Germanising the Jewish Male: Military Masculinity as the Last Stage of Acculturation

TitleGermanising the Jewish Male: Military Masculinity as the Last Stage of Acculturation
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsCaplan, Gregory A.
EditorLiedtke, Rainer, and David Rechter
Book TitleTowards Normality? Acculturation and Modern German Jewry
PublisherMohr Siebeck
CityTübingen, Germany

After briefly treating the history of militarism and masculinity in German and German Jewish culture before the First World War, this essay attempts to answer the question: if the values and symbols of the military exerted a substantial influence on the German middle classes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, what was their impact on the quintessential middle-class community - German Jewry? Military masculinity constituted a central aspect of German national culture in the nineteenth century, and the relative absence of this manly ideal in the German Jewish community of the same period suggests that the Jewish quest for middle-class "normality" in the era of Emancipation did not extend to all realms of German culture. The currency of militarism among German Jews during and after the First World War, by contrast, highlights the significance of the war experience as a turning point in the Jewish accommodation to this German manly ideal.

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