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»Hart müssen wir hier draußen sein«
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»Hart müssen wir hier draußen sein«

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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Almost no other period of German history was as masculine as National Socialism. The almost... mehr
»Hart müssen wir hier draußen sein«
Almost no other period of German history was as masculine as National Socialism. The almost cult-like construction of soldierly masculinity in National Socialism elevated the traditional gender image to the level of a state ideology, the “Volksgemeinschaft” was composed as a community of war, in which only being a soldier meant being a real man. Based on this hypothesis, the article focuses on the masculine dimension of mental dispositions towards violence in the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union 1941–1944. Gender is a central category of human identity and interpretation of the world, and the analysis of letters from the front shows how notions of masculinity structured and filtered the perceptions and interpretations with which German soldiers reflected their actions and made sense of their own behaviour. One basic argument is that gender perceptions helped to transform inner conflicts about killing unarmed civilians into the notion of a natural order, thus constituting their significance also in situations of crime. The connection of obvious gender knowledge and racial enemy images offers a key to understanding the participation of “ordinary men” not only in war, but also in genocide.