Heroism is a term with many meanings. For a long time in human history, it has been celebrated as a virtue. Despite its natural connection to masculinity, heroism became a part of the tradition that any nation would proudly have, take the "home of the brave" phrase in "The Star-Spangled Banner" for instance. Moreover, because of its high status, "heroism" is a word that people and country naturally have used to support, and sometimes justify their causes; it would be difficult for the masses to criticize a cause that is labeled as "heroism". Therefore, there have been many times in history when the hypocrisy of "heroism" has become clear.
Modern day Germany has a remarkable history full of ups and downs, with many intersections with heroism. For instance, Kaiser Wilhelm II used heroism to encourage young German men to volunteer for the First World War, as if "heroism" could transcend the concrete class boundaries in the monarchical society; by the end of the war, many of these men had been left abandoned, lost, and unfit for society. This talk will explore the concept of heroism through examples from modern German literature.