The Wehrmacht is usually portrayed as this remorseless, robotic mass of unthinking and unfeeling automatons who salute before going off to be mowed down. However, this is not the case at all. Which brings us to that classic line from Robert Aldrich's "The Dirty Dozen":
Major John Reisman: I owe you an apology, Colonel. I always thought that you were a cold, unimaginative, tight-lipped officer. But you're really quite emotional, aren't you?Credit to Nunnally Johnson (screenplay) and Lukas Heller (screenplay) and E.M. Nathanson (novel).
In fact, Wehrmacht soldiers had all sorts of unusual, how shall we put this, um, "traditions." One of these was cross-dressing in the Third Reich.
One of the more unusual of these "traditions" was to cross-dress with their girlfriends, or at least dress their girls in their uniforms.
Now, why or how this might have become a, er, tradition is probably lost in the murky recesses of deviant minds. The photographic record, however, just shows what was, not why it was.
I'm sure any Wehrmacht soldier reviewing these shots would instantly smile and say (in German), "Oh, it was just fun to do that." That's the kind of answer that doesn't answer anything, of course. I'm sure it was fun at the time, else they wouldn't have done it. There must have been some reason.
What's interesting is how much elaborate care they took. The ties are knotted, the pearls are worn, the buttons are secured... it wasn't as if they spent 30 seconds, put on each others' hats, and took a selfie while giggling about it.
No, they carefully knotted the scarfs, cocked the hats at just the right angle, and went all out to make it look right. And they did a great job!
|The fellow is wearing a BDM uniform - which looked kind of manly. However, it definitely would have been recognized as female attire at the time.|
The amazing thing is that they don't look very self-conscious about it, either.
They put a lot of time and effort into it, those perfectly arranged skirts don't just get on those guys in a second. But some of them should have taken the time to shave their legs.
In fact, some of the pictures show how much work went into it.
Some of them look damn good doing it, too.
In fact, they often do it in groups, with other people around.
I don't think Halloween was really that big in World War II Germany, so there must be some other reason.
Anyway, there probably was some obscure German holiday that they were honoring with this cross-dressing practice. The Wehrmacht guy would just shake his head sadly and say (in German), "Dummkopf! That was the annual Schnitzersangungfreud Festival where the women asked the men out" or something like that.
That's always how it turns out when you notice something a bit out of place from the regime, "Oh, that was perfectly normal, and you are weird because you do not see how normal it was!"
Anyway, let me be clear, I have no issue with cross-dressing if that is what they were into, and they could cross-dress all they liked while they were bombing London if that rocked their boats.
|I know, I know, cheap shot. But you've got to be pretty darn powerful to get away with stuff like that.|
Whatever the reason, today it makes for interesting viewing.
Okay, just to show that I'm not picking on the Germans - heaven forbid! - Here's one from a British POW camp. Why? Who knows. But it must get lonely in the camps.
|Ah, the possibilities....|