Researcher Dagmar Wernitznig participated at an online workshop titled “Gendering Fascism: Organisations, Bodies, Representations”. The event was organised by Andrea Germer and Jasmin Rückert (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany).
Two day event was held on 11th and 12th November. Dagmar Wernitznig participated on 11th November with paper titled “Of Swastika Sisters and Chocolate Girls: Gender and Fascism in SouthernAustria During the Early Twentieth Century”.
The workshop was not open to the public, but the results of the workshop will be published in an essay collection.
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
This paper aims to contextualize “feminine fascism” (cf. Julie V. Gottlieb’s work) both during the interwar period and the post-1945 years in the Austrian southern provinces of Carinthia and Styria. Two phenomena of gendered fascism are investigated for this study: firstly, the early 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, as well as desired Teutonic glory and protection against the ‘Balkan threat’ of the invading forces of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Secondly, the vile stigmatisation of the so-called Schokoladenmädchen, who were accused of fraternizing with Allied – especially British – troops over the supposed commodity of chocolate, by returning Wehrmacht soldiers at the end 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 before 1938 in Carinthia gravitated around images and 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 intersections of gender and fascism on a microhistorical level with transnational connotations. The research for this presentation is based on archival work conducted at the province depositories of Carinthia and Styria in Klagenfurt/Celovec and Graz, respectively, and The National Archives in London regarding British documents about post-1945 Austria.