Aktivdienst und Geschlechterordnung: Eine Kultur- und Alltagsgeschichte des Militärdienstes in der Schweiz 1939-1945

TitleAktivdienst und Geschlechterordnung: Eine Kultur- und Alltagsgeschichte des Militärdienstes in der Schweiz 1939-1945
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsDejung, Christof
Number of Pages446

Traditionally, the generation that witnessed the Second World War in Switzerland, the so-called active service generation, was a homogenous unit: ready for defense and private. But was this really the case? The present study shows through an analysis of interviews, reminders, military theoretical literature, propaganda texts, and archival sources that the traditional image of the active service generation was essentially characterized by the propaganda of the intellectual defense of the country. By the end of the thirties, the increasingly polarized gender rules played a central role. The image of the Wehrmann, who protected the home family with the carabiner in his hand, as well as the image of the Swiss woman as a housewife and unselfish supporter of her conscientious husband, became normative guiding principles. But behind these propagandists, a highly contradictory everyday life hid itself. The soldiers in military service complained about the ongoing drill, and they suspected their officers, who dreamed of "true soldiery" and total obedience, of sympathy with national socialism. In the officers' corps, a power struggle broke out during the war, which included, among other things, competing ideas of military training, and in which different views on the social positioning of the army were mixed with different concepts of masculinity. The retreat of the army into the Alps, finally, after the war, the symbol of the Swiss resistance to resistance, turned the existing identity-building balance between the protective army and the civilian population to be protected upside down during the war. For the first time in this study it becomes clear which discursive means the army leadership made the Reduit strategy meaningful, and for the first time it is shown that the true content of the Reduit strategy was kept secret from the civilian population until the end of the war. Switzerland, one of a few countries, had largely been spared the effects of warfare between 1939 and 1945. The propagandists of the war period, especially the polarized generations of the sexes, remained effective for decades. This was one of the reasons why, in Switzerland, women were the last to be granted political rights in Europe. The traditional history of the post-war period stabilized the existing social power relations and served as a decker reminder for the disparate experiences of the war period.



Short TitleAktivdienst und Geschlechterordnung
Entry by GWC Assistants / Work by GWC Assistants : 

Type of Literature:

Time Period:


Library Location: 
Call Number: