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Article Title

Music in the Third Reich

Keywords

Music, Third Reich, Hitler

Abstract

Music played a prominent role in the rise of Nazi culture in Germany and was used extensively in propaganda and indoctrination of the entire country; the Nazi party brought music and politics together and sought to shape their ideal culture by elevating their ideas of pure music to the highest status and outlawing what they defined as inferior. This study addresses Hitler’s specific views on music and explores several of the factors and individuals that contributed to his views. His views were directly inferred into the core of the Nazi party. Hitler himself was an artist and felt that art and music were a vital part of life and culture. He was deeply influenced by Wagner’s views as well as his music, and Hitler saw many parallels between Wagner’s conception of Germany and the stories which the composer used in his operas.

This study also explores how the Nazis used music to spread their propaganda, what was considered to be “pure” music, and the impact which the idea of “pure” art had on Jewish musicians and composers. The party made significant use of music to strengthen their political events and indoctrinate the individual citizen. Not only was the actual music used to portray Nazi ideology, but Nazi doctrine played a significant role in the fate of Jewish composers and performers. Many Jewish musicians lost their jobs and found themselves banned from mainstream cultural and musical organizations. Arnold Schoenberg is the prime example of the effect of the Nazi ideology on the music and perception of a Jewish composer, while Wagner is the perfect example of the response to a composer who met the Nazi criteria of pure Aryanism. This study attempts to examine these historical facts in an effort to promote a better understanding of the cultural aspects of the Third Reich in the hopes that the informed individual will ensure that such views will never again permeate government and society.

DOI

10.15385/jmo.2012.3.2.3

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

 

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