The fascist ideal is to transform sexual energy into a “spiritual” force, for the benefit of the community. The erotic (that is, women) is always present as a temptation, with the most admirable response being a heroic repression of the sexual impulse. Susan Sontag, ‘Fascinating Fascism,’ New York Review of Books, 6 February 1975 As the EIRENE team is fairly familiar with my published work for the ERC project, ranging, for example, from analyses of psychiatric files and trauma studies as well as women and politics in post-war transitions to gender and tobacco work, I have selected one of the relatively more unknown topics of my EIRENE research for this workshop talk. A published version of this paper is currently forthcoming with Brill as part of a monograph that is a post-conference volume about gender and fascism, edited by scholars of the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. My contribution contextualizes the intersections of violence and gender within socio- political frameworks, both during the interwar period and the post-1945 years, in the Austrian southern provinces of Carinthia and Styria. Two phenomena of gendered violence are examined for this presentation, dealing with, on the one hand, women as perpetrators of violence for political purposes and, on the other, female citizens as targets of politicized and sexualized violence: firstly, the adoption of Nazi ideology amongst Carinthian women in the era after the plebiscite of 1920 that facilitated an exceptionally early and fervent Carinthian drift towards Germanic pride or Teutonic glory and protection against the ‘Balkan threat’ of the invading forces of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Secondly, the vile stigmatization of the so-called Schokoladenmädchen, who were accused of fraternizing with Allied – especially British – troops over the supposed commodity of chocolate, usually but not exclusively by returning Wehrmacht soldiers in the aftermath of the Second World War. Whereas the misogynist Wehrmacht posters that were displayed illegally in Carinthian and Styrian towns about these ‘traitor chocolate girls’ epitomized male fantasies as investigated by Klaus Theweleit, female activism after the First World War in Carinthia gravitated around iconographies of maternity, patriotism, and Deutschtum on pre-Anschluss turf. Case studies of individual women, for instance, earning the so-called Kärntner Kreuz, a military honour for Heimatdienst bravado, and thus sometimes even surpassing their own spouses while engaging in pro-Hitler propaganda, should illuminate the complexities of violence and politics through a gendered lens and on a microhistorical level with transnational connotations.


Dagmar Wernitznig