Settling Scores: German Music, Denazification, and the Americans, 1945-1953

Settling Scores: German Music, Denazification, and the Americans, 1945-1953

by David Monod
     
 

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Classical music was central to German national identity in the early twentieth century. The preeminence of composers such as Bach and Beethoven and artists such as conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler and pianist Walter Gieseking was cited by the Nazis as justification for German expansionism and as evidence of Aryan superiority. In the minds of many Americans, further… See more details below

Overview

Classical music was central to German national identity in the early twentieth century. The preeminence of composers such as Bach and Beethoven and artists such as conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler and pianist Walter Gieseking was cited by the Nazis as justification for German expansionism and as evidence of Aryan superiority. In the minds of many Americans, further German aggression could be prevented only if the population's faith in its moral and cultural superiority was shattered. In Settling Scores, David Monod examines the attempted "denazification" of the German music world by the Music Control Branch of the Information Control Division of Military Government.

The occupying American forces barred from the stage and concert hall all former Nazi Party members and even anyone deemed to display an "authoritarian personality." They also imported European and American music. These actions, however, divided American officials and outraged German audiences and performers. Nonetheless, the long-term effects were greater than has been previously recognized, as German government officials regained local control and voluntarily limited their involvement in artistic life while promoting "new" (anti-Nazi) music.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This insightful book is clearly organized and elegantly written. . . . Engaging, authoritative . . . poised to become required reading for all historians and musicologists interested in cultural rebirth amidst the postwar ruins of occupied Germany."
American Studies

"This important book has provided a framework and a methodology that will help to guide others."
European History Quarterly

"Monod thoughtfully addresses the seemingly contradictory situation of overall policy failure with grassroots success and unexpected levels of Americanization and democratization. Overall, the book is written with genuine understanding of the place of music in German society, and adds a useful cultural dimension to the current body of literature of postwar Germany."
CHOICE

"Offers a long-awaited analysis of the American Military Government's precarious navigation in the music world. . . . Highly readable and engaging history."
Central European History

"Offers a long-awaited analysis of the American Military Government's precarious navigation in the music world. . . . Highly readable and engaging history."
Central European History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807876442
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
03/08/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
344
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Settling Scores is a thorough and valuable work that complicates the existing picture of the early years of American influence on the musical world of postwar Germany.--Current Musicology

Monod thoughtfully addresses the seemingly contradictory situation of overall policy failure with grassroots success and unexpected levels of Americanization and democratization. Overall, the book is written with genuine understanding of the place of music in German society, and adds a useful cultural dimension to the current body of literature of postwar Germany.--CHOICE

Settling Scores is a remarkable book. It is one of the best works on the cultural history of the American occupation of Germany, reflecting an exceptional understanding for the policy processes of the U.S. military government. It is thoughtful, incisive, and wise in its treatment of the sensitive question of the responsibility of German musicians for their response to the Nazi state. A brilliant achievement!--Thomas Alan Schwartz, Vanderbilt University

David Monod's study of American efforts to regulate and revive German musical life after 1945 gives us a satisfyingly complex view of what he calls 'one of the more peculiar elements in Germany's post-war military administration.' He provides important insight into such broad issues as how culture contributes to political legitimacy and how, in turn, cultural life changes in periods of major political crisis. His analysis of why denazification couldn't and didn't really work illuminates the whole course of post-war musical development in the west.--Celia Applegate, University of Rochester

This important book has provided a framework and a methodology that will help to guide others.--European History Quarterly

Offers a long-awaited analysis of the American Military Government's precarious navigation in the music world. . . . Highly readable and engaging history.--Central European History

This insightful book is clearly organized and elegantly written. . . . Engaging, authoritative . . . poised to become required reading for all historians and musicologists interested in cultural rebirth amidst the postwar ruins of occupied Germany.--American Studies

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