David Raub Snyder, Sex Crimes under the Wehrmacht
Muhlhauser, Regina, German Politics and Society
David Raub Snyder, Sex Crimes under the Wehrmacht (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007)
The German Wehrmacht, like other armies in World War II, aimed to control the sexual behavior of its soldiers, in order to discipline their desire, prevent sexually transmitted diseases, as well as enemy espionage, ensure military discipline, and maintain the military's reputation. Furthermore, in keeping with the logic of Nazi racial hygiene, various military regulations warned German soldiers that relations with "ethnically alien women" (fremdvolkische Frauen) would endanger national health and vitality. Despite these fears about the military and racial risks of sexual transgression, however, the Wehrmacht High Command did not generally ban sexual encounters between German men and local women in the combat zones or the occupied territories, not even in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union. Military authorities rather assumed that male sexual lust in times of war was unavoidable and that the soldiers' heterosexual satisfaction would be beneficial to the war effort. In general, the "sexual surrender" of enemy women figured as one form of conquest of the other nation. Furthermore, the Wehrmacht High Command regarded male virility as an expression of individual strength and national superiority--military doctors did indeed establish that a man would be mentally and physically strengthened by heterosexual satisfaction. Military commanders also acted upon the assumption that opportunities for a soldier to gain sexual satisfaction would bind him to the army and strengthen the cohesion of small military units.
More recent studies have emphasized the importance of investigating this complex and often contradictory relationship between the sexual activities of soldiers, military discipline, occupation politics, the Nazi ideal of racial hygiene, and the dominant images of sexual surrender and soldierly sexuality. Previous findings indicated that the Wehrmacht High Command, local commanders, medical officers, and individual soldiers often harbored conflicting interests and ideas. In addition, Nazi sexual politics varied according to different territories and different stages of the war, i.e., during invasion, occupation, and retreat. (i) Despite these …
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Publication information: Article title: David Raub Snyder, Sex Crimes under the Wehrmacht. Contributors: Muhlhauser, Regina - Author. Journal title: German Politics and Society. Volume: 27. Issue: 1 Publication date: Spring 2009. Page number: 80+. © 2001 Berghahn Books, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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