Goral Bhatt

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

History and Philosophy

Committee Member

Jesse Kauffman, PhD

Committee Member

John McCurdy, PhD

Committee Member

Mary-Elizabeth Murphy, PhD


Nazism redefined gender and sexual politics for society during the twentieth century, which determined the trajectory of male homosexuality under the Third Reich. While the party did not actively promote homosexuality, early Nazism valued hypermasculinity and homosocial relationships. Right-wing veterans of the First World War were attracted to the Nazi paramilitary unit, Sturmabteilung (SA), led by Ernst Röhm, a well-known gay man. The SA leaders promoted close male bonds among the members, which led to homoerotic relationships. If homoerotism was permitted within the early Nazi Party, why was there a steady decline in the treatment of gay men under the Third Reich? Based on personal narratives, memoirs, and official documents, this study demonstrates that the party became increasingly violent against gay German men because Heinrich Himmler, leader of the paramilitary group Schutzstaffel (SS), was obsessed with controlling sexuality to advance the Aryan race.