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Lecture 8

Nazi Lecture 8.docx

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Western University
History 2147A/B
Julia Berest

March 13, 2013 1 Art and Culture in Nazi Germany Transforming German Culture  Hitler and his supporters took transforming art and culture very seriously.  He knew that culture, if properly controlled and directed, could serve his political endeavors as well as propaganda.  Everything was to be controlled as much as possible.  Nazis viewed themselves as revolutionary movement  Culture was to be inn keeping with the concept of Nazi Community  Everything foreign was to be purged from German culture.  Wanted to create a culture that would appeal to everyone  Transforming the existing culture was the most difficult task.  Every nation shares certain values  people were more willing to believe the Jewish (political), but they were not willing to throw away their books and music. This was very difficult to change.  They needed to be creative within a controlled framework Comprimises? Non- totalitarian o Nazis couldn’t produce a culture that would appeal to everyone but was still politically correct.  The Nazis made some compromises, pertaining to culture. German Art before 1933: modernism (avant-garde)  Germany was fameous for its modernist style.  Diverse styles. Defying traditional notion of reality, techniques of painting & subject matter.  They changed the type of painting, and colours (very unusual and unnatural)  Unorthodox representation of reality: they argued that what reality is what each individual believes is real. (no objective reality) European Influence of German Art  Facination with modernity vs. anxiety  Expressionism- emotions through colour and form  They often defeated the theme of big city and loneliness (around people but feeling alone)- expressed the idea of anxiety German Art after WW1  Expressionism: defiant, gloomy and critical- the new objectivity movement.  Many of the artists were soldiers so they wanted to present the public with problematic scenes- wanted to expose Germanys moral problems.  They also had prostitution/ night life paintings: the paintings were not far removed from reality.  Night life in Berlin changed- people now wanted to celebrate life “anything goes” attitude. The relaxation of censorship  Gave them a taste of excentricity- gay clubs and pubs March 13, 2013 2 Art in Nazi Germany  Hitler’s personal interest & tastes (conservative)  It was easy to shut down gay bars because the conservatives supported him; it was harder to change art.  Labeling modern art: “degenerate , elitist, Jewish, Bolshevik, cosmopolitan  When he came to power he try to impinge his taste in art. Exhibition of Degenerate Art  Was to serve as a lesson of what art SHOULD NOT be  They put those paintings and drawings into 9 catagories  Paintings from the same artist could fall into different catagories.  Group 1:  Group 2:  Group 8: “the endless supply of Jewish trash… that no words can adeaquately describe”  Group 9: “the height of degeneracy”  Eliciting negative reaction from the public. Many of the works of art had a price- not because they were for sale. They were showing people how much money museams paid for that kind of trash  Hitler believed that there were 2 reasons why an artist would paint in these styles o 1. There must be something wrong with their vision- We forceibly sterilized. o 2. They wanted to deceive the nation, don’t believe in what they are painting but are trying to cause an uprise- Liable to prosecution and punishment.  1939-41:The artwork was confiscating and selling artworks at international auctions- this showed HOW oppressive conditions got.  March 1939- 4,000 paintings were destroyed by a bonfire. Officially approved art: National realism  New paintings had to be non-abstract. They wanted to make them accessible to average intellectual people.  They wanted to “bring art closer to people”  Many lower class people were enjoying art they way they never had before.  The idea was to stifle non conformity and individuality.  In a normal democratic community, it is up to the public to determine what they like in art- but the Nazis told them what to like.  Nazis didn’t want to spark opinionated thinking as a result of artwork  Art critics were no longer allowed to evaluate art, they were only allowed to describe it.  All Jewish artists were banned from the Reich Art. March 13, 2013 3  New themes in art were to focus on national community, racial purity and gender roles assigned by the Nazis. It was also supposed to connect Germans to their glorious past.  They often painted farmers living close to the land.  Germans had a unique connection to the land- that’s why
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