The First Citizen of the State: Paternal Masculinity, Patriotism and Citizenship in Early Nineteenth Century Prussia

TitleThe First Citizen of the State: Paternal Masculinity, Patriotism and Citizenship in Early Nineteenth Century Prussia
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHagemann, Karen
EditorDudink, Stefan, Karen Hagemann, and Anna Clark
Book TitleRepresenting Masculinity: Male Citizenship in Modern Western Culture
Pagination67-88
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityNew York
Abstract

The Wars of 1813-15 were the first wars in German history to be conducted on the basis of universal conscription. The dramatic defeat of the Prussian-Saxon army in 1806-07 had so thoroughly shaken the foundations of the Prussian state and military system that the king and the ruling elites were forced to make fundamental changes in the state and military administrations. One central project was the introduction of universal conscription, which Prussia introduced  with the beginning of the war in 1813. There was much resistance to be overcome before compulsory military service could be instituted in practice. A broad patriotic national mobilization was necessary to be achieved through intensive propaganda for a ”valorous manly stance”, which revolved around the myth of a heroic and honorable ”death for the fatherland”. This propaganda presented the Prussian king Frederic Wilhelm III. as the best possible father of his country, the first citizen of his state and the most valouress war leader. He was more and more constructed and represented as the masculine role model for all Prussian men, not only by so-called conservative but also by early liberal patriots. This  book chapter explores these connections by focusing on the discourses and cultural practices that framed and presented the masculine images of Prussian king.

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122715414

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