 Women at home had little idea of the horrors experienced by men at the front, but they could still provide a form of comradeship from behind the lines.