The 'Jews' of the Antifascist Left: Homosexuality and Socialist Resistance to Nazism

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Abstract

In the early 1930s, German Social Democrats and Communists seized upon the homosexual orientation of some Nazi leaders, especially Ernst Rohm, with the aim of discrediting the entire National Socialist movement. In Western Europe as well as the Soviet Union, there was a general tendency among socialists in the 1930s to identify homosexuality with Nazism, Antifascist leftists created the impression that homosexuality was widespread in Nazi organizations. Such socialist theorists as Wilhelm Reich tended to view homosexuality sociologically and psychologically as a typical rightist, nationalist, and above all fascist aberration, Leftist aversion to homosexuality was not only an expression of political opportunism. Prejudices against homosexuality were part and parcel of socialist thinking and became even more deep-rooted among leftists as a consequence of the ideological and moral confrontation with National Socialism. Against the presumed immorality and perversion of the Nazis, the antifascists stressed their own rationality and purity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-257
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume29
Issue number2/3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995

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