Sex and WWII

++++ Contains some nudity+++++

We watched the 2001 World War II drama “Enemy at the Gates” a few nights ago. There was one scene where the characters played by Rachel Weisz and Jude Law had sex whilst surrounded by other soldiers, in the sleeping quarters.

This made me wonder how often something would happen for real during the dark days of WWII. It also made me think about the wider concept of sex during the war.

Sex is the most primal instinct human beings, and indeed all animals, have , even though nowadays some of the woke generation may dispute that . But sex is a normal and a beautiful thing.

Clearly sex was still happening during WWII if that hadn’t been the case there would have been no births during 1939 and 1945.

In Germany, and later in other countries occupied by the Nazis young women were encouraged and often forced to have children, through the Lebensborn program. The purpose of this program was to offer to young girls who were deemed “racially pure” the possibility to give birth to a child in secret. The child was then given to the SS organization which took charge in the child’s education and adoption. It was really meant to breed the “super-race” In the later stages children who looked ‘aryan’ were also forcefully taken from parents and given away for adoption.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad from Swedish super group ABBA was one of the children born via the Lebensborn program.

Sex of course isn’t just for making babies it is also to have fun and make you feel good about yourself. Even in the darkest days and despite facing horrors every day, some of those who were in the concentration camps still managed to have sex. In Rudolf Vrba’s book “I Escaped From Auschwitz “ he writes that on one occasion male kapo, part of a male inmate work group had a longing for sex with a female kapo of a female work group working in the same operation, sorting the belongings of the victims who had been murdered in the gas chambers. The female kapo was an attractive, young Hungarian girl who agreed to have sex if she was given some specified gifts. Vrba was instructed in one case was to transport the gifts to the female kapo before the sexual encounter.

Great Britain is not really known for its liberal attitude to nudity and sexuality, but the Blitz intensified sexual desire. A full two decades before the so-called permissive society of the Sixties, a dramatic, if understated, sexual revolution was already taking place. Life magazine featured on its cover in May 1941 three showgirls dressed in only underwear and gas masks. A more powerful symbol of the sexualisation of the Blitz would be hard to find.

All the major combatants involved in World War II used pornography as a small part of their psychological operations (PSYOP) strategy. Mostly this involved dropping propaganda leaflets using sexual themes from the air, in an attempt to demoralise enemy soldiers at the front.

There were also some hidden dangers especially in the time where condoms were not really used as much as they are now, aside from the unplanned pregnancies by lovers rather then husbands. There was also the danger of STI’s (sexually transmitted infections, aka VD).

In June 1942, a woman named Billie Smith was arrested in her hotel room in Little Rock, Arkansas, and charged with prostitution and violation of the state’s immorality laws. Smith pled guilty and paid the fine of $10—equivalent to $150 today—but authorities weren’t quite done.

Smith was turned over to the city’s health examiner, who ran tests for syphilis and gonorrhea. When both came back positive, the officer ordered her committed to a federally run quarantine center in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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Sources

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-quot-lebensborn-quot-program

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3165954/How-Blitz-sent-Britain-sex-mad-New-book-reveals-Hitler-s-bid-bomb-surrender-startling-effect.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/during-world-war-ii-sexually-active-women-were-a-national-security-threat/409555/

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