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Whining and Winning: Male Narratives of Love, Marriage, and Divorce in the Shadow of the Third Reich

Abstract : This article analyzes the social realities that Austrian and German heterosexual men, all in their reproductive age, confronted in the aftermath of World War II; the kind of sexual and gendered configurations produced under Nazism and during the postwar period; and the ways in which these social and emotional realities were publically and privately dealt with after the war. It draws on reports in, and letters-to-the-editor of, the journal Liebe und Ehe from 1949 to 1951, as well as on a sample of fourteen private letters written by an Austrian policeman in 1951 about his love relationship with a nurse. Such early postwar narratives not only point at issues and conflicts between the sexes, but also suggest the rehabilitation of traditional gender roles in West Germany and Austria. Men struggled to conform to new guidelines of heterosexual domesticity, a development that hints not only at traumatic war experiences, but also at the ideological residuals of Nazism.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 8:23:56 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 3:16:02 AM

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Elissa Mailänder. Whining and Winning: Male Narratives of Love, Marriage, and Divorce in the Shadow of the Third Reich. Central European History, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2018, 51 (3), pp.488 - 512. ⟨10.1017/S0008938918000687⟩. ⟨hal-03413597⟩

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