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Coming of Age

Coming of Age

Martin Kalb


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In the lean and anxious years following World War II, Munich society became obsessed with the moral condition of its youth. Initially born of the economic and social disruption of the war years, a preoccupation with juvenile delinquency progressed into a full-blown panic over the hypothetical threat that young men and women posed to postwar stability. As Martin Kalb shows in this fascinating study, constructs like the rowdy young boy and the sexually deviant girl served as proxies for the diffuse fears of adult society, while allowing authorities ranging from local institutions to the U.S. military government to strengthen forms of social control.

Martin Kalb is an Assistant Professor of History at Bridgewater College in Virginia. His research on the histories of everyday life (Alltagsgeschichte), youth, and environmental justice has appeared in publications such as The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth and Global Environment.

“Employing a ‘top-down’ approach and utilizing an impressive array of archival sources, contemporary periodicals, and oral histories, Kalb's work does a remarkable job of balancing the views of authority figures and young people… Highly recommended.” · Choice


“This is a strong contribution to the (still under-researched) post-war history of West Germany, one that also provides fresh insights into the histories of European youth and Cold War cultural politics. It transcends traditional markers of German history such as Stunde Null, moving from a ‘generational’ approach to one more rooted in the everyday history of youth.” · Alan McDougall, University of Guelph

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Contents 7
Illustrations 8
Preface 10
Introduction 13
Part I — Delinquency in the Crisis Years, 1942–1949 27
Chapter 1 — Constructing the Delinquent Boy and the Sexually Deviant Girl 29
Chapter 2 — Controlling Juvenile Delinquents in the Crisis Years 67
Part 2 — Americanization and Youth Cultures in the Miracle Years, 1949–1962 97
Chapter 3 — Constructing the Halbstarke and the Teenager 99
Chapter 4 — Controlling Youth and Society in the Miracle Years 135
Part 3 — Political Activism in the Protest Years, 1962–1973 171
Chapter 5 — Constructing the Student and the Gammler 173
Chapter 6 — Controlling Protestors in the Protest Years 208
Conclusion 244
Bibliography 252
Index 278