“What are we to make of those cultural figures, many with significant international reputations, who tried to find accommodation with the Nazi regime?” Jonathan Petropoulos asks in this exploration of some of the most acute moral questions of the Third Reich. In his nuanced analysis of prominent German artists, architects, composers, film directors, painters, and writers who rejected exile, choosing instead to stay during Germany’s darkest period, Petropoulos shows how individuals variously dealt with the regime’s public opposition to modern art. His findings explode the myth that all modern artists were anti-Nazi and all Nazis anti-modernist. Artists Under Hitler closely examines cases of artists who failed in their attempts to find accommodation with the Nazi regime (Walter Gropius, Paul Hindemith, Gottfried Benn, Ernst Barlach, Emil Nolde) as well as others whose desire for official acceptance was realized (Richard Strauss, Gustaf Gründgens, Leni Riefenstahl, Arno Breker, Albert Speer). Collectively these ten figures illuminate the complex cultural history of Nazi Germany, while individually they provide haunting portraits of people facing excruciating choices and grave moral questions.
This provocative study asks why we have held on to vivid images of the NazisÕ total control of the visual and performing arts, even though research has shown that many artists and their works thrived under Hitler. To answer this question, Pamela M. Potter investigates how historians since 1945 have written about music, art, architecture, theater, film, and dance in Nazi Germany and how their accounts have been colored by politics of the Cold War, the fall of communism, and the wish to preserve the idea that true art and politics cannot mix. Potter maintains that although the persecution of Jewish artists and other Òenemies of the stateÓ was a high priority for the Third Reich, removing them from German cultural life did not eradicate their artistic legacies. Art of Suppression examines the cultural histories of Nazi Germany to help us understand how the circumstances of exile, the Allied occupation, the Cold War, and the complex meanings of modernism have sustained a distorted and problematic characterization of cultural life during the Third Reich.
A fresh and insightful history of how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed under the Nazis Culture was integral to the smooth running of the Third Reich. In the years preceding WWII, a wide variety of artistic forms were used to instill a Nazi ideology in the German people and to manipulate the public perception of Hitler's enemies. During the war, the arts were closely tied to the propaganda machine that promoted the cause of Germany's military campaigns. Michael H. Kater's engaging and deeply researched account of artistic culture within Nazi Germany considers how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed when the Nazis came to power. With a broad purview that ranges widely across music, literature, film, theater, the press, and visual arts, Kater details the struggle between creative autonomy and political control as he looks at what became of German artists and their work both during and subsequent to Nazi rule.
A new and challenging perspective on Nazi exhibition design In one of the most comprehensive analyses ever written on the subject, Michael Tymkiw reassesses the relationship between Nazi exhibition design and modernism. While National Socialist exhibitions are widely understood as platforms for attacking modern art, they also served as sites of surprising formal experimentation among artists, architects, and others, who often drew upon and reconfigured the practices and principles of modernism when designing exhibition spaces and the objects within. In this book, Tymkiw reveals that a central motivation behind such experimentation was the interest in provoking what he calls "engaged spectatorship"—attempts to elicit experiences among exhibition-goers that would pique their desire to become involved in wider processes of social and political change. For historians of art, architecture, performance, and other forms of visual culture, Nazi Exhibition Design and Modernism unravels long-held assumptions, particularly concerning the ideological stakes of participation.
Adolf Hitler's obsession with art not only fueled his vision of a purified Nazi state--it was the core of his fascist ideology. Its aftermath lives on to this day. Nazism ascended by brute force and by cultural tyranny. Weimar Germany was a society in turmoil, and Hitler's rise was achieved not only by harnessing the military but also by restricting artistic expression. Hitler, an artist himself, promised the dejected citizens of postwar Germany a purified Reich, purged of "degenerate" influences. When Hitler came to power in 1933, he removed so-called "degenerate" art from German society and promoted artists whom he considered the embodiment of the "Aryan ideal." Artists who had produced challenging and provocative work fled the country. Curators and art dealers organized their stock. Thousands of great artworks disappeared--and only a fraction of them were rediscovered after World War II. In 2013, the German government confiscated roughly 1,300 works by Henri Matisse, George Grosz, Claude Monet, and other masters from the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of one of Hitler's primary art dealers. For two years, the government kept the discovery a secret. In Hitler's Last Hostages, Mary M. Lane reveals the fate of those works and tells the definitive story of art in the Third Reich and Germany's ongoing struggle to right the wrongs of the past.
In Jón Leifs and the Musical Invention of Iceland, Árni Heimir Ingólfsson provides a striking account of the dramatic career of Iceland’s iconic composer. Leifs (1899–1968) was the first Icelander to devote himself fully to composition at a time when a local music scene was only beginning to take form. He was a fervent nationalist in his art, fashioning an idiosyncratic and uncompromising ‘Icelandic’ sound from traditions of vernacular music with the aim to legitimize Iceland as an independent, culturally empowered nation. In addition to exploring Leifs’s career, Ingólfsson provides detailed descriptions of Leifs’s major works and their cultural contexts. Leifs’s music was inspired by the Icelandic landscape and includes auditory depictions of volcanos, geysers, and waterfalls. The raw quality of his orchestral music is frequently enhanced by an expansive percussion section, including anvils, stones, sirens, bells, ships’ chains, shotguns, and cannons. Largely neglected in his own lifetime, Leifs’s music has been rediscovered in recent years and hailed as a singular and deeply original contribution to twentieth-century music. Jón Leifs and the Musical Invention of Iceland enriches our understanding and appreciation of Leifs and his music by exploring the political, literary and environmental contexts that influenced his work.
This richly illustrated book details the wide-ranging construction and urban planning projects launched across Germany after the Nazi Party seized power. The authors show that it was an intentional program to thoroughly reorganize the country's economic, cultural, and political landscapes in order to create a dramatically new Germany, saturated with Nazi ideology.
Author: Department of History York University Michael Kater Distinguished Research Professor
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Is music removed from politics? To what ends, beneficent or malevolent, can music and musicians be put? In short, when human rights are grossly abused and politics turned to fascist demagoguery, can art and artists be innocent? These questions and their implications are explored in Michael Kater's broad survey of musicians and the music they composed and performed during the Third Reich. Great and small--from Valentin Grimm, a struggling clarinetist, to Richard Strauss, renowned composer--are examined by Kater, sometimes in intimate detail, and the lives and decisions of Nazi Germany's professional musicians are laid out before the reader. Kater tackles the issue of whether the Nazi regime, because it held music in crassly utilitarian regard, acted on musicians in such a way as to consolidate or atomize the profession. Kater's examination of the value of music for the regime and the degree to which the regime attained a positive propaganda and palliative effect through the manner in which it manipulated its musicians, and by extension, German music, is of importance for understanding culture in totalitarian systems. This work, with its emphasis on the social and political nature of music and the political attitude of musicians during the Nazi regime, will be the first of its kind. It will be of interest to scholars and general readers eager to understand Nazi Germany, to music lovers, and to anyone interested in the interchange of music and politics, culture and ideology.
Essay from the year 2011 in the subject History Europe - Germany - National Socialism, World War II, grade: 72.0%, Durham University, language: English, abstract: According to Jonathan Petropoulos, Arno Breker was arguably the artist most admired by the Nazi leaders and most celebrated by the Nazi regime. As such, Arno Breker does not represent a simple cog in the National Socialist cultural machine, but rather occupies a position of almost unrivalled prominence and esteem in the cultural history of the Third Reich. Importantly, within recent academic analysis of art and culture under the National Socialist regime, there has been an ostensible recognition among historians and art historians alike that our manner of approaching figures such as Breker must be altered significantly. Culture, and especially art occupied a position of unique significance in Nazi Germany, and the cultural policies of National Socialism worked to aestheticize politics and ideology. Indeed, Taylor and van der Will argue that under Adolf Hitler, Fascism came to represent a form of government which depended on such aestheticized politics, whereby the cultural programme was transmogrified into the ‘aesthetics of political symbolism’. It is within this vital framework of understanding that one must approach the multifarious motives for Arno Breker’s acquiescence with the Nazi regime after 1936-7. Although Breker possessed a truly impressive artistic pedigree prior to his ascent to fame in Nazi Germany, he did choose to continue his career, arguably in a different artistic style and approach, under the Nazis. It is in this decision that historians claim can be found Arno Breker’s ultimate undoing as an artist. The palpable changes evident in the sculptor’s artistic style raise the issue, as elucidated by Alan E. Steinweis, of the distinction between artists’ ‘passive compliance’ and ‘active collaboration’ with the regime’s cultural policies. However, the case of Arno Breker raises problems beyond Steinweis’ significant, but simultaneously constricted, scope of approach. The very motivations for his collaboration are overshadowed by the politically-dictated culture of which he became an indispensable part. One must question to what extent Arno Breker was transformed under National Socialism from a sculptor and an ‘artist’ into a purely political artist functioning to propagandize the ideological tenets of the Nazi regime.
Varian Fry was a flawed man who was transformed by the advent of war in Europe, finding his purpose as the saviour of hundreds of people facing death under the Nazis, including great literary and artistic figures such as Andre Breton, Heinrich Mann, Marc Chargall and Max Ernst. Marino traces the progress of the rescue operations, and reveals the personality of Fry.
The German occupation of France from 1940 to 1945 presented wrenching challenges for the nation's artists and intellectuals. Some were able to flee the country; those who remained—including Gide and Céline, Picasso and Matisse, Cortot and Messiaen, and Cocteau and Gabin—responded in various ways. This fascinating book is the first to provide a full account of how France's artistic leaders coped under the crushing German presence. Some became heroes, others villains; most were simply survivors. Filled with anecdotes about the artists, composers, writers, filmmakers, and actors who lived through the years of occupation, the book illuminates the disconcerting experience of life and work within a cultural prison. Frederic Spotts uncovers Hitler's plan to pacify the French through an active cultural life, and examines the unexpected vibrancy of opera, ballet, painting, theater, and film in both the Occupied and Vichy Zones. In view of the longer-term goal to supplant French with German culture, Spotts offers moving insight into the predicament of French artists as they fought to preserve their country's cultural and national identity.