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FTR #980 Nazism, Anti-Gay Propaganda and Reproductive Rights

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Pink Triangle Badge used by the Third Reich to denominate gays

Introduction: This program continues analysis from FTR #979.

With the Trump administration moving against gay rights and reproductive rights, and with the public attention largely focused on yet another mass murder in Las Vegas, we delve back into the archives for the benefit of newer and younger listeners.

On 2/28/1988, we recorded Miscellaneous Archive Show M13: Gay Rights, Reproductive Rights and the Third Reich, highlighting how the nascent, vigorous gay rights movement in Weimar Germany was a focal point for Nazi propaganda and political action.

Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld was the lynchpin of the strong gay liberation movement in Weimar Germany and, as a result, was a focal point of Nazi Party propaganda, fueled with the additional fodder of the fact that Hirschfeld was Jewish.

(We note, in passing, that the gay rights movement in Weimar Germany received considerable support from a segment of the country’s feminist community grouped around Dr. Helena Stoecker.)

Historically, German attitudes toward homosexuality were mixed, with some regions manifesting a relatively liberal attitude and enforcement posture and others, an extremely reactionary position in both respects. Paragraph 175 was the official German statute making sex between adults of the same gender illegal. Again, the enforcement of Paragraph 175 was highly selective from a regional standpoint.)

In a manner directly foreshadowing U.S. right-wing propaganda in recent decades, the Nazi Party denounced Hirschfeld and homophile sexual activity as a product of, and a contributor to, the moral decay of the Weimar Republic and democracy in general.

Beginning with review of the suppression of gay rights groups and advocates in the immediate aftermath of Hitler’s ascension, the program notes how the Nazi tactic of tarring their political opponents with the taint of “homosexuality” developed into a political/legal gambit of specifically targeting specific individuals within the Nazi party and German armed forces.

One of the victims of this dynamic was Ernst Roehm, head of the SA and one of Hitler’s earliest and most significant associates. A “doctrinaire” homosexual who felt that men who had sex with women were inferior to those who had sex with other men, Roehm’s removal from power removed a potential obstacle to Hitler’s command of the army. Central to Roehm’s elimination was the Nazi Party viewpoint that German men who wished to join the SA and their wives, mothers, etc. had to be sure their loved ones would not be subject to coercive homosexual activity.

Furthermore, the purge of Roehm and his SA on the premise of homosexuality institutionalized the device of outright murder as a defensible vehicle of the German state and ready option of Hitler’s political will.

It was the “Night of the Long Knives,” as the purge of Roehm and the SA became known, that established murder as a defensible and ongoing tool of state.

The Nazi anti-gay and anti-pornography ideology was instrumental in the successful removal of key general staff officers who viewed with disfavor by Hitler.

General Werner Von Blomberg married a woman who posed for pictures some viewed as pornographic. This material was obtained by the Gestapo and used to leverage Von Blomberg’s resignation.

Another key general staff officer who was an opponent of Hitler and Goering was general Von Fritsch, who was framed for being “homosexual,” jailed and relieved of his general staff position.

The latter part of the program relates how both homosexuality and abortion were ideologically and propagandistically conceptualized by the Nazis as twin opponents of the successful breeding of suitable numbers of young German men to fight the country’s wars–a theme that U.S. right wingers have borrowed to argue against gay and abortion rights in this country.

Program Highlights Include: 

  1. The SS implementation of the Lebensborn program to support out-of-wedlock children sired by SS officers.
  2. The portrayal of homsexuality as an “epidemic.”
  3. The similarity between Nazi [alleged] chronicling of the gay sexual liaisons of Hasso Engel–a German gay man and the propaganda gambit of “Patient Zero.” An alleged “lone nut” Scandinavian flight attendant, Gaeton Dugas–“Patient Zero”–was the supposed origin of the AIDS epidemic. We have discussed AIDS as the application of genetic engineering to biological warfare in past programs.

 

Discussion

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