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For The Record  

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.

 

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