Art, Culture, and Media Under the Third Reich explores the ways in which the Nazis used art and media to portray their country as the champion of Kultur and civilization. Rather than focusing strictly on the role of the arts in state-supported propaganda, this volume contributes to Holocaust studies by revealing how multiple domains of cultural activity served to conceptually dehumanize Jews and other groups.
Contributors address nearly every facet of the arts and mass media under the Third Reich—efforts to define degenerate music and art; the promotion of race hatred through film and public assemblies; views of the racially ideal garden and landscape; race as portrayed in popular literature; the reception of art and culture abroad; the treatment of exiled artists; and issues of territory, conquest, and appeasement. Familiar subjects such as the Munich Accord, Nuremberg Party Rally Grounds, and Lebensraum (Living Space) are considered from a new perspective. Anyone studying the history of Nazi Germany or the role of the arts in nationalist projects will benefit from this book.
Richard A. Etlin
Karen A. Fiss
Paul B. Jaskot
Robert Jan van Pelt
Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn and Gert Gröning
Between Resistance and Martyrdom is the first comprehensive historical study of the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Holocaust era. Refusing to perform military service under Germany’s Third Reich due to their fundamental belief in nonviolence, Jehovah’s Witnesses caught the attention of the highest authorities in the justice system, the police, and the SS.
Although persecuted and banned from practicing their beliefs by the Nazi regime in 1933, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ unified resistance has been largely forgotten. Basing his work on a wide range of sources, including documents and archives previously unconsidered as well as critical analyses of Jehovah’s Witness literature and survivor interviews, Detlef Garbe chronicles the Nazi’s relentless persecution of this religious group before and during World War II.
The English translation of this important work features a series of original photographs not published in the German edition. These striking images bring a sense of individual humanity to this story and help readers comprehend the reality of the events documented. Between Resistance and Martyrdom is an indispensable work that will introduce an English-speaking audience to this important but lesser-known part of Holocaust history.
The Roman Empire has been a source of inspiration and a model for imitation for Western empires practically since the moment Rome fell. Yet, as Julia Hell shows in The Conquest of Ruins, what has had the strongest grip on aspiring imperial imaginations isn’t that empire’s glory but its fall—and the haunting monuments left in its wake.
Hell examines centuries of European empire-building—from Charles V in the sixteenth century and Napoleon’s campaigns of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries to the atrocities of Mussolini and the Third Reich in the 1930s and ’40s—and sees a similar fascination with recreating the Roman past in the contemporary image. In every case—particularly that of the Nazi regime—the ruins of Rome seem to represent a mystery to be solved: how could an empire so powerful be brought so low? Hell argues that this fascination with the ruins of greatness expresses a need on the part of would-be conquerors to find something to ward off a similar demise for their particular empire.
This new edition revisits the renowned historian George L. Mosse’s landmark work exploring the ideological foundations of Nazism in Germany. First published in 1964, this volume was among the first to examine the intellectual origins of the Third Reich. Mosse introduced readers to what is known as the völkisch ideal—the belief that the German people were united through a transcendental essence. This mindset led to the exclusion of Jews and other groups, eventually allowing Nazi leaders to take their beliefs to catastrophic extremes. The critical introduction by Steven E. Aschheim, the author of Beyond the Border: The German-Jewish Legacy Abroad and many other books, brings Mosse’s work into the present moment.
George L. Mosse (1918–99) was a legendary scholar, teacher, and mentor. A refugee from Nazi Germany, in 1955 he joined the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was both influential and popular. Mosse was an early leader in the study of modern European cultural and intellectual history, fascism, and the history of sexuality and masculinity. Over his career he authored more than two dozen books.
In this persuasive reversal of previous scholarship, Linda Schulte-Sasse takes an unorthodox look at Nazi cinema, examining Nazi films as movies that contain propaganda rather than as propaganda vehicles that happen to be movies. Like other Nazi artistic productions, Nazi film has long been regarded as kitsch rather than art, and therefore unworthy of critical textual analysis. By reading these films as consumer entertainment, Schulte-Sasse reveals the similarities between Nazi commercial film and classical Hollywood cinema and, with this shift in emphasis, demonstrates how Hollywood-style movie formulas frequently compromised Nazi messages. Drawing on theoretical work, particularly that of Lacan and Zizek, Schulte-Sasse shows how films such as Jew Süsss and The Great King construct fantasies of social harmony, often through distorted versions of familiar stories from eighteenth-century German literature, history, and philosophy. Schulte-Sasse observes, for example, that Nazi films, with their valorization of bourgeois culture and use of familiar narrative models, display a curious affinity with the world of Enlightenment culture that the politics of National Socialism would seem to contradict. Schulte-Sasse argues that film served National Socialism less because of its ideological homogeneity than because of the appeal and familiarity of its underlying literary paradigms and because the medium itself guarantees a pleasurable illusion of wholeness. Entertaining the Third Reich will be of interest to a wide range of scholars, including those engaged in the study of cinema, popular culture, Nazism and Nazi art, the workings of fascist culture, and the history of modern ideology.
What were the women of Germany doing during the Third Reich? What were they thinking? And what do they have to say a half century later?
In Frauen we hear their voices––most for the first time. Alison Owings interviewed and here records the words of twenty-nine German women who were there: Working for the Resistance. Joining the Nazi Party. Outsmarting the Gestapo. Disliking a Jewish neighbor. Hiding a Jewish friend. Witnessing "Kristallnacht." Witnessing the firebombing of Dresden. Shooting at Allied planes. Welcoming Allied troops. Being a prisoner. And being a guard. The women recall their own and others' enthusiasm, doubt, fear, fury, cowardice, guilt, and anguish.
Alison Owings, in her pursuit of such memories, was invited into the homes of these women. Because she is neither Jewish nor German, and because she speaks fluent colloquial German, many of the women she interviewed felt comfortable enough with her to unlock the past. What they have to say will surprise Americans, just as they surprised the women themselves.
Not since Marcel Ophuls's controversial film The Sorrow and the Pity have we been on such intimate terms with "the enemy." In this case, the story is that of the women, those who did not make policy but were forced to participate in its effects and to witness its results. What they did and did not do is not just a reflection on them and their country––it also leads us to question what actions we might have taken in their place. The interviews do not allow for easy, smug answers.
From Publishers Weekly
A vivid picture of Germany under the Nazis emerges from this collection of unsettling interviews conducted by freelance TV writer Owings with 29 women of diverse backgrounds, both Aryan and Jewish. Among the women whose lives in Germany's war-torn homefront are chronicled are the widow of a resistance leader and the wife of an SS guard, who refers to her husband's work in the Ravensbrook and Buchenwald "manufacturing plants." Not only did Hitler attract the young but, according to one supporter, "he understood how to fascinate women." Some of these women claim that they privately protested mistreatment of Jews and prisoners and risked their lives to assist them. Only one non-Jewish woman, however, admits to "hearing" that Jews were gassed.
From Library Journal
Owings, a freelance television writer who is neither a German nor a Jew, has compiled and edited a groundbreaking set of oral histories. She interviews women from many spectrums of the Third Reich: Germans, Jews, individuals of "mixed" parentage, a countess, a camp guard, women who hid Jews, Nazi supporters, Communists, and other women who witnessed and participated in everyday and extraordinary events. Owings has tried, as much as possible, to quote her interviewees directly yet still manages to create an even and engaging text. This volume is an excellent companion to Claudia Koonz's Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, Family Life, and Nazi Ideology , 1919-1945 ( LJ 11/1/86). Highly recommended.
In paperback for the first time, From Racism to Genocide is an explosive, richly detailed account of how Nazi anthropologists justified racism, developed practical applications of racist theory, and eventually participated in every phase of the Holocaust.
Using original sources and previously unpublished documentation, Gretchen E. Schafft shows the total range of anti-human activity from within the confines of a particular discipline. Based on seven years of archival research in the United States and abroad, the work includes many original photos and documents, most of which have never before been published. It uses primary data and original texts whenever possible, including correspondence written by perpetrators. The book also reveals that the United States was not merely a bystander in this research, but instead contributed professional and financial support to early racial research that continued through the first five years of Hitler’s regime.
Franco-German cultural exchange reached its height at the 1937 Paris World’s Fair, where the Third Reich worked to promote an illusion of friendship between the two countries. Through the prism of this decisive event, Grand Illusion examines the overlooked relationships among Nazi elites and French intellectuals. Their interaction, Karen Fiss argues, profoundly influenced cultural production and normalized aspects of fascist ideology in 1930s France, laying the groundwork for the country’s eventual collaboration with its German occupiers.
Tracing related developments across fine arts, film, architecture, and mass pageantry, Fiss illuminates the role of National Socialist propaganda in the French decision to ignore Hitler’s war preparations and pursue an untenable policy of appeasement. France’s receptiveness toward Nazi culture, Fiss contends, was rooted in its troubled identity and deep-seated insecurities. With their government in crisis, French intellectuals from both the left and the right demanded a new national culture that could rival those of the totalitarian states. By examining how this cultural exchange shifted toward political collaboration, Grand Illusion casts new light on the power of art to influence history.
Lebensraum: the entitlement of “legitimate” Germans to living space. Entfernung: the expulsion of “undesirables” to create empty space for German resettlement. During his thirteen years leading Germany, Hitler developed and made use of a number of powerful geostrategical concepts such as these in order to justify his imperialist expansion, exploitation, and genocide. As his twisted manifestation of spatial theory grew in Nazi ideology, it created a new and violent relationship between people and space in Germany and beyond.
With Hitler’s Geographies, editors Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca examine the variety of ways in which spatial theory evolved and was translated into real-world action under the Third Reich. They have gathered an outstanding collection by leading scholars, presenting key concepts and figures as well exploring the undeniable link between biopolitical power and spatial expansion and exclusion.
The Nazis created nature preserves, championed sustainable forestry, curbed air pollution, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature. How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich is the first book to examine the Third Reich's environmental policies and to offer an in-depth exploration of the intersections between brown ideologies and green practices.
Environmentalists and conservationists in Germany welcomed the rise of the Nazi regime with open arms and hoped that it would bring about legal and institutional changes. However, environmentalists soon realized that the rhetorical attention they received from the regime did not always translate into action. By the late 1930s, nature and the environment had become less pressing concerns as Nazi Germany prepared for and executed a global conflagration.
Based on prodigious archival research, and written by some of the most important scholars in the field of twentieth-century German history, How Green Were the Nazis? examines the overlap between Nazi ideology and conservationist agendas. This landmark book underscores the fact that the “green” policies of the Nazis were more than a mere episode or aberration in environmental history.
Contributors: Franz-Josef Brüggemeier, Mark Cioc, Thomas Zeller, Charles Closmann, Michael Imort, Thomas Lekan, Frank Uekötter, Gesine Gerhard, Thomas Rohkrämer, Mark Bassin, and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn.
Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism's ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft - a "people’s community" that appealed to Germans to be part of a great project to redress the wrongs of the Versailles treaty, make the country strong and vital, and rid the body politic of unhealthy elements. Diaries and letters reveal Germans' fears, desires, and reservations, while showing how Nazi concepts saturated everyday life.
What was life like under the Third Reich? What went on between parents and children? What were the prevailing attitudes about sex, morality, religion? How did workers perceive the effects of the New Order in the workplace? What were the cultural currents—in art, music, science, education, drama, and on the radio?
Professor Mosse’s extensive analysis of Nazi culture—groundbreaking upon its original publication in 1966—is now offered to readers of a new generation. Selections from newspapers, novellas, plays, and diaries as well as the public pronouncements of Nazi leaders, churchmen, and professors describe National Socialism in practice and explore what it meant for the average German.
By recapturing the texture of culture and thought under the Third Reich, Mosse’s work still resonates today—as a document of everyday life in one of history’s darkest eras and as a living memory that reminds us never to forget.
The Faustian bargain—in which an individual or group collaborates with an evil entity in order to obtain knowledge, power, or material gain—is perhaps best exemplified by the alliance between world-renowned human geneticists and the Nazi state. Under the swastika, German scientists descended into the moral abyss, perpetrating heinous medical crimes at Auschwitz and at euthanasia hospitals. But why did biomedical researchers accept such a bargain?
The Nazi Symbiosis offers a nuanced account of the myriad ways human heredity and Nazi politics reinforced each other before and during the Third Reich. Exploring the ethical and professional consequences for the scientists involved as well as the political ramifications for Nazi racial policies, Sheila Faith Weiss places genetics and eugenics in their larger international context. In questioning whether the motives that propelled German geneticists were different from the compromises that researchers from other countries and eras face, Weiss extends her argument into our modern moment, as we confront the promises and perils of genomic medicine today.
It's hard to imagine an issue or image more riveting than Black Germans during the Third Reich. Yet accounts of their lives are virtually nonexistent, despite the fact that they lived through a regime dedicated to racial purity.
Tina Campt's Other Germans tells the story of this largely forgotten group of individuals, with important distinctions from other accounts. Most strikingly, Campt centers her arguments on race, rather than anti-semitism. She also provides oral history as background for her study, interviewing two Black Germans for the book.
In the end, the author comes face to face with an inevitable question: Is there a relationship between the history of Black Germans and those of other black communities?
The answers to Campt's questions make Other Germans essential reading in the emerging study of what it meant to be black and German in the context of a society that looked at anyone with non-German blood as racially impure at best.
This is a groundbreaking study of the prestigious Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics during the Third Reich. Making extensive use of archival material, including some discussed here for the first time, Fritz Trümpi offers new insight into the orchestras’ place in the larger political constellation.
Trümpi looks first at the decades preceding National Socialist rule, when the competing orchestras, whose rivalry mirrored a larger rivalry between Berlin and Vienna, were called on to represent “superior” Austro-German music and were integrated into the administrative and social structures of their respective cities—becoming vulnerable to political manipulation in the process. He then turns to the Nazi period, when the orchestras came to play a major role in cultural policies. As he shows, the philharmonics, in their own unique ways, strengthened National Socialist dominance through their showcasing of Germanic culture in the mass media, performances for troops and the general public, and fictional representations in literature and film. Accompanying these propaganda efforts was an increasing politicization of the orchestras, which ranged from the dismissal of Jewish members to the programming of ideologically appropriate repertory—all in the name of racial and cultural purity.
Richly documented and refreshingly nuanced, The Political Orchestra is a bold exploration of the ties between music and politics under fascism.
The Vatican’s dealings with the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich have long been swathed in myth and speculation. After almost seventy years, the crucial records for the years leading up to 1939 were finally opened to the public, revealing the bitter conflicts that raged behind the walls of the Holy See. In rich detail, Hubert Wolf presents astonishing findings from the recently opened Vatican archives and illuminates the thinking of the popes, cardinals, and bishops who saw themselves in a historic struggle against evil. Never have the inner workings of the Vatican—its most important decisions and actions—been portrayed so fully and vividly.
Too often dismissed as escapist entertainment or vilified as mass manipulation, popular cinema in the Third Reich was in fact sustained by well-established generic conventions, cultural traditions, aesthetic sensibilities, social practices, and a highly developed star system—not unlike its Hollywood counterpart in the 1930s. This pathfinding study contributes to the ongoing reassessment of Third Reich cinema by examining it as a social, cultural, economic, and political practice that often conflicted with, contradicted, and compromised the intentions of the Propaganda Ministry. Nevertheless, by providing the illusion of a public sphere presumably free of politics, popular cinema helped to sustain the Nazi regime, especially during the war years. Rather than examining Third Reich cinema through overdetermined categories such as propaganda, ideology, or fascist aesthetics, Sabine Hake concentrates on the constituent elements shared by most popular cinemas: famous stars, directors, and studios; movie audiences and exhibition practices; popular genres and new trends in set design; the reception of foreign films; the role of film criticism; and the representation of women. She pays special attention to the forced coordination of the industry in 1933, the changing demands on cinema during the war years, and the various ways of coming to terms with these filmic legacies after the war. Throughout, Hake’s findings underscore the continuities among Weimar, Third Reich, and post-1945 West German cinema. They also emphasize the codevelopment of German and other national cinemas, especially the dominant Hollywood model.
"The history of resistance affords a powerful example of why the present should try to remember a more distant, early modern past" write Michael Geyer and John W. Boyer in their introduction to Resistance against the Third Reich. Addressing the legacy of European resistance, this volume examines the nature of political opposition to unjust rule, which is so often grounded in the bitter conflicts between church and state. This collection is a timely effort to link recent advances in European history with lingering questions concerning resistance against the Third Reich.
Contributors include Geoffrey Cocks, Werner G. Jeanrond, Tony Judt, Claudia Koonz, Hans Mommsen, and Frank Trommler.