Eroberungen: Sexuelle Gewalttaten und intime Beziehungen deutscher Soldaten in der Sowjetunion, 1941-1945

TitleEroberungen: Sexuelle Gewalttaten und intime Beziehungen deutscher Soldaten in der Sowjetunion, 1941-1945
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMühlhäuser, Regina
Number of Pages416
PublisherHamburger Edition HIS

The importance of sexuality in war has become more prominent in the last few years, either through media reports of mass rape in the Congo or through the UN resolution that describes the exercise of sexual violence as a war tactics for the first time. However, the extent and significance of German soldiers' sexual contacts in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union are still largely unexplored. Mühlhäuser rejects the popular notion that the German military leadership had tried to punish any sexual activity of the soldiers in Eastern Europe in the face of the official Nazi rejection of sexual contacts of German men to women of "foreign peoples." She shows that sexual crimes committed by German troops were a widespread phenomenon in the USSR: soldiers victimized women through acts of sexual torture and committed rape. Mühlhäuser considers sexual violence, but also the entire spectrum of heterosexual activities of members of the Wehrmacht and SS members in the context of the conceptions of masculinity and sexuality. She examines contacts with "secret" prostitutes and in military battles, sex in exchange for protection or foodstuffs, as well as amicable relations, which sometimes led to the men making a marriage proposal. Faced with this were institutional efforts to control the sexuality of the soldiers. The Wehrmacht and the SS did not try to prevent heterosexual contacts strictly, because the satisfaction of sexual needs was a tried and tested means to optimize men's performance. Nevertheless, the Wehrmacht, in particular, held their soldiers to sexual moderation, pledged them to sanctuary, and set up military brothels. In this way, however, the sexual activities of the soldiers were not only restricted but also favored. In addition, the Nazi authorities designed plans for dealing with the children of soldiers. On the basis of military documents as well as personal reports and interviews, the author examines the complex interplay between the behavior of the soldiers and the reactions of the Nazi and military leadership. Mühlhäuser's research provides valuable insights that extend and deepen research results on the sexual policies of the Wehrmacht and the SS and enrich our understanding of the interwovenness of masculinity, violence and sexuality in times of war.

Short TitleEroberungen
Reprint Edition2012
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