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Mothers of the Nation

Mothers of the Nation: Women, Families, and Nationalism in Twentieth-Century Europe

  • Book Info
    Mothers of the Nation
    Book Description:

    Mothers of the Nationis an important addition to the study of women in a transnational context.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7743-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-7)

    Just over ten years ago newspapers and magazines contained headlines like ‘New Testimony from the Rape/Death Camps RevealsSexual AtrocitiesBeing Used as Pornography’ (Ms. July/Aug. 1993; original emphasis). Many, like Catharine MacKinnon, wrote about war rape as a form of ethnic cleansing and a ‘tool of genocide’ in the wars following the break-up of Yugoslavia. When she exclaimed that ‘xenophobia and misogyny merge here’ and that ‘ethnic hatred is sexualized,’ the world listened (MacKinnon, 1993, 27). But it was not long before international attention moved to other stories, other crimes, and other atrocities. For as long as nationalist abuses...

  5. 1 Nationalism: Definitions and Debate – A Brotherhood of Nationals?
    (pp. 8-22)

    Authors of different intellectual and political persuasions have argued that ethnicity and nationalism emerge from traditional forms of social organization. Some early observers, such as Emile Durkheim (1893) and Ferdinand Tönnies (1940), have argued that a historical evolutionary movement takes human society away from traditional affiliations based on irrational, kinship bonds (blood ties) and into affiliations founded upon contractual, rational obligations grounded in mutual interest and need (Bonacich, 1980/1991, 60). Along the same lines, Karl Marx wrote: ‘National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce,...

  6. Part I The Interwar Period

    • 2 Nationalism in the Interwar Period: Germany
      (pp. 25-44)

      The first half of the twentieth century was especially turbulent in Germany. Germany fought and lost the First World War, and almost simultaneously, the ‘Revolution of 1918’ resulted in the abdication of the Kaiser and the proclamation of the Weimar Republic on 9 November 1918. Civil war ensued as Social Democrats fought communists over control of the new republic (Abel, 1938). According to Ralf Dahrendorf (1969) ‘in 1918, one of the most skilled elites of modern history, the authoritarian elite of Imperial Germany lost its political basis’; he added that ‘the state, the moral ideal of which was anchored in...

    • 3 Nationalism in the Interwar Period: Italy
      (pp. 45-62)

      The First World War highlighted a fracture in the Italian political system. From August 1914 to May 1915 a struggle took place between those who wanted intervention in the war and those who advocated neutrality (DeGrand, 2000; Mussolini, 1928/1998). The interventionists won, and Italy entered what many believed would be a short, victorious war. Instead, over three and a half years, Italy mobilized 5.7 million soldiers, mostly peasants who became part of the infantry. These peasants absorbed 95 per cent of Italian casualties (DeGrand, 2000) and, as a result, felt extremely angry and bitter.

      The war split Italy’s political parties...

    • 4 Internationalist Beginnings in the Interwar Period: Revolutionary Russia
      (pp. 63-76)

      For centuries, Russia was ruled as a feudal aristocracy. In the eighteenth century, for example, about half the country’s peasants were ‘owned’ by secular lords, and the other half belonged to ecclesiastical institutions or to the state (Kochan and Keep, 1997). In the mid-nineteenth century, serfs made up roughly 75 per cent of the population of Russia and the gentry less than 1 per cent (Engel, 1977). Even after the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, Russia remained primarily a peasant society (Tilly, 1993). Studies of family estates provide some insight into what serfdom meant to peasants’ lives. One account...

    • 5 Multinational Beginnings in the Interwar Period: The Kingdom of Yugoslavia
      (pp. 77-88)

      For some time Yugoslavia has been a unique polity/region that has fascinated many. One of its most interesting, and at times enigmatic, qualities is its combination of eastern and western cultural and religious traditions. It was and to some extent continues to be simultaneously traditional and modern, European and Asian, as a result of its geographic location and history. Located on the Balkan peninsula, it has been described as the gateway to Asia or a bridge between Europe and Asia, and its position has tempted many powers to invade and control the area. At one time, a person could travel...

  7. Part II The Post-1989 Period

    • 6 Nationalist Revival in Post-1989 Russia
      (pp. 91-108)

      Lenin’s revolution was primarily political (Seton-Watson, 1965). It resulted in the destruction of imperial Russia and the establishment of a dictatorial socialist regime that accomplished great social change. Following the 1917 revolution, Lenin set himself to resolving three principle issues: establishing peace and dealing with the claims of workers and peasants’ demand for land (ibid.). Lenin was not in power long before his death in 1924, but the succession struggle had begun over one year earlier. Joseph Stalin emerged victorious following a power struggle primarily between him and Leon Trotsky.

      Stalin’s ‘revolution’ was said to have been more ‘drastic’ than...

    • 7 Nationalist Revival in Post-Yugoslav Croatia
      (pp. 109-123)

      For Yugoslavia, the Second World War was characterized by occupation, partition, resistance, and revolution (Singleton, 1994). Aside from fighting on the Allied side against Germany and Italy during the War, Yugoslavia found itself in the middle of what appeared to be a very bloody civil war between Croatian nationalists/Nazis (Ustaša), Serbian Royalists (Četniks), and Communist-led Partisans. Of the 1.7 million dead in Yugoslavia, 1 million were killed in the struggle between various groups of Yugoslavs rather than by foreign enemies (ibid.). At the Teheran Conference in November–December 1943, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin agreed to support the Partisans, led by...

    • 8 Post-Reunification Germany
      (pp. 124-142)

      The Second World War officially ended on 2 September 1945. The western parts of Austria were divided into three zones, administered by the United States, Great Britain, and France. A similar partition was implemented in the non-Russian-occupied parts of Germany. The American zone in Germany was the largest of the three (about seventeen million people), followed by the British, which included less land but a larger population than the American (about five million more), and the French, which was smallest in both size and population (five million people; Gilbert, 1984). The line that was drawn between the Russian zone and...

    • 9 Post–Second World War Italy
      (pp. 143-158)

      Italy’s defeat in the Second World War occurred relatively early – in 1943. By 1945, the official end of the war, many parts of Italy were in ruins and plagued by slow economic development. The first steps following the war were to rebuild, restore services, and re-establish political order. This reconstruction began in 1946, when, through a referendum, Italians rejected the monarchy and became a republic. The structure of Italian politics came to reflect a parliamentary democracy with a multiparty system.

      Since the end of the war, Italy has undergone profound changes in its economy, society, and politics. In the first...

  8. Part III Policies and Outcomes Compared

    • 10 Outcomes Compared
      (pp. 161-174)

      An examination of each state on a case-by-case basis reveals that a nationalist leader’s rise to power was accompanied by changes, or attempted changes, to family policies from relatively less to more traditional and patriarchal ones. Leaders in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, post-Communist Russia, and modern independent Croatia implemented, or attempted to implement, a number of pronatalist and pronuptialist state-sponsored initiatives designed to promote nationalist goals and values. The questions remain: What impact did these policy changes actually have on women and families? Were nationalist leaders ‘successful’ in altering the rate of family formation and fertility patterns?

      Mapping out demographic...

    • 11 Policies Analysed and Compared
      (pp. 175-184)

      A question that all states, new and old, face is what its responsibility is for the social and economic welfare of its citizens. Clearly, states answer this question differently at different times. It goes without saying that there are profound differences among countries, and over time within countries, in government intervention and levels of support to families. Some governments are or have been alarmist and/or interventionist when there have been actual fertility declines or perceived threats to population size and composition. Other governments have been less interventionist or have limited their intervention to specific circumstances or times – usually in cases...

    • 12 Conclusions
      (pp. 185-192)

      A number of thinkers have noted that women were of particular concern to nationalist regimes because of their prescribed roles within the family (Yuval-Davis and Anthias, 1989; Kristeva, 1993; Calhoun, 1997; Dua, 1999). For example, according to Julia Kristeva (1993), with respect to nations and nationalism, ‘women have the luck and the responsibility of being boundary-subjects’ (Kristeva, 1993, 35). Similarly, Yuval-Davis and Anthias (1989) noted that, with the rise of nationalism, women come to be seen as biological reproducers of ethnic collectivities. My work builds upon existing research, with an aim to identify, outline, and assess the effectiveness of policies...

  9. References
    (pp. 193-220)
  10. Index
    (pp. 221-226)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 227-228)