He served as the party's patron, promoter and watchdog, and helped found the SA. This memoir, first published in. We offer fast, reliable delivery to your door. Nazi leader Ernst Rohm was a military adviser in Bolivia. Frontline Books, envelope. The Memoirs of Ernst Rohm. Hitler yelled. Neudegg's recollections are confirmed in many details by the memoirs of against homosexuals was marked by the murder of Ernst Rohm on June.
Front row, from left: Wilhelm Frick sitting. It analyzes the writings of cultural elites who believed that homosexuality was compatible with martial masculinity. The ways in which homosexual men perceived homosexuality in relation to hegemonic masculine norms were diverse. Whereas some tried to argue for the compatibility of homosexuality and martial masculinity, those who were arrested often distanced themselves from their homosexual identity.
Under interrogation, veterans of the Great War tried to escape arrest by testifying that they were not homosexual, but had been changed by the brutalizing experience of the war. Or, if they admitted to being intrinsically homosexual, they tried to neutralize their sexuality by claiming that they had it under control, or that it was irrelevant in determining their status in the Volksgemeinschaft. It is also important to examine the voices of ordinary homosexual veterans arrested and tortured after , because their rhetoric about homosexuality was often different from that found in the writings of elites.
One can find the voices of homosexual veterans in Gestapo and criminal police files held in the Landesarchiv Berlin, which holds over two thousand case studies of arrests that took place under Paragraph They compartmentalized their homosexuality and emphasized that they had met all expectations with regard to manliness, military service, and sacrifice—social values they had learned since , regardless of their sexual histories. Their narratives thus contradicted the hegemonic narrative of war as a healing agent.
As Edward Ross Dickinson has emphasized, the history of gender and sexuality in modern Germany needs to be considered as an ever-changing process full of complexity and contradiction, the result of struggles between institutions of power and individual subjectivities. As opposed to SA leaders and cultural elites like Adolf Brand, veterans who were arrested under Paragraph did not directly contend that homosexuality was reconcilable with hegemonic masculine ideals. However, under the Nazi regime, one could no longer achieve this status simply through the past performance of comradely ideals and self-sacrifice in combat.
World War I witnessed the culmination of a century-long process in which masculinity had become inextricably interlinked with military values and the soldierly image.
Memoirs of Ernst Rohm
It is difficult to determine whether the majority of men really embraced the hegemonic masculine ideal. Sociologist R. Connell has argued that dominant masculine ideals may pervade a culture and put pressure on men to conform, yet, ordinary men's perceptions of these masculine norms are elusive; moreover, the hegemonic ideal is often contested and unstable.
Adolf Brand, who, in , cofounded the Gemeinschaft der Eigene Community of Unique Ones , bolstered this image of homosexuals as hypermasculine warriors. A veteran of the Great War who espoused nationalistic rhetoric, Brand was obsessed with the idea of total freedom of the individual from the state and from traditional institutions. In the decade before the Nazis came to power, Brand and other veterans worked tirelessly to combat stereotypes of homosexual men as effeminate and weak. He claimed that, despite the efforts of his socially progressive rival Magnus Hirschfeld to educate the public, little progress had been made, and the image of homosexuals as effeminate persisted.
Brand attacked Hirschfeld's liberal-progressive agenda, and he characterized the new democracy as degenerate. Similar to the model defined by Adolf Brand, the SA sanctified the idea that comradely emotional bonds between men were the backbone of a militarized, united, and powerful society. In , Heimsoth published his studies of homoerotic friendships in rightwing paramilitary groups, such as the Freikorps Free Corps , in Brand's journal, Der Eigene.
Heimsoth had served as an officer on the Western Front, and, after the war, he developed a theory that the men of the Freikorps preserved not only the heroic spirit of comradeship in the trenches, but also homoerotic bonds that strengthened the military's fighting power. Similar to Brand, Heimsoth believed that homoerotic relationships among hypermasculine, battle-ready front veterans were the backbone of the nation's defense against its enemies. Though he did not deny his homosexuality publicly, his life was carefully compartmentalized between family members, who did not accept his sexuality; political colleagues, who were ambivalent at best; and his circle of accepting homosexual friends.
Nothing is more phony than the so-called morality of society.
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The term shelters every kind of loose conduct. What mattered to me in the field was not whether a soldier measured up to society's morals, but only whether he was a dependable man or not. In truth these tragedies are the result of a social order which replaces healthy recognition of natural processes and understanding with hypocrisy, lies, deceit, prudery and misplaced indignation. If the state thinks it can regulate human instincts or divert them along other channels by the force of law, that seems to me so amateurish and inappropriate that it does not surprise me to find that the lawmakers of this state are also the defenders of the social order … I shall conclude by saying: the battle against hypocrisy, deceit and the falseness of this society of today must begin with one's very own natural instincts from the cradle, as it were.
Only then can the battle be pursued successfully for all. Comradeship, cast in blood, may slumber, but never be torn from the heart or eradicated … Germans have learnt to hate, but manly hate has been replaced by effeminate griping. He who cannot hate cannot love. The flame of freedom glows in the fire of fanatical hate and passionate love.
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This letter, written at the end of , was Brand's last public declaration of his ideals. Brand eluded imprisonment and was spared personal attack, perhaps because he had confidants in the Nazi party and was married to a nurse he had met during the Great War. Whatever the reasons, Brand died in an Allied bombing raid in By , the Nazis had begun to ramp up their attacks on homosexuals.
His political enemies within the party nevertheless used his assassination as an opportunity to denounce any lingering notions that homosexuality was consistent with hegemonic masculinity. Instead, men's sexual histories now superseded the primacy of the front experience. As Burkhard Jellonnek has pointed out, the result was essentially the same, but this also meant that the regime put much more focus on uncovering and eradicating all homosexual behavior, with less attention to the question of whether the accused was predisposed toward homosexuality.
In sweeps coordinated by the Gestapo and the Kripo, homosexual men were interrogated and tortured in an attempt to make them identify other homosexuals, whose names were then carefully recorded in a so-called Homokartei registry of homosexuals. In addition, police received many anonymous letters from neighbors, who took the initiative of denouncing suspected homosexuals. Such attacks stung gay veterans, who, recalling their sacrifice in the war, perceived them as a betrayal of their past loyalty to the Fatherland. In June , for example, three homosexual men anonymously wrote to Wilhelm Keitel, at the time a major general in the OKW Oberkommando der Wehrmacht who would later be appointed supreme commander of the armed forces.
Similar to other minorities under attack, including Jews, older homosexual men often cited their military service as evidence of their status as respectable members of the front and national communities. Still, a sample of a hundred born before indicates that nearly half had served in the years to The files of these men often include testimonies about their war experience and its impact on their sexual behavior. Homosexual men tried to defend themselves by drawing on the memory of the war, which they used in at least two different ways. In some cases, they pointed to war service as evidence of their adherence to the hegemonic masculine ideal of comradeship and sacrifice.
At the same time, many referred to the deprivation and abnormal conditions of the war experience to explain why they engaged in homosexual behavior. They cited the strain, separation from women, and, in some cases, coercion as the main causes of their sexual behavior.
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In both forms of defense, homosexual experiences were thus compartmentalized and characterized as inconsequential for their masculine status. In so doing, they both reinforced and contradicted prevailing National Socialist conceptions of masculinity and homosexuality.
They characterized homosexuality as deviant and shameful, but they also blamed it on the war experience sanctified by the Nazis, which these men remembered as brutalizing rather than as an ennobling, sacred foundation on which hegemonic masculinity was built. Because homosexual men were trying to evade imprisonment, their testimonies must be examined in the knowledge that they were often being tortured at the time they provided these narratives.
The arrest records of homosexuals nevertheless reveal their attempts to take control of the narrative governing their identities and behavior, often characterizing their behavior as, paradoxically, the result of circumstances and conditions outside their control. For example, Fritz H.
While under police interrogation, Fritz H. Subsequently, I started to get used to same-sex intercourse and kept doing it until Fritz H. My homosexual activities, I give for the record, began during the world war when I was a front soldier. By contrast, other veterans arrested under Paragraph portrayed the war experience as one that distorted their normal desires and disrupted their otherwise heterosexual inclinations. As Dagmar Herzog has shown, total war created an environment outside traditional monitoring systems and control, one that allowed for sexual experiences that were both pleasurable and horrifying.
Taking detailed notes on his sexual history, his interrogators provoked him into revealing his first experiences with homosexuality. His sexual instincts, he claimed, had been derailed by privation, isolation, and coercion:.
Ernst Röhm - Wikipedia
Masturbation was my only means of relieving [my] sexual deprivation [Not]. I found myself there in a really tropical English camp. The climate had an especially stimulating sexual effect on us. The possibility of seduction was often present.