Chapter 20: Abstract

Western States, Military Masculinities and Combat in the Age of World Wars

Thomas K├╝hne (Clark University, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies)


In the age of the two World Wars, traditional concepts of exclusive and heroic masculinity gave way to inclusive, protean masculinities. Their fabric as tutorials for coping with the emotional, moral, and physical challenges of total war allowed for the integration of soldiers with different personalities and different social backgrounds into the cohesive face-to-face combat group that proved crucial for the fighting morale of modern armies. While men within these homo-social groups could perform a broad range of seemingly contradictory, manly and femininely coded emotions and practices, these groups yet relied on the exclusion of women. This chapter tracks representations and experiences of military masculinities in the first half on the twentieth century and compares the developments in Europe and the United States.


Combat; Citizenship; Comradeship; Military Masculinity; Race; Sexuality; Gender; Afro-American Men; Jewish Men; World War I and II; Europe; United States.

In Part III: "The Age of the World Wars" of the Oxford Handbook of Gender and War since 1600.

To buy an electronic version of this Oxford Handbook chapter click here.

Bibliographic lists: Selected Bibliography | Full List

Abstracts: Previous (20) | Table of Contents | Next (22)