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
PublisherChronos
CityZürich
Abstract

Traditionally, the idea prevails that the generation that experienced the Second World War in Switzerland—the so-called active service generation—was a homogeneous unit: ready for defense and united. Through an analysis of interviews, memoirs, military theory literature, propaganda texts and archival sources, this study shows that the traditional image of the active service generation was essentially shaped by the propaganda of intellectual national defense. The gender order, which became increasingly polarized toward the end of the 1930s, played a central role. The image of the conscript protecting the family left at home, and the image of the Swiss woman as a housewife and selfless supporter of her conscript husband became normative models. But these propaganda images concealed a highly contradictory everyday life. For the first time, this study reveals the discursive means used by the army leadership to make sense of the Reduit strategy, and for the first time it shows that the true content of the Reduit strategy was kept secret from the civilian population until towards the end of the war. The wartime propaganda images, especially the polarized gender perceptions, therefore remained powerful for decades.

Translated TitleActive Service and Gender Order: A Cultural and Everyday History of Military Service in Switzerland, 1939-1945
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68628725

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