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The war hysteric’s lack of “nerve” was an issue seen in the very method of treatment deemed acceptable by the psychiatric community. Eric Leed suggests that the harsh treatment of war neurotics, evident through faradization, solitary confinement, and other methods of coercion therapy, was an acknowledgement that neurosis was considered an illegitimate exit from the war (Leed, 165). The trial of Viennese psychiatrist Julius von Wagner-Jauregg provides evidence of the disciplinary nature of treatment given to hysterical soldiers during the First World War.

Numerous doctors and psychiatrists listed the supposed hysterical characteristics of participants of the revolution. Neurologist Hermann Oppenheim, for example, divides the leaders of the German revolution into three groups: the mentally disabled, the manic-depressives, and the psychopaths (Oppenheim, 1). Likewise, in a 1919 article entitled “Forensische Begutachtung eines Spartakisten” (Forensic Assessment of a Spartacist), psychiatrist Kurt Hildebrandt describes two types of psychopaths involved in the revolution — the “Gesellschaftsfeind” (antisocial individual) who is driven by his ego, and the “Hochstapler” (con man) who is a war neurotic (Hildebrandt, 479).

Oswald’s particular film on prostitution functioned, then, as a springboard for a more general critique of an entire filmic genre, the Aufklärungsfilm, and its presumably negative social effects on women. The concern expressed by Brecht, Tucholsky, Schweisheimer, and Weimar politicians alike for the well-being of young women only thinly veils their anxiety about an active form of female sexuality that falls outside the social institutions of marriage and prostitution. Such anxiety was emblematic of the early Weimar years, in which “women’s uncontrolled sexuality” was linked “to the specter of profound social disorder” (Roos, 63).

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