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The World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Austria$
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Nancy M. Wingfield

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801658.001.0001

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Morals and Morale during the Great War

Morals and Morale during the Great War

(p.209) 7 Morals and Morale during the Great War
The World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Austria

Nancy M. Wingfield

Oxford University Press

The First World War had great impact on the sexual practices across the Monarchy. Despite increasing military control over the civilian realm, the social upheaval of wartime provided more space—including barracks and military parade grounds—for casual, non-marital, sometimes, commercial, sexual transactions. This chapter examines the explosion of clandestine prostitution and the virtual collapse of regulated prostitution in the Monarchy, both owing to the economic privation of wartime, as part of everyday life on the home front. Military-civilian efforts were little help in closely overseeing regulated prostitutes, limiting the activities of clandestine prostitutes or slowing the spread of sexually transmitted infections, thereby revealing limits of state and social control in Austria during the Great War. The overwhelming focus on women as the source of STIs and surveillance, occupation, even, of some female bodies constituted an additional intrusion into the lives of a particular class of women during wartime.

Keywords:   brothels, denunciation, First World War, home front, military, morals, prostitution, venereal disease

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