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        Introduction: Masculinity and the Third Reich
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I would like to express my deep gratitude to Andrew I. Port for his superior guidance in putting together this special issue and for his superb editing of my and all the other articles.

If this introduction to a special issue of Central European History (CEH) or any other collection of articles on Third Reich masculinity had been published twenty or twenty-five years ago, it would have begun by bemoaning the neglect of men and masculinity in gender history. Such an article would have lamented the fact that the dominant stream of gender studies proceeds “as if gender applied only to women,” as the sociologist Michael Kimmel, one of the pioneers of the established field of Men's Studies, still put it in 2004 in his popular reader The Gendered Society.1 Since the 1990s, however, sociologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, theologians, psychologists, and many others, not least historians, have filled bookshelves with inquiries into men's acting, thinking, and feeling in gendered ways.2 These scholars have made men visible as gendered subjects and perforated the veil of unmarked normative masculinity. They have shown that norms, ideas, and practices addressed as masculine, manly, or unmanly, or as feminine or womanly, are not emanations from biological givens, but that they are socially and culturally constructed, that they change over time, and that they vary from one society to another, as well as within societies, cultures, and even individuals. Their work has contributed to a comprehensive understanding of gender as a marker of biological sex and of social practices, imageries, and ideologies that organize power relations, hierarchies, and identities between and within the sexes, often by exploring intersections with other categories of social difference, such as race, class, and age.3

Male Terror and Female Victimhood

The intertwined and paradoxical ways that hegemonic, nonhegemonic, defiant, deviant, and suppressed masculinities—standards of how a man must behave to be considered a “real” man—shaped and were shaped by state and society under the Third Reich are all the subject of this special issue. As research topics, the Nazi movement, Nazi terror, and Nazi conquest have played an ambivalent role in advancing the history of men and women, and of masculinities and femininities. In the late 1970s, at a time when what is today called gender history was mostly conceived of as women's history, driven by the effort to make women—female agency, impact, and suffering—visible in a male-dominated world, the German literary scholar Klaus Theweleit drew attention to the emotional world and gendered “phantasies” of men. It was a special group of men that Theweleit examined, however: the German Freikorps soldiers who, in the aftermath of World War I, and in a spirit of authoritarianism, militarism, nationalism, and misogynistic resentment, fought a civil war against democrats, socialists, communists, Jews, and women. In Theweleit's view, Freikorps men radicalized common Western and German norms about male self-control and “hard” masculinity into a perpetual war against women and femininity. It was not least the femininity that existed within men, as a desire for domesticity, tenderness, and compassion, that the men of the Freikorps wanted to “defeat.” Driven by the loss of a firm identity and ubiquitous fears of sexuality and states of liquidity, these men and their “male fantasies” spearheaded the rise and heralded the devastating impact of the Third Reich, according to Theweleit. Although his work was empirically based on a limited number of autobiographical writings by the individuals he examined, Theweleit, inspired by post-Freudian psychoanalysis, understood his findings in a quasi-universal sense: masculinity, male solidarity, and, above all, the steeled, armored male body appeared as the engines of a patriarchal order, with “perpetrator-men” and “victim-women” juxtaposed dichotomously.4

The stark juxtaposition of male perpetrators and female victims of patriarchy and fascist dictatorship resonated with some strands of feminist activism and scholarship as late as the 1980s. Yet, questions were already being raised at that time in disputes about “women's voluntary subjugation,” their support of Adolf Hitler, Nazism, and the Third Reich, and their supposed “responsibility for their own oppression.” A growing body of research into the diversity of women's lives, ideologies, and agency in the Third Reich—not least Theweleit's important discovery that male phantasies juxtaposed dangerous “red” women and motherly “white” women—had spurred such discomforting questions.5

The dispute about women in Nazi Germany climaxed with Claudia Koonz's 1987 Mothers in the Fatherland, a book which argued that German (“Aryan”) women in the Third Reich had become complicit in war, genocide, and terror simply by maintaining a pleasant domestic retreat for soldiers and killers, which allowed them to recover emotionally and morally, only then to go on and kill even more effectively.6 The subsequent HistorikerInnenstreit (female historians’ dispute) was not devoid of polarizing polemic, but it did eventually inspire an impressive variety of empirically rich and nuanced assessments of the workings of female complicity in the Nazi machinery of terror.7 Gudrun Schwarz's studies of the wives of SS perpetrators, Elizabeth Harvey's work on German women embracing the “ethnic struggle” and the persecution of Poles and Jews in the East, Vandani Joshi's examination of female denunciators in the Third Reich, Elissa Mailänder's inquiry into the “workaday violence” of female SS guards in Majdanek, and Wendy Lower's provocative book Hitler's Furies are only a few examples of this research.8 What they all achieve is to show that female identities, women's actions, and ideas about femininity are historically contingent, and that they vary according to their respective political and social contexts, even within one dictatorship.

Since the late 1980s, as empirical historical research on female complicity in Nazi racism and genocide gathered momentum, the concept of gender as a “category of historical analysis,” as Joan Scott famously coined it, was also utilized to understand better the Jewish—and, more generally, the victims’—perspectives on the Holocaust.9 Although initially met with resistance by Holocaust scholars who worried that a focus on gender might distract from the common suffering of Jewish men and women as a result of Nazi racism (i.e., from the priority of race over gender), gender historians could rightly claim that female victims of the Holocaust and specific female experiences—from the loss of menstruation to forced abortions—had been obscured or entirely ignored by an allegedly universal framework of Holocaust studies. This claim initiated research not only on female victims, but also on the interactions and role changes between persecuted men and women in Nazi Germany, in the ghettos, in the camps, and in the resistance movements.10 Most prominently, Marion Kaplan and Nechama Tec diagnosed a collapse of male gender identities and a role reversal of men and women during the Holocaust. Nazi persecution, they said, had robbed Jewish men already in the 1930s, and even more so from 1939 on, of their traditional roles as providers and protectors of their families; it emasculated them and left them apathetic, helpless, and passive. At the same time, women took up the slack, making decisions about whether to emigrate or stay in Germany, securing food and shelter for their families (including male members) in the ghettos, and contributing to the preservation of important elements of Jewish culture in the camps and elsewhere. In short, they performed roles and tasks that had been previously performed by men.11

Men's Studies and Hegemonic Masculinity

Such arguments about the confusion or even reversal of traditional gender roles during the Holocaust—which, in the meantime, have been challenged—complemented more general accounts of the crises and continuities of gender regimes in Europe and North America in the twentieth century. In the “total wars” of the first half of that century, Europeans experienced the systematic erasure of boundaries between combatants and noncombatants.12 Civilian populations, including women, were systematically and purposefully mobilized for and targeted by war, with genocide as its ultimate consequence. Women's mobilization included work as factory laborers, nurses, military aids, resistance fighters, and even regular soldiers. But women's suffering from and actions in war did not overthrow the polarized gender regime—or, if it did, it did so only temporarily or marginally. In a groundbreaking essay from 1987, Margaret and Patrice Higonnet suggested the metaphor of the double helix to explain this “paradoxical progress and regress,” as well as the underlying constancy of a “gender-linked subordination.”13

Paradoxes of change and continuity have since then not only challenged historians’ claims about women's roles, female lives, and representations of femininity, but also inspired inquiries into discourses on masculinity and the gendered experiences of men. The American literary scholar Susan Jeffords illuminated the “remasculinization of America” in the 1980s, i.e., the revival of patriarchal values and martial images of men and standard masculinity, which the Vietnam crisis had temporarily undermined and weakened. Jeffords identified this strategy—which reaffirmed not only a male-dominated gender order but also the public adoration of military values—in a broad range of fictional and nonfictional media that represented otherwise different political opinions and pursued different political agendas.14

Jeffords argued within the framework of the concept of patriarchy, stressing that masculinity and male sociality shaped, and were shaped by, fights for power, hegemony, and domination. At the same time, her analyses of depictions of “the masculine bond” of American soldiers, as represented by popular Hollywood Vietnam War movies, included and inspired nuanced assessments of the diversity and fluidity of masculinity.15 Joanna Bourke's 1996 book, Dismembering the Male: Men's Bodies, Britain, and the Great War, built on the private writings of ordinary British World War I servicemen. Challenging Theweleit's findings, Bourke highlighted the fluidity and ambiguity of the experiential sides of masculinity by focusing on men's interaction in all-male, homosocial settings, such as military units or veterans’ associations. Rather than fleeing domesticity and femininity, men absorbed these ideals into complex and fragile constructions of male identity.16

Bourke's revisionist view of military masculinities blended an Anglophone stream of inquiries into the history of masculinity that had taken off in the early 1980s. The latter had unveiled the historical contingency of seemingly ahistorical standards, such as the modern verdict about homosexuality and the adoration of the youthful athletic male body.17 This history of masculinity emerged in close interchange with other disciplines, including literary studies, anthropology, and sociology. Like history, they challenge and deconstruct imageries and ideas about allegedly perpetual, biologically-, divinely-, or otherwise numinously-given gender characteristics. These critical disciplines suggest the need for exploring historically and socially contingent hierarchies of diverse ideas about what makes a man a man in different classes, ethnic groups, organizations, institutions, regions, and nations. Different men may honor different masculine norms, but these norms operate in a constant state of competition for broader social approval and power. In short, they struggle for hegemony.

The Australian sociologist Robert (now Raewyn) Connell's theory of hegemonic masculinity, first presented in a coauthored article in 1985, accommodates the existence and rivalry of multiple conceptions of masculinity. Connell analyzes their hierarchical order in a Gramscian fashion. Men's subordination of women constitutes hegemonic masculinity, but it also allows for a range of diverse yet hierarchically-ordered identities. Subordinate masculinities, represented paradigmatically by gay men in most of the twentieth century in Western societies, defy hegemonic heterosexuality and are thus considered illegitimate—and therefore suppressed. Complicit masculinities, by contrast, also fail to embody the dominant standard, but they do not do so willingly. Instead, they confirm the dominant norm by achieving “assistant” status and thus reap the “patriarchal dividend.” This type of masculinity is embodied, for instance, by men who cannot serve militarily in a militarized society, or by unemployed men in civilian society. “Complicit” men still rule over women and rank above men with “illegitimate” male identities.18

Arguing with or expanding on Connell's sociological concepts, and frequently inspired by poststructuralist theory, students of male emotions, identities, and sociability, including anthropologists looking into non-Western cultures, have pointed to the “tensions and contradictions” within masculinity, as well as to its fluidity and hybridity.19 They have highlighted how women perform masculinity, and vice versa.20 These researchers have also cautioned against overemphasizing the anti-feminine nature of masculinity, suggesting instead that researchers “explore the locus of expression of ‘non-masculine’ sentiments by men.”21

Five concepts have fueled the study of masculinity: intersectionality, multiplicity, hegemony, fluidity, and processuality. Gender is a relational category. Based on the men-women and male-female dichotomy, it involves binary pairings of the public and the private, home and workplace, production and reproduction, action and passivity, hardness and weakness, rationality and emotionality, aggression and peacefulness. At the same time, gender, as a category of social difference, works in conjunction with, and through distinction from, other categories of social differences. The concept of intersectionality refers to the fact that masculinity, and gender more generally, are linked to, shaped by, and shape other social divisions, including class, race, age, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, and nation, which are all constitutive for modern societies.22

Consequently, no given society is ruled by only one idea or norm of what a man must do and how he must behave in order to be considered a man. Rather, there is always a “multiplicity” of such norms and practices. The question is how these interact with each other, and how they are arranged. Masculinity may not be simply defined by power over women, yet, it needs the Other—just as heterosexuality needs homosexuality, physical strength needs feebleness, and aggressiveness needs meekness. Connell's suggestion—that, in any given society, dominant or hegemonic ideas of masculinity interact with other, alternative, complicit, or subordinate masculinities—provides a model to analyze that very multiplicity.

The rigor and effectiveness of this “hegemony” and subordination is historically and culturally contingent, however. In contrast to sociologists such as Connell, literary scholars, anthropologists, philosophers, and psychologists have raised questions to trouble the binary juxtaposition of masculinity and femininity, pointing to “gender fluidity,” to the “impossibility of establishing [a] stable meaning” of the sign masculinity. “Masculinity always bleeds … over into its definitional others, despite efforts to the contrary,” they contend. Gender is thus a “continuum,” and human beings “oscillate … between the two gender poles.”23

Both in societal and in individual terms, the processual character of masculinity has been widely discussed. The Higonnets’ metaphor of the double helix and Susan Jeffords's argument about the remasculinization of defeated postwar societies are just two examples. A plethora of inquiries into various crises of masculinity in the past and in the present have produced other examples, not least by analyzing the relation of two trajectories: first, the representations of masculinity in laws, literature, and artifacts; and second, the subjective experience and appropriation of such representations by people embodying masculinity. Neither exists independently from the other. It was the “crisscrossing of ideologies and experience, of discourses and material transformation,” that propelled or barred change, according to Kathleen Canning.24 The processual nature of masculinity can also be considered on an individual level, if one concedes that popular ideas of hegemonic masculinity—such as physical and emotional strength, control (including self-control), honor, status, and prestige—are never experienced and appropriated permanently, but are instead subject to constant challenges, alternating with their opposites and needing to be created again and again.

Masculinity and the Third Reich

Inspired by British and American pioneers of Men's Studies, historians, sociologists, and literary students of German history and culture have explored the changes and continuities in discourses about the experiences of men and masculinities in Central Europe since the Middle Ages. These scholars have discussed a broad range of topics, including family relations and father roles; homosexuality and heterosexuality; youth and adolescence; health, sports, athleticism, and body cultures; citizenship and political activism; and, last but not least, the relationship among violence, militarism, and masculinity.25 It is surprising that the Third Reich and the Holocaust, though without doubt among the best studied periods of (not only German) history, have attracted only rarely the interest of students of masculinities.26 Daniel Wildmann and Paula Diehl have scrutinized Nazi propaganda on the athletic “Aryan” body and the body culture of SS men.27 Elizabeth Heinemann, Dagmar Herzog, and Regina Mühlhäuser have shed light on male actions and attitudes in their research on family relations, sexual pleasure, and sexual violence in Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe.28 The persecution of homosexuals under the Nazi regime has been documented since the 1980s.29 My own probing into military masculinities of the Third Reich, especially into the discourse, experiences, and practices of comradeship as the epitome of male sociability and male bonding, began in the 1990s.30 Later on, Magnus Koch illuminated how deserters from Hitler's army were, paradoxically, entangled in hegemonic martial masculinity.31 More recently, Todd Richard Ettelson and Christopher Dillon have discussed different aspects of SS ideas about, and practices of, martial and racist masculinity and sexuality.32 Only lately, however, have historians (such as Kim Wünschmann and Maddy Carey) started analyzing the effects of Nazi racial politics on Jewish masculinities.33

It is remarkable that major debates since the 1990s on the power structures of the Third Reich, the process of the Holocaust, the dynamic of Nazi violence, the motivations of the perpetrators, as well as the range of complicity of German and European actors in Nazi crimes, from institutions to social groups and individuals, have taken place with no or only marginal reference to the concept of gender, or to masculinities and men as gendered subjects. Christopher Browning's 1992 book Ordinary Men on the murderous operations of German Reserve Police Battalion 101 in occupied Poland serves as an example.34 It pioneered Holocaust perpetrator research and also offered one of the most subtle analyses of the mechanisms of cohesion and hierarchies operating in an all-male community. Though not using Connell's or other scholars’ sociology of hegemonic masculinity, it nevertheless reads like an empirical application of it. In the Nazi genocide, the ultimate standard of masculinity was the hardness that was required to overcome guilty feelings about murdering civilians, the alleged racial enemies. There were, however, also flexible rules for those who refused to join in the murder of the Jews. None of the objectors was executed or jailed. They would be shamed, ridiculed, ignored, harassed, isolated, or symbolically—but not physically—ostracized. This was possible because they did not question the dominant conception of masculinity. Instead, the outsiders interpreted their own psychological constitution as abnormal. The police officers of Battalion 101 who stood aside not only had to accept being labeled “weaklings” or “kids,” but also came to assess themselves in the same light. They did not claim to be “too good” to kill, but rather too weak, thus confirming, at least implicitly, the prevailing masculine standard of brutality, as well as the morality of the genocide. It was in this way that they maintained a marginal position that alleviated their social isolation. In a dominant culture of tough masculinity, they represented the Other, thus helping to make the hegemonic virtues properly visible, and they were complicit in the hegemonic and “tough” masculinity that took on genocidal proportions during the Third Reich.35 To explain the choices these “ordinary men” took, Browning relied on Stanley Milgram's and Philipp Zimbardo's social psychology of obedience to authority and group conformity.36 The explanatory potential of these studies is enormous, as Browning's application shows. Yet, it is also limited, as debates on perpetrator behavior have pointed out: psychological models of conformity and obedience tend to omit the “historical factor,” i.e., the specific cultural contexts that enforce or mitigate the way these models work in concrete historical situations. It is here that a sociologically informed history of masculinities can prove useful.37


The contributions to this special issue of CEH focus on a set of interrelated aspects and actors that illustrate exemplarily the usefulness of the category of masculinity for inquiries into the mindsets, hopes, fears, agency, and decisions of perpetrators, accomplices, bystanders, and victims of Nazi terror in Germany and Europe. Drawing on ego-documents such as letters, diaries, testimonies, and autobiographical writings, they zero in on the subjective side of gender regimes and explore how individuals and groups dealt with, confirmed, appropriated, rejected, or changed normative discourses on masculinity.

The first two articles focus on the perpetrator society. Edward Westermann, building on his previous analysis of the organizational culture of a core group of Holocaust perpetrators, Heinrich Himmler's police troops, inquires into the social meaning of drinking rituals for Nazi perpetrators such as the Stormtroopers, SS Einsatzgruppen, police units, and concentration camp guards.38 As in other Western cultures, and thus in Germany before (and after) the Nazi era (e.g., in the working class and in student fraternities), a man's ability to hold his liquor was decisive for his status as man. Controlling one's body despite intoxication made the man a “man.” Given the unequal distribution of this ability, drinking rituals established hierarchies among men—who could hold the most liquor? They structured and thus tied together the male community. A shared sense of ecstasy fueled social amalgamation, not least thanks to the transgressive dynamic of these sessions. They allowed the participants to rise above (or feel that they had risen above) the moral restrictions of the rest of the world. Eventually, drinking rituals not only paralleled but also trained men in executing collective terror. Similar to drinking rituals, though in a much more radical way, killing actions allowed the perpetrators to prove their masculinity; they established informal hierarchies, contingent upon the individual man's varying ability to overcome moral restraints about torturing or murdering civilians. The moral transgression of these actions established the ultimate experience of belonging to an exclusive group of men.

My own contribution on “protean masculinity” affirms the power of martial, violent, and even genocidal masculinity in Nazi Germany, as well as its genuinely social dimension. Male hardness included the willingness to sacrifice the self on the altar of (or least to subordinate it under) the “we,” the Fatherland, the Volksgemeinschaft (people's community), or the group of comrades. Hierarchies among different men and their ability to conform to hegemonic standards were crucial. Yet, the article stresses that these hierarchies fuelled an inclusive, rather than exclusive, type of martial masculinity. A broad range of different personalities was accepted into the male bond. The article argues further that soldiering provided men with a male identity that was ultimately not defined by a repudiation, but rather by an integration, of femininity. In the social practice of male interaction, diversity and flexibility were needed. These qualities allowed for the display of femininely coded affection, tenderness, empathy, caring, and tolerance toward emotional breakdowns and moments of weakness. Thanks to its inclusive nature, this type of soldierly masculinity—“protean masculinity”—allowed different types of soldier-men to establish male identities, and it allowed them to switch among different emotional and moral states without losing their manliness, though this was true only if the predominance of hardness as the “vanishing point” of all male action and interaction was honored. There is no need to sentimentalize protean masculinity, however—though veterans’ memories and popular culture have done so extensively. Protean masculinity was tied to power relations. Eventually, it integrated diverse men and diverse emotional and moral conditions into a fighting unit, and, in the case of the Third Reich, into a genocidal society.

The next three articles examine the responses of two different victim groups of Nazi persecution: Jewish and homosexual men. Jason Crouthamel, known for his research on masculinity and the sexuality of German soldiers during World War I and its aftermath, shows how homosexual veterans of that war and active soldiers in the Third Reich deployed hegemonic masculinity as a resource that allowed for agency and defense.39 As is generally known, the Nazis considered homosexuality—unlike racial inferiority—as a curable, or at least suppressible, disease. Most homosexual men in Nazi Germany had only one option to escape persecution: by hiding or suppressing their identity. War veterans and active servicemen, by contrast, had another option, according to Crouthamel: they could contest the Nazi regime's emphasis on heterosexuality as one crucial part of hegemonic masculinity by proving that homosexuality did not undermine martial masculinity. Ernst Roehm and Adolf Brand's claim that homosexual soldiers had not only proven their combat value but also embodied the ideal warrior served as the model for this argument. But, after the violent purges of June 1934 and the extended criminalization of homosexuality in 1935, homosexual veterans and soldiers resorted to a less self-confident defense tactic: they acknowledged their homosexual behavior as deviant, excusing it with reference to the deprivations and traumatic experiences of World War I.

The constructive side of masculinity as an emotional resource of agency and identity is key to the argument of Michael Geheran's article on Jewish masculinities under Nazi terror.40 Geheran questions the notion of a gender role reversal, showing instead that some Jews could preserve or restore agency and thus counter their emasculation in Nazi Germany and during the Holocaust. German-Jewish veterans of World War I fought their disempowerment and daily humiliation by reminding themselves and their oppressors of their status as war heroes. This was much more than a helpless act of self-delusion. Instead, by standing up against Nazi thugs publicly and in front of other men (and women), they displayed core features of martial masculinity, such as bravery, strength, initiative, decisiveness, and perseverance, in the process retaining their masculine honor and regaining their self-esteem. In Connell's terms, these veterans deployed a “complicit” form of masculinity. Geheran's article unveils the power paradoxes of this complicit masculinity in a genocidal context. By utilizing hegemonic martial masculinity to secure their own status, agency, and identity, the veterans distanced themselves from, and put themselves above, nonmilitary, i.e., “unmanly” Jews. Unwittingly, and likely unwillingly, they thereby confirmed Nazi stereotypes about Jewish men's alleged effeminacy. The analysis of the struggle by Jewish veterans for male honor thus shows how the complexity of hegemonic masculinity—including its often unconscious workings—eventually supported Nazi efforts to destroy Jewish solidarity structures.

Focusing on the gender constructions of the so-called Yekkes (i.e., Jews of German-speaking origin) living in the yishuv (the Jewish settlement in Mandatory Palestine) in the 1930s and 1940s, and expanding on the existing body of research on modern Jewish male identities, Patrick Farges illuminates the cultural and geographical scope of martial hegemonic masculinity. Zionist politics of social regeneration aimed at overcoming the difference between what was perceived as the Ostjuden’s feebleness and the West European Jews’ easy assimilation. The concept of the “muscle Jew,” first suggested by Max Nordau in 1898, came to embody this social regeneration; the “New Hebrew” was its concrete manifestation. Propagating idealized images of athletic, strong, disciplined, hardworking, and self-sacrificing citizens-in-arms, the Zionist discourse on masculinity brought together common nineteenth-century European imageries that had been nourished by settler colonialism in North America, Australia, and Africa; by the rise of the citizen-soldier and the concept of militarized citizenship; as well as by the eugenic and health, body, and athletics movements.41 The case of the Yekkes sheds light on the relational and competitive nature of hegemonic masculinity. As Farges indicates, the soldier-citizen-pioneer model did not only apply to Jewish men but also to women. As in other militarized and settler societies, including but not limited to the contemporary German one, martial masculinity also affected the female performance of gender. Women were supposed to adopt a masculinized body language. At the same time, the construction of a hegemonic Zionist masculinity implied hierarchies and exclusions, with the latter targeting local Arab men and their allegedly effeminate masculinity.

The continuities and changes in Nazi Germany's concepts of hegemonic masculinity are the subject of Elissa Mailänder's examination of medial and private discourses on male sexuality in postwar German society. She assembles the stories of three different heterosexual men: a polygamous professor, whose ménage à trois with his wife and his girlfriend benefitted from the Nazi regime's prioritizing of “Aryan” reproduction over bourgeois and Christian moralities—but then conflicted with the restoration of these values after 1945; an aviator who lost his testicles in an airplane crash in 1939 and henceforth suffered from anxieties about his sexual potency and masculine reputation; and a married yet infertile police officer who escaped into an affair with a younger woman, whom he struggled to convince that sexual pleasure easily compensated for the absence of motherhood and an inability to reproduce. A male identity built on sexual hedonism is what the three men had in common—as well as the need to face the challenge of doubting or begrudging environments. Mailänder analyses these stories against the background of a marriage, family, and gender crisis caused by military defeat, moral confusion, and economic uncertainty. The reconstruction of bourgeois family life and growing opportunities for individual careers and happiness only slowly established stable ground for a new type of hegemonic masculinity: that of the homo faber, the industrious breadwinner and technically skilled careerist who left behind the sort of martial masculinity that had required sacrifice for the Fatherland or the racial Volksgemeinschaft as its ultimate test. Diagnosing a crisis of masculinity would nevertheless be a misapprehension, Mailänder cautions. Not only did male dominance over women remain intact despite the caesura of 1945: hedonism—as an integral element of hegemonic masculinity during and after the Third Reich—did so as well, regardless of whether it was publicly accepted.

Except for Mailänder, the authors of this special issue focus on military masculinity in one way or another. Yet, despite its militarization, the political, social, and economic machinery of the Third Reich relied not only on soldiers, warriors, and killers, but also on technocrats, bureaucrats, scientists, journalists, entrepreneurs, white- and blue-collar workers, as well as entertainers. The male identities of different categories of civilians, and the ways their masculinities fit into, questioned, or eluded the hegemonic martial norm, have barely been a subject of interest for scholars of gender. The same is true more generally of the relational qualities and intersections of these hegemonic (and other) masculinities. They are examined through the lens of the men who enacted them: perpetrator-men, soldier men, homosexual veterans, Jewish veterans, and Jewish settlers. But the construction of gender is a societal concert that includes women, as well as men, who could not or did not want to achieve the standard of hegemonic masculinity. How did they perceive, confirm, or question martial and other masculinities?42 Such questions and topics require further investigation, and the contributions to this special issue are meant to inspire further research in this vein.

1 Kimmel, Michael, The Gendered Society, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 6.

2 Influential monographs and anthologies in sociology include Brod, Harry, ed., The Making of Masculinities: The New Men's Studies (Boston, MA: Allen & Unwin, 1987); Brod, Harry and Kaufman, Michael, eds., Theorizing Masculinities (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994); in anthropology, see Gilmore, David D., Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990); Herdt, Gilbert H., Guardians of the Flutes: Idioms of Masculinity (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1981); in literary studies, see Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985); in history, see Stearns, Peter N., Be a Man! Males in Modern Societies (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1979); Mangan, J. A. and Walvon, James, eds., Manliness and Morality: Middle-class manliness in Britain and America, 1800–1940 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987); Roper, Michael and Tosh, John, eds., Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain since 1800 (London: Routledge, 1991).

3 Kimmel, Michael and Messner, Michael A., eds., Men's Lives, 9th ed. (Boston, MA: Pearson, 2013); Kimmel, Michael and Aronson, Amy, eds., Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, 2004); Kimmel, Michael S., Hearn, Jeff, and Connell, R. W., eds., Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004); Horlacher, Stefan, Jansen, Bettina, and Schwanebeck, Wieland, eds., Männlichkeit. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2016). The last is an excellent survey of the development of the field in different countries and disciplines, with no equivalent in English. Also see Peretz, Tal, “Why Study Men and Masculinities? A Theorized Research Review,” Graduate Journal of Science 12, no. 3 (2012): 3043.

4 Theweleit, Klaus, Male Fantasies, vol. I: Women, Floods, Bodies, History; vol. II: Male Bodies: Psychoanalyzing the White Terror, trans. Conway, Stephen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989). The German original appeared as Männerphantasien, 2 vols. (Frankfurt/Main: Roter Stern, 1977–1978). The reception is scrutinized in Reichardt, Sven, “Klaus Theweleits ‘Männerphantasien’—ein Erfolgsbuch der 1970er-Jahre,” Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History 3 (2006): 401–21. For an early, yet still important critique, see Evans, Richard J., “Geschichte, Psychologie und Geschlechterbeziehungen,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 7, no. 3–4 (1981): 597606.

5 Koonz, Claudia, “A Tributary and a Mainstream: Gender, Public Memory, and Historiography of Nazi Germany,” in Gendering Modern German Historiography, ed. Hagemann, Karen and Quataert, Jean H. (New York: Berghahn, 2007), 151. This article is also useful for the debates in the 1980s.

6 Koonz, Claudia, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987).

7 Grossmann, Atina, “Feminist Debates,” Gender & History 3, no. 3 (1991): 350–58; Saldern, Adelheid von, “Victims or Perpetrators? Controversies about the Role of Women in the Nazi State,” in Nazism and German Society, 1933–1945, ed. Crew, David F. (London: Routledge, 1994), 141–66; Stibbe, Mathew, Women in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).

8 Schwarz, Gudrun, Eine Frau an seiner Seite. Ehefrauen in der „SS-Sippengemeinschaft“ (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1997); Harvey, Elizabeth, Women and the Nazi East: Agents and Witnesses of Germanization (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003); Joshi, Vandani, Gender and Power in the Third Reich: Female Denouncers and the Gestapo (1933–45) (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003); Mailänder, Elissa, Female SS Guards and Workaday Violence: The Majdanek Concentration Camp, 1942–1944 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2015); Lower, Wendy, Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2013).

9 Scott, Joan W., “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review 91, no. 5 (1986): 1053–75.

10 The discussion was initiated and shaped by Goldenberg, Myrna, “Different Horrors, Same Hell: Women Remembering the Holocaust,” in Thinking the Unthinkable: Meanings of the Holocaust, ed. Gottlieb, R. (New York: Paulist, 1991), 150–66; Rittner, Carol and Roth, John K., eds., Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust (New York: Paragon, 1993); Baumel, Judith Tydor, Double Jeopardy: Gender and the Holocaust (London: Valentine Mitchell, 1998); Ofer, Dalia and Weitzman, Leonore, eds., Women in the Holocaust (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998). Recent research surveys include Weitzman, Leonore J., “Women,” in The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies, ed. Hayes, Peter and Roth, John K. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 203–17; Caplan, Jane, “Gender and the Concentration Camps,” in Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany, ed. Caplan, Jane and Wachsmann, Nikolaus (London: Routledge, 2010), 5881; Pine, Lisa, “Gender and the Holocaust: Male and Female Experiences of Auschwitz,” in Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey, ed. Randall, Amy E. (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 3761.

11 Kaplan, Marion, “Gender: A Crucial Tool in Holocaust Research,” in Lessons and Legacies IV, ed. Thompson, Larry V. (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2003), 163–70; idem, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Tec, Nechama, Resilience and Courage: Women, Men, and the Holocaust (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003).

12 Hagemann, Karen and Schüler-Springorum, Stefanie, eds., Home/Front: The Military, War and Gender in Twentieth-Century Germany (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2002); Hagemann, Karen, Dudink, Stefan, and Rose, Sonya O., eds., Oxford Handbook of Gender, War and the Western World since 1600 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).

13 Margaret, and Higonnet, Patrice, “The Double Helix,” in Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars, ed. Higonnet, Margaret et al. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987), 3147.

14 Jeffords, Susan, The Remasculinization of America: Gender and the Vietnam War (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989). On post-1945 Germany, see Moeller, Robert G., “The ‘Remasculinization’ of Germany in the 1950s: Introduction,” Signs 24, no. 1 (1998): 101–6; idem, “Heimkehr ins Vaterland: Die Remaskulinisierung Westdeutschlands in den fünfziger Jahren,” Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 60, no. 2 (2001): 403–36; Frank Biess, “Men of Reconstruction, the Reconstruction of Men: Returning POWs in East and West Germany,” in Hagemann and Schüler-Springorum, Home/Front, 335–58.

15 Interest in the topic was spurred by the essayistic assessments by Mosse, George L., Fallen Soldiers: Shaping the Memory of the World Wars (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); idem, The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

16 Bourke, Joanna, Dismembering the Male: Men's Bodies, Britain, and the Great War (London: Reaction, 1996).

17 Michael Roper and John Tosh, “Introduction: Historians and the Politics and Masculinity,” in Roper and Tosh, Manful Assertions, 1–24; Kühne, Thomas, “Männergeschichte als Geschlechtergeschichte,” in Männlichkeit im Wandel der Moderne, ed. Kühne, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 1996), 730.

18 Carrigan, Tim, Connell, Bob, and Lee, John, “Towards a New Sociology of Masculinity,” Theory and Society 14, no. 5 (1985): 551–64; Connell, R. W., Gender and Power (Cambridge: Polity, 1987); idem, Masculinities (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); idem, “The Social Organization of Masculinity,” The Masculinities Reader, ed. Frank J. Barrett and Stephen Whitehead (Cambridge: Polity, 2001), 38–40; Connell, R. W. and Messerschmidt, James W., “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept,” Gender & Society 19, no. 2 (2005): 829–59. Cf. Tosh, John, “Hegemonic Masculinity and the History of Gender,” in Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History, ed. Dudink, Stefan, Hagemann, Karen, and Tosh, John (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 4158. Also see Barrett, Frank J., “The Organizational Construction of Hegemonic Masculinity: The Case of the US Navy,” Gender, Work and Organization 3, no. 3 (1996): 129–42.

19 Reeser, Todd W., Masculinities in Theory. An Introduction (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 8, 12, 14, 39–40; Butler, Judith, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990).

20 Halberstam, Judith, Female Masculinity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998). Cf. Reeser, Masculinities in Theory, 119–43.

21 de Almeida, Miguel Vale, The Hegemonic Male: Masculinity in a Portuguese Town (Providence, RI: Berghahn, 1996), 116.

22 Collins, Patricia Hill and Bilge, Sirma, eds., I ntersectionality (Cambridge: Polity, 2016). Cf. Reeser, Masculinities in Theory, 144–70; Rose, Sonya O., What is Gender History? (Cambridge: Polity, 2010), 3655.

23 Reeser, Masculinities in Theory, 38–39, 45.

24 Canning, Kathleen, Gender History in Practice: Historical Perspectives on Bodies, Class, and Citizenship (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), 15.

25 Frevert, Ute, “Männergeschichte oder die Suche nach dem ‘ersten’ Geschlecht,” in Was ist Gesellschaftsgeschichte? Positionen, Themen, Analysen, ed. Hettling, Manfred et al. (Munich: C. W. Beck, 1991), 3144; Kühne, Thomas, ed., Männergeschichte—Geschlechtergeschichte. Männlichkeit im Wandel der Moderne (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 1996); Erhart, Walter and Herrmann, Britta, eds., Wann ist der Mann ein Mann? Zur Geschichte der Männlichkeit (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1997); Dinges, Martin, ed., Männer—Macht—Körper. Hegemoniale Männlichkeiten vom Mittelalter bis heute (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2005); Hanisch, Ernst, Männlichkeiten. Eine andere Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts (Cologne: Böhlau, 2005); Borutta, Manuel and Verheyen, Nina, eds., Die Präsenz der Gefühle. Männlichkeit und Emotion im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Bielefeld: transcript, 2010). Excellent surveys include Martschukat, Jürgen and Stieglitz, Olaf, Geschichte der Männlichkeiten (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2008); Hagemann and Quataert, Gendering Modern German Historiography; Walter Erhart, “Deutschsprachige Männlichkeitsforschung,” in Horlacher, Jansen, and Schwanebeck, Männlichkeit, 11–25.

26 Some recent research is included in Dietrich, Anette and Heise, Ljiljana, eds., Männlichkeitskonstruktionen im Nationalsozialismus. Formen, Funktionen und Wirkungsmacht von Geschlechterkonstruktionen im Nationalsozialismus und ihre Reflektion in der pädagogischen Praxis (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2013). Three excellent literature reviews note the neglect of men and masculinities: Stibbe, Matthew, “In and Beyond the Racial State: Gender and National Socialism, 1933–1945,” Politics, Religion & Ideology 13, no. 2 (2012): 161; Saldern, Adelheid von, “Innovative Trends in Women's and Gender Studies of the National Socialist Era,” German History 27, no. 1 (2009): 84–112; Heineman, Elizabeth D., “Sexuality and Nazism: The Doubly Unspeakable,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 11, no. 1–2 (2002): 2266.

27 Diehl, Paula, Macht—Mythos—Utopie. Die Körperbilder der SS-Männer (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2005); Wildmann, Daniel, Begehrte Körper. Konstruktion und Inszenierung des „arischen” Männerkörpers im „Dritten Reich“ (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 1998); Patel, Kiran Klaus, „Erziehungsziel: Männlichkeit. Körperbilder und Körperpraktiken im Nationalsozialismus und im New Deal in den USA,” in Körper im Nationalsozialismus. Bilder und Praxen, ed. Diehl, Paula (Munich: Funk, 2006), 229–48.

28 Heineman, Elizabeth, What Difference Does a Husband Make? Women and Marital Status in Nazi and Postwar Germany (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Herzog, Dagmar, Sex After Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005); Mühlhäuser, Regina, “Between ‘Racial Awareness’ and Fantasies of Potency: Nazi Sexual Politics in the Occupied Territories of the Soviet Union, 1942–1945,” in Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe's Twentieth Century, ed. Herzog, Dagmar (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2009); idem, Eroberungen. Sexuelle Gewalttaten und intime Beziehungen deutscher Soldaten in der Sowjetunion (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2010).

29 Plant, Richard, The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals (New York: Henry Holt, 1986); Jellonnek, Burkhard, Homosexuelle unter dem Hakenkreuz: Die Verfolgung von Homosexuellen im Dritten Reich (Paderborn: Schöningh, 1990); Grau, Günter, ed., Hidden Holocaust? Gay and Lesbian Persecution in Germany 1933–45 (London: Cassell, 1995); Giles, Geoffrey, “The Denial of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Incidents in Himmler's SS and Police,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 11, no. 1–2 (2002): 256–90; Nieden, Susanne zur, ed., Homosexualität und Staatsräson. Männlichkeit, Homophobie und Politik in Deutschland 1900–1945 (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2005); Wackerfuss, Andrew, Stormtrooper Families—Homosexuality and Community in the Early Nazi Movement (New York: Harrington Park Press, 2015). Also see Jason Crouthamel's contribution to this issue.

30 Kühne, Thomas, “Kameradschaft–“das Beste im Leben des Mannes”. Die deutschen Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges in erfahrungs- und geschlechtergeschichtlicher Perspektive,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 22, no. 4 (1996): 504–29; idem, Kameradschaft: Die Soldaten des nationalsozialistischen Krieges und das 20. Jahrhundert (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006); idem, “Male Bonding and Shame Culture: Hitler's Soldiers and the Moral Basis of Genocidal Warfare,” in Ordinary People as Mass Murderers: Perpetrators in Comparative Perspectives, ed. Olaf Jensen, Claus-Christian W. Szejnmann, and Martin L. Davies (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 55–77; idem, Belonging and Genocide: Hitler's Community, 1918–1945 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010); idem, The Rise and Fall of Comradeship: Hitler's Soldiers, Male Bonding and Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). Cf. Dröge, Martin, “Männlichkeit undVolksgemeinschaft’. Der Westfälische Landeshauptmann Karl Friedrich Kolbow (1899–1945): Biographie eines NS-Täters (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2015); Werner, Frank, “‘Hart müssen wir hier draußen sein.’ Soldatische Männlichkeit im Vernichtungskrieg 1939–1945,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 34, no. 1 (2008): 540; Dejung, Christof, Aktivdienst und Geschlechterordnung. Eine Kultur- und Alltagsgeschichte des Militärdiensts in der Schweiz, 1939–1945 (Zurich: Chronos, 2007).

31 Magnus Koch, “Männlichkeit und Verweigerung. Deserteure der Wehrmacht aus geschlechtergeschichtlicher Perspektive,” in Dietrich and Heise, Männlichkeitskonstruktionen im Nationalsozialismus, 83–98; idem, Fahnenfluchten. Deserteure der Wehrmacht im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2008). See also Fritsche, Maria, “Proving One's Manliness: Masculine Self-perceptions of Austrian Deserters in the Second World War,” Gender & History, 24, no. 1 (2012): 3555.

32 Todd Richard Ettelson, “The Nazi ‘New Man.’ Embodying Masculinity and Regulating Sexuality in the SA and SS, 1930–1939,” PhD thesis, University of Michigan, 2002; Dillon, Christopher, Dachau and the SS: A Schooling in Violence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

33 Wünschmann, Kim, Before Auschwitz: Jewish Prisoners in the Prewar Concentration Camps (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015); idem, “Männlichkeitskonstruktionen jüdischer Häftlinge in NS-Konzentrationslagern”; Dietrich and Heise, Männlichkeitskonstruktionen im Nationalsozialismus, 201–19; Carey, Maddy, Jewish Masculinity in the Holocaust: Between Destruction and Construction (London: Bloomsbury, 2017).

34 Browning, Christopher, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: HarperCollins, 1992). See also Welzer, Harald, Täter. Wie aus ganz normalen Menschen Massenmörder werden (Frankfurt/Main: S. Fischer, 2005).

35 Cf. Kühne, Belonging and Genocide, 84–87, and my contribution to this special issue.

36 See the nuanced reflections on the development of Holocaust perpetrator research since 1992 in Christopher Browning, “Twenty-Five Years Later,” in idem, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, rev. ed. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2017), 225–91.

37 For an attempt toward a gendered application, see Stephen R. Haynes, “Ordinary Masculinity: Gender Analysis and Holocaust Scholarship,” in Randall, Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century, 165–88. While Adam Jones in particular has drawn attention to gender selective killings, genocide studies have, more generally, only occasionally deployed the conceptual suggestions of men's studies; see Jones, Adam, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, 3rd ed. (London: Routledge, 2017), 625–59; Joeden-Forgey, Elisa von, “Gender and Genocide,” in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies, ed. Bloxham, Donald and Moses, Dirk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 6180.

38 Westermann, Edward B., Hitler's Police Battalions: Enforcing Racial War in the East (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005).

39 Crouthamel, Jason, An Intimate History of the Front: Masculinity, Sexuality, and German Soldiers in the First World War (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014); idem, “‘Comradeship’ and ‘Friendship’: Masculinity and Militarization in Germany's Homosexual Emancipation Movement after the First World War,” Gender & History 23, no. 1 (2011): 111–29.

40 See Michael James Geheran, “Betrayed Comradeship: German-Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler,” PhD thesis, Clark University, 2016. On the historical context, see Baader, Benjamin Maria, Gillerman, Sharon, and Lerner, Paul, eds., Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender, and History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014).

41 Hart, Mitchell B., The Healthy Jew: The Symbiosis of Judaism and Modern Medicine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Presner, Todd Samuel, Muscular Judaism: The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration (London: Routledge, 2007); Wildmann, Daniel, Der veränderbare Körper. Jüdische Turner, Männlichkeit und das Wiedergewinnen von Geschichte in Deutschland um 1900 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009); Brenner, Michael and Reuveni, Gideon, eds., Emancipation through Muscles: Jews and Spirts in Europe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006); Kugelmass, Jack, ed., Jews, Sports, and the Rite of Citizenship (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007). Cf. Dutton, Kenneth R., The Perfectible Body: The Western Ideal of Male Physical Development (New York: Continuum, 1995); Budd, Michael Anton, The Sculpture Machine: Physical Culture and Body Politics in the Age of Empire (New York: New York University Press, 1997); Mangan, J. A., ed., Shaping the Superman: Fascist Body as Political Icon—Aryan Fascism (London: Frank Cass, 1999).

42 This question has been paradigmatically discussed with regard to the variety of, and competition among, different masculinities in various Jewish communities, including the American and the Israeli ones. See Imhoff, Sarah, Masculinity and the Making of American Judaism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017); Hakak, Yohai, Haredi Masculinities between Yeshiva, the Army, Work and Politics (Leiden: Brill, 2016); Nur, Ofer Nordheimer, Eros and Tragedy: Jewish Male Fantasies and the Masculine Revolution of Zionism (Boston, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2014); Brod, Harry and Zevit, Shawn Israel, eds., Brother Keepers: New Perspectives on Jewish Masculinity (Harrimen, TN: Men's Studies Press, 2010); Brod, Harry, ed., A Mensch Among Men: Explorations in Jewish Masculinity (Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1988).