Soldierly Perception of Masculinity in Imperial Germany 1880-1914 Research Paper

  • Length: 20 pages
  • Sources: 15
  • Subject: Military
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #99477943

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Soldierly Perception of Masculinity in Imperial Germany 1880-1914

According to the researchers, from last two centuries shifts have been experienced in Germany's war system. New forms of masculinity arose in 1945, when Germany was totally surrendered and so did the regime of Nazi's. The regime of Nazi's was a heroic one and after World War II new forms of masculinity arose in Germans. War system is a vital determiner of masculinity; such that changes in one have an impact on the others as well.

New configuration gives significance to refusal and gives less importance to subordination and obedience. Germany remained occupied and divided from 1945 to 1990. The years which followed the War were combined with the feminization of German society and this resulted in valorization of refusal.

The masculinity was a bit shifted to nation-state as far as occupied society was concerned. The increased pressure from the market made the society a more individualized one. It would not be wrong to say that in all western societies refusal became very common but none of the Great Powers possessed a culture of military which incorporates the idea of refusal.

According to the researchers, this mere shift is subject to the institutionalization of refusal that took place within Bundeswehr; this led to the valorization of German society on the whole. The military forces of Germany were isolated because of the deadly combat and the new generation of Germany saw the failure of the Nazi's period. If one would closely study the analysis, the history and the series of evidences then only the trends and the changes in masculinity can be understood. The relationship which existed between masculinity and war can be clearly understood if it is viewed in a longer evolutionary perception. One can even challenge the inevitability of the assumptions by making comparison between the review of archeological evidence and ethnography (Gardiner, 2004).

Historical Context

Berlin has a vast and a great history behind it. This city is not only filled with museums and monuments but one would also get to see all sorts of five story streets with stone worked apartments and buildings in it. Not only this, but a number of subway stations, canals, and hangs in the air which totally looked like clouds. A sweet aroma was often spread over the place. Apart from vast history this city even had persistent modernity. The history of Berlin is particularly inevitable and is tilted towards the 20th century, unlike the history of Paris, London, New York or even Rome (Gardiner, 2004).

Just like the other big cities, Berlin is also a multiplicity. Berlin of the Kaiserreich was the imperial city which continuously worked for the achievement of disdainful targets which it had set for itself just to be in competition with Britain and France. Then there was Berlin of Weimar era, of Otto Dix and the nightclubs. Then another one was Berlin of the Third Reich which does not have a single description.

There is one Cold War Berlin as well, which is cut into two halves by the demonstration of an iron curtain. Today's Berlin is also there in line, which is titled as Berlin after the Wall (1991), in the book of John Borneman. These Berlins are no longer in existence now; they are just present in the form of newspaper cuttings, books, grainy photographs, nightmares and bad memories. There is an unsubstantiated link with the past now, it exists just like an imagination.

Berlin after the wall is the only Berlin bearing worthy substance. The German parliament called Bundestag had its home in Reichstag, which is a stone and steel building touching the yellow skies of Berlin and have an unintentionally ironic glass. The building was designed keeping in view the democratic value of transparency. The modern structure was designed so that visitors can see the work of their representatives by looking down from overhead galleries. The actual workings of the German government are characterized by local-national alliances, intricate compromises and bureaucratic inertia (Katzenstein 1987).

The idea of staring down at the lawmakers present in session from the galleries of the new Reichstag building presents an infinite distance, which makes sense to a great extent. When a young man having close contact with political process was questioned regarding the apathy of ordinary Germans towards national politics, declared the fact that Germans consider politics to be a business of politicians.

The reason behind this thinking was the fact that the people were not able to do anything because they are not aware of the process of doing anything. The gap which occurred between past and present is actually attributed to the increasing distance between the government and people. Evasions and elisions surround the city of Berlin, where the space once captured by the Wall is not even considered an absence.

The West-that-was shaded imperceptibly by the East-that-was which resulted in the construction of renovated and modern apartments, buildings and departmental stores, each of which followed the Berlin obligatory style in construction. It has now become immensely easy to walk from West to East on erstwhile, which was not possible once without the cost of lives (Gardiner, 2004).

Masculinity and Germany

Several researchers considered the German history in detail to find out clues by considering the prior reconfigurations. The researchers aim at understanding the place of refusal in masculinity construction and the normalization of refusal in Germany. Its inception began in 1945, with the occupation and defeat of Germany, and the consequent dissolution of armed forces and the division of the country. It was further followed by the integration of Federal Republic into the Western Alliance and the inclusion of the German Democratic Republic into the Warsaw Pact. However, the part pertaining to GDR is not a part of this project (Gardiner, 2004).

The 1945 occupation of Germany resulted in the isolation of Germany from the immediate conditions of war. The Cold War in West Germany occurred due to the nuclear capabilities and capacities of the primary opponents. But, unexpectedly, West Germany created a situation of total isolation from actual combat on the frontlines of the Cold War. German soldiers were not killed in combating for decades between the reunification with the East and the founding of Bundeswehr, despite the fact that the country was occupied firstly and then had to host several large foreign troops (Gardiner, 2004).

There occurred a reunion of Germany and Western Europe. Unlike the British and French, Germany's military was not indulged in any sort of conflicts occurring with the latter half of decolonization. Moreover, the military of Germany was not even associated with peacekeeping chores too. The Federal Republic served as a strictly defensive entity due to the consistent mistrust of European neighbors and provision of the German Fundamental Law.

Second World War had totally changed the place, position and worth of whole Europe especially of Germany. This is the agreed statement of most of the researchers, who worked for bringing the relations of war and peace at the nib of pens. Joshua Goldstein (2001) was also of this idea.

History shows the Germany as a very aggressive, nationalist, belligerent and prominent state before the Second World War but in the war system and afterwards its positions revolutionary changed as an isolated, mingled comparatively peaceful state. The appraisal of military values was turned away in a proper documented way as to the maleness (masculinity). Germany was still a participant of war but its monopoly and superiority was considerably reduced and a comprehensive uncertainty of all the things related to military (Borne man 1998a, 302-302).

Now there are some questions raised i.e. how it made possible to arrange these two different elements together? The presence of any hidden underlying relation between the changes in war system and masculinity was also a question to be answered? Did the amplified assessment of refusal have some role in regard? (Gardiner, 2004)

There were some important questions of continuity and discontinuity. But the most important thing was that a society totally got changed in social values after the war repositioning. Germany had got an instant new and somehow deprived and desperate position and this new position opened the path for others to make desirable changes in the standard and values which were closely linked with masculinity.

It happened gradually as the incompetent and inaccessible forces such as obedience were gradually moved away to military values and standards. This is a claim that in recent German history there is a shift of masculine values to the obedience and discipline and same as to supreme military qualities towards refusal, liberty and frankness. It is rightly said that to participate in a war system can leads a nation's military values to a more courageous stance (Gardiner, 2004).

Researchers take Germany for an instance to illustrate their point-of-view about the prolonged trends in war period and masculinity in wars. The theory of war and masculinity is not just about to concentrate on progressive or developmental starting ingredients but it has to…

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