The Enemy Lurking Behind the Front: Controlling Sex in the German Forces Sent to Eastern and Western Europe, 1914–1918

  • Lisa M. Todd


Sexual encounters between soldiers and civilians on the fighting fronts became frequent and sustained as the German Army shifted from expedition/invasion to occupation/colonization. The tendency among all authorities was to equate “foreignness,” female sexual promiscuity and threats of venereal disease to military efficiency. Women who could infect soldiers and remove them from the fighting for medical treatment were seen as analogs to snipers and saboteurs, an enemy “lurking” behind the lines. Even worse, they could send the infections homeward with soldiers on leave. This chapter discusses both the issues raised by soldier–civilian sexual liaisons away from the homeland and the efforts by military and civilian authorities to deal with them.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa M. Todd
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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