Degeneration, Sexual Freedom, and the Politics of the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933

Marhoefer, Laurie. “Degeneration, Sexual Freedom, and the Politics of the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933.” German Studies Review 34, no. 3 (2011): 529–49.

Ideas about hereditary degeneration animated two powerful movements for sexual liberation during the Weimar Republic. One reform won the decriminalization of female prostitution. The other nearly won the repeal of Germany’s sodomy law. Activists for these reforms argued that the state could extend greater sexual freedom to most Germans if it curtailed the excesses of supposedly degenerate men and women. The Weimar Republic offered greater sexual autonomy to many of its citizens, at the expense of a small minority of people who were defined as degenerate.
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