Homosexuality in Germany: 1869-1945
Beuche, William M.
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This essay will focus upon the exemplary homosexual rights movement in Germany and the social and political forces that destroyed it; additionally I hope to bring attention to the gender and sexual politics of the movements and society. I will try to explore the conditions/forces with/against which homosexuals had to contend and the ways in which gays and lesbians organized themselves (together and separately) to improve their respective socially accorded positions. The first chapter contains a political and cultural consideration of the Weimar State as well as a discussion of the changes in the status of women. The purpose is to provide a backdrop against which the Nazis and their supporters rationalized such a phenomenally oppressive and destructive agenda; terrible regimes and crimes do not happen, they are always the result of human agency. The second chapter will look at the movements, emergence of academic sexology, and the culture created by/for homosexuals in Berlin from the late nineteenth century through the early 1930s. For a variety of reasons, many look to the pre-Nazi period with affection, which is perhaps justifiable compared to what followed; Claudia Schoppmann, however, warned of misplaced nostalgia for the Weimar period. This is a worthwhile consideration given the propensity of humans to romanticize the elements of that which has past. Her assertion seems to be empirically valid as well. The third chapter regards the Nazis and their actions as well as the cultural shift resultant from their ascendance. In the final chapter, I will look at the aftermath of the Nazi regime, from legal change to the memorialization of homosexual victims.