Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany: The Reich Chambers of Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts

Overview

From 1933 to 1945, the Reich Chamber of Culture exercised a profound influence over hundreds of thousands of German artists and entertainers. Subdivided into separate chambers for music, theater, the visual arts, literature, film, radio, and the press, this organization encompassed several hundred thousand professionals and influenced the activities of millions of amateur artists and musicians as well. Alan Steinweis focuses on the fields of music, theater, and the visual arts in this first major study of Nazi ...
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Overview

From 1933 to 1945, the Reich Chamber of Culture exercised a profound influence over hundreds of thousands of German artists and entertainers. Subdivided into separate chambers for music, theater, the visual arts, literature, film, radio, and the press, this organization encompassed several hundred thousand professionals and influenced the activities of millions of amateur artists and musicians as well. Alan Steinweis focuses on the fields of music, theater, and the visual arts in this first major study of Nazi cultural administration, examining a complex pattern of interaction among leading Nazi figures, German cultural functionaries, ordinary artists, and consumers of culture. One of the most persistent generalizations to emerge from research on Nazi Germany is the notion of a German artistic and cultural establishment at the mercy of a totalitarian regime determined to mobilize the arts for its own ideological purposes. Steinweis argues that this generalization obscures a more complex reality. It overlooks continuities in the agenda of the German cultural establishment from the Weimar Republic through the Nazi period and presupposes a clearer distinction than actually existed between officialdom and the cultural elite, thereby overestimating the degree to which policy affecting artists originated outside the artistic world. Steinweis describes the political, professional, and economic environment in which German artists were compelled to function and explains the structure of decision making, showing in whose interest cultural policies were formulated. He discusses such issues as work creation, social insurance, minimum wage statutes, and certification guidelines, all of which were matters of high priority to the art professions before 1933 as well as after the Nazi seizure of power. By elucidating the economic and professional context of cultural life, Steinweis also contributes to an understanding of the response of German artists to cultural Gleichschaltun
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Steinweis (modern European history and Judaic studies, U. of Nebraska) focuses on the fields of music, theater, and the visual arts in this study of Nazi cultural administration, examining a complex pattern of interaction among leading Nazi figures, German cultural functionaries, ordinary artists, and consumers of culture. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
A major contribution to our understanding of the practical dimension involved in the formation of Nazi aesthetics.

American Historical Review

Finely nuanced, fair-minded, and succinctly argued.

German Studies Review

A masterful analysis of cultural politics and artistic organizations in Nazi Germany.

Sybil Milton, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807821046
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 244
  • Lexile: 1690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan E. Steinweis holds the Hyman Rosenberg Professorship of Modern European History and Judaic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Art and Culture in the Weimar Republic: The Economic, Institutional, and Political Context 7
The Weimar System of Professional Representation 9
The Impact of the Depression 14
The Neocorporatist Impulse 17
National Socialism and the Arts in the Weimar Era 20
Ch. 2 Nazi Coordination of the Arts and the Creation the Reich Chamber of Culture, 1933 32
Nazification of the Arts 34
Toward a Kulturkammer 38
Ch. 3 Evolution of the Chamber System 50
Neocorporatism and Second Coordination 1934-1936 51
Administrative Centralization, 1935-1941 59
The Struggle for Control over Civil Servants 63
The Struggle over Amateur Artists and Audiences 69
Ch. 4 The Varieties of Patronage, 1933-1939 73
Work Creation 74
Regulating the Arts 79
Conflicts over Professionalization 83
A Balance Sheet: Prosperity Amid Hardship 94
Altersversorgung: Old-Age Pensions 98
Ch. 5 Germanizing the Arts 103
The Purge of Non-Aryans 104
A Jewish Chamber 120
Other Victims of Paragraph 10 126
The Apparatus of Censorship, 1933-1939 132
Ch. 6 Mobilizing Artists for War 147
Economic Bust and Boom 148
The Purge Intensifies 157
Wartime Censorship 163
Mobilization for Total War 168
Conclusion 174
Notes 177
Bibliography 217
Index 227
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