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6. The Hun and the Home

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Chapter Summary

For many Europeans, contact between soldiers and civilians represented one of the greatest dangers of the shifting boundaries of "total war". This chapter illustrates how, in the British and French media, this contact was framed in terms of the brutal violence perpetrated by German soldiers against innocent civilians. Whether in the so-called "Rape of Belgium", the unrestricted submarine warfare and aerial bombing campaigns, Allied propagandists painted vivid pictures of the German "Hun": a beast so uncivilized that he could not even follow the rules of civilized warfare. This equation of "Germaness" with barbarism, lawlessness and lack of civility remained a constant in the Allied message (both domestically and internationally) until the final days of the war. In 1919, with the Allied occupation of the Rhineland, attention again focused on the victimization of German women at the hands of African men.

Keywords: Europe; First World War; gender; German Hun; sexuality

10.1163/9789004264571_008
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