Art, Culture, and Media Under the Third Reich

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Richard A. Etlin
University of Chicago Press, 2002 M10 15 - 384 pages
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Exploration of the ways in which the Nazis used art and media to portray their country as the champion of 'Kultur' and civilization. Contribution to Holocaust studies, by revealing how multiple domains of cultural activity served to dehumanize Jews and other groups. Examples of this process are: defining music and art as degenerate; 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.

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For the part on Arno Breker,
Etlin is right in every single political and moral diagnosis that he makes regarding Breker's NSDAP involvement. However, he misses one crucial point; Arno Breker was
really one of the most talented sculptors of his time. I am almost certain that even among the people who rightfully hate the distorted ideology that he represented, one should not be suprised to find a lot of admirers of his work. Personally, I would like to own an item from his Düsseldorf catalogue and, while Etlin argues otherwise, that would not make a far right sympathizer. 


II Propaganda
III Empire Building
IV Appeasement
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Page 35 - And the spiritual world of a volk is not its cultural superstructure, just as little as it is its arsenal of useful knowledge and values; rather, it is the power that comes from preserving at the most profound level the forces that are rooted in the soil and blood of a Volk, the power to arouse most inwardly and to shake most extensively the Volk's existence.
Page 31 - There is no lunacy people under the domination of an archetype will not fall prey to. If thirty years ago anyone had dared to predict that our psychological development was tending towards a revival of the medieval persecutions of the Jews, that Europe would again tremble before the Roman fasces and the tramp of legions, that people would once more give the Roman salute, as...
Page 33 - Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Viking Press, 1963), p.
Page xxi - It is safe to say that nowhere else will the English-speaking peoples find a more accurate, a more comprehensive or a more just examination and interpretation of the Germany of today. Professor Lichtenberger is a scholar far too thorough and far too wise to indulge in a criticism which is merely violent and emotional.

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About the author (2002)

Richard A. Etlin is a Distinguished University Professor at the School of Architecture, University of Maryland. He is the author of five books, most recently In Defense of Humanism: Value in the Arts and Letters and Symbolic Space: French Enlightenment Architecture and Its Legacy, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

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