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The State of HealthIllness in Nazi Germany$
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Geoffrey Campbell Cocks

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695676

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695676.001.0001

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(p.253) 11 Self-Service
The State of Health

Geoffrey Campbell Cocks

Oxford University Press

German soldiers and civilians exhibited wartime solidarity until the end of the war. This was not ideology so much as a matter of self-mobilization on the basis of internalized values of discipline and pride. Self-preservation as well was thus a major feature of a German society enduring massive suffering in 1944 and 1945. Individual bodies were usually the only resource left for distraction, so drinking and sexual activity were widespread. Venereal disease too, therefore, was common. Public blame for both promiscuity and disease usually fell upon young women freed from patriarchal restrictions by modern trends, Nazi policy, and wartime disruptions. Epidemic disease emerged with the almost complete breakdown of governance with the end of the war. More than ever, Germans were preoccupied with their own suffering and victimization and sought material compensation in the present society of ruins and the future one of prosperity.

Keywords:   solidarity, self-preservation, suffering, drinking, sex, venereal disease, reconstruction

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