Comrades in Arms: Military Masculinities in East German Culture

Author
Tom Smith
Content Type
Book
Institution
Berghahn Books
Abstract
Without question, the East German National People’s Army was a profoundly masculine institution that emphasized traditional ideals of stoicism, sacrifice, and physical courage. Nonetheless, as this innovative study demonstrates, depictions of the military in the film and literature of the GDR were far more nuanced and ambivalent. Departing from past studies that have found in such portrayals an unchanging, idealized masculinity, Comrades in Arms shows how cultural works both before and after reunification place violence, physical vulnerability, and military theatricality, as well as conscripts’ powerful emotions and desires, at the center of soldiers’ lives and the military institution itself.
Topic
Gender Issues, Culture, Military Affairs, Institutions, Masculinity
Political Geography
Europe, Germany, East Germany