Loughborough University
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Between depression and zeal: conceptions of masculinity in the wartime letters of SS Hauptsturmführer Maximilian Guttenbrunner, 1939–1943

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posted on 2021-11-25, 15:02 authored by Franziska Karpinski
This study analyses the conceptions of masculinity in the wartime letters written by Waffen SS officer Maximilian Guttenbrunner to his wife and mother. It examines how
control formed the leitmotif of Guttenbrunner’s identity. This identity was constructed in the context of his upbringing in Nazi Germany, his experiences as an SS member during the Second World War and his participation in the perpetration of the Holocaust, as well as his personal life as husband, son, and invalid. His desire to control others helped to explain his attraction to Nazi ideology, celebration of military conquest and dehumanisation of the non-Germans he encountered in occupied territory. When injury and illness undermined control over his own body and mind, he responded by escalating his attempts to control spaces, situations and other people, whether enemy combatants or loved ones. As such, Guttenbrunner serves as a case study of how adherence to the ideals of Nazi masculinity led a man like Guttenbrunner to oscillate between elation and mental breakdown, romantic love and war crimes, personal ambition and devotion to a genocidal cause.



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • International Relations, Politics and History


Loughborough University

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© Franziska Anna Karpiński

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A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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Marcus Collins ; Claus-Christian Szejnmann ; Rakesh Ankit

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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