Gender and the Long Postwar examines gender politics during the post–World War II period and the Cold War in the United States and East and West Germany. The authors show how disruptions of older political and social patterns, exposure to new cultures, population shifts, and the rise of consumerism affected gender roles and identities. Comparing all three countries, chapters analyze the ways that gender figured into relations between victor and vanquished and shaped everyday life in both the Western and Soviet blocs. Topics include the gendering of the immediate aftermath of war; the military, politics, and changing masculinities in postwar societies; policies to restore the gender order and foster marriage and family; demobilization and the development of postwar welfare states; and debates over sexuality (gay and straight).

Karen Hagemann is the James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sonya Michel is a professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a former director of United States Studies and senior scholar at the Wilson Center.


Gender and the Long Postwar: Reconsiderations of the United States and the Two Germanys, 1945–1989
Karen Hagemann and Sonya Michel

I. Gendering the Aftermath of War
1. The “Big Rape”: Sex and Sexual Violence, War, and Occupation in German Post–World War II Memory and Imagination
Atina Grossmann
2. Gender Roles in Ruins: German Women and Local Politics under American Occupation, 1945–1955
Rebecca Boehling
3. A Women’s Peace Dividend: Demobilization and Working-Class Women in Chicago, 1945–1953
Laura McEnaney
4. Teaching Democracy on the Big Screen: Gender and the Reeducation of Postwar Germans in A Foreign Affair and The Big Lift
Ulrike Weckel

II. The Military, Politics, and Changing Masculinities
5. Banning the Soldier Hero: American Regulations, German Youth, and Changing Ideals of Manhood in Occupied Württemberg-Baden, 1945–1949
Kathleen J. Nawyn
6. Sending Young Men to the Barracks: West Germany’s Struggle over the Establishment of New Armed Forces in the 1950s
Friederike Brühöfener
7. Service by Other Means: Changing Perceptions of Military Service and Masculinity in the United States, 1940–1973
Amy Rutenberg
8. Man the Guns: Race, Masculinity, and Citizenship from World War II to the Civil Rights Movement
Steve Estes

III. Restoring Families and Recasting Welfare States
9. White on Departure? Race and War Bride Immigration to the United States after World War II
Angela Tudico
10. Hot Lunches in the Cold War: The Politics of School Lunches in Postwar Divided Germany
Alice Weinreb
11. Women, Family, and “Postwar”: The Gendering of the GDR’s Welfare Dictatorship
Donna Harsch
12. The Soldier-Breadwinner and the Army Family: Gender and Social Welfare in the Post-1945 US Military and Society
Jennifer Mittelstadt

IV. Forging New Sexualities and Creating New Gender Identities
13. The Liberal 1950s? Reinterpreting Postwar American Sexual Culture
Joanne Meyerowitz
14. Private Acts, Public Anxieties: The Fight to Decriminalize Male Homosexuality in Postwar West Germany
Robert G. Moeller
15. Homosexuality and the Politics of Masculinity in East Germany
Jennifer V. Evans


“The editors’ extremely engaging introduction elucidates key themes raised in the book and draws apt connections between the essays, providing readers with a useful framework of comparisons and contrasts to ponder across the volume’s diverse chapters. Summing up: Highly recommended.”—A. C. Stanley, Choice

“This is by all accounts an impressive collection on an important subject. The contributions significantly revise our understanding of postwar gender conceptualizations in the United States and both Germanys.”—Petra Goedde, Temple University

“Clearly demonstrates that a gender history approach can lead to a new perspective on the postwar history as a whole.”—Frank Biess, University of California, San Diego