It took me two months to read this book. Not because of bad writing or a vague premise. After every chapter I would shut the book and thin—which is something great non-fiction should make a reader do.
Laurie Marhoefer’s argument is the sexual liberalism of Germany’s Weimar Republic did not single handily bring about the rise of the Nazis. Sex happened to be just one piece in a million sized jigsaw puzzle in German fascism.
The strongest points of the work focus on the liberal press, LGBTQ+ activism, and public health. Various publications of magazines, novels and tristes, offered to educate the public on sexual expressions. Education emboldened men and women to seek out others in bars, organizations, and clubs. Less severe criminalization of prostitution through the rise of public health, gave people choices they might not have had before. Open homosexuality was even tolerated in the Nazi party until it wasn’t (Ernst Rohm). Marhoefer does take detours into the various individuals behind certain political movements which loosen Marhoefer’s argument at times. But I never lost track of the main premise.
Sex is a tool to offer freedom or repression. The citizens of Germany experienced both extremes in just a couple of decades.