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Lecture 16

THEA 2200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Free France, Nuremberg Rally, Nazi Architecture

Course Code
THEA 2200
Marlis Schweitzer

of 3
February 22, 2016
Lecture 17: Mass Machines and Individual Acts: totalitarian spectacles
and existentialist hell
National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis)
Reichskulturkammer (Reich Culture Chamber)
Third Reich
Degenerate Art exhibition (1937)
Albert Speer
Nuremberg rallies
“cathedral of light”
Leni Riefenstahl
Triumph of the Will (1934)
Vichy France
Jean-Paul Sartre
bad faith
Huis Clos (No Exit)
Framing Questions:
What theatrical elements did the Nazis use in staging spectacles of mass
conformity at party rallies in Nuremburg? How did these spectacles
position the individual participants and what kind of message did they
To what extent might we interpret Sartre’s existentialism as a reaction
against Nazi spectacle?
1. Rise of the Nazi Party
-1933 - Nazi come to power
-Germans frustrated:
-Economic uncertainty
-labour unrest
-treaty of Versailles (1919)
-Hitler appeals to national pride
-promotes beliefs in Superiority of Germany/Aryan Race
-Hitler does things - makes people love him and offer stability (economic)
-nazi hates things
2. Nazi art & culture
a. Hitler’s artistic vision
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February 22, 2016
-Nazi established totalitarian control
-Reichskulturkammer (Reich Culture Chamber) led by Josef Goebbels
oversees cultural production. Book burnings, and total control over
what is suitable art. no bad art = nothing by jews
-Hitler inspired by classical art, dreams of new german empire (Third
-Nazi reject modern art (ascetics, nothing avant garde, no dada) and
celebrate folk (volk) culture
-“Degenerate Art” exhibition - Munich (1937) what they thought was bad
art with texts saying what made the art bad
b. Nazi theatre
-1933-36: Nazis stage dramas called Thingspiel in a Thingplatz -
outdoor theatre auditorium (like greek theatre spaces Theatron)
-Aim to unite German people with ritualistic experience
-movement of chorus VERY GREEK
-feel membership in “the people’s community”
-Theatre is for everyone not just high class
-German is part of the public not private or individual. find solidarity
with each other, find community
c. Nazi architecture
-Hitler hires architects to redesign German cities along classical lines
-Albert Speer builds stone installation at Zeppelin Field on
-first major job in 1934 replace wooden bleachers at Zeppelin Field
on Nuremberg with stone
-Historicism Arch
3. Nuremberg mass rallies
-Thousands of flags and banners
-gold to bring out the colours on the flags
-thousands of people with flags and nazi symbols
-130 searchlights create “cathedral of lights”
-lights shoot up straight into the sky (lights borrowed from military)
-key moments in the rally they shoot up in the lights
-Hitler was a good politician
-hitler as a charismatic leader!
-he commanded and demanded attention
-he could whip a crowd into shape
-actors study hitler as an actor
-FILM: Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” depicts 1934 Nuremberg
-story of Germany like a melodrama
4. Nazi occupation of France
-Maginot line fails and Nazi invade France
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February 22, 2016
-paris falls June 25, 1940
-Germany invades way to fast for France to even think
-France split into 3 zones : Germany zone, Italian zone, and free France
(takes orders from hitler collaborating with nazi)
-hitler realizes France is pretty lets not destroy it :)
-Vichy government collaborates with nazis
-french resistance regains strength
-D-Day : June 6 1944: Allies invade France
-War happens
5. Sartre & existentialism
-Sartre: challenges conformity and promotes “authentic” experience. born
bourgeois background. 1929 meets long-time paramour simone de
beauvoir. conscripted in war as meteorologist.
-joined resistant movement with other writers. undermines the nazis
-no such thing as absolute truth
-No God/divine laws
-No guarantee of human worth or dignity
-individuals must make choices; define own truths
-BAD FAITH: those who didn't choose for them selves. refuse to choose. life
sucks for dem. i.e., waiter in restaurant (over identifying as a role).
-ie., woman on a date. she is not choosing for her self she is timid and
refuses to act.
-have morality
6. No Exit
-opens may 27 1944. 10 days before D-Day
-time of premier : things are bad in paris. food, curfews, no liberty
-one act because people have to get home in time
-mixed response
-some loved it some thought it was bad
-hell is other people? SHOOTS FIRED AT nazis?????
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