Men of Reconstruction – The Reconstruction of Men: Returning POWs in East and West Germany, 1945–1955

TitleMen of Reconstruction – The Reconstruction of Men: Returning POWs in East and West Germany, 1945–1955
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBiess, Frank
EditorHagemann, Karen, and Stefanie Schüler-Springorum
Book TitleHome/Front: The Military, War, and Gender in Twentieth-Century Germany
Pagination335-359
PublisherBerg
City, CountryOxford, UK
Abstract

We are all acutely aware of the devastation and upheaval that result from war. Less obvious is the extent to which the military and war impact on the gender order. This book is the first to explore the intersections of the military, war and gender in twentieth-century Germany from a variety of different perspectives. Its authors investigate the relevance of the military and war for the formation of gender relations and their representation as well as for the construction of individual and social agency for both genders in civil society and the military. They inquire about the origins and development of gendered images as they were shaped by war. They expound on the multifarious mechanisms that served to reconstruct or newly form gender relations in the postwar periods. They analyze the participation of women and men in the creation of wars as well as the gender-specific meaning of their respective roles. Finally, they investigate the different ways of remembering and coming to terms with the two great military conflicts of the very violent twentieth century. The book focuses on the period before, during and after the two World Wars, closely linked 'total wars' that mobilized both the 'front' and the 'home-front' and increasingly blurred the boundaries between them. Drawing on sources ranging from forces newspapers to German pilot literature, police reports on women's food riots to oral history interviews with soldiers' wives, the richly documented case studies of Home/Front add the long-overdue gender dimension to the cultural and historical debates that surround these two great military conflicts.

(UNC Chapel Hill)

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