Violence and German Society

Who has the legal right to discipline a child? The answer in early twentieth-century Germany was not as simple as you might think. In her recently published article  “A Right to Beat a Child? Corporal Punishment and the Law in Wilhelmine Germany,” Dr. Sace Elder examines the  legal and popular debates over who possessed the right to exercise legitimate violence (that is, physical force for the purpose of correction or discipline) on children. The article appears in the first issue of Central European History, volume 47.

Dr. Elder continues her research on child mistreatment this summer when she travels to Germany to complete work on her book manuscript, “Cruel, Brutal, and Malicious: Child Abuse and Parental Authority in Germany, 1890-1945.” Her work will be supported by a Council for Faculty Research Summer Research Grant.

This work grew out of her first research project on criminal violence in Weimar Germany. The final publication from that project also appeared just this month: “’Prostitutes, Respectable Women, and Women from Outside:’ The Carl Grossmann Sexual Murder Case in Postwar Berlin,” in Crime and Criminal Justice in Modern Germany, ed. Richard Wetzell, (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2014).

Illustration from Heinrich Hoffmann, Der Struuwelpeter, "The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb" (1845)

Illustration from Heinrich Hoffmann, Der Struuwelpeter, “The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb” (1845)


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