Reconstructing 'Front' and 'Home': Gendered Experiences and Memories of the German Wars against Napoleon—A Case Study

TitleReconstructing 'Front' and 'Home': Gendered Experiences and Memories of the German Wars against Napoleon—A Case Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHagemann, Karen
JournalWar in History
Volume16
Issue1
Pagination25-50
Date Published2009
Abstract

The article analyses gendered experiences and memories of the German wars against Napoleon by focusing on the port city of Hamburg, the second largest German town, which was occupied by the French army between 1806 and 1814. The case study centres on the 'ego-documents' of the renowned bookseller, publisher, and patriot Friedrich Perthes (1770—1843) and his family. The article shows that these first `modern' wars involved civilians — men and women alike — in new ways. The discursively constructed lines between `front' and `home' were blurred, and male and female war experiences were closely intertwined. After the wars, female war experiences were suppressed in collective memory. A wartime gender order was reconstructed in retrospect that distinguished clearly between front and home, and emphasized male heroism and patriotism. This helped to reinforce the gender hierarchy and thereby the postwar social order.

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438757673

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