The Politics of Music in the Third Reich

By Michael Meyer | Go to book overview

Nazi commentators. The education structure, above all, contributed its share to the endeavor of raising a new breed of men. Sports and music were joined in special courses at schools and in summer camps.132 The new man was to integrate all human expression and experience in his person. The singing SA-man was his model. Although the SA was eliminated, its spirit was appropriated by a state which at the same time wanted to appear as civilized, trustworthy and stable in order to allay the fears of a threatened traditional order and the growing alarm of the international community. On a broader basis the ideology was to find implementation. Although "the fighting song was replaced by solemn hymns," the "final solution" by the state was by no stretch of the imagination less radical than the ideology of the less refined SA. Indeed, the SA survived. The only element which was truly suppressed was the democratic-revolutionary, the idealistic and socially offensive feature of a movement which too had fulfilled its purpose. The history of the SA song therefore clearly reflects the history of National Socialism, in addition to which it served as an inspiration for a generation of younger composers. Bajer's reference to the survival of the SA spirit in song suggests the usefulness of the ideology throughout the Third Reich. The rich song literature of the Nazi movement allowed the Nazi elite to maintain its revolutionary pose, even after the fateful days of June and July 1934, in which the revolutionary faction of the movement was sacrificed in favor of a broader power base.


ENDNOTES
1
See Louis L. Snyder, The Third Reich, 19334945: A Bibliographic Guide to National Socialism ( New York and London. 1987) for a brief review of 850 major treatments of the history of National Socialism, arranged with reference to key historiographical controversies--including the question of continuity to which all historians had and have to respond. While Edmond Vermeil in Doctrinaires de la revolution allemande ( Paris, 1938) and Essay d'explication ( Paris, 1945), Koppel S. Pinson in his Modern Germany. Its History and Civilization ( New York, 1954) and many other general histories and monographs locate the roots of Hitler's ideology deep in the German past, others--like Friedrich Meinecke in The German Catastrophe ( Cambridge, MA, 1950) and Gerhard Ritter in "The Historical Foundation of the Rise of National Socialism," in The Third Reich, A Study Published under the Auspices of the Internatinal Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies with the Assistance of UNESCO ( London, 1955--argue for discontinuity between mainstream German traditions and National Socialism. Also, Karl Dietrich Bracher in The German Dictatorship ( New York and Washington, 1970) is critical of those authors--like William L. Shirer in his best seller, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich ( London. 1960)--who "treat the antecedents and rise of National Socialism superficially and summarily, as a logical end product of German historical development..."(3) Ernst Nolte in his pioneering Three Faces of Fascism ( New York, 1966; in German 1963) and Eugen Weber with The Variety of Fascism ( Princeton, 1964) broadened the examination by comparing the different expressions of European fascism. Students of Nazi thought, ideology and culture have concentrated on Hitler's ideas and intellec-

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The Politics of Music in the Third Reich
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Glossary of Select Terms and Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Endnotes 15
  • 1933: Nazi Power, Purges And Revolutionary Promise 19
  • Endnotes 79
  • Music Organization (1933-1945) 89
  • Race, Folk Hero and the New German Musician 253
  • Endnotes 321
  • Wilhelm Furtwängler: Collaboration And a Struggle of Authority 329
  • Endnotes 388
  • Index 395
  • Ullustrations 417
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