Weimar Germany, Weimar America

Weimar Germany, Weimar America, by Rod Dreher.

There was also in this a crisis of masculinity. Lots of young German men died in the war. Many men who came into adulthood during the Weimar years grew up without fathers. Plus, the rapid liberalization of family and sexual mores, driven in part by nascent feminism and, in Berlin at least, the normalization of homosexuality and transsexualism, left a generation of young men confused about their purpose and identity in the emerging new society. Political extremists of the Left and the Right stepped in to fill the void of meaning, and to give young men who felt they had no power over the direction of their lives a renewed sense of potency, of agency.

The culture war of the 1920s had political ramifications, writes Peukert. The parties of the Right and the Center strongly reacted against modernizing cultural mores, which were popularly associated with Americanization. The parties of the Left considered the resistance to social liberalization to be an intolerable attempt to restrict individual rights and liberties. Neither side was willing to compromise with the other. When they did compromise on legislation, neither side was satisfied, and kept the fight going. The elites ended by being totally discredited in the eyes of many Germans, making way for extremists.