The story

Käthe Kollwitz: German Artist in the First World War (Answer Commentary)


This commentary is based on the classroom activity: Käthe Kollwitz: German Artist in the First World War (see also Käthe Kollwitz).

Question 1: Read source 1. Describe Käthe Kollwitz's attitude towards the war?

Answer 1: Käthe Kollwitz had great doubts about the wisdom of the war but understood that German propaganda had made it difficult for her two sons to resist the need to join the German Army.

Question 2: What does Käthe Kollwitz mean when she says in source 3 that "I intend to try to be faithful"?

Answer 2: Peter Kollwitz showed his love of his country by joining the German Army. His main objective was to defend Germany from Allied forces. Käthe Kollwitz, however, has now become a pacifist and intends to use her art against war. In her words to "look at the young people and be faithful to them." She explains to her dead son that she will "love my country in my own way as you loved it in your way".

Question 3: Study sources 2, 4 and 7. How do these works of art explain her feelings towards the war? You might find it helpful to read source 6.

Answer 3: Käthe Kollwitz attempts to show the misery that war brings to women. Source 2 is a drawing of a pregnant woman who has just discovered that her soldier husband has just been killed in the war. Source 4 is about the pain of being a widow or orphan as a result of the war. Source 7 shows the moment when a woman discovers that her husband has been "killed in action".

Question 4: Read source 5. Why does she disagree with Richard Dehmel view on how to "save Germany's honor"?

Answer 4: In October 1918 it was clear to most people that Germany was on the verge of defeat. Richard Dehmel had called for "all fit men to volunteer" to "save Germany's honor". Käthe Kollwitz points that "we have had four years of daily bloodletting" and that war should be brought to an end to avoid further deaths. In her "opinion such a loss would be worse and more irreplaceable for Germany than the loss of whole provinces".

Question 5: In 1926 Käthe Kollwitz visited the cemetery where her son Peter was buried. Why did she prefer the German cemeteries to the British and Belgian cemeteries?

Answer 5: Käthe Kollwitz claimed that the "British and Belgian cemeteries seem brighter, in a certain sense more cheerful and cosy, more familiar than the German cemeteries. I prefer the German ones. The war was not a pleasant affair; it isn't seemly to prettify with flowers the mass deaths of all these young men. A war cemetery ought to be somber." Kollwitz art attempted to tell the truth about war. She wanted the cemeteries to do the same.


20th Century Art History

-many artists ask themselves the following questions:

2. Abstraction - the formal structure of a work of art. In other words, emphasis is placed on the "elements" and "principals" of art

-Important theme in the 19th c. and early 20th c. artistic movement

-some aspects of this theme were derived from the earlier ideal of the "noble savage"

-many artists incorporated this theme in their work, including Gaugin and Picasso

-On their first public appearance in 1905, they so shocked critical opinion, they were dubbed the fauves (wild beasts), a label they wore with pride

- their goal was to communicate emotion through colour

-Matisse - the red studio - dominant colour of red was used for walls, floors, and many pieces of furniture
-Matisse creates a flattened effect enhanced by the lack of shadows

-Artwork was a response to turmoil faced in German society such as the rise of militarism, world war I, depression, world war II

-the goal of the artist was to express deep, emotional feelings

-content consisted of social commentary or dealt with the sickness of the soul

-George Rouault, expression was personal and deeply rooted in his religious background (The Old King)

-Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was the early leader of a group called "Die Brucke" (or "The Bridge"). He insisted that art depends on inspiration, and not technique

-In his painting, The Street, tension and agitation of the busy street is expressed through sharp angular shapes, and vivid acid colours

-Edvard Munch, a Norwegian painter, suffered so much in his own life, that death and suffering became the subject matter for his art


Shattered hopes and a descent into hell – German Expressionist prints in Glasgow

After the exhibitions commemorating the centenary of the First World War, the Hunterian&rsquos show &lsquoThe German Revolution: Expressionist Prints&rsquo addresses the social upheaval that brought the war to an end and was brutally crushed in 1919. Some of the artists here were associated with Die Brücke, which had been founded in 1905 (although its most famous member, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, takes only a peripheral role in this narrative) and disbanded in 1913 but the Hunterian suggests that several of its former members may have reached their peak in 1919. Although the political revolution was crushed, the artistic rebellion could not be. Herbert Read once observed that in art, &lsquothere is a revolution with every new generation&rsquo. Every work in this exhibition would be considered &lsquodegenerate&rsquo (if not avowedly socialist) by the Nazi regime two decades later still, the mass production of prints made counter-revolution in this sphere near impossible.

Two Girls, half-length nudes (1920), Otto Mueller. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

Writing in the catalogue, the curator Peter Black notes that the museum&rsquos collection of prints, which forms the core of this exhibition, results not from bequests, but &lsquoplanned curatorial collecting over a period of 70 years&rsquo. It is puzzling, therefore, to find some works from print cycles displayed in isolation. But the point stands that the Hunterian&rsquos longstanding policy of collecting works on paper allowed it to get past the post-war reluctance of British galleries to take on German art.

In Storm (1906), Emil Nolde blends landscape and human interaction to depict societal anguish. Two figures morph into a stormy landscape, as the rain slashes across in long, thick shards. Nolde emphasises the depth of the woodcut imprint and, more metaphorically, its resistance to harm. Max Pechstein uses a subtler version of this technique to suggest tears in his portrait of a one-eyed mother and her child, but lithographs such as Otto Mueller&rsquos Two Girls, Half-nudes (1920) result in far more transient figures.

Three Studies of a Woman in Mourning (1905), Käthe Kollwitz, Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

Käthe Kollwitz&rsquos Three Studies of a Wailing Woman (1905) depicts the same women in three different poses. It&rsquos possible that these studies overlap only to save paper, but their relation to one another is tellingly ambivalent. One figure raises her hand either to avoid the others or shield herself, while the others appear more self-absorbed. Yet their proximity imposes a solidarity they cannot eschew, foreshadowing the tragic and unwilling sisterhood the First World War would impose on women in Europe a decade later. Hand signals and posture are a running theme in the artist&rsquos work. Ernest Schonfield&rsquos catalogue essay connects Kollwitz&rsquos obsession with dance and bodily movement to her interest in depicting working-class women: their &lsquolooser, less restrictive&rsquo clothing made their body language &lsquomore open and direct&rsquo.

But Kollwitz is always nuanced, also using this looser clothing to remind us of the stark malnutrition of the working classes in etchings such as La Carmagnole (1901), inspired by a scene in Dickens&rsquos A Tale of Two Cities in which the revolutionary crowd sings and dances outside a Paris prison. Kollwitz uses both hard and soft grounds to turn the figures into a collective, merging their clothing as well their flesh. Both the crowd and the guillotine in the picture recall the Terror the style of the buildings in the background transposes the scene to Hamburg at the turn of the 20th century, and the hand gestures eerily foreshadow the Nazi salute. The metaphor of the &lsquobody politic&rsquo traditionally preaches a paternalistic message of order and reason filtering downwards from the upper classes. Here, the amount of bare flesh on display inverts the analogy to emphasise that regimes, good and bad alike, are held up by the masses.

La Carmagnole (1901), Käthe Kollwitz. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

The final room is given over to Hell (1919), a series of 11 lithographs by Max Beckmann depicting the state of the nation, and the most substantial loan (from the National Galleries of Scotland). It is displayed, somewhat fittingly, alongside jingoistic periodicals from the early days of the First World War Beckmann had enthusiastically volunteered as a medical orderly until he had a nervous breakdown and was invalided out in 1915. In this sequence he riffs on the archetypes of the caricature series as an established medium of political commentary. On the title page Beckmann&rsquos self-portrait beckons the viewer to join him &ndash guaranteeing our satisfaction, or our money back. Beckmann introduced other graphic cycles in a similar fashion, visualising himself as an on-screen narrator. As Deborah Lewer puts it in a catalogue essay, the artist &lsquomaintains in this way both proximity and distance from the events envisioned&rsquo.

Beckmann admired the work of William Hogarth and owned at least one of his prints. But while Hogarth&rsquos graphic cycles blend distress with humour, Hell is far more cynical. In a dispatch from the front line in October 1914, Beckmann described the &lsquowonderfully grand sounds of battle&rsquo and the &lsquoimmensity and terribly beautiful profundity&rsquo. His depictions of war&rsquos aftermath, however, are intensely claustrophobic, with hands once again taking an exaggerated prominence among maimed faces and hollowed expressions. The Last Ones, the penultimate plate, shows the determination of the revolutionaries as their hopes are shattered, but there is little that could be mistaken for honour.

The series &ndash and the exhibition &ndash ends with The Family, which shows Beckmann&rsquos son playing with grenades. The &lsquospace, distance, infinity&rsquo that Beckmann identified in the battlefields in 1914 is nowhere to be found nor is the revolutionary power of the mourning and despair of the exhibition&rsquos first two rooms. &lsquoIn my pictures I accuse God of everything that he has done wrong,&rsquo Beckmann said in 1919. The window frame behind the figures of The Family forms a cross, but there seems little hope of an answer from the heavens.

&lsquoThe German Revolution: Expressionist Prints&rsquo is at the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 25 August.


Kiama Art Gallery

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) was one of the most prolific – and political – graphic artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Raised in a politically progressive middle-class family who supported her artistic ambitions, she was keenly interested in the conditions of the poor and the working class.

She studied art in both Munich and Berlin before marrying Dr Karl Kollwitz in 1891, who opened a clinic in Prenzlauer Berg, one of the poorest parts of Berlin.

Though she had studied both painting and printmaking, she turned almost exclusively to printing etchings, lithography and woodcuts in the early 1890s. Influenced by fellow German artist Max Klinger, she saw the potential of prints for social commentary as they could be reproduced in large numbers inexpensively, giving her work a wider audience. She often mixed her printing techniques to achieve a desired image, and increasingly simplified her visual language over time. Even though the majority of her prints were black and white, a significant number of them also reveal her interest in colour.

In 1898, she gained early recognition with the publication A Weavers’ Uprising which consisted of six works on paper based on Gerhart Hauptmann’s play The Weavers. The play recounted the dramatic failure of the Silesian Weavers strike of 1844 and she began working on this series inspired by their rebellion, choosing to highlight its most dramatic moments and infusing the harsh reality of the weavers’ story with symbolic meaning.

She gained early recognition through this series, although she was refused a a gold medal in the official Great Berlin Art Exhibition at the Lehrter Bahnhof in Berlin in 1898, as it was judged by Emperor Wilhelm II’s judgment to “gutter art.” He is reported as saying “Orders and symbols of honor belong to the chest of deserved men” 1.

The success of the series, however, led to her appointment to teach at the Berlin School of Arts for Women. (She later became the first woman elected and appointed professor to the Prussian Arts Academy in 1919 and subsequently co-founded and became director of the Women’s Art Association, an organisation dedicated to exhibiting women’s art.)

Kollowitz also produced several other key print series (cycles) including Peasant War (1902–08), War (Krieg) Cycle (1921–22) and Death Series, 1934.

She was an intensely passionate individual, in personal relationships and politics, an artist who pushed hard in the direction of equality for women in all walks of life. Her emphasis was often on what was distinctive about women’s experience, including the fundamental nature and potency of maternal love. She undertook a number of projects that addressed challenging women’s issues, including abortion rights, alcoholism and domestic abuse, labour rights for women, and even breastmilk sharing.

Initially, her husband’s working-class patients were her models and subjects.

A number of Kollwitz’s works portray the mother-child relationship, which was often cut short in Germany’s impoverished working-class neighbourhoods, where child-mortality rates were high.

Much of her subject matter was drawn from both World Wars. In 1919 she commenced a series of woodcuts expressing her response to WWI. In The Sacrifice a new mother offers up her infant as a sacrifice to the cause. In The Widow II a woman and her baby lie in a heap, perhaps dead from starvation. Volunteers is the only print to show combatants. In it, Kollwitz’s son Peter takes his place next to Death, who leads a band of young men in an ecstatic procession off to war.

Peter had been killed in action two months after joining the military, in 1914, a loss from which Kollwitz never fully recovered. She also lost a grandson in WWII.

Two months after the death of her son, Kollwitz decided to create a personal memorial for him. But, as she explained in her diary, she also wished to impart a greater and more universal importance to his death: “I want to honor the death of all you young war volunteers through your [Peter’s] embodiment. In iron or bronze will it be cast and remain for centuries.” 2.

Never completely satisfied with the result, it took her until 1931 to complete the sculptures titled The Grieving Parents. The life-sized sculptures of Käthe and her husband Karl in mourning – each owning their own grief – grace the edge of the Vladslow cemetery in Dixmuiden Belgium. Their son is buried among thousands of fellow soldiers, close to the place where they fell during the war.

During her final years, Kollwitz produced bronze and stone sculpture embodying the same types of subjects and aesthetic values as her prints.

In 1933, the Nazi government forced Kollwitz to resign her position as professor at the Prussian Academy and soon after she was forbidden to exhibit her art.

Much of her art was destroyed in a Berlin air raid in 1943. After her home was destroyed by bombing, she was evacuated to Moritzburg, a town just outside Dresden, where she died two years later, in April 1945, just a few days before the end of the war.

“ When I was drawing I cried along with the fearful children, I felt the burden I was carrying. I felt that I could not withdraw from the task to be an advocate. I shall speak up about the suffering of people, which never ends, and which is mountainous. I have the task but it is not easy to fulfill. One says that one’s load is lightened by taking on this task, but does it offer relief when people still daily die of hunger in Vienna despite my posters? When I am aware of this? Did I feel relief when I was drawing the War series and knew that the war continues? Certainly not. Tranquility and relief have only come to me when I was working on one thing: Peter’s great work. There I had peace and was with him.” Kollwitz

1. Kito Nedo, in Art News July 18, 2017

Primary sources: MoMA Smith College of Museum and Art .

This blog is just a short excerpt from my art history e-course, Introduction to Modern European Art which is designed for adult learners and students of art history.

This interactive program covers the period from Romanticism right through to Abstract Art, with sections on the Bauhaus and School of Paris, key Paris exhibitions, both favourite and less well known artists and their work, and information about colour theory and key art terms. Lots of interesting stories, videos and opportunities to undertake exercises throughout the program.


Other Forms of Cubism

Futurism and Constructivism developed from Cubism in Italy and Russia respectively.

Learning Objectives

Differentiate the artistic styles of Futurism and Constructivism from their Cubist origins

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Cubist work represents an artistic subject from multiple perspectives simultaneously.
  • Italian Futurism and Russian Constructivism are two movements that were greatly influenced by Cubism.
  • Divisionism, a technique in which color and light are deconstructed, is an important aspect of Futurist and Cubist work.
  • Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Pierre Reverdy, and William Faulkner all applied Cubist principles to written work.
  • Cubist poets and writers also influenced Dada and Surrealism.

Key Terms

  • futurism: An early 20th century avant-garde art movement focused on speed, the mechanical, and the modern, which took a deeply antagonistic attitude to traditional artistic conventions (originated by F.T. Marinetti, among others).
  • divisionism: In art, the use of small areas of color to construct an image.
  • constructivism: A Russian movement in modern art characterized by the creation of nonrepresentational geometric objects using industrial materials.

Cubism

Cubism was an avant-garde art movement of the early 20th century pioneered by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, and later joined by Juan Gris, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay, Henri Le Fauconnier, and Fernand Léger. The movement revolutionized European painting and sculpture and inspired related movements in music, literature, and architecture. Cubism has been considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century.

Violin and Candlestick by Georges Braque, 1910: Georges Braque, with Picasso, was one of the founders of Cubism.

In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up, and reassembled in an abstracted form. Instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context.

Constructivism

Constructivism was an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia in 1919. It entailed a rejection of the idea of autonomous art and was in favor of art as a practice for social purposes. Constructivism had a great impact on modern art movements of the 20th century, influencing major trends such as Bauhaus and the De Stijl movement. It is difficult to isolate a particular aesthetic common to the Constructivist philosophy as it is so broad, but it can be roughly distinguished by its use of bright, bold color and geometric designs, especially in graphic design.

The First Working Group of Constructivists (including Liubov Popova, Alexander Vesnin, Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, and the theorists Aleksei Gan, Boris Arvatov, and Osip Brik) developed a definition of Constructivism as the combination of faktura: the particular material properties of an object, and tektonika, its spatial presence. Initially the Constructivists worked on three-dimensional constructions as a means of participating in industry. Later the definition would be extended to designs for two-dimensional works such as books and posters.

Proun Vrashchenia by El Lissitzky c. 1919: The geometric forms and bright colors in this painting are characteristic of the Constructivist aesthetic.

Futurism

Futurism was an Italian movement that emphasized and glorified themes associated with contemporary concepts of the future such as speed, technology, youth, and violence, as well as objects such as the car, the airplane, and the industrial city. In 1910 and 1911 futurist painters made use of the technique of divisionism, which entails breaking light and color down into a field of stippled dots and stripes. Severini was the first to come into contact with Cubism. Following a visit to Paris in 1911, the Futurist painters adopted the methods of the Cubists. Cubism offered them a means of analyzing energy in paintings and visually expressing their desired focus on dynamism, motion, and speed. The adoption of Cubism determined the style of much subsequent Futurist painting.

Abstract Speed + Sound, by Giacomo Balla 1913–1914: This is a seminal work from the Futurist movement which was influenced by Cubism.


The two world wars of the first half of the twentieth century, World War I (1914&ndash1918) and World War II (1939&ndash1945), wrought extraordinary levels of destruction. Some of the artistic production during the period reflected grim and complicated realities, while a number of works of art of the post-war period played a role in the memorialization of the wars or served as critical commentary on the wars&rsquo historical legacies. We are calling for article proposals that explore how art expressed the collective experience and memory of these two monumentally important global conflagrations and of conflicts that occurred in the interwar years.

We seek articles that would address the ways in which individuals, groups, and nations employed art to shape the collective memory and remembrance of these profoundly transformative conflicts. The articles can address all aspects of the visual arts in a variety of forms, including the applied arts and New Media. While the Eastern and Western fronts in Europe will likely receive the most attention, both wars were truly global. Therefore, we welcome proposals that address any national context. In particular, we wish to explore the representation of these aspects of war: the experience of those who directly encountered battle how imagery affected and connected those on &ldquothe home front&rdquo how art formed evolving historical narratives of war and sites of memory and the memorialization of key people, events, and places.

To propose an article for publication, please send a title and short abstract to the Editor, Andrew Nedd, at [email protected], with a copy to [email protected] by 1 August 2019. Full manuscripts of up to max 15,000 words in length should be submitted by 31 December 2019.

Dr. Andrew M. Nedd
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Contents

Hirschfeld was born in Kolberg in Pomerania (since 1945 Kołobrzeg, Poland), [4] in an Ashkenazi Jewish family, the son of a highly regarded physician and Senior Medical Officer Hermann Hirschfeld. In 1887–1888, he studied philosophy and philology in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), and then from 1888 to 1892 medicine in Strasbourg, Munich, Heidelberg, and Berlin. In 1892, he earned his medical degree.

After his studies, he traveled through the United States for eight months, visiting the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and living from the proceeds of his writing for German journals. During his time in Chicago, Hirschfeld became involved with the homosexual subculture in that city. [5] Struck by the essential similarities between the homosexual subcultures of Chicago and Berlin, Hirschfeld first developed his theory about the universality of homosexuality around the world, as he researched in books and newspaper articles about the existence of gay subcultures in Rio de Janeiro, Tangier, and Tokyo. [5] Then he started a naturopathic practice in Magdeburg in 1896, he moved his practice to Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Hirschfeld became interested in gay rights because many of his gay patients took their own lives. [6] In the German language, the word for suicide is Selbstmord ("self-murder"), which carried more judgmental and condemnatory connotations than its English language equivalent, making the subject of suicide a taboo in 19th century Germany. [7]

In particular, Hirschfeld mentioned as a reason for his gay rights activism, the story of one of his patients: a young army officer suffering from depression, who killed himself in 1896, leaving behind a suicide note saying, despite his best efforts, he could not end his desires for other men, and so had ended his life out of his guilt and shame. [8] In his suicide note, the officer wrote that he lacked the "strength" to tell his parents the "truth", and spoke of his shame of "that which nearly strangled my heart". The officer could not even bring himself to use the word "homosexuality", which he instead conspicuously referred to as "that" in his note. [7] However, the officer mentioned at the end of his suicide note: "The thought that you [Hirschfeld] could contribute a future when the German fatherland will think of us in more just terms sweetens the hour of my death." [9] Hirschfeld had been treating the officer for depression in 1895–1896, and the use of the term "us" led to speculation that a relationship existed between the two. However, the officer's use of Sie, the formal German word for you, instead of the informal Du, suggests Hirschfeld's relationship with his patient was strictly professional. [9]

At the same time, Hirschfeld was greatly affected by the trial of Oscar Wilde, which he often referred to in his writings. [10] Hirschfeld was struck by the number of his gay patients who had Suizidalnarben ("scars left by suicide attempts"), and often found himself trying to give his patients a reason to live. [11]

Scientific-Humanitarian Committee Edit

Magnus Hirschfeld found a balance between practicing medicine and writing about his findings. Between 1 May–15 October 1896, the Große Berliner Gewerbeausstellung ("Great Industrial Exhibition of Berlin") took place, which featured 9 "human zoos" where people from Germany's colonies in New Guinea and Africa were put on display for the visitors to gawk at. [12] Such exhibitions of colonial peoples were common at industrial fairs, and later after Qingdao, the Mariana Islands, and the Caroline Islands became part of the German empire, Chinese, Chamorros, and Micronesians joined the Africans and New Guineans displayed in the "human zoos". Hirschfeld, who was keenly interested in sexuality in other cultures, visited the Große Berliner Gewerbeausstellung and subsequently other exhibitions to inquire of the people in the "human zoos" via interpreters about the status of sexuality in their cultures. [13] It was in 1896, after talking to the people displayed in the "human zoos" at the Große Berliner Gewerbeausstellung, that Hirschfeld began writing what became his 1914 book Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes ("The Homosexuality of Men and Women"), an attempt to comprehensively survey homosexuality around the world, as part of an effort to prove that homosexuality occurred in every culture. [14]

After several years as a general practitioner in Magdeburg, in 1896 he issued a pamphlet, Sappho and Socrates, on homosexual love (under the pseudonym Th. Ramien). In 1897, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee with the publisher Max Spohr (1850–1905), the lawyer Eduard Oberg [15] (1858–1917), and the writer Franz Joseph von Bülow [16] (1861–1915). The group aimed to undertake research to defend the rights of homosexuals and to repeal Paragraph 175, the section of the German penal code that, since 1871, had criminalized homosexuality. They argued that the law encouraged blackmail. The motto of the Committee, "Justice through science", reflected Hirschfeld's belief that a better scientific understanding of homosexuality would eliminate social hostility toward homosexuals. [17]

Within the group, some of the members rejected Hirschfeld's (and Ulrichs's) view that male homosexuals are, by nature, effeminate. Benedict Friedlaender and some others left the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee and formed another group, the "Bund für männliche Kultur" or Union for Male Culture, which did not exist long. It argued that male-male love is an aspect of virile manliness, rather than a special condition.

Under Hirschfeld's leadership, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee gathered 6000 signatures from prominent Germans on a petition to overturn Paragraph 175. [18] Signatories included Albert Einstein, Hermann Hesse, Käthe Kollwitz, Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, August Bebel, Max Brod, Karl Kautsky, Stefan Zweig, Gerhart Hauptmann, Martin Buber, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, and Eduard Bernstein.

The bill was brought before the Reichstag in 1898, but was supported only by a minority from the Social Democratic Party of Germany. August Bebel, a friend of Hirschfeld from his university days, agreed to sponsor the attempt to repeal Paragraph 175. [19] Hirschfeld considered what would, in a later era, be described as "outing": forcing out of the closet some of the prominent and secretly homosexual lawmakers who had remained silent on the bill. He arranged for the bill to be reintroduced and, in the 1920s, it made some progress until the takeover of the Nazi Party ended all hope for any such reform.

As part of his efforts to counter popular prejudice, Hirschfeld spoke out about the taboo subject of suicide and was the first to present statistical evidence that homosexuals were more likely to commit suicide or attempt suicide than heterosexuals. [20] Hirschfeld prepared questionnaires that gay men could answer anonymously about homosexuality and suicide. Collating his results, Hirschfeld estimated that 3 out of every 100 gays committed suicide every year, that a quarter of gays had attempted suicide at some point in their lives and that the other three-quarters had had suicidal thoughts at some point. He used his evidence to argue that, under current social conditions in Germany, life was literally unbearable for homosexuals. [20]

A figure frequently mentioned by Hirschfeld to illustrate the "hell experienced by homosexuals" was Oscar Wilde, who was a well-known author in Germany, and whose trials in 1895 had been extensively covered by the German press. [21] Hirschfeld visited Cambridge University in 1905 to meet Wilde's son, Vyvyan Holland, who had changed his surname to avoid being associated with his father. [21] Hirschfeld noted "the name Wilde" has, since his trial, sounded like "an indecent word, which causes homosexuals to blush with shame, women to avert their eyes, and normal men to be outraged". [21] During his visit to Britain, Hirschfeld was invited to a secret ceremony in the English countryside where a "group of beautiful, young, male students" from Cambridge gathered together wearing Wilde's prison number, C33, as a way of symbolically linking his fate to theirs, to read out aloud Wilde's poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. [10] Hirschfeld found the reading of The Ballad of Reading Gaol to be "markerschütternd" (shaken to the core of one's being, i.e. something that is emotionally devastating), going on to write that the poem reading was "the most earth-shattering outcry that has ever been voiced by a downtrodden soul about its own torture and that of humanity". [10] By the end of the reading of The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Hirshfeld felt "quiet joy" as he was convinced that, despite the way that Wilde's life had been ruined, something good would eventually come of it. [10]

Feminism Edit

In 1905, Hirschfeld joined the Bund für Mutterschutz (League for the Protection of Mothers), the feminist organization founded by Helene Stöcker. [22] He campaigned for the decriminalisation of abortion, and against policies that banned female teachers and civil servants from marrying or having children. [ further explanation needed ] Both Hirschfeld and Stöcker believed that there was a close connection between the causes of gay rights and women's rights, and Stöcker was much involved in the campaign to repeal Paragraph 175 while Hirschfeld campaigned for the repeal of Paragraph 218, which had banned abortion. [22] From 1909 to 1912, Stöcker, Hirschfeld, Hedwig Dohm, and others successfully campaigned against an extension to Paragraph 175 which would have criminalised female homosexuality. [23]

In 1906, Hirschfeld was asked as a doctor to examine a prisoner in Neumünster to see if he was suffering from "severe nervous disturbances caused by a combination of malaria, blackwater fever, and congenital sexual anomaly". [24] The man, a former soldier and a veteran of what Hirschfeld called the "Hereroaufstand" ("Herero revolt") in German Southwest Africa (modern Namibia) appeared to be suffering from what would now be considered post-traumatic stress disorder, saying that he had done terrible things in Southwest Africa, and could no longer live with himself. [24] In 1904, the Herero and Namaqua peoples who had been steadily pushed off their land to make way for German settlers, had revolted, causing Kaiser Wilhelm II to dispatch General Lothar von Trotha to wage a "war of annihilation" to exterminate the Herero and Namaqua in what has since become known as the Herero and Namaqua genocide. [24] The genocide came to widespread attention when the SPD leader August Bebel criticized the government on the floor of the Reichstag, saying the government did not have the right to exterminate the Herero just because they were black. Hirschfeld did not mention his diagnosis of the prisoner, nor he did mention in detail the source of the prisoner's guilt about his actions in Southwest Africa the German scholar Heike Bauer criticized him for his seeming unwillingness to see the connection between the Herero genocide and the prisoner's guilt, which had caused him to engage in a petty crime wave. [25]

Hirschfeld's position, that homosexuality was normal and natural, made him a highly controversial figure at the time, involving him in vigorous debates with other academics, who regarded homosexuality as unnatural and wrong. [26] One of Hirschfeld's leading critics was Austrian Baron Christian von Ehrenfels, who advocated radical changes to society and sexuality to combat the supposed "Yellow Peril", and saw Hirschfeld's theories as a challenge to his view of sexuality. [26] Ehrenfels argued that there were a few "biologically degenerate" homosexuals who lured otherwise "healthy boys" into their lifestyle, making homosexuality into a choice and a wrong one at that time. [26]

African anthropology Edit

At the same time, Hirschfeld became involved in a debate with a number of anthropologists about the supposed existence of the Hottentottenschürze ("Hottentot apron"), namely the belief that the Khoikhoi (known to Westerners as Hottentots) women of southern Africa had abnormally enlarged labia, which made them inclined toward lesbianism. [27] Hirschfeld argued there was no evidence that the Khoikhoi women had abnormally large labia, whose supposed existence had fascinated so many Western anthropologists at the time, and that, other than being black, the bodies of Khoikhoi women were no different from German women. [27] One Khoikoi woman, Sarah Baartman, the "Hottentot Venus", did have relatively large buttocks and labia, compared to Northern European women, and had been exhibited at a freak show in Europe in the early 19th century, which was the origin of this belief about the Khoikhoi women. Hirschfeld wrote: "The differences appear minimal compared to what is shared" between Khoikhoi and German women. [27] Turning the argument of the anthropologists on their head, Hirschfeld argued that, if same-sex relationships were common among Khoikhoi women, and if the bodies of Khoikhoi women were essentially the same as Western women, then Western women must have the same tendencies. Hirschfeld's theories about a spectrum of sexuality existing in all of the world's cultures implicitly undercut the binary theories about the differences between various races that was the basis of the claim of white supremacy. [27] However, Bauer wrote that Hirschfeld's theories about the universality of homosexuality paid little attention to cultural contexts, and criticized him for his remarks that Hausa women in Nigeria were well known for their lesbian tendencies and would have been executed for their sapphic acts before British rule, as assuming that imperialism was always good for the colonized. [28]

Eulenburg affair Edit

Hirschfeld played a prominent role in the Harden–Eulenburg affair of 1906–09, which became the most widely publicized sex scandal in Imperial Germany. During the libel trial in 1907, when General Kuno von Moltke sued the journalist Maximilian Harden, after the latter had run an article accusing Moltke of having a homosexual relationship with the politically powerful Prince Philipp von Eulenburg, who was the Kaiser's best friend, Hirschfeld testified for Harden. In his role as an expert witness, Hirschfeld testified that Moltke was gay and, thus, what Harden had written was true. [29] Hirschfeld – who wanted to make homosexuality legal in Germany – believed that proving Army officers like Moltke were gay would help his case for legalization. He also testified that he believed there was nothing wrong with Moltke. [29]

Most notably, Hirschfeld testified that "homosexuality was part of the plan of nature and creation just like normal love." [30] Hirschfeld's testimony caused outrage all over Germany. The Vossische Zeitung newspaper condemned Hirschfeld in an editorial as "a freak who acted for freaks in the name of pseudoscience". [29] The Mūnchener Neuesten Nachrichten newspaper declared in an editorial: "Dr. Hirschfeld makes public propaganda under the cover of science, which does nothing but poison our people. Real science should fight against this!". [29] A notable witness at the trial was Lilly von Elbe, former wife of Moltke, who testified that her husband had only made love to her twice in their entire marriage. [31] Elbe spoke with remarkable openness for the period of her sexual desires and her frustration with a husband who was only interested in having sex with Eulenburg. [32] Elbe's testimony was marked by moments of low comedy when it emerged that she had taken to attacking Moltke with a frying pan in vain attempts to make him have sex with her. [33] The fact that General von Moltke was unable to defend himself from his wife's attacks was taken as proof that he was deficient in his masculinity, which many saw as confirming his homosexuality. At the time, the subject of female sexuality was taboo, and Elbe's testimony was very controversial, with many saying that Elbe must, in some way, be mentally ill because of her willingness to acknowledge her sexuality. [34] At the time, it was generally believed that women should be "chaste" and "pure", and not have any sort of sexuality at all. Letters to the newspapers at the time, from both men and women, overwhelmingly condemned Elbe for her "disgusting" testimony concerning her sexuality. [34] As an expert witness, Hirschfeld also testified that female sexuality was natural, and Elbe was just a normal woman who was in no way mentally ill. [29] After the jury ruled in favor of Harden, Judge Hugo Isenbiel was enraged by the jury's decision, which he saw as expressing approval for Hirschfeld. He overturned the verdict under the grounds that homosexuals "have the morals of dogs", and insisted that this verdict could not be allowed to stand. [29]

After the verdict was overturned, a second trial found Harden guilty of libel. [29] At the second trial, Hirschfeld again testified as an expert witness, but this time, he was much less certain than he had been at the first trial about Moltke's homosexuality. [35] Hirschfeld testified that Moltke and Eulenburg had an "intimate" friendship that was homoerotic in nature but not sexual, as he had testified at the first trial. [35] Hirschfeld also testified that, though he still believed female sexuality was normal, Elbe was suffering from hysteria caused by a lack of sex, and so the court should discount her stories about a sexual relationship between Moltke and Eulenburg. [35] Hirschfeld had been threatened by the Prussian government with having his medical license revoked if he testified as an expert witness again along the same lines that he had at the first trial, and possibly prosecuted for violating Paragraph 175. [35] The trial was a libel suit against Harden by Moltke, but much of the testimony had concerned Eulenburg, whose status as the best friend of Wilhelm II meant that the scandal was threatening to involve the Kaiser. [35] Moreover, far from precipitating increased tolerance as Hirschfeld had expected, the scandal led to a major homophobic and anti-Semitic backlash, and Hirschfeld's biographer Elena Mancini speculated that Hirschfeld wanted to bring to an end an affair that was hindering rather helping the cause for gay rights. [35]

Because Eulenburg was a prominent anti-Semite and Hirschfeld was a Jew, during the affair, the völkisch movement came out in support of Eulenburg, whom they portrayed as an Aryan heterosexual, framed by false allegations of homosexuality by Hirschfeld and Harden. [36] Various völkisch leaders, most notably the radical anti-Semitic journalist Theodor Fritsch, used the Eulenburg affair as a chance to "settle the accounts" with the Jews. As a gay Jew, Hirschfeld was relentlessly vilified by the völkisch newspapers. [37] Outside Hirschfeld's house in Berlin, posters were affixed by völkisch activists, which read "Dr. Hirschfeld A Public Danger: The Jews are Our Undoing!". [35] In Nazi Germany, the official interpretation of the Eulenburg affair was that Eulenburg was a straight Aryan whose career was destroyed by false claims of being gay by Jews like Hirschfeld. [36] After the scandal had ended, Hirschfeld concluded that, far from helping the gay rights movement as he had hoped, the ensuing backlash set the movement back. [38] The conclusion drawn by the German government was the opposite of the one that Hirschfeld wanted the fact that prominent men like General von Moltke and Eulenburg were gay did not lead the government to repeal Paragraph 175 as Hirschfeld had hoped and, instead, the government decided that Paragraph 175 was being enforced with insufficient vigor, leading to a crackdown on homosexuals that was unprecedented and would not be exceeded until the Nazi era. [32]

World War I Edit

In 1914, Hirschfeld was swept up by the national enthusiasm for the Burgfrieden ("Peace within a castle under siege") as the sense of national solidarity was known where almost all Germans rallied to the Fatherland. [39] Initially pro-war, Hirschfeld started to turn against the war in 1915, moving toward a pacifist position. [40] In his 1915 pamphlet, Warum Hassen uns die Völker? ("Why do other nations hate us?"), Hirschfeld answered his own question by arguing that it was the greatness of Germany that excited envy from other nations, especially Great Britain, and so had supposedly caused them to come together to destroy the Reich. [41] Hirschfeld accused Britain of starting the war in 1914 "out of envy at the development and size of the German Empire". [42] Warum Hassen uns die Völker? was characterized by a chauvinist and ultra-nationalist tone, together with a rather crass Anglophobia that has often embarrassed Hirschfeld's admirers today such as Charlotte Wolff, who called the pamphlet a "perversion of the values which Hirschfeld had always stood for". [42]

As a Jewish homosexual, Hirschfeld was acutely aware that many Germans did not consider him to be a "proper" German, or even a German at all so, he reasoned that taking an ultra-patriotic stance might break down prejudices by showing that German Jews and/or homosexuals could also be good, patriotic Germans, rallying to the cry of the Fatherland. [43] By 1916, Hirschfeld was writing pacifist pamphlets, calling for an immediate end to the war. [40] In his 1916 pamphlet Kriegspsychologisches ("The Psychology of War"), Hirschfeld was far more critical of the war than he had been in 1915, emphasizing the suffering and trauma caused by it. He also expressed the opinion that nobody wanted to take responsibility for the war because its horrors were "superhuman in size". [44] He declared that "it is not enough that the war ends with peace it must end with reconciliation". [44] In late 1918, Hirschfeld together with his sister, Franziska Mann, co-wrote a pamphlet Was jede Frau vom Wahlrecht wissen muß!" ("What every woman needs to know about the right to vote!") hailing the November Revolution for granting German women the right to vote and announced the "eyes of the world are now resting on German women". [22]

Interwar period Edit

In 1920, Hirschfeld was very badly beaten by a group of völkisch activists who attacked him on the street he was initially declared dead when the police arrived. [45] In 1921, Hirschfeld organised the First Congress for Sexual Reform, which led to the formation of the World League for Sexual Reform. Congresses were held in Copenhagen (1928), London (1929), Vienna (1930), and Brno (1932).

Hirschfeld was both quoted and caricatured in the press as a vociferous expert on sexual matters during his 1931 tour of the United States, the Hearst newspaper chain dubbed him "the Einstein of Sex". He identified as a campaigner and a scientist, investigating and cataloging many varieties of sexuality, not just homosexuality. He developed a system which categorised 64 possible types of sexual intermediary, ranging from masculine, heterosexual male to feminine, homosexual male, including those he described under the term transvestite (Ger. Transvestit), which he coined in 1910, and those he described under the term transsexuals, a term he coined in 1923. [46] He also made a distinction between transsexualism and intersexuality. [46] [47] At this time, Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Sciences issued a number of transvestite certificates to trans people in order to prevent them from being harassed by the police. [48] [49]

Anders als die Andern Edit

Hirschfeld co-wrote and acted in the 1919 film Anders als die Andern ("Different From the Others"), in which Conrad Veidt played one of the first homosexual characters ever written for cinema. The film had a specific gay rights law reform agenda after Veidt's character is blackmailed by a male prostitute, he eventually comes out rather than continuing to make the blackmail payments. His career is destroyed and he is driven to suicide.

Hirschfeld played himself in Anders als die Andern, where the title cards have him say: "The persecution of homosexuals belongs to the same sad chapter of history in which the persecutions of witches and heretics is inscribed. Only with the French Revolution did a complete change come about. Everywhere where the Code Napoléon was introduced, the laws against homosexuals were repealed, for they were considered a violation of the rights of the individual. In Germany, however, despite more than fifty years of scientific research, legal discrimination against homosexuals continues unabated. May justice soon prevail over injustice in this area, science conquer superstition, love achieve victory over hatred!" [50]

In May 1919, when the film premiered in Berlin, the First World War was still a very fresh memory and German conservatives, who already hated Hirschfeld, seized upon his Francophile speech in the film praising France for legalizing homosexuality in 1792 as evidence that gay rights were "un-German". [50]

At the end of the film, when the protagonist Paul Körner commits suicide, his lover Kurt is planning on killing himself, when Hirschfeld appears to tell him: "If you want to honor the memory of your dead friend, you must not take your own life, but instead preserve it to change the prejudices whose victim – one of the countless many – this dead man was. That is the task of the living I assign you. Just as Zola struggled on behalf of a man who innocently languished in prison, what matters now is to restore honor and justice to the many thousands before us, with us, and after us. Through knowledge to justice!" [51] The reference to Émile Zola's role in the Dreyfus affair was intended to draw a parallel between homophobia and anti-Semitism, while Hirschfeld's repeated use of the word "us" was an implied admission of his own homosexuality. [51]

The anti-suicide message of Anders als die Andern reflected Hirschfeld's interest in the subject of the high suicide rate among homosexuals, and was intended to give hope to gay audiences. [51] The film ends with Hirschfeld opening a copy of the penal code of the Reich and striking out Paragraph 175 with a giant X. [51]

Under the more liberal atmosphere of the newly founded Weimar Republic, Hirschfeld purchased a villa not far from the Reichstag building in Berlin for his new Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexual Research), which opened on 6 July 1919. In Germany, the Reich government made laws, but the Länder governments enforced the laws, meaning it was up to the Länder governments to enforce Paragraph 175. Until the November Revolution of 1918, Prussia had a three-class voting system that effectively disfranchised most ordinary people, and allowed the Junkers to dominate Prussia. After the November Revolution, universal suffrage came to Prussia, which become a stronghold of the Social Democrats. The SPD believed in repealing Paragraph 175, and the Social Democratic Prussian government headed by Otto Braun ordered the Prussian police not to enforce Paragraph 175, making Prussia into a haven for homosexuals all over Germany.

The Institute housed Hirschfeld's immense archives and library on sexuality and provided educational services and medical consultations the clinical staff included psychiatrists Felix Abraham and Arthur Kronfeld, gynecologist Ludwig Levy-Lenz, dermatologist and endocrinologist Bernhard Schapiro, and dermatologist Friedrich Wertheim. [52] The Institute also housed the Museum of Sex, an educational resource for the public, which is reported to have been visited by school classes. Hirschfeld himself lived at the Institution on the second floor with his lover, Karl Giese, together with his sister Recha Tobias (1857–1942). [53] [54] Giese and Hirschfeld were a well-known couple in the gay scene in Berlin where Hirschfeld was popularly known as "Tante Magnesia". Tante ("aunt") was a German slang expression for a gay man but did not mean, as some claim, that Hirschfeld himself cross-dressed. [55]

People from around Europe and beyond came to the Institute to gain a clearer understanding of their sexuality. Christopher Isherwood writes about his and W. H. Auden's visit in his book Christopher and His Kind they were calling on Francis Turville-Petre, a friend of Isherwood's who was an active member of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. Other celebrated visitors included German novelist and playwright Gerhart Hauptmann, German artist Christian Schad, French writers René Crevel and André Gide, Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, and American poet Elsa Gidlow. [52]

In addition, a number of noted individuals lived for longer or shorter periods of time in the various rooms available for rent or as free accommodations in the Institute complex. Among the residents were Isherwood and Turville-Petre literary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin actress and dancer Anita Berber Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch Willi Münzenberg, a member of the German Parliament and a press officer for the Communist Party of Germany Dörchen Richter, one of the first transgender patients to receive sex reassignment surgery at the Institute, and Lili Elbe. [52] Richter had been born Rudolf Richter and being arrested for cross-dressing had come to the institute for help. [56] Hirschfeld had coined the term transvestite in 1910 to describe what today would be called transgender people, and the institution became a haven for transgender people, where Hirschfeld offered them shelter from abuse, performed surgeries, and gave otherwise unemployable transgender people jobs, albeit of a menial type, mostly as "maids". [57]

The Institute and Hirschfeld's work are depicted in Rosa von Praunheim's feature film Der Einstein des Sex (The Einstein of Sex, Germany, 1999 English subtitled version available). Although inspired by Hirschfeld's life, the film is fictional. It contains invented characters and incidents and attributes motives and sentiments to Hirschfeld and others on the basis of little or no historical evidence. Hirschfeld biographer Ralf Dose notes, for instance, that "the figure of 'Dorchen' in Rosa von Praunheim's film The Einstein of Sex is complete fiction." [52]

In March 1930, the Social Democratic chancellor Hermann Müller was overthrown by the intrigues of General Kurt von Schleicher. "Presidential" governments, responsible only to the President Paul von Hindenburg, pushed German politics in a more right-wing, authoritarian direction. In 1929, the Müller government had come very close to repealing Paragraph 175, when the Reichstag justice committee voted to repeal Paragraph 175. However, the Müller government fell before it could submit the repeal motion to the floor of the Reichstag. [58] Under the rule of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning and his successor, Franz von Papen, the state became increasingly hostile toward gay rights campaigners like Hirschfeld, who began to spend more time abroad. [59] Quite apart from the increased homophobia, Hirschfeld also became involved in a bitter debate within the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, as the repeal bill, championed by Müller also made homosexual prostitution illegal, which badly divided the committee. [60] Hirschfeld had always argued that "what is natural cannot be immoral" and, since homosexuality was, in his view natural, it should be legal. Connecting the question of the legality of homosexuality to the legality of prostitution was a blurring of the issue, since these were different matters. [60] Brüning, a conservative Catholic on the right-wing of the Zentrum party, who replaced Müller in March 1930, was openly hostile toward gay rights and the fall of Müller ended the possibility of repealing Paragraph 175.

America and a "straight turn" Edit

In 1930, Hirschfeld predicted that there would be no future for people like himself in Germany, and he would have to move abroad. [61] In November 1930, Hirschfeld arrived in New York, ostensibly on a speaking tour about sex, but in fact to see if it was possible for him to settle in the United States. [59] Significantly, in his speeches on this American tour, Hirschfeld, when speaking in German, called for the legalization of homosexuality, but when speaking in English did not mention the subject of homosexuality, instead urging Americans to be more open-minded about heterosexual sex. [62] The New York Times described Hirschfeld as having come to America to "study the marriage question", while the German language New Yorker Volkszeitung newspaper described Hirschfeld as wanting to "discuss love's natural turns" – the phrase "love's natural turns" was Hirschfeld's way of presenting his theory that there was a wide spectrum of human sexuality, all of which were "natural". [62] Hirschfeld realized that most Americans did not want to hear about his theory of homosexuality as natural. Aware of a strong xenophobic tendency in the United States, where foreigners seen as trouble-makers were unwelcome, Hirschfeld tailored his message to American tastes. [63]

In an interview with the Germanophile American journalist George Sylvester Viereck for the Milwaukee Sentinel done in late November 1930 that epitomised his "straight turn" in America, Hirschfeld was presented as a sex expert whose knowledge could improve the sex lives of married American couples. [63] The Milwaukee Sentinel was part of the newspaper chain owned by William Randolph Hearst, which initially promoted Hirschfeld in America, reflecting the old adage that "sex sells". In the interview with Viereck, Hirschfeld was presented as the wise "European expert on romantic love" who had come to teach heterosexual American men how to enjoy sex, claiming there was a close connection between sexual and emotional intimacy. [64] Clearly intending to flatter the egos of a heterosexual American male audience, Hirschfeld praised the drive and ambition of American men, who were so successful at business, but stated that American men needed to divert some of their energy to their sex lives. [64] Hirschfeld added, he had seen signs that American men were now starting to develop their "romantic sides" as European men had long-since done, and he had come to the United States to teach American men how to love their women properly. [64] When Viereck objected that the U.S was in the middle of the Great Depression, Hirschfeld replied he was certain that United States would soon recover, thanks to the relentless drive of American men. [64]

At least part of the reason for his "straight turn" was financial a Dutch firm had been marketing Titus Pearls (Titus-Perlen) pills, which were presented in Europe as a cure for "scattered nerves" and in the United States as an aphrodisiac, and had been using Hirschfeld's endorsement to help with advertising campaign there. [65] Most Americans knew of Hirschfeld only as a "world-known authority on sex" who had endorsed the Titus Pearls pills, which were alleged to improve orgasms for both men and women. [65] Since Hirschfeld's books never sold well, the money he was paid for endorsing the Titus Pearls pills were a major source of income for him, which he was to lose in 1933 when the manufacturer of the pills ceased using his endorsement in order to stay in the German market. [65] In a second interview with Viereck in February 1931, Hirschfeld was presented by him as the "Einstein of Sex", which was again part of the marketing effort of Hirschfeld's "straight turn" in America. [65] At times, Hirschfeld returned to his European message, when he planned to deliver a talk at the bohemian Dill Pickle Club in Chicago on "homosexuality with beautiful revealing pictures", which was banned by the city as indecent. [66] In San Francisco, Hirschfeld visited San Quentin prison to meet Thomas Mooney, whose belief in his innocence he proclaimed to the press afterward, and asked for his release. [67] Unfortunately for Hirschfeld, the Hearst newspapers, which specialized in taking a sensationalist, right-wing, populist line on the news, dug up his statements in Germany calling for gay rights, causing a sudden shift in tone from more-or-less friendly to hostile, effectively ending any chance of Hirschfeld being allowed to stay in the United States. [65]

Asia Edit

After his American tour, Hirschfeld went to Asia in February 1931. Hirschfeld had been invited to Japan by Keizō Dohi, a German-educated, Japanese doctor who spoke fluent German and who worked at Hirschfeld's institute for a time in the 1920s. [68] In Japan, Hirchfeld again tailored his speeches to local tastes, saying nothing about gay rights, and merely argued that a greater frankness about sexual matters would prevent venereal diseases. [68] Hirschfeld sought out an old friend, S. Iwaya, a Japanese doctor who lived in Berlin in 1900–02 and who joined the Scientific-Humanitarian committee during his time there. [69] Iwaya took Hirschfeld to the Meiji-za to introduce him to the Kabuki theater. [69] Hirschfeld become very interested in the Kabuki theater, where the female characters are played by men. [69] One of the Kabuki actors, speaking to Hirschfeld via Iwaya, who served as the translator, was most insistent about asking him if he really looked like a woman on stage and was he effeminate enough as an actor. [69] Hirschfeld noted that no-one in Japan looked down on the Kabuki actors who played female characters on the contrary, they were popular figures with the public. [69] Hirschfeld also met a number of Japanese feminists, such as Shidzue Katō and Fusae Ichikawa, whom he praised for their efforts to give Japanese women the right to vote. This greatly annoyed the Japanese government, which did not appreciate a foreigner criticizing the denial of female suffrage. [70] Shortly before leaving Tokyo for China, Hirschfeld expressed the hope that his host and translator, Wilhelm Grundert, the director of the German-Japanese Cultural Institute, be made a professor at a German university. [69] Grundert joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and, in 1936, was made a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Hamburg and, in 1938, become the chancellor of Hamburg university, all the while denouncing his former friend Hirschfeld as a "pervert". [69] In Shanghai, Hirschfeld began a relationship with a 23-year-old Chinese man studying sexology, Tao Li, who remained his partner for the rest of his life. [71] Hirschfeld promised Tao that he would introduce him to German culture, saying he wanted to take him to a "Bavarian beer hall" to show him how German men drank. [72] Tao's parents, who knew about their son's sexual orientation and accepted his relationship with Hirschfeld, threw a farewell party when the two left China, with Tao's father expressing the hope that his son would become the "Hirschfeld of China". [73]

After staying in the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia), where Hirschfeld caused an uproar by speech comparing Dutch imperialism to slavery, Hirschfeld arrived in India in September 1931. [70] In Allahabad, Hirschfeld met Jawaharlal Nehru and gave speeches supporting the Indian independence movement, stating "it is one of the biggest injustices in the world that one of the oldest civilized nations. cannot rule independently". [74] However, Hirschfeld's Indian speeches were mainly concerned with attacking the 1927 book Mother India by the white-supremacist American author Katherine Mayo, where she painted an unflattering picture of sexuality in India as brutal and perverted, as "England-friendly propaganda". [75] As Mayo's book had caused much controversy in India, Hirschfeld's speeches defending Indians against her accusations were well received. [75] Hirschfeld, who was fluent in English, made a point of quoting from the articles written by W. T. Stead in The Pall Mall Gazette in 1885, exposing rampant child prostitution in London as proving that sexuality in Britain could also be brutal and perverted: a matter which, he noted, did not interest Mayo in the slightest. [75] Hirschfeld was very interested in the subject of Indian sexuality or, as he called it, "the Indian art of love". [70] Hirschfeld's main guide to India was Girindrasekhar Bose and, in general, Hirschfeld's contacts were limited to the English-speaking Indian elite, as he did not speak Hindi or any of the other Indian languages. [76] While staying in Patna, Hirschfeld drew up a will naming Tao as his main beneficiary and asking Tao, if he should die, to take his ashes to be buried at the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin. [72]

Africa and the Middle East Edit

In Egypt, where Hirschfeld and Tao traveled to next, arriving in November 1931, Hirschfeld wrote "to the Arabs. homoerotic love practice is something natural and that Mohammad could not change this attitude". [77] In Cairo, Hirschfeld and Tao met the Egyptian feminist leader Huda Sha'arawi-who stopped wearing the Muslim veil in 1923 and popularized going unveiled which, for Hirschfeld, illustrated how gender roles could change. [70] In a rebuke to Western notions of superiority, Hirschfeld wrote "the average ethical and intellectual levels of the Egyptians was equal to that of the European nations". [77] Hirschfeld's visit to the Palestine Mandate (modern Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza strip) marked one of the few times when he publicly referred to his Jewishness saying, as a Jew, it was greatly moving to visit Jerusalem. [78] Hirschfeld was not a religious Jew, stating that Gottesfurcht ("fear of God", i.e. religious belief) was irrational, but that he did feel a certain sentimental attachment to Palestine. [78] In general, Hirschfeld was supportive of Zionism, but expressed concern about what he regarded as certain chauvinist tendencies in the Zionist movement and he deplored the adoption of Hebrew as the lingua franca saying, if only the Jews of Palestine spoke German rather than Hebrew, he would have stayed. [78] In March 1932, Hirschfeld arrived in Athens, where he told journalists that, regardless of whether Hindenburg or Hitler won the presidential election that month, he probably would not return to Germany, as both men were equally homophobic. [79]

On 20 July 1932, the Chancellor Franz von Papen carried out a coup that deposed the Braun government in Prussia, and appointed himself the Reich commissioner for the state. A conservative Catholic who had long been a vocal critic of homosexuality, Papen ordered the Prussian police to start enforcing Paragraph 175 and to crack down in general on "sexual immorality" in Prussia. [80] The Institut für Sexualwissenschaft remained open, but under Papen's rule, the police began to harass people associated with it.

On 30 January 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as chancellor. Less than four months after the Nazis took power, Hirschfeld's Institute was sacked. On the morning of 6 May, a group of university students who belonged to the National Socialist Student League stormed the institution, shouting "Brenne Hirschfeld!" ("Burn Hirschfeld!") and began to beat up its staff and smash up the premises. [81] In the afternoon, the SA came to the institute, carrying out a more systematic attack, removing all volumes from the library and storing them for a book-burning event which was to be held four days later. [81] In the evening, the Berlin police arrived at the institution and announced that it was closed forever. [81]

By the time of the book burning, Hirschfeld had long-since left Germany for a speaking tour that took him around the world he never returned to Germany. In March 1932, he stopped briefly in Athens, spent several weeks in Vienna and then settled in Zurich, Switzerland, in August 1932. [82] While he was there, he worked on a book which recounted his experiences and observations while he was on his world tour and it was published in 1933 as Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers (Brugg, Switzerland: Bözberg-Verlag, 1933). It was published in an English translation in the United States under the title Men and Women: The World Journey of a Sexologist (New York City: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1935) and in England it was published under the title Women East and West: Impressions of a Sex Expert (London: William Heinemann Medical Books, 1935).

Hirschfeld stayed near Germany, hoping that he would be able to return to Berlin if the country's political situation improved. With the Nazi regime's unequivocal rise to power which coincided with the completion of his work on his tour book, he decided to go into exile in France. On his 65th birthday, 14 May 1933, Hirschfeld arrived in Paris, where he lived in a luxurious apartment building on 24 Avenue Charles Floquet, facing the Champ de Mars. [82] Hirschfeld lived with Li and Giese. [83] In 1934, Giese was involved in a dispute by a swimming pool that Hirschfeld called "trifling" but it led French authorities to expel him. [83] Giese's fate left Hirschfeld very depressed. [83]

A year-and-a-half after arriving in France, in November 1934, Hirschfeld moved south to Nice, a seaside resort on the Mediterranean coast. He lived in a luxurious apartment building with a view of the sea across an enormous garden on the Promenade des Anglais. [84] Throughout his stay in France, he continued researching, writing, campaigning and working to establish a French successor to his lost institute in Berlin. [82] Hirschfeld's sister, Recha Tobias, did not leave Germany and died in the Terezín Ghetto on 28 September 1942 (the cause of death entered in her death certificate - "heart weakness"). [53] [54] [85]

While in France, Hirschfeld finished a book which he had been writing during his world tour, Rassismus (Racism). It was published posthumously in English in 1938. [86] Hirschfeld wrote that the purpose of the book was to explore "the racial theory which underlines the doctrine of racial war", saying that he himself was "numbered among the many thousands who have fallen victim to the practical realization of this theory." [86]

Unlike many who saw the völkisch ideology of the Nazi regime as an aberration and a retrogression from modernity, Hirschfeld insisted that it had deep roots, going back to the German Enlightenment in the 18th century, and it was very much a part of modernity rather than an aberration from it. [87] He added that, in the 19th century, an ideology which divided all of humanity into biologically different races – white, black, yellow, brown, and red – as devised by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach – served as a way of turning prejudices into a "universal truth", apparently validated by science. [87] In turn, Hirschfeld held the view that this pseudoscientific way of dividing humanity was the basis of Western thinking about modernity, with whites being praised as the "civilized" race in contrast to the other races, which were dismissed for their "barbarism" such thinking was used to justify white supremacy. [87]

In this way, he argued that the völkisch racism of the National Socialist regime was only an extreme variant of prejudices that were held throughout the Western world, and the differences between Nazi ideology and the racism that was practiced in other nations were differences in degree rather than differences in kind. [87] Hirschfeld argued against this way of seeing the world, writing "if it were practical, we should certainly do well to eradicate the use of the word 'race' as far as subdivisions of the human species are concerned or if we do use it in this way, to put it into quote marks to show it is questionable". [87]

The last of Hirschfeld's books to be published during his lifetime, L'Ame et l'amour, psychologie sexologique [The Human Spirit and Love: Sexological Psychology] (Paris: Gallimard, 1935), was published in French in late April 1935 [88] it was his only book that was never published in a German-language edition. In the book's preface, he described his hopes for his new life in France:

In search of sanctuary, I have found my way to that country, the nobility of whose traditions, and whose ever-present charm, have already been as balm to my soul. I shall be glad and grateful if I can spend some few years of peace and repose in France and Paris, and still more grateful to be enabled to repay the hospitality accorded to me, by making available those abundant stores of knowledge acquired throughout my career. [89]


Contents

Hirschfeld was born in Kolberg in Pomerania (since 1945 Kołobrzeg, Poland), [4] in an Ashkenazi Jewish family, the son of a highly regarded physician and Senior Medical Officer Hermann Hirschfeld. In 1887–1888, he studied philosophy and philology in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), and then from 1888 to 1892 medicine in Strasbourg, Munich, Heidelberg, and Berlin. In 1892, he earned his medical degree.

After his studies, he traveled through the United States for eight months, visiting the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and living from the proceeds of his writing for German journals. During his time in Chicago, Hirschfeld became involved with the homosexual subculture in that city. [5] Struck by the essential similarities between the homosexual subcultures of Chicago and Berlin, Hirschfeld first developed his theory about the universality of homosexuality around the world, as he researched in books and newspaper articles about the existence of gay subcultures in Rio de Janeiro, Tangier, and Tokyo. [5] Then he started a naturopathic practice in Magdeburg in 1896, he moved his practice to Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Hirschfeld became interested in gay rights because many of his gay patients took their own lives. [6] In the German language, the word for suicide is Selbstmord ("self-murder"), which carried more judgmental and condemnatory connotations than its English language equivalent, making the subject of suicide a taboo in 19th century Germany. [7]

In particular, Hirschfeld mentioned as a reason for his gay rights activism, the story of one of his patients: a young army officer suffering from depression, who killed himself in 1896, leaving behind a suicide note saying, despite his best efforts, he could not end his desires for other men, and so had ended his life out of his guilt and shame. [8] In his suicide note, the officer wrote that he lacked the "strength" to tell his parents the "truth", and spoke of his shame of "that which nearly strangled my heart". The officer could not even bring himself to use the word "homosexuality", which he instead conspicuously referred to as "that" in his note. [7] However, the officer mentioned at the end of his suicide note: "The thought that you [Hirschfeld] could contribute a future when the German fatherland will think of us in more just terms sweetens the hour of my death." [9] Hirschfeld had been treating the officer for depression in 1895–1896, and the use of the term "us" led to speculation that a relationship existed between the two. However, the officer's use of Sie, the formal German word for you, instead of the informal Du, suggests Hirschfeld's relationship with his patient was strictly professional. [9]

At the same time, Hirschfeld was greatly affected by the trial of Oscar Wilde, which he often referred to in his writings. [10] Hirschfeld was struck by the number of his gay patients who had Suizidalnarben ("scars left by suicide attempts"), and often found himself trying to give his patients a reason to live. [11]

Scientific-Humanitarian Committee Edit

Magnus Hirschfeld found a balance between practicing medicine and writing about his findings. Between 1 May–15 October 1896, the Große Berliner Gewerbeausstellung ("Great Industrial Exhibition of Berlin") took place, which featured 9 "human zoos" where people from Germany's colonies in New Guinea and Africa were put on display for the visitors to gawk at. [12] Such exhibitions of colonial peoples were common at industrial fairs, and later after Qingdao, the Mariana Islands, and the Caroline Islands became part of the German empire, Chinese, Chamorros, and Micronesians joined the Africans and New Guineans displayed in the "human zoos". Hirschfeld, who was keenly interested in sexuality in other cultures, visited the Große Berliner Gewerbeausstellung and subsequently other exhibitions to inquire of the people in the "human zoos" via interpreters about the status of sexuality in their cultures. [13] It was in 1896, after talking to the people displayed in the "human zoos" at the Große Berliner Gewerbeausstellung, that Hirschfeld began writing what became his 1914 book Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes ("The Homosexuality of Men and Women"), an attempt to comprehensively survey homosexuality around the world, as part of an effort to prove that homosexuality occurred in every culture. [14]

After several years as a general practitioner in Magdeburg, in 1896 he issued a pamphlet, Sappho and Socrates, on homosexual love (under the pseudonym Th. Ramien). In 1897, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee with the publisher Max Spohr (1850–1905), the lawyer Eduard Oberg [15] (1858–1917), and the writer Franz Joseph von Bülow [16] (1861–1915). The group aimed to undertake research to defend the rights of homosexuals and to repeal Paragraph 175, the section of the German penal code that, since 1871, had criminalized homosexuality. They argued that the law encouraged blackmail. The motto of the Committee, "Justice through science", reflected Hirschfeld's belief that a better scientific understanding of homosexuality would eliminate social hostility toward homosexuals. [17]

Within the group, some of the members rejected Hirschfeld's (and Ulrichs's) view that male homosexuals are, by nature, effeminate. Benedict Friedlaender and some others left the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee and formed another group, the "Bund für männliche Kultur" or Union for Male Culture, which did not exist long. It argued that male-male love is an aspect of virile manliness, rather than a special condition.

Under Hirschfeld's leadership, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee gathered 6000 signatures from prominent Germans on a petition to overturn Paragraph 175. [18] Signatories included Albert Einstein, Hermann Hesse, Käthe Kollwitz, Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, August Bebel, Max Brod, Karl Kautsky, Stefan Zweig, Gerhart Hauptmann, Martin Buber, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, and Eduard Bernstein.

The bill was brought before the Reichstag in 1898, but was supported only by a minority from the Social Democratic Party of Germany. August Bebel, a friend of Hirschfeld from his university days, agreed to sponsor the attempt to repeal Paragraph 175. [19] Hirschfeld considered what would, in a later era, be described as "outing": forcing out of the closet some of the prominent and secretly homosexual lawmakers who had remained silent on the bill. He arranged for the bill to be reintroduced and, in the 1920s, it made some progress until the takeover of the Nazi Party ended all hope for any such reform.

As part of his efforts to counter popular prejudice, Hirschfeld spoke out about the taboo subject of suicide and was the first to present statistical evidence that homosexuals were more likely to commit suicide or attempt suicide than heterosexuals. [20] Hirschfeld prepared questionnaires that gay men could answer anonymously about homosexuality and suicide. Collating his results, Hirschfeld estimated that 3 out of every 100 gays committed suicide every year, that a quarter of gays had attempted suicide at some point in their lives and that the other three-quarters had had suicidal thoughts at some point. He used his evidence to argue that, under current social conditions in Germany, life was literally unbearable for homosexuals. [20]

A figure frequently mentioned by Hirschfeld to illustrate the "hell experienced by homosexuals" was Oscar Wilde, who was a well-known author in Germany, and whose trials in 1895 had been extensively covered by the German press. [21] Hirschfeld visited Cambridge University in 1905 to meet Wilde's son, Vyvyan Holland, who had changed his surname to avoid being associated with his father. [21] Hirschfeld noted "the name Wilde" has, since his trial, sounded like "an indecent word, which causes homosexuals to blush with shame, women to avert their eyes, and normal men to be outraged". [21] During his visit to Britain, Hirschfeld was invited to a secret ceremony in the English countryside where a "group of beautiful, young, male students" from Cambridge gathered together wearing Wilde's prison number, C33, as a way of symbolically linking his fate to theirs, to read out aloud Wilde's poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. [10] Hirschfeld found the reading of The Ballad of Reading Gaol to be "markerschütternd" (shaken to the core of one's being, i.e. something that is emotionally devastating), going on to write that the poem reading was "the most earth-shattering outcry that has ever been voiced by a downtrodden soul about its own torture and that of humanity". [10] By the end of the reading of The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Hirshfeld felt "quiet joy" as he was convinced that, despite the way that Wilde's life had been ruined, something good would eventually come of it. [10]

Feminism Edit

In 1905, Hirschfeld joined the Bund für Mutterschutz (League for the Protection of Mothers), the feminist organization founded by Helene Stöcker. [22] He campaigned for the decriminalisation of abortion, and against policies that banned female teachers and civil servants from marrying or having children. [ further explanation needed ] Both Hirschfeld and Stöcker believed that there was a close connection between the causes of gay rights and women's rights, and Stöcker was much involved in the campaign to repeal Paragraph 175 while Hirschfeld campaigned for the repeal of Paragraph 218, which had banned abortion. [22] From 1909 to 1912, Stöcker, Hirschfeld, Hedwig Dohm, and others successfully campaigned against an extension to Paragraph 175 which would have criminalised female homosexuality. [23]

In 1906, Hirschfeld was asked as a doctor to examine a prisoner in Neumünster to see if he was suffering from "severe nervous disturbances caused by a combination of malaria, blackwater fever, and congenital sexual anomaly". [24] The man, a former soldier and a veteran of what Hirschfeld called the "Hereroaufstand" ("Herero revolt") in German Southwest Africa (modern Namibia) appeared to be suffering from what would now be considered post-traumatic stress disorder, saying that he had done terrible things in Southwest Africa, and could no longer live with himself. [24] In 1904, the Herero and Namaqua peoples who had been steadily pushed off their land to make way for German settlers, had revolted, causing Kaiser Wilhelm II to dispatch General Lothar von Trotha to wage a "war of annihilation" to exterminate the Herero and Namaqua in what has since become known as the Herero and Namaqua genocide. [24] The genocide came to widespread attention when the SPD leader August Bebel criticized the government on the floor of the Reichstag, saying the government did not have the right to exterminate the Herero just because they were black. Hirschfeld did not mention his diagnosis of the prisoner, nor he did mention in detail the source of the prisoner's guilt about his actions in Southwest Africa the German scholar Heike Bauer criticized him for his seeming unwillingness to see the connection between the Herero genocide and the prisoner's guilt, which had caused him to engage in a petty crime wave. [25]

Hirschfeld's position, that homosexuality was normal and natural, made him a highly controversial figure at the time, involving him in vigorous debates with other academics, who regarded homosexuality as unnatural and wrong. [26] One of Hirschfeld's leading critics was Austrian Baron Christian von Ehrenfels, who advocated radical changes to society and sexuality to combat the supposed "Yellow Peril", and saw Hirschfeld's theories as a challenge to his view of sexuality. [26] Ehrenfels argued that there were a few "biologically degenerate" homosexuals who lured otherwise "healthy boys" into their lifestyle, making homosexuality into a choice and a wrong one at that time. [26]

African anthropology Edit

At the same time, Hirschfeld became involved in a debate with a number of anthropologists about the supposed existence of the Hottentottenschürze ("Hottentot apron"), namely the belief that the Khoikhoi (known to Westerners as Hottentots) women of southern Africa had abnormally enlarged labia, which made them inclined toward lesbianism. [27] Hirschfeld argued there was no evidence that the Khoikhoi women had abnormally large labia, whose supposed existence had fascinated so many Western anthropologists at the time, and that, other than being black, the bodies of Khoikhoi women were no different from German women. [27] One Khoikoi woman, Sarah Baartman, the "Hottentot Venus", did have relatively large buttocks and labia, compared to Northern European women, and had been exhibited at a freak show in Europe in the early 19th century, which was the origin of this belief about the Khoikhoi women. Hirschfeld wrote: "The differences appear minimal compared to what is shared" between Khoikhoi and German women. [27] Turning the argument of the anthropologists on their head, Hirschfeld argued that, if same-sex relationships were common among Khoikhoi women, and if the bodies of Khoikhoi women were essentially the same as Western women, then Western women must have the same tendencies. Hirschfeld's theories about a spectrum of sexuality existing in all of the world's cultures implicitly undercut the binary theories about the differences between various races that was the basis of the claim of white supremacy. [27] However, Bauer wrote that Hirschfeld's theories about the universality of homosexuality paid little attention to cultural contexts, and criticized him for his remarks that Hausa women in Nigeria were well known for their lesbian tendencies and would have been executed for their sapphic acts before British rule, as assuming that imperialism was always good for the colonized. [28]

Eulenburg affair Edit

Hirschfeld played a prominent role in the Harden–Eulenburg affair of 1906–09, which became the most widely publicized sex scandal in Imperial Germany. During the libel trial in 1907, when General Kuno von Moltke sued the journalist Maximilian Harden, after the latter had run an article accusing Moltke of having a homosexual relationship with the politically powerful Prince Philipp von Eulenburg, who was the Kaiser's best friend, Hirschfeld testified for Harden. In his role as an expert witness, Hirschfeld testified that Moltke was gay and, thus, what Harden had written was true. [29] Hirschfeld – who wanted to make homosexuality legal in Germany – believed that proving Army officers like Moltke were gay would help his case for legalization. He also testified that he believed there was nothing wrong with Moltke. [29]

Most notably, Hirschfeld testified that "homosexuality was part of the plan of nature and creation just like normal love." [30] Hirschfeld's testimony caused outrage all over Germany. The Vossische Zeitung newspaper condemned Hirschfeld in an editorial as "a freak who acted for freaks in the name of pseudoscience". [29] The Mūnchener Neuesten Nachrichten newspaper declared in an editorial: "Dr. Hirschfeld makes public propaganda under the cover of science, which does nothing but poison our people. Real science should fight against this!". [29] A notable witness at the trial was Lilly von Elbe, former wife of Moltke, who testified that her husband had only made love to her twice in their entire marriage. [31] Elbe spoke with remarkable openness for the period of her sexual desires and her frustration with a husband who was only interested in having sex with Eulenburg. [32] Elbe's testimony was marked by moments of low comedy when it emerged that she had taken to attacking Moltke with a frying pan in vain attempts to make him have sex with her. [33] The fact that General von Moltke was unable to defend himself from his wife's attacks was taken as proof that he was deficient in his masculinity, which many saw as confirming his homosexuality. At the time, the subject of female sexuality was taboo, and Elbe's testimony was very controversial, with many saying that Elbe must, in some way, be mentally ill because of her willingness to acknowledge her sexuality. [34] At the time, it was generally believed that women should be "chaste" and "pure", and not have any sort of sexuality at all. Letters to the newspapers at the time, from both men and women, overwhelmingly condemned Elbe for her "disgusting" testimony concerning her sexuality. [34] As an expert witness, Hirschfeld also testified that female sexuality was natural, and Elbe was just a normal woman who was in no way mentally ill. [29] After the jury ruled in favor of Harden, Judge Hugo Isenbiel was enraged by the jury's decision, which he saw as expressing approval for Hirschfeld. He overturned the verdict under the grounds that homosexuals "have the morals of dogs", and insisted that this verdict could not be allowed to stand. [29]

After the verdict was overturned, a second trial found Harden guilty of libel. [29] At the second trial, Hirschfeld again testified as an expert witness, but this time, he was much less certain than he had been at the first trial about Moltke's homosexuality. [35] Hirschfeld testified that Moltke and Eulenburg had an "intimate" friendship that was homoerotic in nature but not sexual, as he had testified at the first trial. [35] Hirschfeld also testified that, though he still believed female sexuality was normal, Elbe was suffering from hysteria caused by a lack of sex, and so the court should discount her stories about a sexual relationship between Moltke and Eulenburg. [35] Hirschfeld had been threatened by the Prussian government with having his medical license revoked if he testified as an expert witness again along the same lines that he had at the first trial, and possibly prosecuted for violating Paragraph 175. [35] The trial was a libel suit against Harden by Moltke, but much of the testimony had concerned Eulenburg, whose status as the best friend of Wilhelm II meant that the scandal was threatening to involve the Kaiser. [35] Moreover, far from precipitating increased tolerance as Hirschfeld had expected, the scandal led to a major homophobic and anti-Semitic backlash, and Hirschfeld's biographer Elena Mancini speculated that Hirschfeld wanted to bring to an end an affair that was hindering rather helping the cause for gay rights. [35]

Because Eulenburg was a prominent anti-Semite and Hirschfeld was a Jew, during the affair, the völkisch movement came out in support of Eulenburg, whom they portrayed as an Aryan heterosexual, framed by false allegations of homosexuality by Hirschfeld and Harden. [36] Various völkisch leaders, most notably the radical anti-Semitic journalist Theodor Fritsch, used the Eulenburg affair as a chance to "settle the accounts" with the Jews. As a gay Jew, Hirschfeld was relentlessly vilified by the völkisch newspapers. [37] Outside Hirschfeld's house in Berlin, posters were affixed by völkisch activists, which read "Dr. Hirschfeld A Public Danger: The Jews are Our Undoing!". [35] In Nazi Germany, the official interpretation of the Eulenburg affair was that Eulenburg was a straight Aryan whose career was destroyed by false claims of being gay by Jews like Hirschfeld. [36] After the scandal had ended, Hirschfeld concluded that, far from helping the gay rights movement as he had hoped, the ensuing backlash set the movement back. [38] The conclusion drawn by the German government was the opposite of the one that Hirschfeld wanted the fact that prominent men like General von Moltke and Eulenburg were gay did not lead the government to repeal Paragraph 175 as Hirschfeld had hoped and, instead, the government decided that Paragraph 175 was being enforced with insufficient vigor, leading to a crackdown on homosexuals that was unprecedented and would not be exceeded until the Nazi era. [32]

World War I Edit

In 1914, Hirschfeld was swept up by the national enthusiasm for the Burgfrieden ("Peace within a castle under siege") as the sense of national solidarity was known where almost all Germans rallied to the Fatherland. [39] Initially pro-war, Hirschfeld started to turn against the war in 1915, moving toward a pacifist position. [40] In his 1915 pamphlet, Warum Hassen uns die Völker? ("Why do other nations hate us?"), Hirschfeld answered his own question by arguing that it was the greatness of Germany that excited envy from other nations, especially Great Britain, and so had supposedly caused them to come together to destroy the Reich. [41] Hirschfeld accused Britain of starting the war in 1914 "out of envy at the development and size of the German Empire". [42] Warum Hassen uns die Völker? was characterized by a chauvinist and ultra-nationalist tone, together with a rather crass Anglophobia that has often embarrassed Hirschfeld's admirers today such as Charlotte Wolff, who called the pamphlet a "perversion of the values which Hirschfeld had always stood for". [42]

As a Jewish homosexual, Hirschfeld was acutely aware that many Germans did not consider him to be a "proper" German, or even a German at all so, he reasoned that taking an ultra-patriotic stance might break down prejudices by showing that German Jews and/or homosexuals could also be good, patriotic Germans, rallying to the cry of the Fatherland. [43] By 1916, Hirschfeld was writing pacifist pamphlets, calling for an immediate end to the war. [40] In his 1916 pamphlet Kriegspsychologisches ("The Psychology of War"), Hirschfeld was far more critical of the war than he had been in 1915, emphasizing the suffering and trauma caused by it. He also expressed the opinion that nobody wanted to take responsibility for the war because its horrors were "superhuman in size". [44] He declared that "it is not enough that the war ends with peace it must end with reconciliation". [44] In late 1918, Hirschfeld together with his sister, Franziska Mann, co-wrote a pamphlet Was jede Frau vom Wahlrecht wissen muß!" ("What every woman needs to know about the right to vote!") hailing the November Revolution for granting German women the right to vote and announced the "eyes of the world are now resting on German women". [22]

Interwar period Edit

In 1920, Hirschfeld was very badly beaten by a group of völkisch activists who attacked him on the street he was initially declared dead when the police arrived. [45] In 1921, Hirschfeld organised the First Congress for Sexual Reform, which led to the formation of the World League for Sexual Reform. Congresses were held in Copenhagen (1928), London (1929), Vienna (1930), and Brno (1932).

Hirschfeld was both quoted and caricatured in the press as a vociferous expert on sexual matters during his 1931 tour of the United States, the Hearst newspaper chain dubbed him "the Einstein of Sex". He identified as a campaigner and a scientist, investigating and cataloging many varieties of sexuality, not just homosexuality. He developed a system which categorised 64 possible types of sexual intermediary, ranging from masculine, heterosexual male to feminine, homosexual male, including those he described under the term transvestite (Ger. Transvestit), which he coined in 1910, and those he described under the term transsexuals, a term he coined in 1923. [46] He also made a distinction between transsexualism and intersexuality. [46] [47] At this time, Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Sciences issued a number of transvestite certificates to trans people in order to prevent them from being harassed by the police. [48] [49]

Anders als die Andern Edit

Hirschfeld co-wrote and acted in the 1919 film Anders als die Andern ("Different From the Others"), in which Conrad Veidt played one of the first homosexual characters ever written for cinema. The film had a specific gay rights law reform agenda after Veidt's character is blackmailed by a male prostitute, he eventually comes out rather than continuing to make the blackmail payments. His career is destroyed and he is driven to suicide.

Hirschfeld played himself in Anders als die Andern, where the title cards have him say: "The persecution of homosexuals belongs to the same sad chapter of history in which the persecutions of witches and heretics is inscribed. Only with the French Revolution did a complete change come about. Everywhere where the Code Napoléon was introduced, the laws against homosexuals were repealed, for they were considered a violation of the rights of the individual. In Germany, however, despite more than fifty years of scientific research, legal discrimination against homosexuals continues unabated. May justice soon prevail over injustice in this area, science conquer superstition, love achieve victory over hatred!" [50]

In May 1919, when the film premiered in Berlin, the First World War was still a very fresh memory and German conservatives, who already hated Hirschfeld, seized upon his Francophile speech in the film praising France for legalizing homosexuality in 1792 as evidence that gay rights were "un-German". [50]

At the end of the film, when the protagonist Paul Körner commits suicide, his lover Kurt is planning on killing himself, when Hirschfeld appears to tell him: "If you want to honor the memory of your dead friend, you must not take your own life, but instead preserve it to change the prejudices whose victim – one of the countless many – this dead man was. That is the task of the living I assign you. Just as Zola struggled on behalf of a man who innocently languished in prison, what matters now is to restore honor and justice to the many thousands before us, with us, and after us. Through knowledge to justice!" [51] The reference to Émile Zola's role in the Dreyfus affair was intended to draw a parallel between homophobia and anti-Semitism, while Hirschfeld's repeated use of the word "us" was an implied admission of his own homosexuality. [51]

The anti-suicide message of Anders als die Andern reflected Hirschfeld's interest in the subject of the high suicide rate among homosexuals, and was intended to give hope to gay audiences. [51] The film ends with Hirschfeld opening a copy of the penal code of the Reich and striking out Paragraph 175 with a giant X. [51]

Under the more liberal atmosphere of the newly founded Weimar Republic, Hirschfeld purchased a villa not far from the Reichstag building in Berlin for his new Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexual Research), which opened on 6 July 1919. In Germany, the Reich government made laws, but the Länder governments enforced the laws, meaning it was up to the Länder governments to enforce Paragraph 175. Until the November Revolution of 1918, Prussia had a three-class voting system that effectively disfranchised most ordinary people, and allowed the Junkers to dominate Prussia. After the November Revolution, universal suffrage came to Prussia, which become a stronghold of the Social Democrats. The SPD believed in repealing Paragraph 175, and the Social Democratic Prussian government headed by Otto Braun ordered the Prussian police not to enforce Paragraph 175, making Prussia into a haven for homosexuals all over Germany.

The Institute housed Hirschfeld's immense archives and library on sexuality and provided educational services and medical consultations the clinical staff included psychiatrists Felix Abraham and Arthur Kronfeld, gynecologist Ludwig Levy-Lenz, dermatologist and endocrinologist Bernhard Schapiro, and dermatologist Friedrich Wertheim. [52] The Institute also housed the Museum of Sex, an educational resource for the public, which is reported to have been visited by school classes. Hirschfeld himself lived at the Institution on the second floor with his lover, Karl Giese, together with his sister Recha Tobias (1857–1942). [53] [54] Giese and Hirschfeld were a well-known couple in the gay scene in Berlin where Hirschfeld was popularly known as "Tante Magnesia". Tante ("aunt") was a German slang expression for a gay man but did not mean, as some claim, that Hirschfeld himself cross-dressed. [55]

People from around Europe and beyond came to the Institute to gain a clearer understanding of their sexuality. Christopher Isherwood writes about his and W. H. Auden's visit in his book Christopher and His Kind they were calling on Francis Turville-Petre, a friend of Isherwood's who was an active member of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. Other celebrated visitors included German novelist and playwright Gerhart Hauptmann, German artist Christian Schad, French writers René Crevel and André Gide, Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, and American poet Elsa Gidlow. [52]

In addition, a number of noted individuals lived for longer or shorter periods of time in the various rooms available for rent or as free accommodations in the Institute complex. Among the residents were Isherwood and Turville-Petre literary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin actress and dancer Anita Berber Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch Willi Münzenberg, a member of the German Parliament and a press officer for the Communist Party of Germany Dörchen Richter, one of the first transgender patients to receive sex reassignment surgery at the Institute, and Lili Elbe. [52] Richter had been born Rudolf Richter and being arrested for cross-dressing had come to the institute for help. [56] Hirschfeld had coined the term transvestite in 1910 to describe what today would be called transgender people, and the institution became a haven for transgender people, where Hirschfeld offered them shelter from abuse, performed surgeries, and gave otherwise unemployable transgender people jobs, albeit of a menial type, mostly as "maids". [57]

The Institute and Hirschfeld's work are depicted in Rosa von Praunheim's feature film Der Einstein des Sex (The Einstein of Sex, Germany, 1999 English subtitled version available). Although inspired by Hirschfeld's life, the film is fictional. It contains invented characters and incidents and attributes motives and sentiments to Hirschfeld and others on the basis of little or no historical evidence. Hirschfeld biographer Ralf Dose notes, for instance, that "the figure of 'Dorchen' in Rosa von Praunheim's film The Einstein of Sex is complete fiction." [52]

In March 1930, the Social Democratic chancellor Hermann Müller was overthrown by the intrigues of General Kurt von Schleicher. "Presidential" governments, responsible only to the President Paul von Hindenburg, pushed German politics in a more right-wing, authoritarian direction. In 1929, the Müller government had come very close to repealing Paragraph 175, when the Reichstag justice committee voted to repeal Paragraph 175. However, the Müller government fell before it could submit the repeal motion to the floor of the Reichstag. [58] Under the rule of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning and his successor, Franz von Papen, the state became increasingly hostile toward gay rights campaigners like Hirschfeld, who began to spend more time abroad. [59] Quite apart from the increased homophobia, Hirschfeld also became involved in a bitter debate within the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, as the repeal bill, championed by Müller also made homosexual prostitution illegal, which badly divided the committee. [60] Hirschfeld had always argued that "what is natural cannot be immoral" and, since homosexuality was, in his view natural, it should be legal. Connecting the question of the legality of homosexuality to the legality of prostitution was a blurring of the issue, since these were different matters. [60] Brüning, a conservative Catholic on the right-wing of the Zentrum party, who replaced Müller in March 1930, was openly hostile toward gay rights and the fall of Müller ended the possibility of repealing Paragraph 175.

America and a "straight turn" Edit

In 1930, Hirschfeld predicted that there would be no future for people like himself in Germany, and he would have to move abroad. [61] In November 1930, Hirschfeld arrived in New York, ostensibly on a speaking tour about sex, but in fact to see if it was possible for him to settle in the United States. [59] Significantly, in his speeches on this American tour, Hirschfeld, when speaking in German, called for the legalization of homosexuality, but when speaking in English did not mention the subject of homosexuality, instead urging Americans to be more open-minded about heterosexual sex. [62] The New York Times described Hirschfeld as having come to America to "study the marriage question", while the German language New Yorker Volkszeitung newspaper described Hirschfeld as wanting to "discuss love's natural turns" – the phrase "love's natural turns" was Hirschfeld's way of presenting his theory that there was a wide spectrum of human sexuality, all of which were "natural". [62] Hirschfeld realized that most Americans did not want to hear about his theory of homosexuality as natural. Aware of a strong xenophobic tendency in the United States, where foreigners seen as trouble-makers were unwelcome, Hirschfeld tailored his message to American tastes. [63]

In an interview with the Germanophile American journalist George Sylvester Viereck for the Milwaukee Sentinel done in late November 1930 that epitomised his "straight turn" in America, Hirschfeld was presented as a sex expert whose knowledge could improve the sex lives of married American couples. [63] The Milwaukee Sentinel was part of the newspaper chain owned by William Randolph Hearst, which initially promoted Hirschfeld in America, reflecting the old adage that "sex sells". In the interview with Viereck, Hirschfeld was presented as the wise "European expert on romantic love" who had come to teach heterosexual American men how to enjoy sex, claiming there was a close connection between sexual and emotional intimacy. [64] Clearly intending to flatter the egos of a heterosexual American male audience, Hirschfeld praised the drive and ambition of American men, who were so successful at business, but stated that American men needed to divert some of their energy to their sex lives. [64] Hirschfeld added, he had seen signs that American men were now starting to develop their "romantic sides" as European men had long-since done, and he had come to the United States to teach American men how to love their women properly. [64] When Viereck objected that the U.S was in the middle of the Great Depression, Hirschfeld replied he was certain that United States would soon recover, thanks to the relentless drive of American men. [64]

At least part of the reason for his "straight turn" was financial a Dutch firm had been marketing Titus Pearls (Titus-Perlen) pills, which were presented in Europe as a cure for "scattered nerves" and in the United States as an aphrodisiac, and had been using Hirschfeld's endorsement to help with advertising campaign there. [65] Most Americans knew of Hirschfeld only as a "world-known authority on sex" who had endorsed the Titus Pearls pills, which were alleged to improve orgasms for both men and women. [65] Since Hirschfeld's books never sold well, the money he was paid for endorsing the Titus Pearls pills were a major source of income for him, which he was to lose in 1933 when the manufacturer of the pills ceased using his endorsement in order to stay in the German market. [65] In a second interview with Viereck in February 1931, Hirschfeld was presented by him as the "Einstein of Sex", which was again part of the marketing effort of Hirschfeld's "straight turn" in America. [65] At times, Hirschfeld returned to his European message, when he planned to deliver a talk at the bohemian Dill Pickle Club in Chicago on "homosexuality with beautiful revealing pictures", which was banned by the city as indecent. [66] In San Francisco, Hirschfeld visited San Quentin prison to meet Thomas Mooney, whose belief in his innocence he proclaimed to the press afterward, and asked for his release. [67] Unfortunately for Hirschfeld, the Hearst newspapers, which specialized in taking a sensationalist, right-wing, populist line on the news, dug up his statements in Germany calling for gay rights, causing a sudden shift in tone from more-or-less friendly to hostile, effectively ending any chance of Hirschfeld being allowed to stay in the United States. [65]

Asia Edit

After his American tour, Hirschfeld went to Asia in February 1931. Hirschfeld had been invited to Japan by Keizō Dohi, a German-educated, Japanese doctor who spoke fluent German and who worked at Hirschfeld's institute for a time in the 1920s. [68] In Japan, Hirchfeld again tailored his speeches to local tastes, saying nothing about gay rights, and merely argued that a greater frankness about sexual matters would prevent venereal diseases. [68] Hirschfeld sought out an old friend, S. Iwaya, a Japanese doctor who lived in Berlin in 1900–02 and who joined the Scientific-Humanitarian committee during his time there. [69] Iwaya took Hirschfeld to the Meiji-za to introduce him to the Kabuki theater. [69] Hirschfeld become very interested in the Kabuki theater, where the female characters are played by men. [69] One of the Kabuki actors, speaking to Hirschfeld via Iwaya, who served as the translator, was most insistent about asking him if he really looked like a woman on stage and was he effeminate enough as an actor. [69] Hirschfeld noted that no-one in Japan looked down on the Kabuki actors who played female characters on the contrary, they were popular figures with the public. [69] Hirschfeld also met a number of Japanese feminists, such as Shidzue Katō and Fusae Ichikawa, whom he praised for their efforts to give Japanese women the right to vote. This greatly annoyed the Japanese government, which did not appreciate a foreigner criticizing the denial of female suffrage. [70] Shortly before leaving Tokyo for China, Hirschfeld expressed the hope that his host and translator, Wilhelm Grundert, the director of the German-Japanese Cultural Institute, be made a professor at a German university. [69] Grundert joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and, in 1936, was made a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Hamburg and, in 1938, become the chancellor of Hamburg university, all the while denouncing his former friend Hirschfeld as a "pervert". [69] In Shanghai, Hirschfeld began a relationship with a 23-year-old Chinese man studying sexology, Tao Li, who remained his partner for the rest of his life. [71] Hirschfeld promised Tao that he would introduce him to German culture, saying he wanted to take him to a "Bavarian beer hall" to show him how German men drank. [72] Tao's parents, who knew about their son's sexual orientation and accepted his relationship with Hirschfeld, threw a farewell party when the two left China, with Tao's father expressing the hope that his son would become the "Hirschfeld of China". [73]

After staying in the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia), where Hirschfeld caused an uproar by speech comparing Dutch imperialism to slavery, Hirschfeld arrived in India in September 1931. [70] In Allahabad, Hirschfeld met Jawaharlal Nehru and gave speeches supporting the Indian independence movement, stating "it is one of the biggest injustices in the world that one of the oldest civilized nations. cannot rule independently". [74] However, Hirschfeld's Indian speeches were mainly concerned with attacking the 1927 book Mother India by the white-supremacist American author Katherine Mayo, where she painted an unflattering picture of sexuality in India as brutal and perverted, as "England-friendly propaganda". [75] As Mayo's book had caused much controversy in India, Hirschfeld's speeches defending Indians against her accusations were well received. [75] Hirschfeld, who was fluent in English, made a point of quoting from the articles written by W. T. Stead in The Pall Mall Gazette in 1885, exposing rampant child prostitution in London as proving that sexuality in Britain could also be brutal and perverted: a matter which, he noted, did not interest Mayo in the slightest. [75] Hirschfeld was very interested in the subject of Indian sexuality or, as he called it, "the Indian art of love". [70] Hirschfeld's main guide to India was Girindrasekhar Bose and, in general, Hirschfeld's contacts were limited to the English-speaking Indian elite, as he did not speak Hindi or any of the other Indian languages. [76] While staying in Patna, Hirschfeld drew up a will naming Tao as his main beneficiary and asking Tao, if he should die, to take his ashes to be buried at the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin. [72]

Africa and the Middle East Edit

In Egypt, where Hirschfeld and Tao traveled to next, arriving in November 1931, Hirschfeld wrote "to the Arabs. homoerotic love practice is something natural and that Mohammad could not change this attitude". [77] In Cairo, Hirschfeld and Tao met the Egyptian feminist leader Huda Sha'arawi-who stopped wearing the Muslim veil in 1923 and popularized going unveiled which, for Hirschfeld, illustrated how gender roles could change. [70] In a rebuke to Western notions of superiority, Hirschfeld wrote "the average ethical and intellectual levels of the Egyptians was equal to that of the European nations". [77] Hirschfeld's visit to the Palestine Mandate (modern Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza strip) marked one of the few times when he publicly referred to his Jewishness saying, as a Jew, it was greatly moving to visit Jerusalem. [78] Hirschfeld was not a religious Jew, stating that Gottesfurcht ("fear of God", i.e. religious belief) was irrational, but that he did feel a certain sentimental attachment to Palestine. [78] In general, Hirschfeld was supportive of Zionism, but expressed concern about what he regarded as certain chauvinist tendencies in the Zionist movement and he deplored the adoption of Hebrew as the lingua franca saying, if only the Jews of Palestine spoke German rather than Hebrew, he would have stayed. [78] In March 1932, Hirschfeld arrived in Athens, where he told journalists that, regardless of whether Hindenburg or Hitler won the presidential election that month, he probably would not return to Germany, as both men were equally homophobic. [79]

On 20 July 1932, the Chancellor Franz von Papen carried out a coup that deposed the Braun government in Prussia, and appointed himself the Reich commissioner for the state. A conservative Catholic who had long been a vocal critic of homosexuality, Papen ordered the Prussian police to start enforcing Paragraph 175 and to crack down in general on "sexual immorality" in Prussia. [80] The Institut für Sexualwissenschaft remained open, but under Papen's rule, the police began to harass people associated with it.

On 30 January 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as chancellor. Less than four months after the Nazis took power, Hirschfeld's Institute was sacked. On the morning of 6 May, a group of university students who belonged to the National Socialist Student League stormed the institution, shouting "Brenne Hirschfeld!" ("Burn Hirschfeld!") and began to beat up its staff and smash up the premises. [81] In the afternoon, the SA came to the institute, carrying out a more systematic attack, removing all volumes from the library and storing them for a book-burning event which was to be held four days later. [81] In the evening, the Berlin police arrived at the institution and announced that it was closed forever. [81]

By the time of the book burning, Hirschfeld had long-since left Germany for a speaking tour that took him around the world he never returned to Germany. In March 1932, he stopped briefly in Athens, spent several weeks in Vienna and then settled in Zurich, Switzerland, in August 1932. [82] While he was there, he worked on a book which recounted his experiences and observations while he was on his world tour and it was published in 1933 as Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers (Brugg, Switzerland: Bözberg-Verlag, 1933). It was published in an English translation in the United States under the title Men and Women: The World Journey of a Sexologist (New York City: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1935) and in England it was published under the title Women East and West: Impressions of a Sex Expert (London: William Heinemann Medical Books, 1935).

Hirschfeld stayed near Germany, hoping that he would be able to return to Berlin if the country's political situation improved. With the Nazi regime's unequivocal rise to power which coincided with the completion of his work on his tour book, he decided to go into exile in France. On his 65th birthday, 14 May 1933, Hirschfeld arrived in Paris, where he lived in a luxurious apartment building on 24 Avenue Charles Floquet, facing the Champ de Mars. [82] Hirschfeld lived with Li and Giese. [83] In 1934, Giese was involved in a dispute by a swimming pool that Hirschfeld called "trifling" but it led French authorities to expel him. [83] Giese's fate left Hirschfeld very depressed. [83]

A year-and-a-half after arriving in France, in November 1934, Hirschfeld moved south to Nice, a seaside resort on the Mediterranean coast. He lived in a luxurious apartment building with a view of the sea across an enormous garden on the Promenade des Anglais. [84] Throughout his stay in France, he continued researching, writing, campaigning and working to establish a French successor to his lost institute in Berlin. [82] Hirschfeld's sister, Recha Tobias, did not leave Germany and died in the Terezín Ghetto on 28 September 1942 (the cause of death entered in her death certificate - "heart weakness"). [53] [54] [85]

While in France, Hirschfeld finished a book which he had been writing during his world tour, Rassismus (Racism). It was published posthumously in English in 1938. [86] Hirschfeld wrote that the purpose of the book was to explore "the racial theory which underlines the doctrine of racial war", saying that he himself was "numbered among the many thousands who have fallen victim to the practical realization of this theory." [86]

Unlike many who saw the völkisch ideology of the Nazi regime as an aberration and a retrogression from modernity, Hirschfeld insisted that it had deep roots, going back to the German Enlightenment in the 18th century, and it was very much a part of modernity rather than an aberration from it. [87] He added that, in the 19th century, an ideology which divided all of humanity into biologically different races – white, black, yellow, brown, and red – as devised by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach – served as a way of turning prejudices into a "universal truth", apparently validated by science. [87] In turn, Hirschfeld held the view that this pseudoscientific way of dividing humanity was the basis of Western thinking about modernity, with whites being praised as the "civilized" race in contrast to the other races, which were dismissed for their "barbarism" such thinking was used to justify white supremacy. [87]

In this way, he argued that the völkisch racism of the National Socialist regime was only an extreme variant of prejudices that were held throughout the Western world, and the differences between Nazi ideology and the racism that was practiced in other nations were differences in degree rather than differences in kind. [87] Hirschfeld argued against this way of seeing the world, writing "if it were practical, we should certainly do well to eradicate the use of the word 'race' as far as subdivisions of the human species are concerned or if we do use it in this way, to put it into quote marks to show it is questionable". [87]

The last of Hirschfeld's books to be published during his lifetime, L'Ame et l'amour, psychologie sexologique [The Human Spirit and Love: Sexological Psychology] (Paris: Gallimard, 1935), was published in French in late April 1935 [88] it was his only book that was never published in a German-language edition. In the book's preface, he described his hopes for his new life in France:

In search of sanctuary, I have found my way to that country, the nobility of whose traditions, and whose ever-present charm, have already been as balm to my soul. I shall be glad and grateful if I can spend some few years of peace and repose in France and Paris, and still more grateful to be enabled to repay the hospitality accorded to me, by making available those abundant stores of knowledge acquired throughout my career. [89]


Ricardo Rico

Photography by Ricardo Rico

Ricardo Rico is a self-taught photographer working and living in São Paulo, Brazil. He is currently working on “The Lonely Project”, dealing with masculine beauty in physical and emotional forms. To date, there are nineteen issues of “The Lonely Project” available.

Ricardo Rico’s website is located at: https://www.ricardorico.com


Reception

“In contemporary perception and in many countries to this day, this war remains the 'great war', 'the Great War', 'la Grande Guerre '“and la Grande Guerra. In Germany in particular, memories of the First World War are overshadowed by the Second World War , on the one hand because of the rupture in civilization that the National Socialist regime caused in the course of the Eastern campaign and the Holocaust . On the other hand, there was only comparatively minor material damage on German territory during the First World War.

Years before the outbreak of war in 1914, there was talk of the coming “World War” in the German Reich, for example in the anti-British novel “The World War” by August Wilhelm Otto Niemann , published in 1904 . The term First World War was used for the first time by Ernst Haeckel in September 1914, it or First World War also appeared sporadically in other publications around 1920/21 and can therefore only be called a retronym to a limited extent .

Historical research

In historical studies , the First World War is one of the most important topics in modern history . “World war research” represents an area in which general research tendencies are reflected: Since the mid-1980s, research has increasingly turned to everyday history, the level of experience of the “little man”, “in order to break up the previous dominance of elite research and a history of To feed society from below during the war. ”“ If the questions revolved around political history until the 1960s , this was increasingly replaced by social-historical focuses. Since the mid-1990s, studies that are committed to the history of experience or tracing the representations of war have dominated. In the meantime, a disparate and differentiated field of research has arisen in which social and cultural-historical aspects are brought together. ”The historiography of mentalities has also been modified for some time by the“ war culture ”research, which also dominates on an international scale. In this topic, mentalities, worlds of experience, propaganda and ideology flow together more strongly than in pure "experience" research. Particular attention is paid to the “myth of the war experience”. In this process, military historiography has moved closer to general history.

General meaning of the war

The First World War is referred to as an “epoch threshold”, “primordial catastrophe” and a political and cultural “space for change”, which went hand in hand with a delegitimation of old and the facilitation of new orders. The war brought an upheaval in international relations, the appearance of the new leading powers, the Soviet Union and the USA, and the decline of Europe as world and order powers. There is broad consensus in research that the First World War - as the American diplomat and historian George F. Kennan put it - was politically the " primal catastrophe of the 20th century ". It was an event that had a fatal effect on the further history of Europe: the October Revolution , Stalinism , fascism , National Socialism and finally the Second World War are inconceivable without the tremors of the First World War. Some historians summarize the years from 1914 to 1945 as the Second Thirty Years' War and describe the period of the world wars as a time of catastrophe in German history. The war is also seen as a political, economic and structural collapse of the previous Europe: “By this we mean the failure of the functioning of the system of the great powers, the failure of their foreign policy interaction, on which a substantial part of their international standing was based. Some see this failure as the outbreak of war, others in the inability to end this war in time and without outside help. ”In 1913 Europe still had 43 percent of world production, ten years later, in 1923, it was only 34 percent . Furthermore, serious domestic political, social and (further) economic consequences as well as “spiritual” and socio-cultural changes are mentioned. The war destroyed or changed existing social norms and rules and ideas of political order. However, there is no consensus on the question of whether the war brought about completely new developments or merely reinforced existing ones.

In the opinion of many scholars, the First World War marked the end of an era - the long 19th century , as it is often called, which began with the French Revolution (1789) and is commonly referred to as the “bourgeois age”. Other researchers doubt this, the war was merely an internal turning point within an epoch, as it promoted rather than interrupted the change processes that arose in the 19th century. In this context, war is assigned the function of a catalyst that strengthened developments that had already been initiated or helped them to break through for example, important ideas, art movements and moments of modern mass society began before 1914.

Discussion about the causes of war

Triggered mainly by the sole war guilt of the German Empire claimed in the Versailles Treaty , an extensive apologetic literature to ward off the "war guilt lie" was created in the Weimar Republic in the years after the First World War. The attempt to use a parliamentary committee of inquiry set up by the German Reichstag in August 1919 to name those responsible for the outbreak, prolongation and loss of the war largely failed. Historians of the victorious states held fast to the sole war guilt of Germany and its allies. The time of National Socialism brought an interruption of serious research in Germany and led to isolation from Western history. After the Second World War, the view of the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George initially prevailed that the peoples of Europe had "slipped into the world war". In the 1960s, the Hamburg historian Fritz Fischer questioned this view of history. It triggered a first, long-term historians' dispute, beginning with an article in the historical journal in 1959 and above all his 1962 book Griff nach der Weltmacht, according to which “the German Reich leadership took a considerable part of the historical responsibility for the outbreak of the general war " wearing. In the subsequent, emotionally tinged Fischer controversy , which in turn can be considered part of German history, he tightened his theses regarding the war guilt of the German Reich leadership.

More recent overviews assume that German policy in the July crisis was a high-risk crisis strategy that “consciously accepted the possibility of a major war without necessarily wanting to bring it about.” The improvement of one's own that was found necessary The position should be enforced “with the help of a 'policy of limited offensive', while accepting a 'calculated risk'”. According to Jürgen Angelow , the terms “limited offensive” and “calculated risk” are not enough to fully express “the irresponsible and abysmal” of the German position. On the other hand, the term brinkmanship used by younger historians describes a “daring policy of 'uncalculated risk', of walking on the edge of the abyss.” Christopher Clark, on the other hand, stands for a direction in research into the origins of the First World War that saw the outbreak of war as the “fruit of a common political culture ”in Europe and thus a common“ paranoia ”. Clark does not want to generally question the results of Fritz Fischer. Ian Kershaw names Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia as the main culprits for the war, with "Germany playing the decisive role". According to Annika Mombauer , after initial attempts at mediation, Russia and France welcomed a coming war after it seemed inevitable. “Ultimately, however, it was the governments in Berlin and Vienna that made a war come down, as the decisive decisions were made immediately after the attack.” With regard to the outbreak of war, Holger Afflerbach sees the Central Powers and Russia as being primarily responsible.

Today there is consensus that the outbreak of war in 1914 was "one of the most complex events in modern history" and that consequently the discussion about the causes of the First World War continues. The question is whether "whether new findings will really enrich the debate in the future".

Main topics

Research since the turn of the millennium can be divided into various key topics, which illustrate the variety of methods and approaches with which historians approach the First World War. The study of specific social groups often goes hand in hand with an analysis of the media and symbols that represent them. Picture postcards, for example, were developed as a relatively new type of source for the First World War, but reports on the fighting in official army reports and in the mass media also aroused research interests. Differentiated studies of the effects of war on different groups dealt with children, women, corporation students, war invalids and the previously underestimated conscientious objectors in World War I. But even medals and decorations are no longer analyzed context-free in recent research, but instead considered in their material and symbolic meaning in connection with the concept of military honor .

The examination of personal testimonies such as diaries or letters was always an important part of world war research. "Since personal testimonies were often made in the immediate vicinity of what happened, they are not over-shaped by later events and knowledge" and are therefore mostly regarded as particularly valuable sources and have been edited as such in recent years. Ernst Jünger's war diary 1914–1918, published in 2010, is considered “undoubtedly the most important new publication” , from which Jünger took the inspiration for many of his literary works. Letters from socialist soldiers containing numerous passages critical of the war or journal entries by intellectuals were also published as source editions, as were the diaries of the lawyers Karl Rosner (1873–1951) and Harry Graf Kessler (1868–1937). In contrast to field post letters from soldiers at home, letters to soldiers have rarely survived. Her more recent editions "show the efforts of soldiers and those who stayed at home to bridge distances and provide insights into everyday war life at the front and at home."

One of the leitmotifs of current world war research is the experience of violence on and behind the front. The violence of the First World War is seen as a link between the older forms of violence, the new technical developments since the turn of the century and the delimitation of violence in the Second World War. The dynamics of destruction are seen as part of the history of mentality in warring societies. But studies on the Austrian occupation policy in Serbia also deal with violence, where it is disputed whether it is predominantly accidental or systematic outbreaks of violence. The occupation rule over Romania, on the other hand, took place in close cooperation with the local elites, so that coercive measures were not the defining element. The situation is different for the German occupation of Belgium, in which the world war becomes visible as a “global economic conflict between industrial nations”. In the autumn and winter of 1916, Belgian workers were not recruited, but were forced into forced labor however, this practice did not prove to be successful, so that the occupation regime soon abandoned it under the impression of international protests. The prisoner-of-war camps have also been the subject of several recent studies The research focus increasingly fell on the internment of civilians: "Here, too, it can be seen that the dividing line between combatants and civilians in World War I faded." Another research focus is the often nationally diverging cultures of remembrance in the various successor states of the Central Powers , such as the example of Austro-Hungarian southern front in the Alto Adige area was shown.

Regarding the war experience of the soldiers at the front, the handling of sport - the popularization of football - and animals in war received new attention. The history of experience also includes “the long wait” of German and British naval officers for a naval war , “which ultimately hardly took place.” Conventional topics of classic operational history - planning, tactics, battles and description of the battle - have for a long time been neglected by research: “Publications who felt committed to the new military historiography, often avoided such questions and addressed military action in a wider context. In the meantime, the combat deployment of military personnel has become the subject of some investigations. ” Processes of change came into focus, for example the turning away from French offensive fetishism during the trench warfare and the learning processes in which the warring parties took over the tactics of the enemy. The psychological stress on soldiers at the front and the factors contributing to "holding out" the war situation were also scientifically investigated. Alexander Watson developed a new explanation for the defeat of the German Reich on the Western Front: Front officers had led their units into captivity as a way out of their bad situation, especially the lack of supplies, by surrendering even to outnumbered enemy troops.

Beyond the experience of the front, the effects of the war in the hometowns of the soldiers have meanwhile received some attention Roger Chickering worked with Freiburg in the First World War to develop a total historical perspective, which should demonstrate the formative influence of the war on all areas of life. Here, too, the decreasing ability to "persevere" played a decisive role since the winter of 1916/17. But Great Britain during the war also received closer scrutiny, for example from Adrian Gregory: “He rejects the now relativized thesis of widespread enthusiasm for war in 1914 and analyzes the reporting on the German war atrocities. The propaganda had by no means seduced the masses, rather 'real events' up until 1915 supported the image of a demonic Germany ”. State control of public communications played an important role in both German and British society.

The historiography of the Eastern Front of the First World War takes up little space in the literature on the years 1914 to 1918. One reason for the low level of research interest was the Cold War , which made access to the Eastern archives difficult for Western researchers. Under Lenin, military cemeteries of the tsarist empire were destroyed and so an attempt was made to erase the events connected with them from the historical consciousness of the people. In the Soviet Union, negative portrayals of the Imperial Russian Army in World War I , but also positive and patriotic ones, could lead to problems for the author, so that the topic was rather avoided. In 1975, Norman Stone wrote the first comprehensive account of what happened on the Eastern Front. Stone doubts the economic backwardness of the Russian Empire. For Stone, Russia's weakness lay in its outdated administration, which was to blame for the supply difficulties and inefficient army command. The war in the east differed markedly from the events on the western front in the east it remained a war of movement when the fronts in the west had already frozen. The reasons for this lay in the poor communication possibilities and poor traffic development, broken gaps in the defense lines could not be closed as quickly as in the west. The spatial extension of the eastern front with several thousand front kilometers contrasted with the length of the western front only 800 kilometers. Only in the more recent western representations and research on the First World War does the eastern front come into focus again. The Military History Research Office (MGFA) in Potsdam held a conference on "The Forgotten Front" in August 2004.

Even today, the question of why the European powers failed to end the war by mutual agreement still has an impact on European self-confidence. Holger Afflerbach put forward the thesis that the outcome of the First World War was open for a long time and was on the "knife edge": not in the sense of a German victory, but a military draw. Ultimately, neither side was prepared to give in decisively, and there were fatal misinterpretations. The war was fought so bitterly that a military decision could be reached. The long war period and the losses it caused were ultimately responsible for the fact that each side viewed a complete defeat of the enemy as the only satisfactory outcome of the war. Afflerbach primarily blames the western allies and Italy for the long course of the war, for whom a tied peace was out of the question and who wanted a complete victory at any price.

Memorials and memorials

The most famous memorials - some of them also museums - are now in the area around Verdun . The Fort de Douaumont , the Fort Vaux , the Douaumont Ossuary , the associated military cemetery and other remnants of the Battle of Verdun today form a large complex. On September 22, 1984, the memorial formed the background for the demonstrative Hand in Hand by Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand on the occasion of a large ceremony in memory of the victims of the wars between France and Germany. The Fallen Memorial Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, another important memorial, was opened on November 11, 2014 on the edge of the largest French military cemetery " Notre Dame de Lorette " near Ablain-Saint-Nazaire . Apart from Douaumont and Notre Dame de Lorette, the Mémorial des batailles de la Marne in Dormans and the Hartmannswillerkopf memorial are among the four French national monuments of the First World War. The ruins of Fort Loncin are an important Belgian war memorial.

The German military cemetery in Vladslo is best known for the group of figures “Mourning Parents” by Käthe Kollwitz . The history of the German military cemetery in Langemarck is related to the myth of Langemarck . There are numerous memorials around Ypres , especially for soldiers from Great Britain, at the Menenpoort in Ypres itself, The Last Post is blown daily at 8 p.m. in honor of the fallen . The central German commemorative event “100 Years of the Summer Battle ”, organized by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge , took place in the German war cemetery in Fricourt on July 1, 2016 . The British and French celebrated the day at the Thiepval Memorial in the presence of President François Hollande , Prime Minister David Cameron , Prince Charles and other members of the British Royal Family . The nearby Lochnagar crater is the largest surviving mine crater from the war. In the area of ​​the monumental Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial , the battlefields have been preserved and the trench systems and explosion craters are still legible in the topography. The history of the memorial in the clearing of Rethondes refers to the connection between the two German wars of aggression of the 20th century.

In Italy are the Sacrarium of Redipuglia (Sacrario di Redipuglia), the Monument to the Fallen on Monte Grappa (Monumento al Caduti de Monte Grappa), the Military Sacrarium of Fagarè della Battaglia ( Sacrario Militare di Fagarè della Battaglia ) and the Bell of the Fallen in Rovereto (Campana dei Caduti Maria Dolens) .

During the Weimar Republic, no consensus could be reached in Germany on a central Reich memorial for those who fell in the war, in 1935 Hitler decreed the Tannenberg memorial for this purpose. The hall of honor (fallen monument) on Luitpoldhain in Nuremberg , inaugurated in 1930, became the focal point for the Nazi party rally grounds and served as the central backdrop for the staging of the Nazi cult of the dead. The Neue Wache in Berlin was from 1931 to 1945, the Berlin "Ehrenmahl to the fallen of war" since 1993, she is the "Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the victims of war and tyranny." The memorial of the German Army has been located on the Ehrenbreitstein fortress in Koblenz since 1972 , the naval memorial in Laboe and the memorial for all those who died in the submarine war in Heikendorf near Kiel .

In France and Great Britain in particular, national memorials were often carefully designed simply, such as the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile . The new type of monument was intended to commemorate the many unidentifiable and missing soldiers of this war. This form of commemoration was taken up in many countries, but less so in inter-war Germany, where conservative and right-wing groups opposed who viewed such memorials as too pacifist. Works that did not idealize the life and death of soldiers were often attacked in Germany and removed during the Nazi era , such as those by Ernst Barlach . The victims of the First World War were the reason for the introduction of the day of national mourning in Germany in 1926. In Germany and France, numerous war memorials were created, especially in smaller towns , on which all the victims of the community were named, but less often in larger cities, such as the one War memorial in Munich and the war memorial in Heilbronn .

The central memorials in the former British Dominions are of national importance , of which Canada, Australia and New Zealand in particular see participation in the First World War as a significant step towards becoming a nation. For example, in Australia there are the Avenues of Honor , the Shrine of Remembrance and the Australian War Memorial , in Canada the National War Memorial , in New Zealand the World War One Memorial in Wellington and the Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch . In Great Britain itself - especially in London - there are also numerous smaller and larger memorials The grave of an unknown soldier in the nave of Westminster Abbey is symbolically significant , "in the midst of the kings, because he served his god and fatherland well," as an inscription proclaims. The installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red in the moat of the Towers of London caused a sensation and a large number of visitors in 2014 . In the Commonwealth of Nations and France, Remembrance Day and Armistice 1918 are still celebrated on November 11th, and ANZAC Day in Australia, New Zealand and Tonga on April 25th .

100 years after the Compiègne armistice, numerous celebrations took place, especially in France. President Emmanuel Macron visited memorial sites between November 4 and 11, 2018, including the Monument de la Pierre d'Haudroy on November 7, 2018 , the memorial for the arrival of the German negotiators on November 7, 1918 near La Capelle , on November 9 , 2018 November the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Péronne and on November 10, 2018 together with Chancellor Angela Merkel the clearing of Rethondes . Macron and Merkel unveiled a bilingual commemorative plaque on which "the importance of Franco-German reconciliation in the service of Europe and peace is affirmed" and visited the museum there, the identical version of the car from Compiègne , in which the armistice on November 11, 1918 was signed. Federal President Walter Steinmeier took part in a peace concert with Macron on November 4, 2018 in Strasbourg Cathedral and with Prince Charles in the Remembrance Sunday celebrations in London. Dozens of heads of state and government from all over the world traveled to the celebrations in Paris on November 11, 2018, including Merkel, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin .

Museums

In Europe alone there are more than 750 museums dedicated to the First World War. In addition to numerous objects, the Army History Museum in Vienna shows the automobile in which the Austrian heir to the throne was murdered . The Imperial War Museum in London has a very extensive collection on the First World War that has been redesigned for the commemorative year . The Musée de l'Armée in Paris, the National Army Museum in Bucharest (Muzeul Militar Naţional) and the Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr in Dresden also show significant collections and / or individual items . The Bavarian Army Museum in Ingolstadt presents the largest permanent exhibition on the First World War in Germany. The only originally preserved German tank from the First World War ( A7V ) is in the Queensland Museum , Australia (temporarily relocated to the Australian War Memorial in 2015 ).

Museums that deal exclusively with the First World War can be found mainly in northern France, noteworthy are the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Péronne and the Musée de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux . The 26 meter high monumental statue La Liberté éplorée by the American artist Frederick William MacMonnies directly at the museum in Meaux marks the point of the furthest German advance towards Paris in September 1914 ( ). On November 10, 2017, Emmanuel Macron and Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the first joint German-French museum (Historial) on the war in the Hartmannswillerkopf Memorial . 48 973 2905

The Mémorial de Verdun and the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres also offer outstanding presentations the municipality of Heuvelland near Ypres has restored the trench system of the German position in Bayernwald on the basis of archaeological research and made it accessible to visitors. Also worth mentioning is the Rovereto War Museum in the Rete Trentino Grande Guerra network , an amalgamation of museums and memorials in Trentino on the occasion of the centenary of the commemoration, as well as the Kobarid Museum in present-day Slovenia, which focuses on the Isonzo Battles (especially the Twelfth Isonzo Battle ).

Works of art

Literary works

The world war mainly had an impact on literary expressionism . The world war experience found its strongest German-language lyrical expression in August Stramm , but from a global perspective In Flanders Fields by John McCrae can be seen as the most influential poem. Among the British war poets , Wilfred Owen ( Dulce et Decorum est ) and Laurence Binyon ( For the Fallen ) should also be mentioned.

The novel, neglected by the German Expressionists, became the preferred genre of literature again after the World War, as the consequences and causes of the epochal event required the epic large form. The emergence of Dadaism can be seen in connection with the war. As well-known German-language depictions that deal with war events in the narrower sense, Ernst Jüngers In Stahlgewittern , The Wanderer Between Two Worlds by Walter Flex (one of the best-selling German-language books of all) and Erich Maria Remarques in the West cannot be named anything new . Among the German dramas, as reactions to the war, the last days of mankind by Karl Kraus and Bertolt Brecht's Drums in the Night were created .

Visual arts

Until the First World War, artists were mostly uninvolved witnesses of the war. In the First World War, on the other hand, there were - in addition to the war painters - numerous freelance artists among the soldiers. Most of her works received little attention after the end of the war, and - with the exception of Otto Dix - many authors distanced themselves from their war works. Artists such as Max Beckmann and Fernand Léger did not even attempt to exhibit them, but turned to other topics immediately after their demobilization. Well-known works are Sturmtruppe goes under gas (Otto Dix, 1924), Gassed ( John Singer Sargent , 1918) and The Nameless 1914 by Albin Egger-Lienz as well as the self-portrait as a soldier ( Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1915). In this war, the artists of the European avant-garde finally renounced the rules that had ruled battle painting until then. They looked for new means to do justice to the appalling reality: essentially cubism , futurism , expressionism and abstract art . “The time of heroic realism and patriotic allegories was finally over. The detonation of projectiles, the omnipotence of the artillery, the total war could no longer be imitated, it had to be transposed. Broken lines and bright colors were necessary, not to depict details of the battle, but to express their inhuman violence. ”The World War abruptly ended the architecture of Historicism and Art Nouveau in Germany , as the use of ornaments and the corresponding In view of the war and the need, additional costs no longer seemed appropriate. The war thus brought about the breakthrough of modernity in architecture and the formula “ form follows function ” as well as the view put forward by Adolf Loos in the pamphlet Ornament und Verbrechen (1908) that the use of ornaments and décor was superfluous.

Numerous sculptural works were created, especially in connection with the war memorials . At German art works mainly these are from today's perspective Grieving parents of Käthe Kollwitz and the The Floating and Magdeburg cenotaph of Ernst Barlach to name. The so-called nail pictures corresponded to the zeitgeist a propaganda movement that originated in Vienna in the first half of 1915 . The Iron Hindenburg in Berlin , Heinrich the Lion in Iron in Braunschweig , Dä kölsche Boor en Iser in Cologne , the Nagelsäule in Mainz and the Isern Hinnerk in Oldenburg became particularly well known .

Music

For music, the First World War is not regarded as the limit of the epoch, since the turning point with the advent of atonal music is set to 1908/09. Other than that, music plays almost no role in many of today's depictions of war. In terms of the history of composition, the First World War was important, art music took a stand, and even more naturally military music and popular music in the form of soldier songs such as B. the Argonnerwaldlied or wild geese rush through the night . Every German soldier had a field hymn book with them, a well-known song from it is e.g. B. We come to pray . Hymns during the war were sometimes used ambivalently, especially the chorals Now all thank God and A solid castle is our God "to be described as" fighting songs of Prussian-Protestant Germany par excellence ". The functionalization of music for the war was nothing new and in Germany, as in other countries, composers, lyricists and publishers quickly switched to the production of war-glorifying, national and heroic music at the beginning of the war. Pieces by composers from rival nations were partially removed from the concert hall program, especially at the beginning of the war. At the beginning of the war, the musical theaters increasingly included so-called patriotic German operas such as Richard Wagner's Meistersinger or Heinrich Zöllner's Der Überfall . A few war operettas were written, but from around February 1915 hurrapatriotic pieces with current war themes largely disappeared from the theater, Biedermeier operettas and the classical opera repertoire dominated the repertoire again. Only one war operetta lasted the whole war on the stage, the “Fatherland folk piece with singing in 4 pictures” set to music by Walter Kollo . .

At the front, the music provided cultural practices in which the everyday life of the war could take a back seat, at least for a few moments. In the Christmas peace of 1914, for example, music was a mediator and bridge-builder between the trenches the common singing of songs with the same melody like Silent Night / Silent Night and Heil Dir im Siegerkranz / God save the King ushered in the spontaneous armistice.

Compositions worth mentioning that were published in connection with the war were, for example, Edward Elgar's Carillon, Claude Debussy's Berceuse héroïque, Igor Stravinsky's Souvenir d'une marche boche and Vincent d'Indy's La légende de Saint Christophe . Art songs on the tragedy of the war were written by Franz Schreker , Franz Lehár , Charles Ives , Erich Wolfgang Korngold , Richard Strauss , Lili Boulanger , Giacomo Puccini , Hanns Eisler and Paul Hindemith .

On the occasion of the 100th year of commemoration after the beginning of the First World War, Altuğ Ünlü composed a requiem , which was premiered on November 1, 2014.

Movies

The First World War provided material for numerous film adaptations. The 1916 British documentary The Battle of the Somme, shot for propaganda purposes, saw 20 million moviegoers in Great Britain within six weeks, a record that was only surpassed 60 years later with Star Wars . In 2005 it was recognized as the world's first documentary heritage as the first British contemporary document . The most famous films today are Nothing New in the West (1930) based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque , Paths to Fame (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

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