Unintended Consequences or Desired Outcome? Children Born of War and their Role in National Rebirth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


While population concerns have played a significant role in political and military policymaking in several twentieth-century conflicts, this chapter examines the circumstances in which state and nonstate actors consider the inclusion of female civilians associated with the enemy as “bearers” of ethnic or national rebirth. Examining the Lebensborn e.V. during World War II, Serb forces during the Yugoslav Wars, and the Lord’s Resistance Army during the Ugandan Civil War, the author argues that the moral conditioning of the soldiers entailed the development of an ethnic conscience, a race-ethical morality that defined the elimination of external threats to the new order as morally unobjectionable, while at the same time creating a feeling of moral obligation to make their own behaviors (including that of procreation through rape) subject to the norms of ethnic or national rebirth—figuratively and literally. The author argues that the combination of absolute virtues demanding unconditional obedience on the one hand, and ideologically conditioned race-consciousness on the other hand, led to the creation of an eugenic ethics that demanded compliance from all soldiers/fighters and their willing or unwilling partners to take part in the creation of the greater, better, the true new order.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenging Conceptions
Subtitle of host publicationChildren Born of Wartime Rape and Sexual Exploitation
EditorsKimberly Theidon, Dyan Mazurana, Dipali Anumol
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9780197648346
ISBN (Print)9780197648315
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2023


  • Eugenics
  • military policy
  • LRA
  • Lebensborn
  • nationalism


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