Constructing the Past


From 1933 to 1945, the Nazi regime in Germany ruthlessly targeted homosexuals, particularly men, as enemies of the state. While Nazi doctrine officially repudiated same-sex romance, actual policy toward homosexuals in the Third Reich was by no means consistent. This paper examines the components of Nazi racial doctrines and the subtle ways in which the hyper-masculine ethos of the regime in fact encouraged male bonding and homosexual behavior. The differing views of prominent Nazi leaders on the issue of homosexuality are also discussed. The paper concludes by comparing the punishment of homosexual behavior among German soldiers in the Schutzstaffel (SS), and homosexuals unaffiliated with the Nazi party.