Western Masculinities in War and Peace

It was a commonplace for America’s founding fathers to evoke the ideal of the ancient Greek and Roman citizen-soldier as a model for their own times, nurtured as they were on the principles of republican discourse. Even before the proclamation of independence, George Washington affirmed that “When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour when the re-establishment of American Liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our Private Stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful, and happy Country.”[1] The reinvigoration of this tradition in North America was made possible by the presence of self-reliant property owners who were willing to take up arms against distant authority in defense of emerging political rights. This is the standard political narrative of the American Revolution, but there is a gender tale to tell as well. The men who made the transition from citizens to soldiers were obliged to leave behind a sense of manly competence as heads of household for a life in which they lived rough, submitted to discipline, and survived on their fighting skills and personal courage.[2] Thus began the first modern experiment in the creation of a form of masculinity peculiar to the modern nation-state, in which the citizen must carry within himself the qualities of a warrior, but as a warrior must also remain the citizen he will become again at conflict’s end.

Much in modern history has depended on a nation’s ability to manage this transition between civilian and military masculinities in ways that neither jeopardized the efficient conduct of warfare nor troubled civic peace. Indeed, one might argue that the greater process of nation building has been successful to the extent that national identity has been effectively embodied in the identity of the individual soldier as a national masculinity that attenuates masculinities of class, region, and ethnicity. In the crucible of modern warfare, states have disintegrated when they have failed to bestow rights and services in proportion to the sacrifices their soldiers have made, or when unincorporated social elements have undermined the unity of national resolve. Thus, in contrast to the relative cohesiveness of the fighting forces of France and Great Britain during World War I, Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Germany succumbed in varying degrees to the chaotic centripetal forces unleashed by citizen-soldiers who had not been wholly absorbed into the nation.[3]

A growing body of scholarly literature addresses the complex relation between soldier and citizen as an aspect of the history of masculinity and gender relations in modern Europe and North America. A dominant theme in this work is the observation that historically societies have valued military masculinity and the personal characteristics of manliness that it comprises more highly than civic virtue and its masculinities. This may simply be a necessary concession to the truth that if men cannot defend their nation from attack from without, the fruits of citizenship will fall ungathered. On the other hand, if the manly pleasures and duties of civilian life are overshadowed by more aggressive forms of masculinity, social chaos can ensue, as occurred widely in Europe after World War I. In general, the business of mobilizing men to fight has been a greater challenge than putting the warrior genie back in the bottle at a war’s end. As many of these studies demonstrate, the raising of willing armies is best accomplished when military ideals are maintained at a simmer and their representations and values are kept fresh by commemoration, by national myths, and by masculine civilian practices that are readily adaptable to soldierly ends. The myriad ways in which military masculinities penetrate masculine associative life is another central theme, although most work acknowledges that the explicit aim of male organizations has been to separate a certain kind of man from other men and from women, not to build soldiers. There is also agreement that the previous war and the ones before it have dominated the horizon of individual and collective memory more powerfully, if inaccurately, than the prospect of future conflicts. Old soldiers migrate into civilian politics and perpetuate the comradely values that distinguished them. Until recent times, those who could not or would not fight, men and women alike, were not able to compete with the scent of gunpowder, or tales of it, that trails after the combat veteran.

The reforms of the age of democratic revolutions were built on the assumption that men who fought for their country were entitled in some degree to rights as citizens, even if these could not be immediately realized. Political rights were at least latent in the body of the male conscript or volunteer, whose actual or potential sacrifice would then earn him his nation’s gratitude. Women, conversely, had to wait until they achieved full citizenship in the modern state before being admitted to regular military service; their sex disqualified them from battle and disenfranchised them from politics, a fatal combination that left few openings through which they might demonstrate their utility to the state. With the ascendancy of military masculinity in the periods before, during, and following wars, this asymmetrical situation has been generally aggravated to women’s disadvantage. As a result, although we have become accustomed to thinking of the wartime gap between front lines and the home front as separating two different worlds, some studies argue that these fronts interpenetrated one another materially and psychologically more than we had imagined, and we are also reminded to consider the fate of the men who remained at home, toiled in noncombat military jobs, or were excluded from full recognition of their sacrifices by race, class, disability, or sexual orientation.

Methodologically, historical writing on masculinities draws on a familiar body of feminist theory, especially the work on gender of Joan Scott, Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Lynne Segal. These theorists have historicized gender and detached it as an analytical concept from patriarchy, emphasizing instead the performative and discursive features of regimes of gendered power.[4] Sedgwick in particular demonstrated how homosocial relationships produced strong but often tender bonds between men at the price of powerful displacements of erotic anxiety onto women, homosexual men, and fears of the feminine in themselves. These insights have in turn been applied to men and masculinity by a number of writers who are deeply informed by sociological theory, including Michael S. Kimmel, Pierre Bourdieu, and especially R. W. Connell. In a series of important works written in the 1990s, Connell advanced a concept of gender that identifies plural masculinities and femininities in hierarchical relation, the topmost position held by historically hegemonic forms of masculinity and less prestigious varieties strung out below. Femininities are lower still, with all the men above them profiting from what Connell calls the “patriarchal dividend.”[5] Bourdieu came relatively late to gender theory, but his notion of “habitus” as the formative context of social relations and his understanding of the ways that bodies unconsciously incarnate culture have been curiously underexploited by gender historians.[6] Indeed, if there is a weakness in the work under review, it is a dearth of theorizing on the actual processes by which masculinities are incorporated into male bodies, and an inadequate number of material illustrations.

Several of the works under review stress the dominance of particular forms of military masculinity that have flourished in war and in the preparations for war, and consider how they and their civilian variants have been formed and maintained in a variety of historical conditions. Others point out that the boundary between the home front and the war front, between the putatively masculine domain of battle and the feminized sphere of domesticity and civilian life, is remarkably permeable. The indispensable masculine qualities of the combat soldier have altered little over the long run of modern history: personal courage, the willingness to sacrifice for comrades, the fear of shame or dishonor. Without these behavioral norms, fighting could never have endured for long. But this minimalist definition does not consider the feminine aspects that inhere in the presumptively masculine homosocial bonds of soldierly life, nor does it acknowledge the network of connections with the feminine world beyond the battlefield that evoke memory and sustain hope of reintegration with peacetime society; and neither does it consider the dialectical relationship of combat masculinities with a range of other military and civilian masculinities that have reinforced or undermined the will to fight. The ideal qualities of soldiers and officers have also evolved over time, from semi-mercenaries led by noblemen to fellow citizens and members of the male sex, as that category came to be constituted in the course of the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, the bodily “habitus” of a man—his physical appearance, gestures, and speech—had become a marker in which many believed they could read the qualities of manliness he ostensibly possessed. We have since learned that the seemingly inexorable modern convergence of male sex and male gender has been disrupted by a number of scientific, technical, and cultural developments. As Leo Braudy reminds us, there is no “man,” nothing “invariable beneath the surface” of changes in clothing, male attitudes, and even body types.[7]

The institutionalization of the citizen-soldier took place against the background of a growing monopolization of violence by the state and the evolution of standards of manliness. Martin J. Wiener has convincingly traced the changes in law and popular attitudes toward male violence in England from the eighteenth century through the Victorian era. In the early modern era, conflict between men was regarded as a private affair, and violence toward women and children was viewed as shameful but seldom was punished. By degrees, the state criminalized male-on-male violence, and the public came to think it intolerable for a man to physically correct his wife or children—an ironic effect of contemporary family ideology and the idealization of female domestic virtues. But this tide of growing intolerance for civilian violence corresponded to a greater political and public willingness to employ ever larger and more destructive military forces abroad in behalf of the ideals of pacification and civilization that the state was now enforcing at home. As Wiener writes of this development, “the increasing disapproval of violence within Britain provided a discourse readily put to use in attacking empire … However in conflict they were on one level, in both internal pacification and external aggression can be seen the lineaments of the increasing state monopolization of violence that has characterized modern history.”[8]

As Pieter Spierenburg has pointed out, the civilizing impulse does not require some overall diminution of violence, only “a decrease in the intensity of personal conflict.”[9] In Britain, public fist-fighting was brought under the aegis of a fairness code provided by the Marquess of Queensberry, fighting with serious injury was punished, and the duel was criminalized. Dueling continued throughout the nineteenth century on the Continent and until after the Civil War in the United States, but duelers were subjected to increasingly stringent private protocols that lessened the frequency and the danger of affairs of honor.[10] The aim of such regulation was never to eliminate violence altogether but to mitigate the dangers that mayhem posed to public order, while preserving the tonic effects of risk and the tests of manliness that such activities allowed. In effect, the modern citizen-soldier was expected to internalize “naturally” these distinctions between the state-sanctioned violence that constituted his identity as a soldier and the more benign expressions permitted him at home.

One might argue that in the course of the nineteenth century, especially as warfare became more industrial and less a matter of hand-to-hand fighting, the personal honor that now resided in the individual soldier was shared with the nation in a kind of reciprocal embodiment, just as the ancient Greek citizen-soldier’s honor had been subsumed in the polis.[11] Glenda Sluga describes a similar process of mutual incorporation for the highly differentiated concepts of nationality that psychologists had elaborated by the end of the nineteenth century. By 1900 or so, national identity was located “more firmly ‘inside’ the self, and made the self a more complex entity involving layers of conscious and unconscious subjectivity.”[12] For modernizing nations, the conscript army was to be the “school for the nation” that would erase class, regional, and ethnic differences and create a “national masculinity” embodied in the individual soldier. Joshua A. Sanborn and Ute Frevert have shown how politicians and military men established the training procedures in Russia and Germany in the nineteenth century that would achieve, in Frevert’s words, an “inner transformation and resocialization” of recruits. The aim was to embed respect for arms, “hardness,” and sacrifice in men so that these “masculine ideals became the content of the character of the citizen-soldier.”[13]

Nonetheless, much as he might love and identify with his country, the citizen-soldier fought for and under the scrutiny of his comrades in arms, out of the need to defend his personal honor and that of the fatherland, or—which amounts to the same thing—to avoid shame. As William Ian Miller has written of this motive, “Shame-driven courage looks just fine to me, and it is hard to see how the citizen soldier devoted to the welfare of the polis could avoid being caught up in it.”[14]

Apart from supplying a stimulus to fight, a major consequence of this metaphorical reciprocity between the body of the nation and the body of the soldier has been the fertile possibilities it has opened for representations and an iconography of patriotic and commemorative symbols. As Leo Braudy writes about this development in From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity, “Whereas before, masculine ideals had been influenced by both religion and nationalism, now it was the image of the soldier, as repeated innumerable times in the ear and the eye, that became the standard.”[15] Joan Landes has argued that this process began in the French Revolution as an aspect of the “virilization” of the citizen-soldier during the “levée en masse.” This transformation of would-be citizens into soldiers was imagined in the 1790s through neoclassical visual representations of a fraternal and sacrificial fighting spirit among men and their collective devotion to female figures portrayed as objects of love, fertile mothers, or midwives of liberty and law, wherein “the alluring body of woman becomes a site for men’s patriotic investments.” Symbolic deflections of this kind ensured not only that friendship rather than erotic attachments would be the bond between men, but that a heroic sacrifice and death would be for women’s sake. As Landes concludes, “Among the many things that a citizen learned in his practice of citizenship was the value of masculinity, which in turn allowed a man to claim the right to possess the nation and to risk his life in its behalf.”[16]

Religious imagery as a source of inspiration for combat was by no means dead by 1914, however. Allen J. Frantzen has traced the long history of the idea of chivalric sacrifice and has demonstrated how images of Christ’s suffering were deeply integrated into the fighting traditions of medieval knighthood.[17] This tradition of blood sacrifice resurfaced in Western societies in the mid-nineteenth century together with the rise of muscular Christianity and a renewed fascination with medieval chivalry. Frantzen has assembled an impressive repertory of images and texts that articulated heroic sacrifice as an ideal before and during World War I: images of crucifixions and resolute soldiers, medieval knights going off to battle for God and country, and memorials to the dead citing their discipline, duty, and sacrifice. Frantzen argues that if combat soldiers in the Great War did not imagine their willingness to sacrifice in exactly the same way as the medieval knight, dying heroically out of love for one’s comrades and nation was its functional equivalent. He rightly takes issue with historians who see sacrificial discourses as self-deception; men risk their lives for other men when they are convinced that other men are risking their lives for them.[18]

The construction of a heroic citizen-soldier in the German lands drew upon these Christian and chivalric ideals of blood sacrifice during the Prussian Wars of Liberation in 1813–1814. The response to the universal conscription decreed by Frederick William III was overwhelming, despite no clear promise that enlistment would automatically entail citizenship, much less voting rights. But the monarchy broke with precedent and created honors and rituals to be shared by all heroes regardless of class. Poets and composers celebrated the “blood sacrifice” required of men in this “just and holy war”; and a cult of death was elaborated for the fatherland in countless sermons, rituals, and festivals in which a principal image was of Prussia (and Germany) as a “manly nation” demanding heroic sacrifice of its men.[19] Ute Frevert provides numerous examples of how rituals and festivals surrounding national and regimental flags were perpetuated in civilian life over the next century by German veterans’ organizations, including the funerals and marriage celebrations of former soldiers.[20]

By World War II, following the twentieth-century evolution of ideal male body types, the soldier in the United States and elsewhere was portrayed as more physical, sculpted, and aggressively masculine than in previous wars. This “turn to hardness” is prefigured in work on training, officer recruitment, and military publicity in the decades leading up to World War I.[21] Christina S. Jarvis provides numerous examples of the ways that recruiting posters and movies, government propaganda, and popular culture in the U.S. created personal and cultural narratives of military masculine embodiment that conveyed impressions of national strength and determination both at home and abroad. Images of young, white, well-muscled men circulated everywhere in the popular press; even Uncle Sam looked like he was juiced on steroids.[22] Another symbol of the nation, Lady Liberty, evolved between the world wars from a neoclassical dame into a vulnerable housewife in need of protection. Images of abject masculinities—”IV-F Charlie,” effeminate or homosexual men—also came to the fore as contrasting stereotypes.[23] Jarvis additionally analyzes in some detail the physical examination records of new recruits, in which the sex organs and body morphology (and lack of a gag reflex) were believed to reveal a man’s potential for unmanly comportment in battle. Deeply physical stereotypes of race also permeated attitudes toward allies and foes and nonwhite Americans in ways that valorized the masculine and white, if ethnically mixed, images that dominated war propaganda.[24]

British World War II masculinity, by contrast, was deeply affected both by the disillusioning masculine experience of the previous war and by the hypermasculine and machine-like image of the Nazi soldier. As Sonya O. Rose points out, the nation and, by extension, its masculinities are “linguistically gendered” in an unstable way.[25] The nation itself may be vulnerable and feminine when under attack and vengefully male when on the offensive; military masculinities may be constructed in similarly contingent fashion. The British appear to have favored a kind of masculinity based on the contemporary stereotype of the national character as one of “rationality and emotional reserve,” the better to contrast beleaguered Britain with the German aggressor. This model, which appeared throughout official and popular culture, made the “soldier hero” into a “team player” who preserved his individuality, loved his family, and was plucky rather than foolhardy. It was easier to build bridges with this less militarized masculinity to civilian men working on the home front, and thus to construct a kind of hegemonic masculinity that served to distinguish soldiers and workers from women, conscientious objectors, effeminate men, and the home guard in no less distinctive a way than more aggressive varieties.[26] Muscular physiques and fitness were, in any case, perfectly compatible with this temperate style of heroism.

The twentieth-century emphasis on a fit body as the foundation of a soldier’s military masculinity represented the first signs of a separation between sex and gender that we now take for granted, but during and after the two world wars this meant that a disabling wound was perceived and perhaps experienced as more deeply emasculating than in earlier wars, because it threatened the “performance and thus the bodily experience of an identity identified as masculine.”[27] On a more positive note, Sabine Kienitz argues that this emphasis on the body’s fragility spurred the search for alternative masculinities that did not depend on an aggressive performativity; Kienitz and Jarvis both observe that it also encouraged medical personnel to see bodies as composed of interchangeable parts for which an appropriate prosthesis might remasculinize a disabled soldier.[28]

Wartime masculinities at home and at the front are governed by contingent situations of danger and loss. The emotions they provoke generally keep combat masculinities in the foreground and other gendered responses, including noncombat military masculinities, in subordinate positions.[29] The challenge for modern peacetime societies defended by citizen-soldiers is to maintain some degree of military readiness without disrupting the normal rhythms of civilian life. Occasionally, military masculinities are self-consciously cultivated in schools and all-male organizations by political elites, but they may also emerge spontaneously from the circumstances of male sociability.[30] Both kinds are adaptable to the military requirements of the state in times of war.

Amy S. Greenberg’s gendered account of expansionism in Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire posits a competition between a “martial” masculinity that favored aggression and a “restrained” version that sought to conquer new territory through religious conversion and economic integration. There were sectional and class variations in support of these contrasting masculinities, but Greenberg shows that there was a growing consensus on the superiority of martial masculinity in winning an empire for the American Republic. “Filibustering” expeditions by ambitious or patriotic mercenaries to Central America and the Pacific had broad public and unofficial support throughout the antebellum era, as did the border provocations that led to the U.S.-Mexican War.[31]

Greenberg’s principal contribution in Manifest Manhood is to track gendered discourse in the fiction, travel literature, and political rhetoric of the era to show how it overwhelmingly sustained the “martial” manhood alternative. Mexican and Latin American women appeared in this literature as appealingly seductive, and their men as weak and lazy; Hawaiian men and women were similarly described. These landscapes and societies alike were ripe, in this discourse, for regeneration by masterful men who were not afraid to employ force to gain their ends. The language of chivalry extended protection to white frontier women and señoritas alike, and Greenberg evokes Benedict Anderson’s “deep horizontal comradeship” of willing men to describe the emerging sectional and social consensus on the superiority of force.[32]

This approach to the constructionist power of narrative resembles Graham Dawson’s powerful analysis of pre–World War I British “soldier-hero” narratives featuring Henry Havelock, T. E. Lawrence, and other colonial adventurers. As Dawson analyzes these narratives, they organized “the available possibilities for a masculine self in terms of physical appearance and conduct, the values and aspirations and the tastes and desires that will be recognized as ‘masculine’ in contemporary social life. Being subjectively entered-into and ‘inhabited’ through identification, the cultural forms of masculinity enable a sense of one’s self as ‘a man’ to be imagined and recognized by others.”[33] In antebellum America, the “traveling domesticity” of western expansion in the 1840s was thus superseded in the 1850s by the “traveling masculinity” of filibusters and other armed expeditions. The unprecedented publicity generated by these dramas shaped both personal identities of American men as warriors and national images of the United States as a warrior nation, and served, Greenberg argues, as one of the trip wires that led to the War Between the States.[34] The transition Greenberg describes between post–Civil War “restrained” masculinity and the subsequent turn-of-the-century “martial” masculinity was prefigured in the multiple ways the citizen-soldier was schooled in this period throughout the West.

There is already a considerable literature on the Anglo-American “games revolution” of the mid-nineteenth century, and much on its ideological father, Thomas Hughes, whose 1857 novel Tom Brown’s School Days attributed to Thomas Arnold, Rugby’s famous headmaster, the forging of the connection between manliness and sport.[35] While acknowledging Hughes’s influence, Axel Bundgaard complicates the relationships between sport, authority, and sport narratives. In Muscle and Manliness, Bundgaard argues that before play was governed by rules and became sport, it carried little ideological baggage. In the United States, the first efforts to link character to the sporting body appeared in the late 1860s, amid an explosion in the number of boarding schools for boys where upper-class parents concerned about the feminization of public education could be certain that their sons would be molded “with the desired [read masculine] character traits.”[36] At the same time, the formalization of sport in Britain and its empire was having a “transformative” social effect there, pushing women to the sidelines, encouraging the separation of public and private spheres, and imbuing “cultural practices with biological meaning.”[37] In the U.S., the first school-based games were initiated by students. Teachers and headmasters did not begin to exert authority until the 1880s, led by the earnest Christian and headmaster of Groton School, Endicott Peabody, mostly to cut down on brutality and cheating. Eventually, gyms were built, regular extramural competitions scheduled, and competitive traditions established. Sporting participation at elite schools became a requirement and the most prestigious activity of student life. This fact was acknowledged by headmasters in the era before World War I, who embedded sport in a discourse of manliness and character development and tied it to the shaping of a democratic citizenry.[38]

Along with headmasters and sport-conscious politicians such as Theodore Roosevelt, it was those who wrote about sport, not the athletes themselves, who created the narratives of masculine competition, character, and the virtues of fitness.[39] Bundgaard shows us that it was school newspapers that bestowed on athletics the ability to instill masculine qualities in athletes. Thus did the terms “manly, honor, toughen, physical prowess, pride,” among others attributed by schoolboy writers to their teams, mimic the characterizations of college and professional sportswriters who were supplying masculine narratives of their own, thereby creating a new audience for sport and a set of ready-made attitudes for reading it.[40]

A similar process was at work in Great Britain, but with an imperial dimension in the bargain. British manliness in the 1840s and 1850s was evolving from “an evangelical Christian ethos that privileged earnestness” into a model “that emphasized physical strength, muscular development, the stiff upper lip, adventure, fortitude, and action,” qualities in keeping with the expansion of a vast empire.[41] By the 1870s, as John Tosh has pointed out, a “flight from domesticity” drove men into imperial service, clubs, and sport as worries rose about the health of the race and the feminization of society.[42] A competitive games culture was evolving alongside the new system of competitive exams in the elite universities. Paul R. Deslandes effectively shows how Oxbridge culture adapted itself in the second half of the nineteenth century to the new mission of creating professional public servants who were manlier than the indifferent scholars of the early Victorian era. Oxbridge campuses became self-consciously masculine spaces, homosocial rituals grew more central to undergraduate life, and athletic masculinity held pride of place over other varieties at the old universities. Sporting events became occasions for dramatizing gender segregation and affirming heterosexual sexuality; mothers, sisters, and love interests, ordinarily kept ex muros, were invited to the boat races to stand and cheer their men.[43] A pragmatic reason for exhausting schoolboys in play had always been the hope that they would drop off to sleep before masturbating. In Oxbridge, sport served to head off homosexual fears in men at the same time that it provided the occasion for establishing homosocial emotional bonds between them.

Women and foreigners were the outsiders in Oxbridge culture; sport served to make that distinction clear before World War I. However, as Patrick F. McDevitt has shown, although the forms of sport practiced by elite British men were adopted throughout the empire, colonials developed playing styles that distinguished them from the British, notably fast “head” bowling in cricket. “The Bodyline Affair” was the name given to a squabble that erupted after World War I between British, West Indian, and Australian cricket teams in connection with this departure from traditional play. The new aggressive style seemed to be at odds with the gentlemanly tone of the game, but as McDevitt shows, the riskier colonial style, which shared something in common with the popular attitude toward winning at all costs, was ultimately more compatible with the military masculinity then in the ascendancy.[44] The Irish, who rejected elite British games altogether, were busy developing traditional Irish games into fiercely competitive sports. Hurling and Gaelic football exhibited many features of mock military battles, and Irish sporting rhetoric urged men to sacrifice their bodies for Ireland, a kind of “muscular Catholicism” equivalent to the Protestant variety. As was the case elsewhere, sport in Ireland served to sharpen gender distinctions and separate the sexes, just as it enhanced race distinctions in the colonial domains.[45]

France experienced a similar fin-de-siècle fascination with sport and physical culture. Pierre de Coubertin was the moving force behind the reestablishment of the Olympic Games in 1896, and the brutalizing rigors of the Tour de France bicycle race began just after the turn of the century.[46] The biggest games in town, however, were the body wars of the Dreyfus Affair, which convulsed France in these same years. Christopher Forth has written a fascinating account of the struggle between anti-Dreyfusards and Dreyfusards for the privileged heights of masculine superiority. As was the case elsewhere, many French pundits were worried about the effeminizing effects of modern consumer culture, but they also feared the debilitating effects on young men of France’s intensely competitive intellectual culture. Dreyfus’s detractors used the interarticulated “others” of race and gender to make the body of Dreyfus into an effeminate, cowardly, and abject exemplar of a man, and those of his defenders into limp, unmanly homo sedentarius. Intellectualized Jews, pacifists, and socialists were the perfect foils, Forth reminds us, for the image of military manhood adopted by the apologists for the French Army.[47]

The Dreyfusards fought back with similarly gendered and sexualized hyperbole. They claimed to be heroes of thought, fearless in their moral courage, and seekers after truth. Dreyfus himself and Emile Zola, forced into exile in England, were portrayed in religious imagery as sacrificial beings offering up their suffering bodies to the irrational anti-Dreyfusard crowd.[48] Each side made insinuations about the homosexuality of the other, duels broke out between respective “champions,” and women were brought onto the stage as moral exemplars and symbols of truth, but usually as incarnations of bodily frailty under the protection of gallant men. The Dreyfusards may have enjoyed a short-lived political triumph and won the symbolic victories in the Affair, but the real winner in this great political crisis was a discourse of military masculinity and a culture of the muscular, intrepid male body. By 1913, the new term “intellectual” had become an insult, and that bastion of intellectualism, the École Normale Supérieure, a “barracks.”[49] The “culture of force” was celebrated everywhere as a physical manifestation of strength and a moral force of will. The soldier in the citizen was primed to emerge. As George L. Mosse has taught us, by the end of the nineteenth century the male body had come to represent the health and well-being of the body politic.[50]

Military training deindividualizes men and prepares them for sacrifice. As Theodore Nadelson has written of this process, “Military training is meant to wrest the soldier out of the civilian and throw him into action.”[51] Warfare itself was expected to complete the task, but in twentieth-century wars, men often complained of the inaccurate reputation that soldiers gained for bloodthirsty killing and rape, behavior that was publicized in war propaganda about the “other side.”[52] Deserved or not, the notion that war inured men to killing and violence against women was widespread in postwar societies. Demobilization obliged a man to shed his soldier’s life and the homosocial world that had sustained it and cross back into the “feminized zone” of women and noncombatants to become a civilian again, the sooner the better for all concerned. While acknowledging the wrenching adjustments that men underwent when moving from one zone to another, some important work substantially undermines both the autonomy and the gendered homogeneity of home and war fronts, finding, as we shall see, ample proof of “feminine” qualities even among battle-tested combat soldiers at the front.

It obviously mattered whether a man returned to a “victory culture” or came home in defeat. If the latter, he returned as a “disabled patriarch,” according to Maureen Healy, whose work on the Viennese home front during World War I treats this aspect of reintegration into civilian life. For the men who had stayed home, Healy writes, “to be simultaneously a civilian and a ‘man’ had also become something of a conceptual impossibility in wartime.” But for returning soldiers, the opposite transformation was also difficult because, after years of war, “becoming civilized and becoming civilian were nearly synonymous.”[53]

As men, soldiers continued to dispose of the sacrificial dividend granted all combat troops, but finding a job, resuming family life, and curbing aggression were now their primary tasks, and most men made the transition with great difficulty. Men felt resentment at those who had stayed behind, including their wives, and the traditional patriarchal obligation to control one’s wife was a particularly exigent aspect of military masculinity.[54] Unsurprisingly, attacks on women and a rise in rates of domestic violence characterized the postwar years in Austria, and the wartime weapons that men had been unwilling to abandon were often employed. Fellow veterans were a consolation, but also a temptation for engaging in violent political adventures. For men who had sworn to “win or die,” the residual prestige of military masculinity offered small comfort in peacetime.

With Healy’s book we add to an unusually important literature on the interaction of the home and war fronts. Michael Roper writes that a characteristic of work on World War I in the late 1970s was a tendency to portray the home and war fronts as zones of mutual incomprehension.[55] Historians probably do not sufficiently credit the fact that a turning point of sorts may have been announced in Pat Barker’s brilliant trilogy of World War I novels Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road, which were published between 1991 and 1995. Barker imagined the war through the memories of men in trauma hospitals, through their erotically charged friendships, and through the relationships of men and women on the home front, creating a web of interrelated life histories in which combat was both distant and yet inseparable from lived experience.[56] Susan Kingsley Kent, Joanna Bourke, Belinda J. Davis, Susan R. Grayzel, and Maureen Healy have further integrated home and war fronts in their studies of the European experience in World War I. They argue that women were present at the front in greater numbers than previously thought, sharing the chaos of war. They point out how privation, bombing, and violence in the European capitals were a simulacrum of war for women, children, and noncombatants, and they especially stress the home visits and the epistolary connections between soldiers, wives, lovers, and mothers that deepen our understanding of the emotional ties that helped to mitigate the gender divide created by warfare.[57] In these accounts, men were reluctant warriors who reimagined and clung to the nurturing masculine emotions of domestic life and modeled their bonds with fellow soldiers on the examples provided by their own mothers’ love and sacrifices.[58]

It has been convincingly argued that the experience of combat and the emotional dynamics of Kamaradschaft may have neutralized the “fear of the feminine” that normally troubles the equilibrium of homosocial groups. Robert L. Nelson has examined soldier newspapers in World War I and found in the German papers eloquent testimonials to a “faithfulness and honesty” in friendship that rivaled marriage. He suggests that a relatively stronger emphasis on comradeship in German soldier papers than in their English and French equivalents was a guilty emotional compensation for the uncertainty that German soldiers felt about their nation’s war of aggression.[59] Thomas Kühne goes further still, arguing that comradeship was “coded feminine,” a “camouflage” for the “male” violence that was the norm of front-line fighting. The “myth” of a caring and supportive comradeship, Kühne writes, “served to smooth over symbolic contradictions, social differences, and emotional tensions” in a violent all-male world.[60] In the heightened aggressiveness of World War II, the “femininity” expressed in comradeship became the “fundamental pillar of being a man,” as well as a basis for empathic understanding on the part of mothers, wives, and sisters. Nonetheless, Kühne concludes, this comradely femininity only balanced the tensions between a sublimated homosexuality and the heterosexual norm; it did “not question the hierarchy of the sexes, but stabilized it.”[61]

War thus both sharpened and blurred the lines between the sexes. Military masculinity could not consistently remain a monopoly of the front-line soldier, even in the hell of the trenches; women and noncombatants on the home front experienced vicariously, and sometimes very directly, the dangers and miseries of combat.[62] The war also narrowed the gap between masculinities of class, according to Joanna Bourke, and there is reason to think that the home-front experiences of the Second World War, when the war was truly brought home for most Europeans, blurred the lines further still.[63] Nonetheless, as Susan Grayzel concludes in her study of Britain and France in World War I, despite the instability of “home front” and “war front,” and the need to see them along a continuum rather than divided in space and experience, women were encouraged “to see their roles as mothers, particularly as producers of future soldiers, as central to their identities.”[64] Similarly, the memorialization of masculine heroic sacrifice after the world wars perpetuated the hegemony of military masculinity over all other kinds. Nancy Wingfield and Maria Bucur note the “exclusively masculine” construction of heroism after the world wars in Eastern Europe, and other scholars have affirmed the power of the sacrificial and masculine “myth of the war experience” that has shaped memories of war up to the present.[65]

Twentieth- century wars provide us with the best examples of the constructedness and variability of military masculinities in the citizen-soldier. On the one hand, although conscription has persisted in many European nations, the evolution of the rights and duties of citizens and the gender-inclusiveness of modern societies have inevitably influenced the nature of military service and the ideals of military masculinity that they favor. The United States and Great Britain, on the other hand, have reverted to their peacetime traditions of professional armed forces and have been able to partially insulate traditional conceptions of military masculinity, despite the incorporation of women into the ranks in noncombatant (though still dangerous) roles. The end of the Cold War and the lessened need for mass armies in Europe have placed conscription itself in doubt, not to mention the wisdom or fairness of excluding women from service. Although debate over these issues has raised serious questions in Europe about the social utility or the morality of combat masculinity in the old mold, the U.S., notwithstanding the anti-war movements of the 1960s and early 1970s, continues to embrace ideals of masculine military valor.

In Germany and Russia, where conscription preceded the granting of full political and social rights, the financial and civic benefits of service eventually caught up with its obligations. In Russia, this did not occur until the mid-1920s, after the Red Army had defeated its rivals and the regime was able to expand material benefits and political rights. It is unlikely, however, that the successful “nationalization” of masculinity that took place in the decade after 1917 could have happened at all without the ideological and class appeals used by the Bolsheviks, along with the traditional exhortations to defend womenfolk and display courage. As Joshua Sanborn has written, many Soviet citizen-soldiers were sympathetic to Bolshevik ideology, but those less sympathetic may have fought as valiantly because they had learned that to become members of the political community “entailed becoming hard, courageous, and strong. They had to become masculine to become citizens.”[66]

In Germany, the absence of conscription in the interwar period briefly afforded the opportunity for a variety of alternative masculinities to flourish, especially sport, but by the time Adolf Hitler resumed the draft in 1935, German youth had already been exposed to years of indoctrination in Nazi racial ideology in the schools, the Labor Service, and Hitler Youth. According to Omer Bartov, who has reviewed the relevant literature, this ideological component served to authorize soldiers’ participation in the mass slaughter of civilians and the outright shooting of prisoners. The Kamaradschaft of soldiers on the eastern front was composed of equal parts fear of retaliation by a dehumanized enemy, and a belief in “the united strength of the group and the ‘iron’ will of the individual,” which produced a kind of “youth gang” that was a “powerful combination of total revolt and total submission, of destructiveness and obedience.”[67] For her part, Ute Frevert emphasizes the success of Nazi propaganda in instilling in fighting men a genuine contempt for gentleness and sensitivity and a belief that sacrifice for the Volk was the highest ideal. “Under Hitler,” she writes, “the ‘liberally-predetermined’ term ‘citizen’ was frowned on, replaced by the national comrade (Volksgenosse).”[68] Once again, future historical work would profit from exploring the process by which fighting men embodied this murderous combat ethos, which seems on its face a monstrous exaggeration of even the most aggressive types of military masculinity.

Determined to break with the Nazi past, the Federal Republic (West Germany) decided to reauthorize the draft in 1956 and create a “new kind” of “citizen in uniform.” A strong undercurrent of pacifism in postwar German society made the nonmilitary form of state service nearly as popular as the military one, and as Frevert notes, the martial images of the past were sufficiently distrusted that by the 1960s, soldiers on leave chose to dress in mufti, grow beards, and wear their hair long in the style of the era.[69] The effort to reconfigure masculinity did arouse fears, especially in the Federal Republic, of men who would be too weak, effeminized by consumer culture, and dominated by women, who, conversely, would be too strong.[70] The POWs who returned from internment in these years seemed utterly unmanned by the experience, and much care was taken to ensure their remasculinization and reintegration into civilian life. However, as Frank Biess has written, this process was not a “restoration but a recasting of masculinities,” a new set of “tamed masculinities” that corresponded to the “tamed militarism” of the new German army.[71]

A selection of books on postwar American masculinities at least partly explains why the United States has not followed the course taken by many of its NATO allies. The lion’s share of responsibility for defending the West in the late 1940s and 1950s required a continued American military readiness that was obliged to be compatible with full-bore industrial productivity and consumerism, which has proven to be a formula for contradictory tensions. Conscription, of course, was a casualty of the Vietnam War, when potential draftees and their parents resisted this unpopular engagement. The politically necessary retreat to an all-volunteer fighting force seems to have contributed to maintaining a public consensus for armed interventions and protected the prestige of military masculinities in the years since 1974. However, civilian society has also generated multiple examples of masculinities in the Cold War years that have sustained the image of American men as latent soldiers.

The economic boom and buoyant “victory culture” of post-1945 America permitted a rapid return of consumption and the end of wartime privations. The joys of domestic life were celebrated widely, marriage rates increased, average age at marriage declined, and marital fertility went up in what Stephanie Coontz has called “the golden age of marriage in the West.”[72] But doubts soon emerged in the form of worries about the stability of marriage, despite divorce rates lower than at any time in the previous half-century.[73] There were also concerns about the materialism of the consumer culture, the suburbanization and growing conformity of American society, and the increase in Cold War tensions. In Men in the Middle, James Gilbert explains how these anxieties took the form of a critique of mass culture in which a crisis of masculinity played a central role. Gilbert does not actually discuss male behavior; instead, he explores the ways that high and low culture dramatized the dilemma of how postwar men could remain manly individuals in an era of feminized consumption and conformism. Philip Wylie, David Riesman, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., William H. White, and others asked whether “other-directed” men could resist the blandishments of emasculating “momism” and the hollow security of being an “organization man.”[74] Among other examples, Gilbert shows how the dramatist Tennessee Williams portrayed men in his plays as performing their masculinity and creating themselves against fathers, women, and other men.[75] Gilbert’s point is that Americans in the fifties were learning to think about gender as a role that was more loosely tied to sex than had previously been believed.

Masculinity and femininity had been rooted in biological sex in scientific, medical, and popular discourse for the previous 150 years, but gender was gradually being separated from sex as the result of an array of social scientific and medical findings, including the synthesis of the “sex” hormones and transsexual surgery. John Hoberman has written in Testosterone Dreams about the “rhetoric of enhancement” connected to hormone therapies that flooded postwar America in men’s efforts to achieve sexual and functional “normality.”[76] The fifties were also the era of Christine Jorgensen and Alfred Kinsey: Jorgensen was a deeply convincing performer of her new sex, and Kinsey famously popularized a continuum of sexual “outlets” that narrowed the distance between exclusively heterosexual men and the surprisingly high percentages of men who had experimented with homosexuality.[77]

All this news about labile sex, constructed gender, and elective sexuality was received with conspicuous anxiety. The U.S. and its valiant soldiers seemed on shaky ground, and the reaction to this uncertainty took paths that are well known to us because some are still present in American culture as reruns, “classic” films and literature, or popular icons. Various forms of “tough guy” masculinity emerged. They took the form of wandering “road” poets such as Jack Kerouac, soldiers of fortune, and film re-creations of war heroism, frontiersmen and cowboys, or rebellious youth. In an imaginative study of postwar photography titled Shooting from the Hip, Patricia Vettel-Becker demonstrates how the camera was discussed and used as a male instrument that focused a male gaze on male objects of interest. She argues that war photography favored “masculine” detachment over “feminine” sympathy, reveals how urban landscapes were notable for their realism and fascination with male gangs, and writes that sport photos were shot “with an eroticism that denies it is erotic.”[78] James Gilbert argues that the “spectator masculinity” inspired by such popular images was more fantasy than real, but their availability as scripts for narrative self-fashioning and identification is clear enough, as is their ability to function as military subtexts.[79]

Gender crises of this kind have the capacity to both scramble relations between the sexes and reestablish sexual norms. Hugh Hefner began Playboy magazine and his bunny empire in 1953, promoting not only heterosexuality and female nudity but, equally importantly, a style of masculine consumerism and taste-mongering that assimilated the objectification of female flesh to the accumulation of commodities.[80] In the realm of high-fashion photography, Arthur Penn and Richard Avedon were photographing their models as though they were bestowing upon them a type of porcelain-doll femininity. Nude and fashion photographers alike aimed at a detachment that would allow them to represent “the qualities inherent in all women.”[81] Of course, all this gender fashioning also contributed to the first manifestos of feminism in the 1960s, which permitted women to contest these images of a feminine mystique created by men; only a few years later, gays and lesbians began to lay claim to nonheterosexual sexualities and identities.

While white America was arguing over gender, black American veterans were returning from a war in which they had played mostly supportive roles to find that military service had not earned them full citizenship rights. Black men had always been obliged to mask their manliness and their sexuality in a largely segregated society, but as Steve Estes argues, it was the indignation of black veterans that fueled NAACP activism in the late 1940s, giving black men a setting in which to construct a new civil masculinity.[82] Until the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., the men who led the civil rights movement forged a kind of masculine courage based on the moral imperative of nonviolence that had been built on the legacies of W. E. B. DuBois and Mahatma Gandhi. Women played front-line roles in civil rights battles, but within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee they experienced both “liberation and oppression” as supernumeraries to the male leadership.[83]

The next generation of black leaders and organizations adopted a more violent style of masculinity in their drive to achieve recognition as men. Women remained in inferior positions, and the men who urged a more moderate course or nonviolent resistance were ridiculed as unmanly. But manliness of any kind can be a lived masculinity only if it is acknowledged by others, and the publication of the Moynihan Report on the pathologies of the Negro family in 1965 simply reinforced the assumption that the problem with black people was the failure of their men to grow up and take responsibility. Indeed, Moynihan himself believed that black men needed to be inducted in great numbers into the armed forces so that they could become a part of “male, American society.”[84]

What happens to masculinity in a “cold” war? Imperial Brotherhood, Robert D. Dean’s study of Cold War foreign policy, is a major effort to explain the role that masculinity and sexuality played in the great foreign policy initiatives of the postwar period. In Dean’s scenario, between the world wars, elite prep school boys played sports, endured hazing, and were readied by fathers, teachers, and coaches for their future roles as leaders of a great military power. When Pearl Harbor occurred, the youngest of these men felt obliged not only to enter the service, but to seek out its most dangerous branches—as paratroopers, on PT boats, in the special forces—and leadership positions within them. They were constructing “serviceable identity narratives,” according to Dean, which required the repression or erasure of aspects that did not meet the image of athletic, valorous, and heterosexual manhood. Since the early part of the twentieth century, this image had served as the ideal that would ensure the future reputations and leadership of elite men.[85]

In the 1950s, the “patricians” who led the State Department in the Truman and Eisenhower years ran full-tilt into the “primitive” red-baiting senator from Wisconsin, “Tail-Gunner Joe” McCarthy. In McCarthy’s mind, elite men were tainted by their class and cosmopolitan origins, and many gave off more than a whiff of sexual unorthodoxy. Dean has tracked the persecution of State Department and other government bureaucrats in detail and shown that suspicions of homosexuality were as significant as connections with Communist front organizations in leading to dismissals or resignations. The conflation of a “red scare” with a “lavender scare” is at least in part a consequence of the great publicity that had been given to Kinsey’s sexual identity rating system, which reinforced fears that any man, not simply an effeminate one, might be a homosexual and thus eligible to blackmail by foreign agents.[86]

However much the “patricians” and the “primitives” fought with one another, it is Dean’s point that both believed that masculine forcefulness was required in domestic and foreign policy if the United States was to retain Cold War leadership. In his inaugural address in January 1960, John F. Kennedy invoked William H. Whyte’s “organization man,” television, and precooked meals as signs of a conforming flabbiness that could best be remedied by the example of masculine courage and sacrifice.[87] At least initially, the Peace Corps was an attempt to implement this sentiment. U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was a fight that first Kennedy and later the “primitive” Johnson and his many “patrician” advisors refused to back away from, for fear of being thought “weak,” even as the cause became increasingly hopeless.[88]

The invention in the postwar era of the national security state has ensured that domestic and foreign policy is conducted in secret by trusted insiders who have used less than transparent criteria to decide the grounds for America’s foreign policy adventures. Military experience and a particular style of masculinity were often highlighted in electoral contests to head up the Cold War apparatus. The years since September 11, 2001, indicate that this standard of measure is far from extinct. The presidential campaign of 2004 featured one prep school and Ivy League candidate who was accused of shirking combat in the National Guard, while another, who followed a potentially more perilous course from prep school to Ivy League to “swift boat” service in Vietnam, was confronted with charges that he had exaggerated his combat achievements. Has anything changed?

The end of the Cold War and the passing from the scene of the last warriors of World War II has obliged the Western democracies to rethink conscription and the role of the citizen-soldier. Conscription is clearly on the wane, but it seems unlikely that volunteer armies will transform the historic social contract between the citizen-soldier and the state, or end the characteristic representation of the soldier’s body as the image of the nation, no matter how unrepresentative that soldier might be of the nation’s class and ethnic identity. The reciprocity that was established between fighting men, civil rights, and the defense of the state in the era of the Atlantic Revolutions still operates to place military masculinities at or near the top of the gender hierarchy. However, the tacit admission that gay men can be good soldiers, the breaching of the wall around the all-male military world by women, and a widespread willingness to train women in the use of arms means that these gender identities may be increasingly available to everyone. This development, together with a new willingness, at least in Europe, to conceive of alternative forms of military masculinity, will further illuminate the historical and conventional nature of our inherited image of the hard, sacrificial, heterosexual male soldier.

Historians should continue to explore the ways in which this image of the citizen-soldier was constructed and maintained in historical societies. As the works analyzed here reveal, even in wartime the masculine warrior is never sealed off from women or from the feminine in himself or his comrades. The construction of a soldier willing to sacrifice himself for his country has thus been a more or less permanent activity, operating in war and in peace to fix in his body masculine traits that appear natural to him and others and that are continuous with the gender ideals of civilian life. We need a better understanding of how this process of embodiment has worked and a clearer sense of why it is so successful that soldiers will sometimes fight to the death against impossible odds and other times show the white flag.

I would like to thank Mary Jo Nye, Maureen Healy, William B. Husband, Elinor Accampo, Ben Mutschler, and Marisa Chappell for reading earlier drafts of this essay or offering bibliographic suggestions. I am also grateful for the observations and advice of the anonymous readers of the AHR, and for the editorial assistance of Christie VanLaningham.

Robert A. Nye has been the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at Oregon State University since 1994. He taught previously at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a George Lynn Cross Research Professor. Among other titles, he has written Crime, Madness, and Politics in Modern France (Princeton University Press, 1984) and Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (Oxford University Press, 1993; University of California Press, 1998). His most recent book is an Oxford Reader, Sexuality (1999). He is working presently on masculinity and the professions.

Notes

1 Speech on June 26, 1775, to New York State Provincial Congress, George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741–1799: Series 3c Transcripts.

2 On the evolution of colonial manhood in the American colonies, see Anne S. Lombard, Making Manhood: Growing Up Male in Colonial New England (Cambridge, Mass., 2003).

3 See the comparative essays on this matter in John Horne, ed., State, Society and Mobilization in Europe during the First World War (Cambridge, 1997): Leonard V. Smith, “Remobilizing the Citizen-Soldier through the French Army Mutinies of 1917,” 144–159; Wilhelm Diest, “The German Army, the Authoritarian Nation-State and Total War,” 160–172; John Horne, “Remobilizing for Total War: France and Britain, 1917–1918,” 195–211; Richard Beisel, “Mobilization and Demobilization in Germany, 1916–1919,” 212–222.

4 In particular, Joan Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York, 1988); Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York, 1990); Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Homosocial Desire (New York, 1985); Lynne Segal, Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing Men, 2nd ed. (London, 1997).

5 R. W. Connell, Masculinities (Berkeley, Calif., 1995); Connell, The Men and the Boys (Berkeley, Calif., 2000); Connell, Gender (London, 2002). In his many works on masculinity, Michael S. Kimmel uses an analytic concept similar to Connell’s, in which he distinguishes between “superordinate” and “subordinate” masculinities. See Kimmel, Manhood: The American Quest (New York, 1994); Kimmel, The History of Men: Essays in the History of American and British Masculinities (Albany, N.Y., 2005). See also Robert A. Nye, “Locating Masculinities: Some Recent Work on Men,” Signs 30, no. 3 (Spring 2005): 1937–1962.

6 Bourdieu’s chief works on embodiment are Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, 1977); The Logic of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Stanford, Calif., 1990); and La domination masculine (Paris, 1998). See on the applications of his work Richard Shusterman, ed., Bourdieu: A Critical Reader (Oxford, 1999); Craig Calhoun et al., eds., Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives (Oxford, 1993); Nicholas Brown and Imre Szeman, eds., Pierre Bourdieu: Fieldwork in Culture (New York, 2000); Deborah Reed-Danahay, Locating Bourdieu (Bloomington, Ind., 2005).

7 Leo Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity (New York, 2003), xvii. For an interdisciplinary study that considers many of these themes, see Joshua Goldstein, War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa (Cambridge, 2001).

8 Martin J. Wiener, Men of Blood: Violence, Manliness and Criminal Justice in Victorian England (Cambridge, 2004), 11–12.

9 Pieter Spierenburg, ed., Men and Violence: Gender, Honor, and Rituals in Modern Europe and America (Columbus, Ohio, 1998), 9.

10 Ute Frevert, Men of Honour: A Social and Cultural History of the Duel (Oxford, 1995); Kevin McAleer, Dueling: The Cult of Honor in Fin-de-siècle Germany (Princeton, N.J., 1994); Robert A. Nye, Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (New York, 1993); Steven Hughes, “Men of Steel: Dueling, Honor, and Politics in Liberal Italy,” in Spierenburg, Men and Violence, 64–81; Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (Oxford, 1982).

11 This is the general sense of the introduction by Stefan Dudink and Karen Hagemann, “Masculinity in Politics and War in the Age of Democratic Revolutions, 1750–1850,” in Dudink, Hagemann, and John Tosh, eds., Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History (Manchester, 2004), 3–21.

12 Glenda Sluga, “Masculinities, Nations, and the New World Order: Peacemaking and Nationality in Britain, France, and the United States after the First World War,” in Dudink, Hagemann, and Tosh, Masculinities in Politics and War, 240; see also Ida Blom, Karen Hagemann, and Catherine Hall, eds., Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century (Oxford, 2000).

13 Joshua A. Sanborn, Drafting the Russian Nation: Military Conscription, Total War, and Mass Politics, 1905–1925 (DeKalb, Ill., 2003), 132–143; Ute Frevert, A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription and Civil Society, trans. Andrew Boreham with Daniel Brückenhaus (Oxford, 2004), 182; Sanborn, Drafting the Russian Nation, 6.

14 William Ian Miller, The Mystery of Courage (Cambridge, Mass., 2000), 179. For a confirmation of this fear, see the study of Civil War memoirs by David W. Blight, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the American Civil War (Amherst, Mass., 2002), 55–61.

15 Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism, 379.

16 Joan Landes, “Republican Citizenship and Heterosexual Desire: Concepts of Masculinity in Revolutionary France,” in Dudink, Hagemann, and Tosh, Masculinities in Peace and War, 103, 111. See also Lynn Hunt, The Family Romance of the French Revolution (Berkeley, Calif., 1992).

17 Allen J. Frantzen, Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice, and the Great War (Chicago, 2004), 51–96.

18 Ibid., 264–265.

19 Karen Hagemann, “German Heroes: The Cult of the Death for the Fatherland in Nineteenth-Century Germany,” in Dudink, Hagemann, and Tosh, Masculinities in Politics and War, 120–124.

20 Frevert, A Nation in Barracks, 202–205.

21 Ibid., 216–223; Marcus Funck, “Ready For War? Conceptions of Military Manliness in the Prusso-German Officer Corps Prior to WWI,” in Karen Hagemann and Stephanie Schüler-Springorum, eds., Home/Front: The Military, War and Gender in Twentieth-Century Germany (New York, 2002), 43–68; for the U.S., see Clifford Putney, Muscular Christianity: Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880–1920 (Cambridge, Mass., 2001).

22 Christina S. Jarvis, The Male Body at War: American Masculinity during World War II (DeKalb, Ill., 2004), 56–85. See also George L. Mosse, The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity (New York, 1996).

23 Jarvis, The Male Body at War, 86–118. The classic texts on conceptualizations of the male body as hard and sealed up and women’s bodies as leaking and penetrable are Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Bloomington, Ind., 1994); and Klaus Theweleit, Male Fantasies, vol. 1: Women, Floods, Bodies, History, trans. Stephen Conway (Minneapolis, Minn., 1987).

24 Jarvis, The Male Body at War, 119–155. On the gay experience in medical examinations and the military effort to expel and segregate gay men, see Alan Bérubé, Coming Out under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two (New York, 1990), 8–33, 149–174.

25 Sonya O. Rose, “Temperate Heroes: Concepts of Masculinity in Second World War Britain,” in Dudink, Hagemann, and Tosh, Masculinities in Politics and War, 192–193.

26 Ibid., 182–189. See also Penny Summerfield and Corinna Peniston-Bird, “The Home Guard in Britain in the Second World War: Uncertain Masculinities?” in Paul R. Higate, Military Masculinities: Identity and the State (Westport, Conn., 2003), 57–70.

27 Sabine Kienitz, “Body Damage: War Disability and Constructions of Masculinity in Weimar Germany,” in Hagemann and Schüler-Springorum, Home/Front, 189.

28 Ibid., 190; Jarvis, The Male Body at War, 86–118.

29 See on this point Paul R. Higate, “‘Soft Clerks’ and `Hard Civvies’: Pluralizing Military Masculinities,” in Higate, Military Masculinities, 27–42.

30 An excellent example of this spontaneity can be found in the numerous ways that various masculine practices—from dueling to homosocial emotional bonds—flourished in the nineteenth-century Russian universities despite the best efforts of Nicholaevan bureaucrats to contain them. See Rebecca Friedman, Masculinity, Autocracy, and the Russian University, 1804–1863 (New York, 2005).

31 Amy S. Greenberg, Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire (New York, 2005), 18–53, 231–268.

32 Greenberg discusses the ways this “comradeship” pointedly excluded white women and black men; ibid., 44–47. The term refers to Benedict Anderson’s description of the gender dynamics of nationalism in Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1991).

33 Graham Dawson, Soldier Heroes: British Adventure, Empire and the Imagining of Masculinities (London, 1994), 23.

34 Greenberg, Manifest Manhood, 272–282.

35 See in particular the work of J. A. Mangan, The Games Ethic and Imperialism: Aspects of the Diffusion of an Ideal (Cambridge, 1981); Richard Holt, Sport and the British: A Modern History (Oxford, 1989). For a brilliant burlesque of manliness and Hughes’s invention of the games ethic, see the Flashman novels of George MacDonald Fraser, based on Rugby’s school bully Harry Flashman, as portrayed in Tom Brown’s School Days, and in particular Flashman: From the Flashman Papers, 1839–42 (London, 1969).

36 Axel Bundgaard, Muscle and Manliness: The Rise of Sport in American Boarding Schools (Syracuse, N.Y., 2005), 32.

37 Patrick F. McDevitt, “May the Best Man Win”: Sport, Masculinity, and Nationalism in Great Britain and the Empire, 1880–1935 (New York, 2004), 3–9.

38 Bundgaard, Muscle and Manliness, 152–163; see also Putney, Muscular Christianity.

39 See Sarah Watts, Rough Rider in the White House: Theodore Roosevelt and the Politics of Desire (Chicago, 2003).

40 Bundgaard, Muscle and Manliness, 109. For American colleges and emerging professional sports, see Michael Oriard, Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1993), 189–276.

41 Paul R. Deslandes, Oxbridge Men: British Masculinity and the Undergraduate Experience, 1850–1920 (Bloomington, Ind., 2005), 5.

42 John Tosh, A Man’s Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven, Conn., 1999).

43 Deslandes, Oxbridge Men, 132–138, 154–178. On the rise of a competitive examination and games culture at Cambridge, see Andrew Warrick, Masters of Theory: Cambridge and the Rise of Mathematical Physics (Chicago, 2003).

44 McDevitt, “May the Best Man Win,” 81–137.

45 Ibid., 14–36.

46 Christopher S. Thompson, The Tour de France: A Cultural History (Berkeley, Calif., 2006). See also Venita Datta, Birth of a National Icon: The Literary Avant-garde and the Emergence of the Modern Intellectual (Albany, N.Y., 1999).

47 Christopher Forth, The Dreyfus Affair and the Crisis of French Manhood (Baltimore, Md., 2004), 70–81.

48 Ibid., 67–70.

49 Ibid., 235.

50 Mosse, The Image of Man.

51 Theodore Nadelson, Trained to Kill: Soldiers at War (Baltimore, Md., 2005), 43.

52 On this phenomenon, see Susan Kingsley Kent, Making Peace: The Reconstruction of Gender in Interwar Britain (Princeton, N.J., 1993), 31–50; Susan R. Grayzel, Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics In Britain and France during the First World War (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1999), 50–85; Ruth Harris, “‘The Child of the Barbarian’: Rape, Race and Nationalism during the First World War,” Past and Present 141 (October 1993): 170–206.

53 Maureen Healy, “Civilizing the Soldier in Postwar Austria,” in Nancy M. Wingfield and Maria Bucur, eds., Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe (Bloomington, Ind., 2006), 47; Healy, Vienna and the Fall of the Hapsburg Empire: Total War and Everyday Life in World War I (Cambridge, 2004), 258–262, 272; Healy, “Civilizing the Soldier in Postwar Austria,” 49. A caveat is in order here: Maureen Healy is a colleague at Oregon State University.

54 Deborah Harrison, “Violence in the Military Community,” in Higate, Military Masculinities, 79.

55 Michael Roper, “Maternal Relations: Moral Manliness and Emotional Survival in Letters Home during the First World War,” in Dudink, Hagemann, and Tosh, Masculinities in Politics and War, 296. Roper refers particularly to Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford, 1977) and Eric J. Leed’s No Man’s Land: Combat and Identity in World War I (Cambridge, 1979).

56 Pat Barker, Regeneration (London, 1991), The Eye in the Door (London, 1993), and The Ghost Road (London, 1995). Historical interest in combat trauma has followed. See Ben Shephard, A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists, 1914–1994 (London, 2000); Peter Leese, Shell Shock: Traumatic Neurosis and the British Soldiers of the First World War (London, 2002); Paul Lerner, Hysterical Men: War, Psychiatry, and the Politics of Trauma in Germany, 1890–1930 (Ithaca, N.Y., 2003).

57 Kent, Making Peace; Joanna Bourke, Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War (London, 1996); Belinda J. Davis, Home Fires Burning: Food, Politics, and Everyday Life in World War I Berlin (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2000); Grayzel, Women’s Identities at War; Healy, Vienna and the Fall of the Hapsburg Empire.

58 Roper, “Maternal Relations”; on the epistolary tradition in France, see Martha Hanna, “A Republic of Letters: The Epistolary Tradition in France during World War I,” AHR 108, no. 5 (December 2003): 1338–1361, and Hanna, Your Death Would Be Mine: Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War (Cambridge, Mass., 2006).

59 Robert L. Nelson, “German Comrades—Slavic Whores,” in Hagemann and Schüler-Springorum, Home/Front, 72–73, 81.

60 Thomas Kühne, “Comradeship: Gender Confusion and Gender Order in the German Military, 1918–1945,” in Hagemann and Schüler-Springorum, Home/Front, 236.

61 Ibid., 245–249. Alon Rachamimov has recently explored the sexual and gender liminality of World War I prisoners of war: “The Disruptive Comforts of Drag: (Trans)Gender Performances among Prisoners of War in Russia, 1914–1920,” AHR 111, no. 2 (April 2006): 362–382.

62 See Melissa K. Stockdale, “‘My Death for the Motherland Is Happiness’: Women, Patriotism, and Soldiering in Russia’s Great War, 1914–1917,” AHR 109, no. 1 (February 2004): 78–116.

63 Bourke, Dismembering the Male, 251–252; Lisa A. Kirschenbaum, “The Alienated Body: Gender and Identity and the Memory of the Siege of Leningrad,” in Wingfield and Bucur, Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe, 221–223; Rose, “Temperate Heroes: Concepts of Masculinity in Second World War Britain,” in Dudink, Hagemann, and Tosh, Masculinities in Politics and War, 177–198. See also Hanna Diamond, Women and the Second World War in France, 1939–48 (London, 1999).

64 Grayzel, Women’s Identities at War, 245–246.

65 Nancy Wingfield and Maria Bucur, “Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe,” in Wingfield and Bucur, Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe, 10; George L. Mosse, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (New York, 1990); John R. Gillis, ed., Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity (Princeton, N.J., 1994); Daniel Sherman, The Construction of Memory in Interwar France (Chicago, 1999).

66 Sanborn, Drafting the Russian Nation, 42, 163.

67 Omer Bartov, Germany’s War and the Holocaust: Disputed Histories (Ithaca, N.Y., 2003), 26.

68 Frevert, A Nation in Barracks, 247–250.

69 Ibid., 263–276.

70 Ute Poiger, “A New `Western Hero’: The Reconstruction of German Masculinity in the 1950s,” in Hanna Schissler, ed., The Miracle Years: A Cultural History of West Germany, 1945–1968 (Princeton, N.J., 2001), 412–413.

71 Frank Biess, “Survivors of Totalitarianism: Returning POWs and the Reconstruction of Masculine Citizenship in West Germany, 1945–1955,” in Schissler, The Miracle Years, 63–72.

72 Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage (New York, 2005), 226.

73 On the worries about marriage, see Miriam Reumann, American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports (Berkeley, Calif., 2005), 131–142.

74 James Gilbert, Men in the Middle: Searching for Masculinity in the 1950s (Chicago, 2005), 34–80.

75 Ibid., 106–134.

76 John Hoberman, Testosterone Dreams: Rejuvenation, Aphrodisia, Doping (Berkeley, Calif., 2005), 7–12, 17.

77 Gilbert, Men in the Middle, 81–105; see also Reumann, American Sexual Character, 54–85, 165–198; and Joanne Meyerowitz, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (Cambridge, Mass., 2002).

78 Patricia Vettel-Becker, Shooting from the Hip: Photography, Masculinity, and Postwar America (Minneapolis, Minn., 2005), 122.

79 Gilbert, Men in the Middle, 26.

80 Ibid., 199–214.

81 Vettel-Becker, Shooting from the Hip, 109.

82 Steve Estes, I Am a Man! Race, Manhood, and the Civil Rights Movement (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2005), 35–37.

83 Ibid., 83.

84 Ibid., 124.

85 Robert D. Dean, Imperial Brotherhood: Gender and the Making of Cold War Foreign Policy (Amherst, Mass., 2001), 6–7.

86 Ibid., 67. See also on this matter David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago, 2004), 53–55, 62.

87 Dean, Imperial Brotherhood, as quoted on 169.

88 Ibid., 210–240.

 

 

 

By: ROBERT A. NYE