The Romanian Ideal Masculinity and the German Pragmatic Masculinity – Andrew Devenish

If we can take Nazi Germany and the fascist movement in Romania under Codreanu as representative of fascism in general, then gender, and more specifically masculinity, seems to be very important to fascism. While the Sandulescu reading focuses on the ideals of masculinity and the “new man” in Romanian fascism, the fascist ideal of masculinity, Kuhne touches on the practical implementation of those concepts of masculinity under the Nazi regime, especially among soldiers, and with the concept of comradeship, or Kameradschaft.

According to Sandulescu, Codreanu’s “new man” is the ideal in his fascist movement of the type of man that is going to save Romania. He is heroic and strong, and every mean in the Legion is supposed to try and become him, through education by the Legion. The goal of this education is to produce the right kind of masculinity for the fascist movement.

Kuhne talks about the ideal fascist version of masculine in a more practical sense in his article. Nazi Germany also had a proper masculinity that one was not supposed to stray from, and an important component of that masculinity was comradeship. Distinct from friendship, comradeship came about in the military and was emphasized as a collective sense of self for the German soldiers. AS Kuhne points out, this often resulted in more “feminine” displays and behaviours than one might have expected from a society that had very rigid views of masculinity, and explicit rules about what was acceptable for that masculinity. Therefore, what can be seen is the practical implementation of the German fascist masculinity juxtaposed with the ideal described by Codreanu for the Romanian Legionary fascist masculinity. While the German soldiers’ comradeship allowed for some flexibility and fluidity in what was considered acceptably masculine, and was a collective idea, Codreanu’s “new man” was a more individualistic masculinity, emphasizing how each man had to step up and be a hero, and did not allow for any flexibility or fluidity in its “ideal” form as written by Codreanu.

One Reply to “The Romanian Ideal Masculinity and the German Pragmatic Masculinity – Andrew Devenish”

  1. It was also interesting to read about how the project of the “new man” in Romania was used to bridge the gap between the older and younger generation of men. By bringing a “new man” into existence a marked break from the past was established. Disenchantment had been building amongst the younger generation towards their roles in post-war society. The “new man” created the much desired space for the younger generation.

    The theme of tensions between generations brought to mind our study of fascist Italy in week 3 and the way that the younger generation felt disenchanted with the state of fascism in society.

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