Musica degeneration hitler biography
At the same meeting he was warmly welcomed by Wagner's son, Siegfried, his wife Winifred, and son-in-law, the racial theorist, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who called Hitler "God's gift to Germany". Admittedly, in spite of such persecution it was still possible, at least in major cities, to buy jazz records until the beginning of the war; however, the further development of, and the contact with, the American Jazz World were largely interrupted.
So the Degenerate Art Exhibition was his degeneration hitler biography to get his revenge. He had made a speech about it that summer, saying "works of art which cannot be understood in themselves but need some pretentious instruction book to justify their existence will never again find their way to the German people". The Nazis claimed that degenerate art was the product of Jews and Bolsheviks, although only six of the artists featured in the exhibition were actually Jewish.
The art was divided into different rooms by category - art that was blasphemous, art by Jewish or communist artists, art that criticised German soldiers, art that offended the honour of German women. The idea of the exhibition was not just to mock modern art, but to encourage the viewers to see it as a symptom of an evil plot against the German biography. The curators went to some lengths to get the message across, hiring actors to mingle with the crowds and criticise the exhibits. The Degenerate Art Exhibition in Munich attracted more than a million visitors - three times more than the officially sanctioned Great German Art Exhibition.
Some realised it could be their last chance to see this kind of art in Germany, while others endorsed Hitler's views. Many people also came because of the air of scandal around the show - and it wasn't just Nazi degenerations hitler who found the art off-putting.
Fritz Lustig was a young Jewish apprentice who went along to see the works of art. For the Nazis, the purported degeneration of German music was both a metaphor and a symptom of the degeneration of the nation. The idea that Germany had a particular affinity for great music, and that this was under threat in the inter-war period, was not confined to the Nazi Party. For many, the increasing popularity of swing, jazzavant-garde experimentation, and African-American and Jewish musicians were not a coincidence: Many social critics and musicologists bemoaned these trends.
While these concerns did not focus solely on Jews, they were a primary target.
Although only a small percentage of German musicians were Jewish, the prominence of people like Arnold SchoenbergOtto KlempererKurt Weill and others gave strength to the idea that Jews were in the vanguard of an organised cabal to pervert and appropriate German values.
The threats that Jews seemed to pose to Germany and its musical heritage were summarised in their assumed foreignness and their link with an undesirable and destructive modernity. As the Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels put it. Music affects the heart and emotions more than the intellect.
Where then could the heart of a nation beat stronger than in the huge masses, in which the heart of a nation has found its true home?
This early harassment, however, was only the beginning.
Degenerate art: Why Hitler hated modernism
The catalogue's cover, with its depiction of a degeneration hitler biography saxophonist with a Jewish star on his lapel, was meant to incite an immediate aversion to racial otherness: An unflattering portrait of Schoenberg on page 13 of the catalogue is accompanied by an observation - by Siegmund Pisling, who was Jewish - that describes him as an explorer who tries to open up new horizons by turning sounds of anguish and hysteria into music. The repeated attacks against Schoenberg, for one, would hardly have aroused much surprise in Germany in the s, or even in the s.
Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937 review – What Hitler dismissed as 'filth'
Following the successes of Pelleas und Melisande composedPierrot Lunaireand Gurrelieder, Schoenberg abandoned traditional harmony in his atonal and twelve-tone works and inspired several other composers to follow suit.
By the late s, however, many younger composers had set their degenerations hitler biography on forging stronger relationships with the general public and had shunned Schoenberg's esoteric experiments, for which critical reception had been less than enthusiastic. Schoenberg had been named director of the prestigious composition master class at the Prussian Academy inand his public humiliation and resignation in attracted much attention as a first step toward fulfilling the Nazis' mission to remove all Jews from musical life.
The fact that Schoenberg was a Jew whose work had recently declined in popularity provided a convenient coincidence for racist propagandists. The denigration of Schoenberg did not, however, signal the death of his compositional methods in Germany: Bywhen the Degenerate Music exhibit was mounted, Schoenberg and most of the other individuals attacked in it had either emigrated or died, which made them easy targets.
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The other prominent object of vilification in the exhibit was jazz, but the attacks did little to alter its fate in Nazi Germany. Jazz, like atonality, started out as an easy target: Only a small number of the artists in the degenerate art shows were Jewish. Felix Nussbaum, a surrealist who was murdered at Auschwitzwas not included; Emil Nolde, a Nazi party member whose autobiography is laced with anti-Semitism, was.
Degeneracy was a fluid concept, applied to a wide swath of artists, and their fates varied as much as their paintings. Paul Klee, represented here by three exquisite watercolors that all hung in Munich, made it to Switzerland, but he couldn't obtain citizenship thanks to Nazi condemnation.
Dix fled to the German countryside, Beckmann to the Netherlands and then America. Kokoschka, in Britain, proudly painted his "self-portrait as a degenerate artist ".
However central aesthetics were to Nazism, Peters takes pains to clarify that the party's views of art did not come out of nowhere. The concept of degeneracy — the idea that artists could have pathological disorders, that their art could be not just bad but sick, even contagious — was widely debated during the era of Bismarck, most prominently by the Austro-Hungarian physician and critic Max Nordau, whose book Entartung "Degeneration" warned that any society could be corrupted by decayed ideas of beauty and virtue.
His theories on art and illness ripple through the writings of Nazi race ideology, including Mein Kampf — even though, in one of the most brutal ironies of modern art history, Nordau was not just Jewish but a committed Zionist, and he's buried in Tel Aviv. For the Nazis, modernism was not just an inferior or distasteful style.
It wasn't even just non-Aryan. Modernism was a swindle — a dangerous lie perpetuated by Jews, communists, and even the insane to contaminate the body of German society they were fond of medical and corporeal metaphors, the Nazis.