Event Title

Radical Moderation: The Politics of Suffrage, Free Love, and Homosexuality under Wilhelm II

Presenter Information

Bethany CollierFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Mandy Link

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Date of Publication

April 2021

Abstract

The reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, from 1888 to 1941, was a time of immense change for both Germany and the world at-large. One of these changes that gripped the Western world by storm was a push for women's suffrage, and the German Empire was by no means immune to this drive for expanded suffrage. Alongside this widely recognized feminist movement, however, were the beginnings of a movement for the decriminalization and social acceptance of homosexual men and women, most prominently represented by Magnus Hirschfield's Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in Germany. With prominent supporters such as Social Democratic Party founder and leader August Bebel, this movement sought both to define itself as its own movement and to build ties with wider socialist, liberal, and feminist movements in Germany. While the movement was able to attain an uneasy alliance with the Social Democratic party, its attachment to the Marxist wing of the German feminist movement ultimately forced the movement for the decriminalization of homosexuality into a wider dispute between bourgeois and proletariat feminists, a dispute that would ultimately lead to decriminalization being left at the wayside when the Weimar Republic was formed. Utilizing the original works of authors such as Hirschfield and Bebel along with modern analyses of the movement for decriminalization, this presentation aims to present the efforts said movement went to in order to broaden its appeal and win its goal, and how such efforts ultimately resulted in that goal's failure.

Keywords

History, Europe, Gender

Persistent Identifier

http://hdl.handle.net/10950/3094

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 16th, 11:00 AM Apr 16th, 12:00 PM

Radical Moderation: The Politics of Suffrage, Free Love, and Homosexuality under Wilhelm II

The reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, from 1888 to 1941, was a time of immense change for both Germany and the world at-large. One of these changes that gripped the Western world by storm was a push for women's suffrage, and the German Empire was by no means immune to this drive for expanded suffrage. Alongside this widely recognized feminist movement, however, were the beginnings of a movement for the decriminalization and social acceptance of homosexual men and women, most prominently represented by Magnus Hirschfield's Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in Germany. With prominent supporters such as Social Democratic Party founder and leader August Bebel, this movement sought both to define itself as its own movement and to build ties with wider socialist, liberal, and feminist movements in Germany. While the movement was able to attain an uneasy alliance with the Social Democratic party, its attachment to the Marxist wing of the German feminist movement ultimately forced the movement for the decriminalization of homosexuality into a wider dispute between bourgeois and proletariat feminists, a dispute that would ultimately lead to decriminalization being left at the wayside when the Weimar Republic was formed. Utilizing the original works of authors such as Hirschfield and Bebel along with modern analyses of the movement for decriminalization, this presentation aims to present the efforts said movement went to in order to broaden its appeal and win its goal, and how such efforts ultimately resulted in that goal's failure.