Accepted paper:

German phalluses for Latvian men: Nazi war propaganda in occupied Latvia

Author:

Karlis Verdins (University of Latvia)

Paper short abstract:

German Nazi propaganda, addressed to the people of occupied Latvia, was supported by a particular visual imagery of hypermasculine Aryan men, often naked or half naked. This asthetics comes hand in hand with issues of homosociality and homoeroticism that is not always clearly separated.

Paper long abstract:

Occupation of Nazi Germany took place in the territory of Latvia from the summer of 1941 to the fall of 1944 (in Western part till the Germany's capitulation in spring of 1945). German Nazi ideology was supported by a particular visual imagery that aspired to depict Aryan men as strong, masculine and militant males, often naked or half naked. Analyzing these male images taking into account also ones from the periodicals of the last years of independent Latvia and from the year of Soviet occupation (1940-41), a clear distinction can be made. Unlike Latvian or Soviet shy and discrete male images whose appearance was usualy aligned with the seasons (sunbathing or swimming in summer) or profession (athletes, artist models), images, cultivated by Nazi (self-confident display of full frontal nudity in sculpture; strong presence of male nakedness in war reporting, promotion of healthy lifestile and other genres of photography) were a new visual experience for Latvian people. As some part of the former research work shows, the main addressee of this imagery were local male audience who had to be make certain of the superiority and inevitable victory of German race even in the period when first obituaries of German officers appeared in newspapers. This asthetics of hypermasculinity comes hand in hand with issues of homosociality and homoeroticism that is not always as separated as Nazi ideologists probably imagined, notably because association of Nazi and homosexuality was quite common already in Latvian Social-democrat newspapers in early thirties.

panel P022
Gender, far-right, and political radicalization