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Introduction

  • Jennifer V. Evans
Chapter
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

Walking through the remnants of the German capital in the winter of 1945, British officer Richard Brett-Smith could not help but be amazed at what he saw. While searching out what remained of the fabled beer bars, cinemas, and cafés he had read about in preparation for his eight-month deployment oversees, his eyes became transfixed on “the shadows of gutted houses and towering, lonely walls” which, he recalled with some trepidation, looked curiously like “the battlements of some weird castle.” Far from the image of storied Old Europe or even the demimonde atmosphere of the Kurfürstendamm’s libidinous sexuality, Berlin’s countenance was “a baleful fairyland: not even the snow could change that.”1 As was the case for many of the visitors, refugees, and citizens cast into the cauldron of capitulated Berlin, the city they found was a far cry from the one ensconced in their dreams, imagination, and memories. In this spectral atmosphere of near total collapse, Berlin appeared more like a character in an expressionist film, one that seduced the curious, the weary, and the horrified with glimpses of what once was, what remained, and what might be gained again. Just as Brett-Smith continued his afternoon search for some convergence between his beguiling expectations and his stark experiences, so too did each person encountering the city attempt to reconcile the fairyland they found with the one they hoped to discover.

Keywords

City Street Sexual Modernization German Capital Moral Regulation City Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Jennifer V. Evans 2011

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  • Jennifer V. Evans

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