A Clash of Styles – German Aesthetics – 1933-1945

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Emblem of the NSDAP



During the period of the Third Reich there was a tension between three conflicting elements in National Socialist aesthetics and ideology – these three elements being Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism.
Towards the end of the period Classicism and Modernism rose to prominence, both fulfilling their appropriate functions, while a Gothic Romanticism gradually faded in significance.
To understand theses developments, however, we need to consider the origins of German National Socialism.




National Socialism comes from a different tradition than that of either liberal capitalism or communism.
Partito Nazionale Fascista
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Falange Española de las
Juntas de

Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista
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Many historiographers say that the anti-Semitic element, which does not exist to any great extent in the sister fascist movements in Italy and Spain, was adopted by Hitler to gain popularity for the movement.


Partito Nazionale Fascista – PNF – (the National Fascist Party) was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism  The party ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943.
Falange was a Spanish political organization founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1933, during the Second Spanish Republic. Primo de Rivera was the son of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, who governed Spain as Prime Minister in the 1920s. The Falange was republican, avant-gardist and modernist, in a manner similar to the original spirit of Italian Fascism. Its uniform and aesthetic was similar to contemporary European fascist and national socialist movements.

Futurism and Fascism: We usually associate modern art, and modernism in general, with left wing politics. Futurism, however, had right wing political sympathies from the beginning, and its creators developed ties with Italian Fascism in the years following the First World War. Mussolini, unlike almost all the other right-wing leaders of the 20th century, took an active interest in modernism and, for a while, cultivated it. Futurism, like Italian Fascism itself, was ideologically a mess. It was a hodge-podge of anarchism, the aesthetics of violence, and nationalism. Italian Fascism was likewise a stew of nationalism, anarchism, syndicalism, opportunism and machismo. Mussolini loved the Futurists precisely because they were so modern, so aggressive, and so daring. He had his own origins in anarchism, and that anarchist aesthetic probably genuinely appealed to him, even as his politics became more nationalist and reactionary. Futurism, of course, is a form of ‘degenerate art‘.

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Der Große Krieg
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Anti-Semitic prejudice was very common among the masses in German Empire, and it has been claimed that mass acceptance for the NSDAP required the party to be anti-Semitic.
This would also flatter the wounded pride of German people after the defeat of Der Große Krieg (the Great War – World War One).

Others, however, see anti-Semitism as central to Hitler’s Weltanschauung (World view).
The latter is of course the correct interpretation.
Many see strong connections between the values of National Socialism and the irrationalist tradition of the romantic movement of the early 19th century.
Strength, passion, lack of hypocrisy, utilitarianism, traditional family values, and devotion to community were valued by the National Socialists, and first expressed by many Romantic artists, musicians, and writers.
German romanticism in particular expressed these values.

Richard Wagner

For instance, the National Socialists identified closely with the music of Richard Wagner (a noted anti-Semite, author of ‘Das Judenthum in der Musik’, and idol to the young Hitler).

Many of his operas express the ideals of the strong dominating the weak, and a celebration of traditional Norse Aryan folklore and values.
The style of his music is often heroic and grandiose.

Heiliges Römisches Reich
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The idealisation of tradition, folklore, classical thought, the leadership of Frederick the Great, the rejection of the liberalism of the Weimar Republic and the decision to call the German state the ‘Third Reich’ (which hearkens back to the medieval ‘First Reich’ – Heiliges Römisches Reich – and the pre-Weimar ‘Second Reich’ or Kaiserreich) has led many to regard the National Socialists as essentially traditionalist and reactionary.

Kaiserreich
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The NSDAP that came to power in January 1933 desired more than simply political authority, the ability to revise the Versailles Treaty, and regain and expand upon those lands lost after a humiliating defeat in World War I.
They also wanted to change the cultural landscape: to return the country to traditional “German” and “Nordic” values, to excise or circumscribe Jewish, “foreign,” and “degenerate” influences, and to shape a racial community (“Volksgemeinschaft”) which aligned with Völkisch ideals.
These ideals, however were, at times, contradictory.
National Socialism, however, represented much more than a just a political movement
National Socialism was at once ‘modern’ and ‘anti-modern’; (often referred to as ‘reactionary modernism‘) – Classical and Romantic.

‘Im walde’
Des-Knaben Wunderhorn
Schwind von Moritz (1804-1871)

It was dynamic and utopian, and yet often hearkened back to an idyllic and romanticized German past.

Blut,Boden und Heimat

In certain elements, Völkisch cultural principles were consistent: they stressed family, race, and Volk as the highest representations of German values.

They rejected materialism, cosmopolitanism, and “bourgeois intellectualism,” and instead promoted the German virtues of loyalty, struggle, self-sacrifice, and discipline.
Völkisch cultural values also placed great importance on Germans’ harmony with their native soil (Heimat) and with nature, (the Green Reich), and emphasized the elevation of the Volk and nation above its individual members.

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In the Third Reich,  one of the main roles of culture was to disseminate the Völkisch world view.
One of the first tasks the NSDAP undertook upon their ascension to power in early 1933 was a synchronization (Gleichschaltung) of all professional and social organizations with National Socialist ideology and policy.
The arts and cultural organizations were not exempt from this effort.

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, the Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, immediately strove to bring the artistic and cultural communities in line with Völkisch goals.

The government therefore purged cultural organizations of Jews, and others alleged to be politically or artistically suspect.
Reichskulturkammer – RKK
(Reich Culture Chamber)
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Beginning in September 1933, a new Reichskulturkammer – (Reich Culture Chamber), an umbrella organization composed of the Reich Film, Music, Theater, Press, Literary, Fine Arts, and Radio Chambers — moved to supervise and regulate all facets of German culture.
The new Nazi aesthetic embraced the genre of objective realism.
The visual arts and other modes of high culture employed this form to depict peasant life, family and community, and heroism on the battlefield; and attempted to exemplify such Germanic virtues as industry, self-sacrifice, and Aryan racial purity.
In the Third Reich there was no such concept as “art for art’s sake”.
Instead all forms of art, in addition to its formal and aesthetic considerations, had a calculated propagandistic undercurrent: it stood in stark contrast to the trends of modern art in the 1920s and 1930s, much of which employed abstract, expressionist, or surrealist tenets.

Professor Paul Ludwig Troost
Haus der Deutschen Kunst 

In October 15, 1933, Hitler laid the cornerstone of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst designed by Professor Paul Ludwig Troost to replace the burned down (1931) glass and steel Munich Glass Palace (1854).

The new museum was a monumental, ‘severe Deco’, neo-classicist buildin,g made of huge cut stones on the exterior, and marble on the interior.

Hitler and Frau Gerdy Troost

Paul Ludwig Troost (17 August 1878 – 21 January 1934), born in Elberfeld, was a German architect. An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved Westphalian with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental Jugendstil, and advocated a restrained, lean architectural approach, almost devoid of ornament. Hitler frequently declared, according to Speer, that “he first learned what architecture was from Troost”‘. The architect’s death on 21 January 1934, after a severe illness, was a painful blow, but Hitler remained close to his widow Gerdy Troost, whose architectural taste frequently coincided with his own, which made her (in Speer’s words) “a kind of arbiter of art in Munich.

In many ways the Haus der Deutschen Kunst expressed an anti-industrial and anti-economic aspect of the spirit of the NSDAP.


Adolf Hitler – Tag der Deutschen Kunst

During the opening ceremony, Hitler declared his pride at being able ‘to lay the foundations for this new temple in honor of the goddess of art‘.

In July 1937 a ‘Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung’ (Great German Art Exhibition) displaying the culture  of National Socialist art premièred in the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (House of German Art) in Munich.
Entartete Kunst

A nearby exhibition hall presented, in contrast, an Entartete Kunst (Exhibition of Degenerate Art) in order to demonstrate to the German public the “demoralizing” and “corruptive” influences of modern art.
In architecture, artists like Professor Paul Ludwig Troost and Albert Speer constructed monumental edifices in a classical form, heavily influenced by Art Deco, which conveyed the “enduring grandeur” of the National Socialist movement.
In literature, the Reichskulturkammer promoted the works of writers such as Adolf Bartels and Hitler Youth poet Hans Baumann.
Literature glorifying the peasant culture as bedrock of the German community, and historical novels bolstering the centrality of the Volk figured as preferred works of fiction, as did war narratives.

Adolf Hitler at the UFA studios
Universum Film AG

The cultivation of art also extended to the modern field of cinema.

Heavily subsidized by the state, the motion picture industry in Germany proved an important propaganda tool for the NSDAP. One of the leading film companies, centred at  Babelsberg in Berlin was UFA.

Leni Riefenstahl’s
Triumph des Willens


Universum Film AG, better known as UFA or Ufa, is a film company that was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945. in the course of the National Socialist “Machtergreifung UFA was nationalised and produced a huge output of film under the supervision of Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.

Films such as Leni Riefenstahl’s pioneering “Triumph des Willens” (“Triumph of the Will”) and  Olympia ‘Fest der Völker’ and ‘Fest der Schönheit’.


Triumph des Willens – Titles
Triumph des Willens‘ is a 1935 film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, which was attended by more than 700,000 NSDAP supporters
The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various National Socialist leaders at the Congress, including portions of speeches by Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, and Julius Streicher interspersed with footage of massed Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel troops.
Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. The overriding theme of the film is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the leader who will bring glory to the nation.

‘Olympia’ is a 1938 film by Leni Riefenstahl documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. It was the first documentary feature film of the Olympic Games ever made. Many advanced motion picture techniques, which later became industry standards but which were ground-breaking at the time, were employed – including unusual camera angles, smash cuts, extreme close-ups, placing tracking shot rails within the bleachers, and the like. The film appears on Time magazine’s “All-Time Greatest 100 Movies.”

Other, non-documentary films were also produced such as “Der Hitlerjunge Quex” (“Hitler Youth Member Quex”), glorified the NSDAP, its auxiliary organizations, and the Volk.


“Der Hitlerjunge Quex”
“Der Hitlerjunge Quex” is a 1932 novel based on the life of Herbert “Quex” Norkus  by Karl Aloys Schenzinger. The 1933 movie ‘Hitlerjunge Quex: Ein Film vom Opfergeist der deutschen Jugend’ was based on it, and was described by Joseph Goebbels as the “first large-scale” transmission of National Socialist ideology using the medium of cinema. Both the book and the movie, like ‘S.A.-Mann Brand’ and ‘Hans Westmar’, both released the same year, fictionalized and glorified death in the service of the NSDAP and Hitler. Both novel and movie are based on the real story of Herbert Norkus’ life. Norkus, a Hitler Youth member, died from injuries suffered when chased and confronted by Communist youths in the night of 23 / 24 January 1932 in the Beusselkietz neighbourhood of Moabit, Berlin.

Another example was ‘Hans Westmar – Einer von vielen’, which was a dramatisation of the life and death of Horst Wessel, based on Hanns Heinz Ewers’s novelistic biography.


 Horst Wessel
Hanns Heinz Ewers
Hans Westmar – Einer von vielen was the last of an unofficial trilogy of films commissioned by the NSDAP shortly after coming to power in January 1933, celebrating the ‘Kampfzeit’ – ‘time of struggle’. The film is a fictionalized life of the Horst Wessel. Originally, the film, based on the novel personally commissioned by Hitler from Hanns Heinz Ewers, was named ‘Horst Wessel’. Dr Paul Josef Goebbels altered the main character’s name, changing it to the fictional “Hans Westmar”. It was among the first films to depict dying for Hitler as a glorious death for Germany, resulting in his spirit inspiring his comrades. His decision to go to the streets is presented as fighting ‘the real battle’.




Goethe and Schiller
Weimar Classicism

Theatre companies followed the example of German cinema, staging National Socialist dramas as well as traditional and classical performances of the plays of writers such as Johann 
Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Friedrich Christoph von Schiller.

Goethe and Schiller exemplified Weimar Classicism (German “Weimarer Klassik”) – which is a cultural and literary movement in Germany. Followers attempted to establish a new humanism by synthesizing Romantic, classical and Enlightenment ideas. The movement, from 1772 until 1805, involved Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller and Christoph Martin Wieland, and often concentrated on Goethe and Schiller during the period 1788–1805.

In music, the Reichskulturkammer, was led by the great composer and conductor Richard Strauss.



Richard Wagner
Hans Erich Pfitzner

The Reichskulturkammer promoted the works of such giants of the German musical pantheon as Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Bruckner, and Richard Wagner, Hans Erich Pfitzner, while banning classical works by “non-Aryans,” such as Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler, and performances of jazz music and Swing, associated with degenerate African-American culture.


Adolf Hitler was himself a long-time devotee of the operas of Richard Wagner – an artist long associated with anti-semitism and the völkisch tradition from which National Socialists drew much of their ideology.




Adolf Hitler and Winifred Wagner
Adolf Hitler at Bayreuth

He regularly attended the annual Bayreuth Festivals held in the Wagner’s honor.

Each summer, from 1933 to 1939, Hitler attended the Bayreuth Festival, and he made the Wagner estate, Wahnfried, his second home. Because she had been one of his earliest supporters, Hitler had great affection for Winifred. Hitler repaid the Wagner family gratitude by pledging his undying friendship and his deepest devotion to Richard Wagner and Bayreuth.

Das Horst-Wessel-Lied
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But Völkisch music did not confine itself solely to “high” culture: songs like “Das Horst-Wessel-Lied” (“The Horst Wessel Song”) and “Deutschland, Erwache!” (“Germany, Awake”) numbered among many songs and marches which were circulated in order to encourage commitment to the NSDAP and its ideological tenets.





The Concept of Degeneracy

The term Entartung (or “degeneracy”) had gained currency in Germany by the late 19th century when the critic and author Max Nordau devised the theory presented in his 1892 book, Entartung.
Nordau developed a critique of modern art.
Degenerate art is the work of those so corrupted and enfeebled by modern life that they have lost the self-control needed to produce coherent works.
He attacked Aestheticism in English literature and described the mysticism of the Symbolist movement in French literature as a product of mental pathology.
Explaining the painterliness of Impressionism as the sign of a diseased visual cortex, he decried modern degeneracy while praising traditional German culture.
This theory was seized upon by German National Socialists during the Weimar Republic as a rallying point for their anti-Semitic and racist demand for Aryan purity in art.
Belief in a Germanic spirit – defined as mystical, rural, moral, bearing ancient wisdom, and noble in the face of a tragic destiny – existed long before the rise of the National Socialism; the composer Richard Wagner celebrated such ideas in his work.

Paul Schultze-Naumburg


Beginning before World War I, the well-known German architect and painter Paul Schultze-Naumburg’s influential writings, which invoked racial theories in condemning modern art and architecture, supplied much of the basis for Adolf Hitler’s belief that classical Greece and the Middle Ages were the true sources of Aryan art.
Schultze-Naumburg subsequently wrote such books as ‘Die Kunst der Deutschen. Ihr Wesen und ihre Werke’ (The art of the Germans.Its nature and its works) and ‘Kunst und Rasse’ (Art and Race), the latter published in 1928.

Paul Schultze-Naumburg (10 June 1869 – 19 May 1949) was an architect and a vocal political critic of modern architecture. Along with Alexander von Senger, Eugen Honig, Konrad Nonn, and German Bestelmeyer, Schultze-Naumburg was a member of a National Socialist para-governmental propaganda unit called the ‘Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure’ (KDAI). In September 1944, he was named as one of the first rank of artists and writers important to Nazi culture in the Gottbegnadeten list.


Thule Gesellschaft
Alfred Rosenberg

These works argued that only racially pure artists could produce a healthy art which upheld timeless ideals of classical beauty, while racially mixed modern artists produced disordered artworks and monstrous depictions of the human form.
By reproducing examples of modern art next to photographs of people with deformities and diseases, he graphically reinforced the idea of modernism as a sickness.
Alfred Rosenberg, a member of the Thule Gesellschaft, developed this theory in ‘Der Mythos des 20. Jahrhunderts‘ (Myth of the Twentieth Century), published in 1933, which became a best-seller in Germany and made Rosenberg one of the Party’s leading ideological spokesman.

Alfred Ernst Rosenberg (12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) was an early and intellectually influential member of the NSDAP. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart; he later held several important posts in the National Socialist government. He is considered one of the main authors of key Völkisch ideological creeds, including its racial theory, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to “degenerate” modern art. He is also known for his rejection of Christianity

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National Socialist Aesthetics

From the foregoing it can be seen that the National Socialists not only possessed a highly refined aesthetic sensibility, but unlike most, enacted their aesthetic at every level of politics and policy.

Alpine Landscape – Adolf Hitler

Moreover, they not only believed themselves to be artists, but were regarded by others, at the time, as artists, whose very ideology was founded in an essentially aesthetic logic.

This is generally referred to as the  aestheticization of politics.
The artistic ambitions of Adolf Hitler, Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg, Baldur von Schirach, Walther Funk and Julius Streicher were originally deeper than their political ambitions, and were essential elements of their personalities.
What was this National Socialist aesthetic; what kind of art came of it ?


 Idealizations of Purity,
Heroism and the Human Form.

The National Socialist aesthetic had several inter-penetrating parts, including idealizations of purity, heroism and the human form.

The resulting art also encompassed National Socialist pageantry and regalia, films and political choreography and architecture.
The National Socialist aesthetic was part and parcel of their ideology, and not just an ornamental by-product of it.
Essential to this discussion is understanding how two conceptual cornerstones of Nazi ideology – redemption and monumentality – found their expression in National Socialist aesthetic productions, which were not only means by which to deliver a political message, but very much part of the message itself.
One of the most brilliant documentary films ever made, of course, was no mere documentary, but was the last century’s benchmark for cinematic propaganda.
Hitler über Deutschland


In the opening moments of ‘Triumph des Willens’ (Triumph of the Will) Leni Riefenstahl’s film of the 1934 Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, we find an object lesson in what we might call the “aesthetics of redemption

A plane is carrying the Führer and his entourage over a picturesque landscape of hills, valleys and churches on its way to Nuremberg.
A voice-over narrative introduces the scene: “Twenty years after the World War, 16 years after the crucifixion of Germany, 19 months after the beginning of Germany’s Renaissance, Hitler flew to Nuremberg to greet his columns of followers.
The plane suddenly appears from the clouds and glides over the countryside, its shadow in the form of a cross.
As if in a ‘Second Coming‘, a Führer has arisen who will save and redeem Germany, and Riefenstahl frames his arrival in the explicit iconography of  redemption and messianic deliverance.

The penetration of the Jews into the German body politic,
into German society, and into the German bloodstream.

And it is the very notion of redemption that  actually played a central role in the anti-semitism of the Third Reich, which has been termed ‘redemptive anti-Semitism‘, and is born from the fear of racial degeneration.

The main cause of degeneration was the penetration of the Jews into the German body politic, into German society, and into the German bloodstream.
Germanism, and the Aryan world, were on the path to perdition if the struggle against the Jews was not joined; this was to be a struggle to the death.
Redemption would come as liberation from the Jews by their expulsion from the body politic.
Just as Germany’s disastrous defeat in World War I was to be “redeemed” by the messianic advent of the Führer, in Riefenstahl’s version so would the war effort, no matter how terrible the costs, be redeemed by Germany’s “liberation” from the Jews.

The principle of redemptory “sacrifice” also played a primary role in the ‘memorial landscape‘ Hitler introduced into the topography of the Third Reich.

From the “Eternal Guard” at the Ehrentempel (by Professor Paul Troost) in Munich, which held the sarcophagi of eight “Martyrs of the Movement” killed in the 1923 Putsch attempt, to the ‘Totenburgen‘, or citadels of the dead, to be built as mass burial grounds for thousands of prospective fallen German soldiers, Hitler made redemptory sacrifice one of the aesthetic architectural pillars of his Reich.

Hitler with the Blutfahne

Even the elaborately choreographed party rallies, during which Hitler would salute the ‘Blutfahne‘ (blood flag) included scenes of almost pagan ritual, in which animal sacrifice has been replaced by the prospective human sacrifice of wars to come.

We are reminded of Hitler’s own indifference to individual human lives as they paled in comparison to the larger cause, and idealizations of race and nation, and the way this diminution of the individual underpinned his aesthetic embrace of the monumental.
Hitler’s lack of feeling for individual humans, even for fanatical party members, was already evident at the Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, and other spectacles, when his ‘architecturalizing’ of the participants, and his deployment of them in geometrical patterns reduced them to noctambulent creatures.

Nürnberg Reichsparteitag – Monumental Aesthetic

For Hitler, individuals come and go, as well as their humanly scaled dwelling places, their sites of life.

What his monumental aesthetic would leave behind, therefore, was not the uniqueness of individual human experience, or its messy heterogeneity, but monolithic forms that imposed singular meaning on disparate deeds, experiences and lives.
The monumental in Hitler’s eyes was not only an end result, however, but also a means by which he could reduce the individual to insignificance, thereby making all appear as one.
Specifically, he did this in his elaborately choreographed spectacles and pageants, against which the individual seemed insignificant.

Deutsches Stadion – Albert Speer
North-South Axis – Germania

Witness his dozens of gargantuan productions: the Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, the colossal stadiums and political arenas designed to hold 500,000 people or even the North-South Axis he and his architect Albert Speer designed for Berlin, – Germania.

On a commemorative “Day of the Political Leaders” in 1936, more than 110,000 men marched onto the review field while another 100,000 spectators watched from the stands.
Once darkness fell, the space was suddenly encircled by a ring of light, with 30,000 flags and standards glistening in the illumination.
Spotlights would focus on the main gate, as distant cheers announced the Führer’s approach.

Lichtdom
At the instant he entered, 150 powerful searchlights would shoot into the sky to produce a gigantic, shimmering ‘lichtdom’ (cathedral of light) as it was called.
Hitler was both a product of his time’s aesthetic temper, and possibly the greatest producer of political design and choreography who ever lived.
We cannot separate his deeds, his policies and his ideology from his aesthetic temper.
Without recognizing the central role aesthetics actually played in the regime of the Third Reich, we cannot ignore the basic historical fact that Art, beauty and aesthetics were not benign by-products of the Third Reich, but part and parcel of its coherent, internal logic.
Beauty and heroism, aesthetics and power, may not only be paired after the historical fact, but might now be regarded as historical forces that also drive events as they actually unfold.
It is important to understand that one of the central ideas of Völkisch ideology is the myth of ‘rebirth’, in the sense of `Neugeburt’, or new birth.
The National Socialists wanted to build an entirely new type of modern nation-state on the basis of archetypal German values.
This involved the destruction of everything that was associated with Germany’s decadence, and the retention of every element of usable past in the redefinition of Germany as a State based on a healthy, revitalized Volksgemeinschaft or national community.
There is a dialectical relationship between destruction and creation at the centre of all ‘palingenetic myth’.

Palingenesis is a concept of rebirth or re-creation, used in various contexts in philosophy, theology, politics, and biology. Its meaning stems from Greek palin, meaning again, and genesis, meaning birth.
In biology, it is another word for recapitulation – the phase in the development of an organism in which its form and structure pass through the changes undergone in the evolution of the species. In theology, the word can be used to refer to reincarnation and Christian spiritual rebirth symbolized by baptism.

Once projected onto Germany, it took the form of what some have called `German nihilism’.
It is the logic of the principle `destroy to build’ which links the Völkisch ideologue’s destruction of liberalism, socialism, pluralism, and humanism to the creation of a `strong’ state based on a single party and a single ideology.

Cult of Athleticism
Aesthetic forms
deemed to be life-asserting

It includes cult of athleticism and physical health; the suppressing of decadent books to the publishing of `healthy‘ literature; the cleansing of art of its degenerate elements to the fostering of aesthetic forms deemed to be life-asserting.

Similarly, the rejuvenation of the Volksgemeinschaft went hand in hand with the removal of Jews and other negative elements from public life.

Reactionary Modernism

National Socialism presents itself as an alternative to liberal and socialist forms of modernity.
The importance it attributed to the organically and racially conceived nation meant that it rejected both the individualism, pluralism, cosmopolitanism, materialism, and rationalism associated with liberalism as radically as it did the internationalism and materialism it attributed to Bolshevism.
What has presumably prevented so many commentators from grasping this point has been the deep and eroneous impression that National Socialism incarnated a systematized and calculated form of barbarism reminiscent of a throw back to an earlier dark age.
Barbarism, however, has nothing to do with the development of the Third Reich.

Charles Darwin

It should also be remembered that Germany under Hitler pursued policies based on a populist nationalism conceived partially, though not exclusively in biological, eugenic, and Darwinian terms.

All these components were literally inconceivable before the 19th century.
Blut und Boden
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Certainly the ideology of National Socialism placed great emphasis on the concept of the superiority of the Aryan race and the heroic past of the Germans before their Europeanization and Judeo-Christianization, and on the values of ‘Blut und Boden‘ (Blood and Soil).
But these were not regressive, atavistic myths, but articulated in the spirit of the Conservative Revolution referred to above: the roots of the new order were to be extended as deep as possible into the past so that the tree of the organically conceived nation could grow as vigorously and high as possible.

National Socialism’s full-blooded commitment
to modern industry and science

As a result of National Socialism’s full-blooded commitment to modern industry and science, the ‘Blut und Boden’ programme had nothing to do with a radical re-ruralization programme.

Germany was to remain a highly urbanized and technologically advanced nation, however, a steady flow of festivals, rituals, and propaganda celebrating the German nation as a ‘Schicksalsgemeinschaft‘, (a community of destiny), was designed to ensure that the significance of the peasant as the back-bone of the economy, and of nature as a source of transcendent values and meaning, would be acknowledged to a point where every German recognized his or her roots, both physical and spiritual.
The countryside was a focus for palingenetic myth of renewal and sustenance, not for a retreat from the Twentieth century.

KdF Volkswagen

It is in no way a contradiction if the same regime which celebrated the peasant, also embarked on an extensive programme for modernizing and beautifying the urban housing stock and factory working conditions, glorifying the motorway network and the Volkswagen as symbols of the new Germany.

By marrying the industrial age to tribal consciousness Völkisch ideologues were certain that they were resolving the tensions and neuroses of the modern age.
The aim was to give modern life a new spiritual basis and historical purpose, not to destroy it.
It is from the union of the industrial and the pre-industrial that National Socialist art gains the relevance that is not to be found in modernistic degenerate art.
This interpretation of National Socialist art has a direct bearing on any exploration of the links between National Socialism and Romanticism.
The assumption that any such links are explicable in terms of a petty-bourgeois nostalgia for an idyllic past has to be rejected.
But before suggesting how that link might be conceived more appropriately, it is important to put the record straight about the type of art which prospered under the Third Reich.

‘Blut und Boden’

It has been suggested that the dominant form of art in the Third Reich was Blood and Soil genre paintings of landscapes and rural activities.

Ziegler – Göttin der Kunst
Certainly much art of the time fits this category, but it is important to remember that other recurrent types of art were neo-classical studies of nudes in arcadian surroundings, historical themes, figures engaged in athletic activities, military subjects whether of soldiers or battle scenes, and portraits of members of the National Socialist hierarchy.


These last three subjects are unmistakably `modern’, though the style was generally a highly romanticized form of ‘heroic realism’.

Bau der Neuen Reichskanzlei

The art of the Third Reich, in its `mature’ form of 1936 or 1937, came to employ a host of formal and aesthetic devices which Modernism itself had invented.

This `Modernist’ aspect of National Socialist art should be seen in the context not just of paintings evoking the vast building projects being undertaken by the Third Reich, such as the construction of a motorway bridge or work in a stone quarry, but of the vast outpouring of sophisticated graphic art and photographs of the Third Reich’s flourishing advertising industry, promoting such quintessentially modern products as Leica cameras and Daimler-Benz cars.


Hitler-Jugend Sport Poster
Hitlerjugend Poster

Nor were housing and factory projects, or the vast realm of product and interior design free from the influence of the ‘so-called’ Modern Movement.

There was, undoubtedly a tension between `Modernism and archaism’, a tension which is arguable resolved once the concept `Conservative Revolution’ (Reactionary Modernism) is applied.
There is a direct correlation here with the field of ideology.
Some historians have presented National Socialism as the fruit of an aberrant tradition in German thought and culture, which blended nationalism and idealism with the rejection of liberal humanistic values, and that Hitler had somehow absorbed, a weird mixture of some of the more extreme ideas that had erupted from German thinkers during the nineteenth century.
Certainly National Socialism drew on Fichte and Wagner, among others, but it also made much of the rigorously scientific basis of its Weltanschauung in a highly modern spirit far removed both from Romanticism and idealism.
Fichte

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (May 19, 1762 – January 27, 1814) was a German philosopher. He was one of the founding figures of the philosophical movement known as German idealism, which developed from the theoretical and ethical writings of Immanuel Kant. Fichte is often perceived as a figure whose philosophy forms a bridge between the ideas of Kant and those of the German Idealist Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Fichte also wrote works of political philosophy and is considered one of the fathers of German nationalism.
Fichte made important contributions to political nationalism in Germany. In his ‘Ansprache an die deutsche Nation‘ (Addresses to the German Nation) (1808), a series of speeches delivered in Berlin, he urged the German peoples to “have character and be German” -entailed in his idea of Germanness was antisemitism, since he argued that “making Jews free German citizens would hurt the German nation.” 
Historian Robert Nisbet, in a gross oversimplification, thought him to be “the true author of National Socialism”.

At the root of this is a trait of considered eclecticism.
In their attempt to revitalize the present, and wipe out decadence, National Socialists had drawn many concepts that which would help to rationalize their policies.
To focus on only those aspects of art and ideology under Hitler which fit into the restorationist, anti-modern, bourgeois thesis is thus to misrepresent National Socialism.
Firstly, it would be a fallacy to assume that Nazism was, per se, against all forms of Modernism even in theory.
Dr Paul Josef Goebbels

In his semi-autobiographical novel ‘Michael: A German Destiny’, Dr Paul Josef Goebbels’s thinly veiled alter-ego claims at one point that he himself is an Expressionist, and in another passage writes: 

Vincent van Gogh

I visit an exhibition of modern painting. We see much new nonsense. One star: Vincent van Gogh. In these surroundings he already seems tame, but yet he is the most modern of the moderns. For modernity has nothing to do with heroic gestures. All that is just learnt through practice. The modern man is necessarily a god-seeker, perhaps a Christ-like person. Van Gogh’s life tells us even more than his work. He combines in his personality the most important elements: he is teacher, preacher, fanatic, prophet – mad. In the last analysis we are all mad if we have an idea. Fanatics of love: the capacity for self-sacrifice.’

Predictably Goebbels goes on to find an outlet by joining the NSDAP, but this did not mean abandoning his commitment to healthy Modernism.

Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates he was known for his zealous orations.
Goebbels earned a PhD from Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 19th century romantic drama; he then went on to work as a journalist. He also wrote novels and plays. Goebbels came into contact with the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP) or Nazi Party in 1923. He was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin. Goebbels despised capitalism, viewing it as having Jews at its core, and he stressed the need for the Nazis to emphasize both a proletarian and national character.

 Max Weber
It is important to see ‘Modernism’ as a blanket-term for a bewildering variety of initiatives undertaken since the late Nineteenth century to re-spiritualize and re-enchant, to bring magic and meaning to, a Western civilization widely experienced as `decadent’, namely hyper-rationalized and (in Max Weber’s terms) ‘entzaubert‘ (disenchanted).

Maximilian Karl Emil “Max” Weber (21 April 1864 – 14 June 1920) was a German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist whose ideas influenced social theory, social research, and the entire discipline of sociology Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founding architects of sociology.

If this perspective is adopted, then National Socialism can be seen as promoting a quintessentially ‘modernist’ form of politics and aesthetics, in an attempt to purge society of its decadence, and to enable the entire German race, or rather its `healthy’ specimens, to tap into `eternal’ sources of spirit, value, and meaning.


The Omnipresent Swastika

There is a supreme importance to National Socialist art policies being essential to their self-appointed mission `to destroy a carefully selected “Modernist” past, – a mission which we have presented as integral to their crusade for Germany’s reawakening or palingenesis (the omnipresent Swastika itself was a symbol of the rising sun and of spiritual rebirth).

This impulse may be described as `Völkisch Post-Modernism’, and this can be seen to be part of a wider Modernist dynamic in which all forms are to be renovated, and life as a whole is to be transformed and improved.
For it seems likely that at a number of points within our Modernist and modernising century, the very apocalyptic (i.e. palingenetic – see above) nature of the race into the future has meant both a search for tradition as well as an obsession with the speed of time.
This is the sense in which National Socialism was an early form of Post-Modernism, albeit an authoritarian one, and hence part of that wider network of Modernisms with which we are still trying to get adequately acquainted.

Postmodernism is a term used to the era and the concepts that follows Modernism. It frequently serves as an ambiguous overarching term for skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) is an example of a significant post-modernist philosopher.

Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism

This unique form of ‘Post-Modernism’ was born of a tension that originated in the outlooks of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and the technocrats epitomised by Fritz Todt.

Kritian Boy

Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for a classical period, classical antiquity in the Western tradition, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate.

Δορυφόρος
Doryphoros of Polyclitus

The marble Kritios Boy or Kritian Boy belongs to the Early Classical period of ancient Greek sculpture.
The Kritios Boy is thus named because it is attributed to Kritios who worked together with Nesiotes (sculptors of Harmodius and Aristogeiton) or their school, from around 480 BC.

The Doryphoros (Spear-Bearer);  is one of the best known Greek sculptures of the classical era in Western Art and an early example of Greek classical contrapposto.

The Greek sculptor Polykleitos designed a work, perhaps this one, as an example of the “canon” or “rule”, showing the perfectly harmonious and balanced proportions of the human body in the sculpted form. A solid-built athlete with muscular features carries a spear balanced on his left shoulder. A characteristic of Polykleitos’ Doryphoros is the classical contrapposto in the pelvis; the figure’s stance is such that one leg seems to be in movement while he is standing on the other.

The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained. Any violent emphasis or sudden acceleration of rhythmic movement destroys those qualities of balance and completeness through which classical form retains its position of authority in the restricted repertoire of visual images.
Classicism implies a canon of widely accepted ideal forms.
Classicism is a force which is often present in post-medieval European and European influenced traditions

Hitler regarded the Germanic peoples of Europe as belonging to a racially superior Nordic subset of the larger Aryan race, who were regarded as the only true culture-bearers of civilized society.


Imperial Roman Standard
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Pantheon – Rome
Ancient Classical Architecture

Adolf Hitler also believed that the Ancient Greeks and Romans were the racial ancestors of the Germans, and the first torch-bearers of “Nordic-Greek” art and culture.

He particularly expressed his admiration for Ancient Sparta, declaring it to have been the purest racial state:
Neue Wache – Berlin – Karl Friedrich Schinkel

Hitler, therefore, favoured Classicism, in the arts, and had a high regard for a classical period, and classical antiquity in the Western tradition, and saw it as setting standards for art, sculpture and painting.

The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained. 
In architecture Classicism features the golden section as a key proportion for buildings, the classical orders of columns, as well as a host of ornament and detail associated with the Greeks and Romans.
Classicism also involves the symmetry, the orderly arrangement of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, niches and aedicules.

Neue Reichskanzlei
Albert Speer

Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Spee (March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler’s chief architect before assuming ministerial office. Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931, launching him on a political and governmental career which lasted fourteen years. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler’s inner circle. Hitler instructed him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.

This classicism, favoured by Hitler, can be clearly see in Speer’s designs for Germania, and in Hermann Giesler’s designs for Linz.

Proposed redevelopment of Linz
Professor Hermann Giesler

Professor Hermann Giesler (April 2, 1898, Siegen – January 20, 1987, Düsseldorf) was a German architect – one of the two architects most favoured and rewarded by Adolf Hitler (the other being Albert Speer).

Hermann Giesler completed his architectural study at the Academy for Applied Arts in Munich. 
Up to 1938 he designed the “Ordensburg” in Sonthofen, planned Gau Forums in Weimar and Augsburg, and the “university” for the NSDAP at Chiemsee. In addition, he was commissioned to build Hitler’s house in Munich. In 1938 he was ordered by Hitler to the “General Building Inspector” for the reorganization of the city of Munich. Later he became also a director in the Organisation Todt, then one of the directors of the Group of Works of VI (Bavaria, Donaugaue). Starting from 1941 Giesler was entrusted by Hitler with the reorganization of the entire city of Linz. Giesler joined the NSDAP in 1941 for the Organisation Todt.

One indication of Hitler’s move to classicism may be seen in his decision regarding Fraktur and Sütterlin.
On January 3, 1941 Martin Bormann issued a circular to all public offices which declared Fraktur, and its corollary, the Sütterlin-based handwriting, to be “Judenlettern”, and prohibited their further use.


Fraktur or  Gothic is a blackletter typeface based on the calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet. The blackletter lines are broken up – that is, their forms contain many angles when compared to the smooth curves of the Antiqua (common) typefaces modeled after antique Roman square capitals and Carolingian minuscule. From this, Fraktur is sometimes contrasted with the “Latin alphabet” in northern European texts, being sometimes called the “German alphabet”.

Sütterlinschrift is the last widely used form of Kurrent, the historical form of German handwriting that evolved alongside German blackletter (most notably Fraktur) typefaces. Graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin was commissioned by the Prussian ministry for culture to create a modern handwriting script in 1911. His handwriting scheme gradually replaced the older cursive scripts that had developed in the 16th century at the same time that bookletters developed into Fraktur

The reason for this decision was Adolf Hitler’s dislike for the Fraktur typeface, seen by him as ‘Gothic’ and non-Classical
This was demonstrated by a declaration that he made in the Reichstag in 1934

“… In a hundred years, our language will be the European language. The nations of the east, the north and the west will, to communicate with us, learn our language. The prerequisite for this: The script called Gothic is replaced by the script we have called Latin so far...”

Adolf Hitler


Himmler’s approach to aesthetics was very different.

Himmler was deeply involved with the activities of the Ahnenerbe, which he directed to find evidence for early cultural developments within the borders of the Reich.
Not an artist by training or inclination, he was captivated by Germanic Medievalism, and therefore his aesthetic leaned toward the Romantic and the Gothic.

‘Ruin’
Caspar David Friedrich
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850.
Partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, it was also a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature.
It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature.

Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840) was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. 

Gothic Sculpture
William Dohme – der Braunschweiger Doml  – 1937

Its effect on politics was considerable and complex; while for much of the peak Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, in the long term its effect on the growth of nationalism was probably more significant.
The Gothic style, while difficult to describe succinctly, may be summed up as the antithesis of Classicism.
Whereas classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained, Gothic style is informal exuberant, involving violent emphasis of form and movement which destroys those qualities of balance and completeness to be found in classical art.
Classicism looks to the ideal, whereas Gothic exemplifies to particular and peculiar.

Romanticism favoured the Gothic style in architecture.
Gothic architecture features asymmetrical compositions, and free-form plans, with arched fenestration and roofing.


Wewelsburg – Paderborn 
SS Julleuchter
Neo-Gothic Art

An example of the romantic architecture favoured by Himmler was the Wewelsberg.

The Wewelsburg is a castle located in the northeast of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in district of Paderborn in the Alme Valley.
The castle, while not strictly Gothic, has the outline of a triangle and has a non-symetrical romanticised plan.
Equally another example of Romanticised aesthetic is the SS Julleuchter, whch was given at Christmas to members of the SS.

Classical Art
Blut und Boden  Romantic Art

Because of Himmler’s influence over the ‘Blut und Boden’ programme, most art depicting peasants, farming and landscape tended to be executed in a Romantic style, while more formal studies and mythological subjects tended to be executed in a tight, technically refined Classical style, as favoured by Hitler.

Contemporary subjects, however, such as representations of Reichsautobahnen, building projects, combat scenes and propaganda posters were executed in a ‘realist-modernist’ style.

Arno Breker
In other words, the National Socialist use of both Classicism and Romanticism is not the archaism of a society nostalgic for the past, but the ‘Modernism‘ of a regime which was, `nostalgic for the future‘.

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Großgermanisches Reich Deutscher Nation – Race and Lebensraum

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Albert Speer
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The Großgermanisches Reich (Greater Germanic Reich), fully styled the Großgermanisches Reich Deutscher Nation (Greater Germanic Reich of the German Nation), is the official name of the political entity that Germany had established in Europe from 1939-1945.
Albert Speer stated in his memoirs that Hitler also referred to the envisioned state as the Teutonic Reich of the German Nation, although it is unclear whether Speer was using the now seldom used “Teutonic” as an English synonym for “Germanic”.

‘Mein Kampf’
Hitler also mentions a future Germanischer Staat Deutscher Nation (Germanic State of the German Nation) in ‘Mein Kampf‘.
The territorial claims for the Greater Germanic Reich varied over time, for instance during and for a short time after German-Soviet negotiations for the partition of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union took place, Hitler did not include territorial designs on the Soviet Union within the Greater Germanic Reich from 1939 to 1941, and instead was focusing on uniting the Germanic peoples of Scandinavia and the Low Countries into the Reich.
This pan-Germanic Empire was expected to assimilate practically all of Germanic Europe into an enormously expanded Reich.


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complete with commentaries and biographical information

Territorially speaking, this encompassed the already-enlarged German Reich itself (consisting of pre-1938 Germany proper, Austria,Bohemia, Moravia, Alsace-Lorraine, Eupen-Malmedy, Memel, Lower Styria, Upper Carniola, Southern Carinthia and German-occupied Poland), the Netherlands, the Flemish part of Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, at least the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

Europe – Die neue Ordnung

The most notable exception was the predominantly Anglo-Saxon United Kingdom, which was not projected as having to be reduced to a German province, but to instead become an allied seafaring partner of Germany.

Another exception was German-populated territory in South Tyrol that was part of Italy.
In addition, its western frontiers with France were to be reverted to those of the earlier Holy Roman Empire, which would have meant the complete annexation of all of Wallonia, French Switzerland, and large areas of northern and eastern France.
The policy of lebensraum planned mass expansion of Germany eastwards to the Ural Mountains.
Hitler planned for the surplus Russian population, living west of the Urals, to be deported to the east of the Urals.

Neu-ordnung Europas

The Großgermanisches Reich Deutscher Nation was also referred to as the Neu-ordnung Europas.
The establishment of the New Order was publicly proclaimed by Adolf Hitler in 1941:
The year 1941 will be, I am convinced, the historical year of a great European New Order.
Among other things, it entailed the creation of a pan-German racial state, structured according to National Socialist ideology to ensure the supremacy of an Aryan-Nordic herrenvolk (master race), massive territorial expansion into Eastern Europe through its colonization with German settlers, the physical removal of the Jews, and the expulsion of most of the Slavic peoples and others regarded as “racially inferior”.
Historians are still divided as to its ultimate goals, some believing that it was to be limited to Nazi German domination of Europe, while others maintain that it was a springboard for eventual world conquest and the establishment of a world government under German control.

The Führer gave expression to his unshakable conviction that the Reich will be the master of all Europe. We shall yet have to engage in many fights, but these will undoubtedly lead to most wonderful victories. From there on the way to world domination is practically certain. Whoever dominates Europe will thereby assume the leadership of the world.

Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda – 8 May 1943

Racial Theory

Aryan Race
National Socialist racial ideology regarded the Germanic peoples of Europe as belonging to a racially superior Nordic subset of the larger Aryan race, who were regarded as the only true culture-bearers of civilized society.

Ancient Romans
Racial Ancestors of the Germans
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These peoples were viewed as either “true Germanic peoples” that had “lost their sense of racial pride“, or as close racial relatives of the Germans.
Adolf Hitler also believed that the Ancient Greeks and Romans were the racial ancestors of the Germans, and the first torch-bearers of “Nordic–Greek” art and culture.
He particularly expressed his admiration for Ancient Sparta, declaring it to have been the purest racial state:


The First Racial State
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The subjugation of 350,000 Helots by 6,000 Spartans was only possible because of the racial superiority of the Spartans.”
The Spartans had created “the first racial state.”
Furthermore, Hitler’s concept of “Germanic” did not simply refer to an ethnic, cultural, or linguistic group, but also to a distinctly biological one, the superior “Germanic blood” that he wanted to salvage from the control of the enemies of the Aryan race.
He stated that Germany possessed more of these “Germanic elements” than any other country in the world, which he estimated as “four fifths of our people“.


Wherever Germanic blood is to be found anywhere in the world, we will take what is good for ourselves. With what the others have left, they will be unable to oppose the Germanic Empire‘.

Adolf Hitler

According to National Socialists, in addition to the Germanic peoples, individuals of seemingly non-Germanic nationality such as French, Polish, Walloon, Czechand so on might actually possess valuable Germanic blood, especially if they were of aristocratic or peasant stock.

Heim ins Reich
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In order to “recover” these “missing” Germanic elements, they had to be made conscious of their Germanic ancestry through the process of Germanization (the term used for this process was Umvolkung, “restoration to the race“).

An example of this type of Germanization is the taking to germany of “racially valuable” Eastern European children.

The Heim ins Reich (Home into the Empire; or Back to the Reich), was a foreign policy pursued by Adolf Hitler beginning in 1938. The aim of his initiative was to convince all of the ethnically German people who were living outside of the Third Reich (e.g. in Austria and the western districts of Poland etc) that they should strive to bring these regions “home” into Greater Germany. It included areas ceded after the Treaty of Versailles, as well as other areas containing significant German populations such as the Sudetenland. The policy was managed by VOMI (Hauptamt Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle) (English: Main Welfare Office for Ethnic Germans). As a state agency of the NSDAP, it handled all Volksdeutsch issues. By 1941, the VOMI was under the control of the SS.

On the very first page of ‘Mein Kampf‘, Hitler openly declared his belief that “common blood belongs in a common Reich“, elucidating the notion that the innate quality of race (as the National Socialist movement perceived it) should hold precedence over artificial concepts such as national identity (including regional German identities such as Prussian and Bavarian) as the deciding factor for which people were worthy of being assimilated into a Greater German racial state (Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer).
Part of the strategic methods which Hitler chose to ensure the present and future supremacy of the Aryan race (which was, according to Hitler, “gradually approaching extinction“) was to do away with what he described as the “small state rubbish” (Kleinstaatengerümpel, compare Kleinstaaterei) in Europe in order to unite all these Nordic countries into one unified racial community.
From 1921 onward he advocated the creation of a “Germanic Reich of the German Nation“.

‘It was the continent which brought civilization to England, and in turn enabled her to colonize large areas in the rest of the world.
America is unthinkable without Europe.
Why would we not have the necessary power to become one of the world’s centres of attraction ?
A hundred-and-twenty million people of Germanic origin – if they have consolidated their position this will be a power against which no-one in the world could stand up to.
The countries which form the Germanic world have only to gain from this.
I can see that in my own case.
My birth country is one of the most beautiful regions in the Reich, but what could it do if were left to its own devices ?
There is no possibility to develop one’s talents in countries like Austria or Saxony, Denmark or Switzerland.
There is no foundation.
That is why it is fortunate that potential new spaces are again opened for the Germanic peoples.’
Adolf Hitler, 1942
Heiliges Römisches Reich
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The chosen name for the projected empire was a deliberate reference to the Heiliges Römisches Reich (Holy Roman Empire) (of the German Nation) that existed in mediaeval times, known as the First Reich in National Socialist historiography.
Krone des Heiligen Römischen Reiches

Heiliges Römisches Reich (Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum, was a multi-ethnic and complex union of territories in Central Europe existing from 962 to 1806. The territories making up the Empire lay predominantly in Central Europe. At its peak in 1050, under Emperor Henry III, it included the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Kingdom of Burgundy. The last Holy Roman Emperor was Francis II, who abdicated and dissolved the Empire in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

Different aspects of the legacy of this medieval empire in German history were both celebrated and derided by the Third Reich.
The Frankish Emperor Charlemagne was admired by Hitler for his “cultural creativity“, his powers of organization, and his renunciation of the rights of the individual.
He criticized the Holy Roman Emperors however for not pursuing an Ostpolitik (Eastern Policy) resembling his own, while being politically focused exclusively on the south.

 Reichskleinodien

After the Anschluss, Hitler ordered the old imperial regalia (the Imperial Crown, Imperial Sword, Cross of Lothair, the Holy Lance [Spear of Destiny] and other items) residing in Vienna to be transferred to Nürnberg, where they were kept between 1424 and 1796.

Nürnberg, in addition of being the former unofficial capital of the Heiliges Römisches Reich, was also the place of the Reichsparteitag.
The transfer of the regalia was thus done to both legitimize Hitler’s Germany as the successor of the “Old Reich“, but also weaken Vienna, the former imperial residence.
Katherine Kirche – Nürnberg

Nürnberg is a city in the German state of Bavaria. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich.

It is the second-largest city in Bavaria (after Munich), and is the largest in Franconia.
Composed of prosperous artisans, the guilds of the Meistersingers flourished here. Richard Wagner made their most famous member, Hans Sachs, the hero of his opera ‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’. 

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Große Wappen der
Protektorats Böhmen und Mähren

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After the 1939 German occupation of Bohemia, Hitler declared that the Heiliges Römisches Reich had been “resurrected“.

Unlike the “uncomfortably internationalist Catholic empire of Barbarossa“, the Germanic Reich of the German Nation would be racial and nationalist.
Rather than a return to the values of the Middle Ages, its establishment was to be “a push forward to a new golden age, in which the best aspects of the past would be combined with modern racial and nationalist thinking“.
The historical borders of the Holy Empire were also used as grounds for territorial revisionism by the National Socialists, laying claim to modern territories and states that were once part of it. 

Der Westfälische Frieden

Even before the war, Hitler had dreamed of reversing the ‘Westfälische Frieden’ (Peace of Westphalia), which had given the territories of the Empire almost complete sovereignty.

On November 17, 1939, Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary that the “total liquidation” of this historic treaty was the “great goal” of the National Socialist regime, and that since it had been signed in Münster, it would also be officially repealed in the same city.
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic.
The Peace of Westphalia treaties involved the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand III, of the House of Habsburg, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of France, the Swedish Empire, the Dutch Republic, the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and sovereigns of the free imperial cities and can be denoted by two major events.

Pan-Germanism versus Pan-Germanicism
Despite intending to accord the other “Germanics” of Europe a racially superior status alongside the Germans themselves, in an anticipated post-war racio-political order, the National Socialists did not however consider granting the subject populations of these countries any national rights of their own.
The other Germanic countries were seen as mere extensions of Germany, rather than individual units in any way, and the Germans were unequivocally intended to remain the empire’s “most powerful source of strength, from both an ideological as well as military standpoint“.

Heinrich Himmler

Even Heinrich Himmler, who among the senior National Socialists most staunchly supported the concept, could not shake off the idea of a hierarchical distinction between German Volk and Germanic Völker (German Peoples).

The SS’s official newspaper, ‘Das Schwarze Korps’, never succeeded in reconciling the contradiction between Germanic ‘brotherhood’ and German superiority.
Members of National Socialistic parties in Germanic countries were also forbidden to attend public meetings of the NSDAP when they visited Germany.
Although Hitler himself and Himmler’s SS advocated for a pan-Germanic Empire, the objective was not universally held in the National Socialist regime.
Goebbels and the Reich Foreign Ministry under Joachim von Ribbentrop inclined more towards an idea of a continental bloc under German rule, as represented by the Anti-Comintern Pact
Ribbentrop’s “European Confederation” project and the earlier Mitteleuropa concept.
Germanic Mysticism
There were also disagreements within the National Socialist leadership on the spiritual implications of cultivating a ‘Germanic history‘ in their ideological program.
Hitler was somewhat critical of Himmler’s esoteric völkisch interpretation of the ‘Germanic mission‘.
When Himmler denounced Charlemagne in a speech as “the butcher of the Saxons“, Hitler stated that this was not a ‘historical crime‘ but in fact a good thing, for the subjugation of Widukind had brought Western culture into what eventually became Germany.

Alfred Rosenberg
Ahnenerbe
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He also disapproved of some of the archaeological projects which Himmler organized through his Ahnenerbe organization, such as excavations of pre-historic Germanic sites:

In an attempt to eventually supplant Christianity with a new religion more amenable to Nazi ideology Himmler, together with Alfred Rosenberg, sought to replace it with Germanic paganism, such as renewed worship of the deity Wotan.
For this purpose they had ordered the construction of sites for the worship of Germanic cults in order to exchange Christian rituals for ‘Nordic‘ consecration ceremonies, which included different marriage and burial rites.
Hitler, however, did not entirely approve of some aspects of this project, particularly with regard to the renewed worship of the Wotan
Establishment Strategy
Adolf Hitler
1937 Reichsparteitag

The goal was first proclaimed publicly in the 1937 Reichsparteitag.

Hitler’s last speech at this event ended with the words:
The German nation has after all acquired its Germanic Reich“,
which elicited speculation in political circles of a ‘new era’ in Germany’s foreign policy.
Several days before the event Hitler took Albert Speer aside when both were on their way to the former’s Munich apartment with an entourage, and declared to him that:
We will create a great empire. All the Germanic peoples will be included in it. It will begin in Norway and extend to northern Italy.”
On April 9, 1940, as Germany invaded Denmark and Norway in Operation Weserübung, Hitler announced the establishment of the Germanic Reich:

Otto Eduard Leopold Fürst von Bismarck
Herzog von Lauenburg
Austrian Anschluß – 1938

‘Just as the Bismarck Empire arose from the year 1866, so too will the Greater Germanic Empire arise from this day.’
The establishment of the empire was to follow the model of the Austrian Anschluß of 1938, just carried out on a greater scale.

Dr Paul Josef Goebbels

Goebbels emphasized in April 1940 that the annexed Germanic countries would have to undergo a similar “national revolution” as Germany herself did after the Machtergreifung, with an enforced rapid social and political Gleichschaltung (co-ordination) in accordance with National Socialist principles and ideology.

The ultimate goal of the Gleichschaltung policy pursued in these parts of occupied Europe was to eliminate the very concepts of individual states and nationalities, just as the concept of a separate Austrian state and national identity was repressed after the Anschluss through the establishment of new state and party districts.
The new empire was to no longer be a nation-state of the type that had emerged in the 19th century, but instead a “racially pure community“.
It is for this reason that the National Socialist occupiers had no interest in transferring real power to the various right-wing nationalistic movements present in the occupied countries (such as Nasjonal Samling, the NSB, etc.) except for temporary reasons of Realpolitik, and instead actively supported radical collaborators who favoured pan-Germanic unity (i.e. total integration to Germany) over provincial nationalism (for example DeVlag).

Wappen Reichsgau Sudetenland
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Unlike Austria and the Sudetenland, however, the process was to take considerably longer.

Eventually these nationalities were to be merged with the Germans into a single ruling race, but Hitler stated that this prospect lay “many years” in the future.
During this interim period it was intended that the Neue Europa (New Europe) would by run by Germans alone.
According to Speer, while Himmler intended to eventually Germanize these peoples completely, Hitler intended not to “infringe on their individuality” (that is, their native languages), so that in the future they would “add to the diversity and dynamism” of his empire.
The German language would be its lingua franca however, likening it to the status of English in the British Empire.
A primary agent used in stifling the local extreme nationalist elements was the Germanic SS, which initially merely consisted of local respective branches of the Allgemeine-SS in Belgium, Netherlands and Norway.
These groups were at first under the authority of their respective national commanders (Quisling, Mussert and De Clercq), and were intended to function within their own national territories only.

SS Emblem
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

During the course of 1942, however, the Germanic SS was further transformed into a tool used by Himmler against the influence of the less extreme collaborating parties and their SA-style organizations, such as the Hird in Norway and the Weerbaarheidsafdeling in the Netherlands.

In the post-war Germanic Empire, these men were to form the new leadership cadre of their respective national territories.
To emphasize their pan-Germanic ideology, the Norges SS was now renamed the Germanske SS Norge, the Nederlandsche SS the Germaansche SS in Nederland and the Algemeene-SS Vlaanderen the Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen.
The men of these groups no longer swore allegiance to their respective national leaders, but to the germanischer Führer (“Germanic Führer”), Adolf Hitler:
I swear to you, Adolf Hitler, as Germanic Führer loyalty and bravery. I pledge you and the superiors which you appointed obedience until death. So help me God.’
This title was assumed by Hitler on 23 June 1941, at the suggestion of Himmler.

Anton Mussert

On 12 December 1941 the Dutch fascist Anton Mussert also addressed him in this fashion when he proclaimed his allegiance to Hitler during a visit to the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

He had wanted to address Hitler as Führer aller Germanen (“Führer of all Germanics”), but Hitler personally decreed the former style.
The difference between the two is that Führer aller Germanen implied a position separate from Hitler’s role as Führer und Reichskanzler des Grossdeutschen Reiches (“Führer and Reich Chancellor of the Greater German Reich”), while germanischer Führer served more as an attribute of that main function.
As late as 1944 occasional propaganda publications continued to refer to him by this unofficial title as well however.

Hakenkreuzfahne

The Hakenkreuzfahne (Swastika Flag) was to be used as a symbol to represent not only the National Socialist movement, but also the unity of the Nordic-Germanic peoples into a single state.

Welthauptstadt Germania
Hitler had long intended to architecturally reconstruct the German capital Berlin into a new imperial metropolis, which he decided in 1942 to rename ‘Germania‘ upon its scheduled completion in 1950.
The name was specifically chosen to make it the clear central point of the envisioned Germanic empire, and to re-enforce the notion of a united Germanic-Nordic state upon the Germanic peoples of Europe.
Just as the Bavarians and the Prussians had to be impressed by Bismarck of the German idea, so too must the Germanic peoples of continental Europe be programmatically steered towards the Germanic concept.
Große Halle – Germania – Albert Speer

Welthauptstadt Germania refers to the projected renewal of the German capital Berlin during the Third Reich, part of Adolf Hitler’s vision for the future of Germany after the planned victory in World War II. Albert Speer, the “first architect of the Third Reich“, produced many of the plans for the rebuilt city in his capacity as overseer of the project, only a small portion of which was realized between the years 1937–1943 when construction took place.
Some projects, such as the creation of a great East-West city axis, which included broadening Charlottenburger Chaussee (today Straße des 17. Juni) and placing the Berlin victory column in the centre, far away from the Reichstag, where it originally stood, were successfully completed. Others, however, such as the creation of the Große Halle (Great Hall), had to be shelved owing to the beginning of war. A great number of the old buildings in many of the planned construction areas were, however, demolished before the war and eventually defeat stopped the plans.

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Role of Britain
United Kingdom

The one country that was not included in the Pan-Germanic unification aim was the United Kingdom, in spite of its near-universal acceptance by the National Socialist government as being part of the Germanic world.

Leading Nordic ideologist Hans F. K. Günther theorized that the Anglo-Saxons had been more successful than the Germans in maintaining racial purity, and that the coastal and island areas of Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall and Wales had received additional Nordic blood through Norse raids and colonization during the Viking Age, and the Anglo-Saxons of Eastern and Northern England had been under Danish rule in the 9th and 10th centuries.
Royal Arms of England
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Günther referred to this historical process as Aufnordung (“additional nordification”), which finally culminated in the Norman conquest of England in 1066.

Britain was thus a nation created by struggle and the survival of the fittest among the various Aryan peoples of the isles, and was able to pursue global conquest and empire-building because of its superior racial heredity born through this development.
Hitler professed an admiration for the imperial might of the British Empire in ‘Zweites Buch’ as proof of the racial superiority of the Aryan race, hoping that Germany would emulate British “ruthlessness” in establishing its own colonial empire in Eastern Europe.
One of his primary foreign policy aims throughout the 1930s was to establish a military alliance with both the English (Hitler conflated England with Britain and the United Kingdom in his writings and speeches) as well as the Italians, to neutralize France as a strategic threat to German security for eastward expansion.
When it became apparent to the Nazi leadership that the United Kingdom was not interested in a military alliance, anti-British policies were adopted to ensure the attainment of Germany’s war aims.
Even during the war however, hope remained that Britain would in time yet become a reliable German ally.

British Empire

Hitler preferred to see the British Empire preserved as a world power, because its break-up would benefit other countries far more than it would Germany, particularly the United States and Japan.

In fact, Hitler’s strategy during 1935-1937 for winning Britain over was based on a German guarantee of defence of the British Empire.
Ulrich Joachim von Ribbentrop

After the war, Ribbentrop testified that in 1935 Hitler had promised to deliver twelve German divisions to the disposal of Britain for maintaining the integrity of her colonial possessions.

The continued military actions against Britain after the fall of France had the strategic goal of making Britain ‘see the light‘ and conduct an armistice with the Axis powers, with July 1, 1940, being named by the Germans as the “probable date” for the cessation of hostilities.

Generaloberst Franz Halder
On May 21, 1940, Franz Halder, the head of the Army General Staff, after a consultation with Hitler concerning the aims envisaged by the Führer during the present war, wrote in his diary: “We are seeking contact with Britain on the basis of partitioning the world“.
One of Hitler’s sub-goals for the invasion of Russia was to win over Britain to the German side. 
He believed that after the military collapse of the USSR, “within a few weeks” Britain would be forced either into a surrender or else come to join Germany as a “junior partner” in the Axis.
Britain’s role in this alliance was reserved to support German naval and aerial military actions against the USA in a fight for world supremacy conducted from the Axis power bases of Europe, Africa and the Atlantic.
On August 8, 1941, Hitler stated that he looked forward to the eventual day when “England and Germany [march] together against America” and on January 7, 1942, he suggested that it was “not impossible” for Britain to quit the war and join the Axis side, leading to a situation where “it will be a German-British army that will chase the Americans from Iceland“.

Alfred Rosenberg

Alfred Rosenberg hoped that after the victorious conclusion of the war against the USSR, Englishmen, along with other Germanic nationalities, would join the German settlers in colonizing the conquered eastern territories.

Wappen des Kaisertums Österreich
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
From a historical perspective Britain’s situation was likened to that which the Austrian Empire found itself in after it was defeated by the Kingdom of Prussia in the Battle of Königgratz in 1866.
As Austria was thereafter formally excluded from German affairs, so too would Britain be excluded from continental affairs in the event of a German victory.
Yet afterwards, Austria-Hungary became a loyal ally of the German Empire in the pre-World War I power alignments in Europe, and it was hoped that Britain would come to fulfil this same role.
Channel Islands
British Channel Islands
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The British Channel Islands were to be permanently integrated into the Germanic Empire.

On July 22, 1940, Hitler stated that after the war, the islands were to be given to the control of Robert Ley’s German Labour Front, and transferred into ‘Strength Through Joy’ holiday resorts.
It was suggested that the German occupiers should appeal to the islanders’ Norman heritage and treat the islands as “Germanic micro-states“, whose union with Britain was only an accident of history.
He likened the preferred policy concerning the islands similar to the one pursued by the British in Malta, where the Maltese language had been “artificially” supported against the Italian language.


Northern Italy
Fascist Kingdom of Italy
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Hitler emphasized the role of Germanic influence in Northern Italy, such as stating that the art of Northern Italy was “nothing but pure German“, and it was viewed that the Ladin and Friulian minorities of Northern Italy were racially, historically and culturally a part of the Germanic world.

Wappen der Südtirol
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The region of South Tyrol had been a place of contending claims and conflict between German nationalism and Italian nationalism.
One of the leading founders of Italian nationalism, Giuseppe Mazzini, along with Ettore Tolomei, claimed that the German-speaking South Tyrolian population were in fact a Germanicized population of Roman origin who needed to be “liberated and returned to their rightful culture“.
With the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, the peace treaty designated to Italy the South Tyrol, with its border with Austria along the Brenner Pass.
The Italian Fascist regime pursued Italianization of South Tyrol, by restricting use of the German language while promoting the Italian language; promoting mass migration of Italians into the region, encouraged mainly through industralization; and resettlement of the German-speaking population.

Benito Mussolini

After Mussolini had made clear in 1922 that he would never give up the region of South Tyrol from being in Italy, Hitler adopted this position.

Hitler, in ‘Mein Kampf’ had declared that concerns over the rights of Germans in South Tyrol under Italian sovereignty was a non-issue considering the advantages that would be gained from a German-Italian alliance with Mussolini’s Fascist regime.
In ‘Mein Kampf’ Hitler also made clear that he was opposed to having a war with Italy for the sake of obtaining South Tyrol.
This position by Hitler of abandoning German land claims to South Tyrol produced aggravation amongst some NSDAP members who up to the late 1920s found it difficult to accept the position.

Hitler and Mussolini – Rome

On 7 May 1938, Hitler during a public visit to Rome declared his commitment to the existing border between Germany (that included Austria upon the Anschluss) and Italy at the Brenner Pass.

In 1939, Hitler and Mussolini resolved the problem of self-determination of Germans and maintaining the Brenner Pass frontier by an agreement in which German South Tyroleans were given the choice of either assimilation into Italian culture, or leave South Tyrol for Germany; most opted to leave for Germany.

Re Vittorio Emanuele III d’Italia

After King Victor Emmanuel III of the Kingdom of Italy removed Mussolini from power, Hitler on 28 July 1943 was preparing for the expected abandonment of the Axis for the Allies by the Kingdom of Italy’s new government, and was preparing to exact retribution for the expected betrayal by planning to partition Italy.

In particular Hitler was considering the creation of a “Lombard State” in northern Italy that would be incorporated into the Greater Germanic Reich, while South Tyrol and Venice would be annexed directly into Germany.
In the aftermath of the Kingdom of Italy’s abandonment of the Axis on 8 September 1943, Germany seized and de facto incorporated Italian territories into its direct control.

The Axis powers, were the nations that fought in the Second World War against the Allied forces. The Axis promoted the alliance as a part of a revolutionary process aimed at breaking the hegemony of plutocratic-capitalist Western powers and defending civilization from communism.
The Axis grew out of the Anti-Comintern Pact, an anti-communist treaty signed by Germany and Japan in 1936. Italy joined the Pact in 1937. The “Rome–Berlin Axis” became a military alliance in 1939 under the Pact of Steel, with the Tripartite Pact of 1940 leading to the integration of the military aims of Germany and its two treaty-bound allies.

La Repubblica Sociale Italiana
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

After the rescue of Mussolini and the establishment of  La Repubblica Sociale Italiana (Repubblica di Salò – Italian Social Republic – RSI), in spite of urging by local German officials, Hitler refused to officially annex South Tyrol, instead he decided that the RSI should hold official sovereignty over these territories, and forbade all measures that would give the impression of official annexation of South Tyrol, however, in practice the territory of South Tyrol within the boundaries defined by Germany as Operationszone Alpenvorland that included Trent, Bolzano, and Belluno, were de facto incorporated into Germany’s Reichsgau Tirol-Vorarlberg, and administered by its Gauleiter Franz Hofer.

While the region identified by Germany as Operationszone Adriatische Kustenland that includedUdine, Gorizia, Trieste, Pola, Fiume (Rijeka), and Ljubljana were de facto incorporated into Reichsgau Kärnten and administered by its Gauleiter Friedrich Rainer.
After the Kingdom of Italy capitulated to the Allies in September 1943, according to Goebbels in his personal diary on 29 September 1943, wrote that Hitler had expressed that the Italian-German border should extend to those of the region of Veneto.
Veneto was to be included into the Reich in an “autonomous form”, and to benefit from the post-war influx of German tourists.
Expected participation in the colonization of Eastern Europe
Despite the pursued aim of pan-Germanic unification, the primary goal of Nazi Germany’s territorial expansionism was to acquire sufficient Lebensraum (living space) in Eastern Europe for the Germanic Aryan master race.
The primary objective of this aim was to transform Germany into a complete economic autarky, the end-result of which would be a state of continent-wide German hegemony over Europe.
Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient. Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic systems. The latter are called closed economies. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance or international trade. Autarky is not necessarily economic. For example, a military autarky would be a state that could defend itself without help from another country. Autarky can be said to be the policy of a state or other entity when it seeks to be self-sufficient as a whole, but also can be limited to a narrow field such as possession of a key raw material.
This was to be accomplished through the enlargement of the territorial base of the German state and the expansion of the German population.
Because of their perceived racial worth, the Nazi leadership was enthusiastic at the prospect of “recruiting” people from the Germanic countries to also settle these territories after the Slavic inhabitants would have been driven out.
The racial planners were partly motivated in this because studies indicated that Germany would likely not be able to recruit enough colonial settlers for the eastern territories from its own country, and other Germanic groups would therefore be required.
Hitler insisted however that German settlers would have to dominate the newly colonized areas.
Conclusion
Leibstandarte
SS Adolf Hitler
Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler

Gradually the ‘Greater Germanic Empire’ gave way to a concept of a Neu-ordnung Europas of self-governing states, unified by German hegemony and the common enemy of Bolshevism.

The Waffen-SS was to be the eventual nucleus of a common europäischen Armee, where each state would be represented by a national contingent.
Heinrich Himmler himself, held on to his Pan-Germanic vision, and in a speech given on April 1943 to the officers of SS divisions ‘Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler’, ‘Das Reich’ and ‘Totenkopf’ he stated:
We do not expect you to renounce your nation. … We do not expect you to become German out of opportunism. We do expect you to subordinate your national ideal to a greater racial and historical ideal, to the Germanic Reich‘.

Hitler’s Real Views on die Großgermanischen Reich der deutschen Nation

In the beginning of the Kampfzeit (time of struggle) Hitler had only been concerned with National Socialism in Germany and Austria, and the reclaiming of territory lost through the Treaty of Versailles.
The concept of a ‘Große Reich’ (Greater Reich) was a late development, and the idea of Weltherrschaft (world domination) was the result of Hitler’s involvement with Major General Karl Ernst Haushofer, and his theories of Geopolitik (Geo-politics).
Karl Ernst Haushofer

Karl Ernst Haushofer (August 27, 1869 – March 10, 1946) was a German general, geographer and geopolitician. Through his student Rudolf Hess, Haushofer’s ideas may have influenced the development of Adolf Hitler’s expansionist strategies. Haushofer developed Geopolitik from widely varied sources, including the writings of Oswald Spengler, Alexander Humboldt, Karl Ritter, and  Friedrich Ratzel.

Geopolitik contributed to the foreign policy of the Third Reich, chiefly in the strategy and justifications for lebensraum. The theories contributed five ideas to German foreign policy in the inter-war period:, the organic state, lebensraum, autarky, pan-regions, land power/sea power dichotomy.
Rudolf Heß

Hitler and Haushofer first came together through the offices of Rudolf Heß, during Hitler’s imprisonment at Festung Landsberg, after the 1923 Munich Putsch.

The evidence of Hausofer’s influence can clearly be seen in the second half of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf‘.
Geopolitics was very popular in Germany at the time that ‘Mein Kampf‘ was published, and it is quite reasonable to suppose that Hitler included geopolitical chapters in ‘Mein Kampf‘ in order to make it appear ‘modern’ and ‘in tune’ with current political and academic developments.
One cannot conclude, however, that Hitler seriously believed in the fundamental principles of Haushofer’s geopolitical theories, as much of the contents of the remainder of ‘Mein Kampf‘ is disingenuous to say the very least.
We should remember that while Hitler had no objection to extending the influence and power of the Third Reich beyond its previous racially demarcated borders, much of the speculation indulged in the National Socialist hierarchy about ‘Weltherrschaft’ is simply that – speculation.

Heinrich Himmler and
haj Amin al-Husseini
For example, overtures to the Arab and Muslim world (haj Amin al-Husseini) were as disingenuous as many other aspects of the foreign policy of the Third Reich.
As far as Hitler was concerned, Arabs were Semites, and therefore little different, in racial terms, from the Jews.
Any statements made by Hitler and Himmler et al, were, therefore, simply the means to obtain temporary wartime support from these groups.
As for Africa, South America and other non-European areas, these were matters that would be settled, probably by diplomacy and treaties, when the conflict in Europe came to an end.

Hitler’s primary concern, from the very beginning, was to create a settled, racially pure ‘living-space’ where Himmler’s SS could undertake the biological breeding programs that would produce Die Herrenrasse.

Die Herrenrasse

Die Herrenrasse is a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic race -a branch of the Aryan race – represented an ideal and pure race. The Nordic race was the purest example of the original racial stock of those who were then called the Proto-Aryans, who prehistorically dwelt on the North German Plain, ultimately originated from the lost continent of Atlantis. The Nordics (Germanic peoples), were the true Aryans because they were less racially mixed with “non-native” Indo-European peoples than other Aryan peoples, such as the Slavic peoples, the Romance peoples and the Indo-Iranian peoples. Based on this claim that the Nordic peoples were superior to all other races, and were entitled to expand territorially.This concept is known as Nordicism.

Nietzsche

This, however, was only the first stage of the process that Hitler envisaged.

Hitler explained the process of creating the Nietzschean übermensch in the following manner:
The real destiny of Man is something that ordinary men could not conceive and would be unable to comprehend, even if given a glimpse of it.
Our revolution is a final stage in an evolution that will end by abolishing history.
der Übermensch

It is my ultimate aim to perform an act of creation, a divine operation, the goal of a biological mutation which will result in an unprecedented exaltation of the human race and the appearance of a new race of heroes, demi-gods and god-men.

My party comrades have no conception of the dreams that haunt my mind, or of the grandiose edifice of which the foundations, at least, will have been laid before I die. 
The world has reached a turning point, and will undergo an upheaval which the uninitiated cannot understand.’
Once the ‘divine operation‘ had been achieved there would be no further need for economic, politics, or strategies.
The ‘unprecedented exaltation of the human race‘ would produce “the ‘Man-God’, when Man will be the measure and centre of the world.
The ‘Man-God‘, that splendid Being, will be an object of worship …
But there are other stages about which I am not permitted to speak ...”

Adolf Hitler

And so, in the final analysis, ‘die Großgermanischen Reich der deutschen Nation’ would simply be the ‘seed bed’ for the greater creation, which would go beyond all national and political considerations, and into the realm of ‘pure metaphysics’.

The Green Reich

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

“We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole.

This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought.”

Professor Ernst Lehmann


Germany is not only the birthplace of the science of ecology and the place where ecological politics’ rose to prominence; it has also been home to a peculiar synthesis of naturalism and nationalism forged under the influence of the Romantic tradition’s anti-Enlightenment philosophy.
Two nineteenth century figures exemplify this conjunction: Ernst Moritz Arndt and Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl

Ernst Moritz Arndt 


Ernst Moritz Arndt (26 December 1769 – 29 January 1860) was a German patriotic author and poet. Early in his life, he fought for the abolition of serfdom, later against Napoleonic dominance over Germany, and had to flee to Sweden for some time due to his anti-French positions. He is one of the main founders of German nationalism and the movement for German unification. After the Carlsbad Decrees, the forces of the restoration counted him as a demagogue and he was only rehabilitated in 1840.
Arndt played an important role for the early national and liberal Burschenschaft movement and for the unification movement, and his song “Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?” acted as an unofficial German national anthem.

Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl

Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl (6 May 1823 – 16 November 1897) was a German journalist, novelist and folklorist.
Riehl was born in Biebrich in the Duchy of Nassau and died in Munich.
Riehl’s writings became normative for a large body of Volkish thought. He constructed a more completely integrated Volkish view of man and society as they related to nature, history, and landscape. He was the writer of the famous ‘Land und Leute’ (Places and People), written in 1857-63, which discussed the organic nature of a Volk which he claimed could only be attained if it fused with the native landscape.
He rejected all artificiality and defined modernity as a nature contrived by man and thus devoid of that genuineness to which living nature alone gives meaning. Riehl pointed to the newly developing urban centres as the cause of social unrest. For many Volkish thinkers, only nature was genuine. He desired a hierarchical society that patterned after the medieval estates. In ‘Die bürgerliche Gesellschaft’ (Bourgeois Society) he accused those of Capitalist interest of disturbing ancient customs and thus destroying the historicity of the Volk. Animosity towards the city was an integral part of the rise of Volkish thought. At times it was expressed in the slogan “Berlin is the domain of the Jews” or in the remark by another writer that “cities are the tombs of Germanism” Such ideas secured a place for Riehl in the history of Volkish thought. 
Riehl, born into a settled middle-class background, was a professor at the University of Munich.

Sterbender Hirsch
Wilhelm Diefenbach

Riehl’s 1853 essay ‘Feld und Wald’ (Field and Forest) ended with a call to fight for “the rights of wilderness.” 

But even here nationalist pathos set the tone: “We must save the forest, not only so that our ovens do not become cold in winter, but also so that the pulse of life of the people continues to beat warm and joyfully, so that Germany remains German.”
Riehl was an implacable opponent of the rise of industrialism and urbanization; his overtly anti-semitic glorification of rural peasant values, and undifferentiated condemnation of modernity established him as the “founder of agrarian romanticism and anti-urbanism.

‘Nature Mysticism’

These latter two fixations matured in the second half of the nineteenth century in the context of the völkisch movement, a powerful cultural disposition and social tendency which united ethnocentric populism with ‘nature mysticism‘.

At the heart of the völkisch weltanschauung was a negative response to modernity.
In the face of the very real dislocations brought on by the triumph of industrial capitalism and national unification, völkisch thinkers preached a return to the land, to the simplicity and wholeness of a life attuned to nature’s purity.
The movement aspired to reconstruct the society that was sanctioned by history, rooted in nature, and in communion with the cosmic life spirit.
The emergence of modern ecology forged the final link in the chain which bound together nationalism, mystically charged racism, and environmentalist predilections.
Ernst Haeckel 

In 1867 the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel coined the term ‘ecology’ and began to establish it as a scientific discipline dedicated to studying the interactions between organism and environment.

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919), was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and the kingdom Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin’s work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory (“ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny“) claiming that an individual organism’s biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species’ evolutionary development, or phylogeny.

The published artwork of Haeckel includes over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures (Kunstformen der Natur, “Art Forms of Nature”). As a philosopher, Ernst Haeckel wrote ‘Die Welträtsel’ (1895–1899, in English, The Riddle of the Universe, 1901), the genesis for the term “world riddle” (Welträtsel); and ‘Freedom in Science and Teaching’ to support teaching evolution.

Haeckel developed a philosophy he called ‘monism.’
The ‘German Monist League’ he founded combined scientifically based ecological holism with völkisch social views.
Haeckel believed in nordic racial superiority, strenuously opposed race mixing and enthusiastically supported racial eugenics.
Bayerische Räterepublik – Munich

His nationalism became more fervent with the onset of World War I, and he fulminated in anti-semitic tones against the post-war Jewish/Soviet Republic in Bavaria.
In this way Haeckel contributed to that special variety of German thought which served as the seed bed for National Socialism.
The pioneer of scientific ecology, along with his disciples Willibald Hentschel, Wilhelm Bölsche and Bruno Wille, profoundly shaped the thinking of subsequent generations of environmentalists by embedding concern for the natural world in a tightly woven web of Völkisch social themes.
Thus, for the Monists, perhaps the most pernicious feature of European bourgeois civilization was the inflated importance which it attached to the idea of man in general, to his existence and to his talents.

Raoul Francé

The biologist Raoul Francé, founding member of the ‘Monist League’, elaborated so-called ‘Lebensgesetze’, ‘laws of life’ through which the natural order determines the social order.
He opposed racial mixing, for example, as “unnatural.”
The chief vehicle for carrying this ideological constellation to prominence was the German youth.

The world’s first self-conscious “youth” movement sprang up in response to, and as a rejection of, urban life and the cold, impersonal mechanics of modernity.
It’s members wanted to reunite themselves with nature.
They went vegetarian, sometimes favoured nudism, hiked and even camped out in the wilderness, creating alternative societies to the mainstream.
It was a romantic, spiritual movement.
Many saw themselves as pagans, worshipping the sun, conceived of as an ancient Teutonic deity.
The young men sang songs and played guitars around campfires in a movement that was closely involved with Lebensreform (“life reform”).

Lebensreform

Lebensreform (“life reform”) was a social movement in late 19th-century and early 20th-century Germany, Austria and Switzerland that propagated a back-to-nature lifestyle, emphasizing among others health food/raw food/organic food, nudism, sexual liberation, alternative medicine, and religious reform and at the same time abstention from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and vaccines.

‘Gebet zum Licht’
Fidus (Hugo Höppener)
Fidus (Hugo Höppener)

Important Lebensreform proponents were Sebastian Kneipp, Louis Kuhne, Rudolf Steiner, Karl Wilhelm 
Diefenbach, Fidus (Hugo Höppener), Gusto Graeser, and Adolf Just.
Hugo Höppener (1868-1948), who used the pseudonym Fidus was one of the most significant artists of the movement.
Depicting nude figures among the natural landscape, not sexualized, but in harmony with nature, and working in cooperation with each other, Fidus gained wide recognition.
Several of his works show a male-female couple embracing, not out of lust, but in a kind of Tantric reaching for Deity.
His most famous work (of which he made several versions), ‘Gebet zum Licht’ (Prayer to the Light), shows a man standing on a rock mound, with his arms outstretched to the sky.
In 1932, Fidus joined the NSDAP.. Fidus was probably impressed by the National Socialist’s environmentalism and romantic portrayals of the German people.

Ideology in Germany

The Lebensreform movement in Germany originally was a politically diverse movement.
There were hundreds of groups across Germany dedicated to some of all of the concepts associated with Lebensreform: ecology and organic farming, vegetarianism, naturalism (Nacktkultur), and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.
Dozens of magazines, books, and pamphlets were published on these topics.
Some groups were made of socialists, some were apolitical, and some were right-wing and nationalist in outlook.
One outstanding prophet of Lebensreform was the painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1861-1913), pacifist and tolstoyan anarchist who founded the community Himmelhof near Vienna.

 Geige spielender Knabe
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (February 21, 1851, Hadamar, Duchy of Nassau – December 15, 1913, Capri) was a German painter and social reformer.
Diefenbach was a pioneer of nudism and the peace movement. His country commune in Vienna (1897–1899) was one of the models for the reform settlement Monte Verità in Ascona. His ideas included life in harmony with nature and rejection of monogamy, turning away from any religion (although he was a follower of theosophy, and a vegetarian diet. One of his students was the artist Konstantinos Parthenis.
As a painter he was an independent representative of Art Nouveau and Symbolism.

Among his disciples were three painters: Fidus, Frantischek Kupka and Gusto Graeser.
In 1900 Graeser became the co-founder and inspiring pioneer of the community Monte Verità near Ascona, Switzerland. Monte Verità attracted lots of artists from all of Europe, during World War I conscientious objectors from Germany and France.

Hermann Hesse

Gusto Graeser, thinker and poet, greatly influenced the German Youth Movement, and such writers as Hermann Hesse and Gerhart Hauptmann.
He was the model for the master figures in the books of Hermann Hesse.
An important influence on Völkisch ideology was Ludwig Fahrenkrog (20 October 1867 – 27 October 1952) who was a German writer, playwright and artist.
He was born in Rendsburg, Prussia, in 1867.
He started his career as an artist in his youth, and attended the Berlin Royal Art Academy before being appointed a professor in 1913.
He taught at the School of Arts and Crafts in Bremen from 1898 to 1931.
He was also involved in the founding of a series of Völkisch groups in the early 20th century.
The first group started by Fahrenkrog was the ‘Deutscher Bund für Persönlichkeitskultur’ (German League for the Culture of the Personality), which also supported a publication called Mehr Licht! (“More Light!”, the famous last words of Goethe).

Ludwig Fahrenkrog
Ludwig Fahrenkrog – The Holy Hour (Die heilige Stunde), 1918

He was also involved with the ‘Deutsche Religionsgemeinschaft’ (German Religious Community [DRG]), which would later change its name several times, first in 1912 to Germanische-Deutsche Religionsgemeinschaft (Germanic-German Religious Community [GDRG]), then in 1915, following a split in the membership, to the Deutschgläubige Gemeinschaft (Association of the German Faithful [DGG]).

Earth and the Sun Heaven and Earth, Baldur and Gerda
(Erde und Sonne, Himmel und Erde, Baldur und Gerda), 1921
Ludwig Fahrenkrog

Other groups which emerged from völkisch Romanticism gradually became part of National Socialist ideology by the 1930s, known as ‘Blut und Boden’ (blood and soil).
As early as 1907, Richard Ungewitter published a pamphlet called ‘Nudity and Culture’ (which sold 100,000 copies), arguing that the practices he recommended would be:
the means by which the German race would regenerate itself and ultimately prevail over its neighbours and the diabolical Jews, who were intent on injecting putrefying agents into the nation’s blood and soil“.
The most significant of these Lebensreform movements was the Wandervogel.

Wandervogel
  

Wandervogel

Wandervogel is the name adopted by a popular movement of German youth groups from 1896 onward.
The name can be translated as rambling, hiking or wandering bird (differing in meaning from “Zugvogel” or migratory bird) and the ethos is to shake off the restrictions of society and get back to nature and freedom.
Soon the groups split and there originated ever more organisations, which still all called themselves Wandervogel, but were organisationally independent, nonetheless the feeling was still of being a common movement, but split into several branches.
The Wandervogel movement was officially established on 4 November 1901 by Herman Hoffmann Fölkersamb, who in 1895 had formed a study circle at the boys’ Berlin-Steglitz grammar school where he was teaching.

The Wandervogel soon became the pre-eminent German youth movement.
It was a back-to-nature youth organization emphasizing freedom, self-responsibility, and the spirit of adventure, and took a Völkish approach, stressing Germany’s mystical Teutonic roots.
After World War I, many of the leaders returned disillusioned from the war.
The same was true for leaders of German Scouting, so both movements started to influence each other heavily in Germany.

Nacktkultur

From the Wandervogel came a stronger culture of hiking, nacktkultur, (see below) – German naturism was part of the Lebensreform movement and the Wandervogel youth movement, which promoted ideas of fitness and vigour.
At the same time doctors of the Natural Healing Movement were using heliotherapy to treat diseases such as TB, rheumatism and scrofula with exposure to sunlight
During the National Socialist Gleichschaltung period, after Adolf Hitler came to power, nudism benefited from official recognition and sponsorship for its health benefits.
Nevertheless, all naturism clubs had to register with Kraft durch Freude.
The Wandervogel movement also encouraged adventure, Völkish mysticism, romanticism and a younger leadership structure.
Scouting brought uniforms, flags, more organization, more camps and a clearer ideology.
There was also an educationalist influence from Gustav Wyneken.
Together this led to the emergence of the Bündische Jugend.
The Wandervogel, German Scouting and the Bündische Jugend together are referred to as the German Youth Movement.

They had been around for more than a quarter of a century before National Socialists began to see an opportunity to adopt some methods and symbols of the German Youth Movement to use it in the Hitler-Jugend – (Hitler Youth).
This movement was very influential at that time.
Its members were romantic and prepared to sacrifice a lot for their ideals.
The philosopher Ludwig Klages profoundly influenced the youth movement, and particularly shaped their ecological consciousness.
He authored a tremendously important essay titled ‘Mensch und die Erde’ (Man and Earth) for the legendary Meissner gathering of the Wandervögel in 1913.
An extraordinarily poignant text and the best known of all Klages’ work, it is one of the very greatest manifestos of the radical ecology movement in Germany.
‘Mensch und die Erde’ anticipated just about all of the themes of the contemporary ecology movement.
It decried the accelerating extinction of species, disturbance of global ecosystemic balance, deforestation, destruction of wild habitats, urban sprawl, and the increasing alienation of people from nature.
In emphatic terms it disparaged Christianity, capitalism, economic utilitarianism, hyper-consumption and the ideology of ‘progress.’

Martin Heidegger

Another philosopher and stern critic of the ‘Enlightenment’, who helped bridge Völkisch ideology and environmentalism was Martin Heidegger.
A much more renowned thinker than Klages, Heidegger preached “authentic Being”, and harshly criticized modern technology, and is therefore often celebrated as a precursor of ecological thinking.
Heidegger’s critique of anthropocentric humanism, his call for humanity to learn to “let things be,” his notion that humanity is involved in a “play” or “dance” with earth, sky, and gods, his meditation on the possibility of an authentic mode of “dwelling” on the earth, his complaint that industrial technology is laying waste to the earth, his emphasis on the importance of local place and Heimat (homeland) his claim that humanity should guard and preserve things, instead of dominating them – all these aspects of Heidegger’s thought help to support the claim that he was a major ecological theorist.
Heidegger was an active member of the NSDAP party, and enthusiastically supported the Führer.
His mystical panegyrics to Heimat (homeland) were complemented by a deep anti-semitism, and his metaphysically phrased broadsides against technology and modernity converged neatly with populist thought.
Although he lived and taught for thirty years after the fall of the Third Reich, Heidegger never once publicly regretted, much less renounced, his involvement with National Socialism.

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

The nationalist youth movements, promoting right wing ideology, eventually became popular with the NSDAP and their supporters, including Heinrich Himmler, who belonged to the right-wing farming organization the ‘Artaman League’.

Artamanen Gesellschaft 

The Artamanen-Gesellschaft (Artaman League) was a German agrarian and völkisch movement dedicated to a ‘Blood and Soil’ inspired ruralism.
Active during the inter-war period, the League became closely linked to, and eventually absorbed by, the NSDAP
The term Artamanen had been coined before the First World War by Dr. Willibald Hentschel, a believer in racial purity, who had founded his own group, the ‘Mittgart Society’, in 1906.

Rastinderheide
Georg von Sluyterman Langeweyde

The term was a portmanteau word of art and manen, Middle High German words meaning ‘agriculture man’ and indicating Hentschell’s desire to see Germans retreat from the decadence of the city in order to return to an idyllic rural past.
The society itself was not formed until 1923, even though Willibald’s ideas were somewhat older.
The Artamans were part of the German Youth Movement, representing its more right-wing back-to-the-land elements.
Under the leadership of Georg Kenstler they advocated blood and soil policies with a strong undercurrent of Anti-Slavism.
This völkisch movement believed that the decline of the Aryan race could only be halted by encouraging people to abandon city life in favour of settling in the rural areas in the east.
Whilst members wished to perform agricultural labour as an alternative to military service they also saw it as part of their duty to violently oppose Slavs and to drive them out of Germany.

Adolf Wissel – Bauernfamilie

The concepts were combined in the figure of the Wehrbauer, or soldier-peasant.
As such the League sent German youth to work on the land in Saxony and East Prussia, in an attempt to prevent these areas being settled by Poles.
To this end 2000 settlers were sent to Saxony in 1924, to both work on farms and serve as an anti-Slav militia.
They also gave classes on importance of racial purity and the Nordic race, and the corrupting influence of city living and Jews.
Like many similar right-wing youth movements in Germany the Artaman League lost impetus as the NSDAP grew. By 1927, 80% of its membership had become National Socialists.
As such the League had disappeared by the early 1930s with most of its membership having switched to the NSDAP.
In the late 1920s, some of the Artamans were drawn deeper into politics, and engaged in a holy war against their enemies: liberals, democrats, Free-Masons and Jews.

Heinrich Himmler

Eventually many members of the Artaman League turned to National Socialism.
Heinrich Himmler was an early member and held the position of Gauführer in Bavaria.

 Richard Walther Darré 

Whilst a member of the League Himmler met Richard Walther Darré and the two struck up a close friendship, based largely on Darré’s highly developed ideological notions of ‘blood and soil’ to which Himmler was attracted.

Richard Walther Darré (born Ricardo Walther Oscar Darré; 14 July 1895 – 5 September 1953) was an SS-Obergruppenführer and one of the leading Nazi “blood and soil” (German: Blut und Boden) ideologists. He was appointed by Hitler as Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture. He served in that position from 1933 to 1942. Darré’s works were primarily concerned with the ancient and present Nordic peasantry (the ideology of ‘Blood and Soil’): within this context, he made an explicit attack against Christianity. In his two main works (Das Bauerntum als Lebensquell der Nordischen Rasse, Munich, 1927 and Neuadel aus Blut und Boden, Munich, 1930), Darré accused Christianity, with its “teaching of the equality of men before God,” of having “deprived the Teutonic nobility of its moral foundations”, the “innate sense of superiority over the nomadic tribes”.
Darré’s writings are an early example of “Green” or Conservationist thinking: he advocated more natural methods of land management, placing emphasis on the conservation of forests, and demanded more open-space and air in the raising of farm animals

Darré’s most important innovation was the introduction on a large scale of organic farming methods, significantly labeled “lebensgesetzliche Landbauweise” or farming according to the laws of life.
The impetus for these unprecedented measures came from Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy and its techniques of bio-dynamic cultivation.
The campaign to institutionalize organic farming encompassed tens of thousands of smallholdings and estates across Germany.
It was largely Darré’s influence in the Third Reich which yielded, in practice, a level of government support for ecologically sound farming methods and land use planning unmatched by any state before or since.
The Artaman vision would continue to have a profound effect on Himmler who, throughout his time as Reichsführer-SS, retained his early dreams of a racially pure peasantry.
The league was eventually dismantled, and incorporated into the Hitler Jugend in October 1934 as the Nationalist Socialist youth movement gained strength.

Later Developments

When other groups were being banned or disbanded due to political conflict during the 1930s, the nationalist ideology became connected with National Socialism.
The ‘German Life Reform League’ broke apart into political factions during this time.
The Nationalist physician Artur Fedor Fuchs began the ‘League for Free Body Culture ‘(FKK), giving public lectures on the healing powers of the sun in the “Nordic sky“, which “alone strengthened and healed the warrior nation“.
Ancient forest living, and habits presumed to have been followed by the ancient tribes of Germany, were beneficial to regenerating the Aryan people, according to Fuchs’ philosophy.
Han Sùren, a prominent former military officer, published ‘Man and the Sun’ (1924), which sold 240,000 copies; by 1941 it was reissued in 68 editions.
Sùren promoted the Aryan Master Race concept of physically strong, militarized men who would be the “salvation” of the German people.

Freikörperkultur

In many parts of central Europe up until the 18th century, people bathed naked in rivers and lakes, although often separately by sex.
Beginning in the late 18th century, public nudity became increasingly taboo, though this never penetrated into sparsely-populated Scandinavia.
At the same time, Lord Monboddo (1714-1779) practiced and preached nude bathing as a revival of Ancient Greek attitudes toward nudity.
This found literary reference in Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s (1742-1799) book ‘Das Luftbad’.
In 1898 the first FKK club was founded in Essen.
In 1900 more and more Swedish baths arose in rooms in Berlin and on the North and Baltic seas.
A few years before there were mixed sex baths in many places, which, although requiring contemporary, modest bath clothes, were either forbidden or regarded as immoral.

Freikörperkultur – FKK

Behind the FKK movement lay an attitude towards life in which the naked body is not shameful. 
The nudity of FKK should not involve sexuality.
In this light, the need to be nude in the shower or sauna does not belong with Freikörperkultur, since it’s practically necessary.
In FKK, nudity has prior group consensus, and therefore demands no reserved zones, such as separate beaches or club areas.

Freikörperkultur – FKK

A while later, after the political liberalization, conservative circles tried to challenge the increasingly popular (especially among urban intellectuals) nude baths as a corruption of morality.
The first nude beach in Germany was established in 1920 on the island of Sylt.
In 1933 after the National Socialists came to power, nudist organizations were integrated into the NSDAP.
The first dissertation about the FKK movement was written in the 1930s.
Himmler and the SS supported Naturism.
The ‘Kampfring für völkische Freikörperkultur’, established in May 1933, was a National Socialist völkisch umbrella body for German Freikörperkultur nudist groups, which excluded Jews and communist nudist groups.

National Socialist Ecology

The National Socialist “religion of nature,” was a mixture of primeval teutonic nature mysticism, ecological ideology, anti-Enlightenment, and a philosophy of racial salvation through a return to the land.
Its predominant themes were ‘natural order,’ organicist holism and denigration of post industrial Humanism.
Throughout the writings, not only of Hitler, but of most Völkisch ideologues, one can discern a fundamental deprecation of humans vis-à-vis nature, and, as a logical corollary to this, an attack upon human efforts to over-master nature.
Many anthropocentric views in general had to be rejected.
They would be valid only ‘if it is assumed that nature has been created only for man. We decisively reject this attitude. According to our conception of nature, man is a link in the living chain of nature just as any other organism’.

Adolf Hitler

According to Hitler is was essential to ascertain “the eternal laws of nature’s processes” and organizing society to correspond to them.
In the National Socialist world view ecological themes were linked with traditional agrarian romanticism, and hostility to urban civilization, all revolving around the idea of rootedness in nature.
Hitler discussed, in detail, various renewable energy sources (including environmentally appropriate hydro-power and producing natural gas from sludge) as alternatives to coal, and declaring “water, winds and tides” as the energy path of the future.



Organisation Todt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Fritz Todt

The two men principally responsible for sustaining this environmentalist commitment in the midst of intensive industrialization were Reichsminister Fritz Todt and his aide, the high-level planner and engineer Alwin Seifert, whom Todt had called a “fanatical ecologist.”
Todt was “one of the most influential National Socialists,” directly responsible for questions of technological and industrial policy.
At his death in 1942 he headed three different cabinet-level ministries in addition to the enormous quasi-official ‘Organisation Todt’, and had “gathered the major technical tasks of the Reich into his own hands.

Albert Speer

According to his successor, Albert Speer, Todt “loved Nature” and “repeatedly had serious run-ins with Bormann, protesting against his despoiling the landscape around Obersalzberg.” 
Another source calls him simply “an ecologist.”

Reichsautobahn

This reputation is based chiefly on Todt’s efforts to make Autobahn construction – one of the largest building enterprises undertaken in this century – as environmentally sensitive as possible.
Todt demanded of the completed work of technology a harmony with Nature and with the landscape, thereby fulfilling modern ecological principles of engineering as well as the ‘organological’ principles of his own era along with their roots in völkisch ideology.

Reichsautobahn

The ecological aspects of this approach to construction went well beyond an emphasis on harmonious adaptation to the natural surroundings for aesthetic reasons; Todt also established strict criteria for respecting wetlands, forests and ecologically sensitive areas.
But just as with Arndt, Riehl and Darré, these environmentalist concerns were inseparably bound to a völkisch-nationalist outlook.
Todt himself expressed this connection succinctly:
The fulfillment of mere transportation purposes is not the final aim of German highway construction. The German highway must be an expression of its surrounding landscape and an expression of the German essence.
Seifert, Todt’s aide, bore the official title of ‘Reich Fürsprecher für die Landschaft’.
The appellation was deserved; Seifert dreamed of a “total conversion from technology to nature,” and would often wax lyrical about the wonders of German nature, and the tragedy of “humankind’s” carelessness.
As early as 1934 he wrote to Heß demanding attention to water issues, and invoking “work methods that are more attuned to nature.”

Farming, ‘Independent of Capital’.

In discharging his official duties Seifert stressed the importance of wilderness, and energetically opposed monoculture, wetlands drainage and chemicalized agriculture.
He also “called for an agricultural revolution towards ‘a more peasant-like, natural, simple’ method of farming, ‘independent of capital’.
With the Third Reich’s technological policy entrusted to figures such as these, even the National Socialists’ massive industrial build-up took on a distinctively ecological quality.
The prominence of Nature in the party’s philosophical background helped ensure that more radical initiatives often received a sympathetic hearing in the highest offices of the National Socialist state.
In the mid-thirties Todt and Seifert vigorously pushed for an all-encompassing Reich Law for the protection of ‘die Erde’ “in order to stem the steady loss of this irreplaceable basis of all life.” Seifert reports that all of the ministries were prepared to co-operate save one; only the minister of the economy opposed the bill because of its impact on mining.

Rudolf Heß

It was, however, Rudolf Heß provided the ecologists of the NSDAP with support from the very top of the party hierarchy.
Heß was not only the highest party leader and second in line (after Göring) to succeed Hitler; in addition, all legislation and every decree had to pass through his office before becoming law.
An inveterate nature lover as well as a devout Steinerite, Heß insisted on a strictly bio-dynamic diet – not even Hitler’s rigorous vegetarian standards were good enough for him – and accepted only homeopathic medicines.

Walter Darré

It was Heß who introduced Darré to Hitler, thus securing the ecologists its first power base, and he was an even more tenacious proponent of organic farming than Darré.
With Heß’s enthusiastic backing, the “green wing” was able to achieve its most notable successes.
As early as March 1933, a wide array of environmentalist legislation was approved and implemented at national, regional and local levels.
These measures included the creation of nature preserves, and championed sustainable forestry, ordered the protection of hedgerows and other wildlife habitats, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature.
Also in 1933, the concerns of the NSDAP were not only laid with the people, but with the animals native to Germany.
In 1934, a national hunting law was passed to regulate how many animals could be killed per year, and to establish proper ‘hunting seasons’.
These hunting laws have now been applied in most western countries
This law was known as ‘Das Reichsjagdgesetz’, (Reich Hunting Law).
The Reichstag also footed the bill for education on animal conservation at Primary, Secondary and College levels.
Additionally, in 1935, another law was passed, the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz (Reich Nature Protection Act).
This law placed several native species on a protection list including the wolf, and Eurasian lynx. Additions were added later as to afforestation and the humane slaughter of living fish
Without this law it is likely some species would have completely disappeared from Germany’s forests.

Beauty of Labour’
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Several nationwide programs were initiated to benefit the ordinary German worker.
The first, ‘Beauty of Labour’, was created in 1934 to enhance the concept of a comfortable and pleasant workspace for the German worker.
In the following year this ordinance was followed up by a ‘Reich Nature Protection Law’ to ensure the worker could walk through parks in complete safety.
Also, laws were enacted to control air pollution.
Nothing could be more wrong than to suppose that most of the leading National Socialist ideologues had cynically feigned an agrarian romanticism and hostility to urban culture, without any inner conviction, and for merely electoral and propaganda purposes, in order to hoodwink the public.
In reality, the majority of the leading National Socialist ideologists were without any doubt more or less inclined to agrarian romanticism and anti-urbanism, and convinced of the need for a relative re-agrarianization.
The ecologists of the NSDAP was not a group of innocents, confused and manipulated idealists, or reformers from within; they were conscious promoters and executors of a program dedicated to the conservation of nature in accordance with the eternal laws of nature’s processes.
It is frequently pointed out, however, that the agrarian and romantic currents in National Socialist ideology and policy were in supposed constant tension with, if not in flat contradiction to, the technocratic-industrialist thrust of the Third Reich’s rapid modernization.
What is not often remarked (what is, again intentionally suppressed) is that even these modernizing tendencies had a significant ecological component.
Industry was brought into balance with ‘natural law’.

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Hitler and Green Politics

Anti Smoking Poster

Adolf Hitler was so opposed to smoking in his later life that he couldn’t stand someone lighting up in the same room, and often felt obligated to object to it as a waste of money.
Thus, he began one of the most expensive and effective anti-tobacco movements in history.
While during the 1930s and 1940s, other anti-tobacco movements failed fantastically in other countries, it was taken seriously in the Third Reich
Smoking was banned in restaurants and public transportation systems, citing public health, and the government severely regulated the advertising of smoking and cigarettes.
There was also a high tobacco tax, and the supplies of cigarettes to the Wehrmacht were rationed.
Several health organizations in Nazi Germany even began claiming that smoking heightened the risks of miscarriages by pregnant women, now a commonly known fact
The statistics of annual cigarette consumption per capita as of 1940 had Germany at only 749, while Americans smoked over 3,000.
In 1939, the Nazi Party outlawed smoking in all of its offices premises, and Heinrich Himmler, the then chief of the Schutzstaffel (SS), restricted police personnel and SS officers from smoking while they were on duty.
Smoking was also outlawed in schools.
Hitler was convinced that Germany itself was overpopulated, over-industrialized, and running out of space and food, all of which was destroying the biological substance of the German people.

It would therefore be essential to push East in order to resolve this existential biological-environmental crisis., and this meant that, since the laws of Nature demanded the survival of the fittest species, there would have to be a massive displacement and de-population program.
Racial species, like the Aryans, must be protected from extinction, just as much as any animal, and a green, vegetarian diet was going to play a future role in this natural process.

Hitler and Blondi

As Hitler himself pointed out:

as regards the animals, the dog, who is carnivorous, cannot compare in performance with the horse, which is vegetarian. In the same way, the lion shows sign of fatigue after covering only two or three kilometers, while the camel marches for six and seven days before his tongue even begins to hang out.” 
.Not surprisingly perhaps, vegetarians and environmentalists have largely downplayed the historical record of the ‘green policies’ of the Third Reich.
Some have been quick to point out that Hitler supposedly cheated on occasion with ham, sausage, and seafood dishes.
Hitler was also occasionally inconsistent with regard to environmental preservationist values and practices, largely because of the need to place Germany on an all out war footing throughout the 1930’s in a vast arms build-up.
Hitler was also a fond of grand building projects, and was planning on exploiting the natural resources in the East as much as possible to win the war
Hitler, of course, attributed his vegetarianism to the famous German opera composer Richard Wagner, who provided a musical icon for the Third Reich.
Why, one might ask ?
Because Wagner preached a racist socialism (national socialism), based on vegetarianism that would cleanse Germany from the Jews.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, “music dramas”). Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Weber and Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama, and which was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ (The Ring of the Nibelung).

Richard Wagner
Parsifal
Fidus (Hugo Höppener)

Wagner was both a revolutionary, and an anti-Semite, who hated the Jews for commercializing art.
Wagner, like many intellectuals of his time, had been interested in the writings of Charles Darwin, whose books Wagner read during the 1870’s.
The underlying ideas of ‘Parsifal‘, Wagner’s last opera – and Hitler’s favourite opera,  were those of social Darwinism.

Parsifal’  is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail, and on Perceval, the Story of the Grail, by Chrétien de Troyes’ (12 с.).
Wagner first conceived the work in April 1857 but did not finish it until twenty-five years later. It was to be Wagner’s last completed opera and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Wagner preferred to describe Parsifal not as an opera, but as “ein Bühnenweihfestspiel” (“A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage”).

In Parsifal, the embattled community of the Grail had been alarmed to observe natural selection working against its distinctive Aryanism … here was the decisive racial crisis that grew into an uncompromising struggle for power.

Monsalvat

The distress of Monsalvat that emerges during act one — and which has deepened by act three — of Wagner’s drama is a racial crisis.
So Hitler saw Parsifal in terms of racial crisis, homoeroticism and vegetarianism. 

Arthur Schopenhauer
More importantly is that Wagner was also an ardent student of the great German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.

Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher best known for his book, ‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung’ (The World as Will and Representation), in which he stated that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, ‘On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason’, which examined the four distinct aspects of experience in the phenomenal world; consequently, he has been influential in the history of phenomenology. He has influenced a long list of thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Otto Weininger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, and Thomas Mann.

Schopenhauer blamed the Jews for animal cruelty, since Genesis 1 unabashedly teaches that man was made in God’s image, and hence commissioned to rule over nature,
the fault lies with the Jewish view that regards animals as something manufactured for man’s use.” Schopenhauer, perhaps the original animal rights guru of Europe, was appalled by the fact that John the Baptist wore animal skins.
And Schopenhauer was also Hitler’s favourite philosopher – with Nietzsche coming a close second.

Richard Wagner
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach
Ernst Haeckel

Wagner was also an avid reader of Ernst Haeckel’s Social Darwinian ecology that was extremely popular in Germany in the latter half of the 1800’s.

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919), was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and the kingdom Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin’s work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory (“ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”) claiming that an individual organism’s biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species’ evolutionary development, or phylogeny.

While Hitler eschewed some of Haeckel’s political views, his Germanic Social Darwinism would become the scientific foundation upon which National Socialist racial theory was built.

Dietrich Eckart
Moreover, Schopenhauer and Haeckel were also enthusiastically read by Hitler’s spiritual father, Dietrich Eckart.

Dietrich Eckart was a central figure in the early days of the Nazi Party. Eckart was a wealthy nationalistic poet who was frequently seen at the side of Adolf Hitler before his death in 1923. Hitler referred to Eckart as his “North Star” and that his value to the National Socialist cause was “inestimable”

Thus, Wagner’s strong interest in both of these avant-garde German scholars would all but guarantee that, in spite of Hitler’s occasional inconsistency on green socialist issues, environmental themes would still play an important role in National Socialism.
Hitler himself asserted that:
That the first noteworthy political accomplishment of National Socialism was the 1933 passage of an animal rights law should thus come as no surprise.
As a part of the law, Jewish ritual slaughter related to Passover was henceforth forbidden.
This was certainly the Romantic fruit of Schopenhauer’s prophetic thesis in the 1800’s that Europe owes: 

Shechita – שחיטה

the animals not mercy but justice, and the debt often remains unpaid in Europe, the continent that is permeated with the odor of the Jews … it is obviously high time in Europe that Jewish views on nature were brought to an end … the unconscionable treatment of the animal world must, on account of their immorality, be expelled from Europe !

And it is interesting to note how literally Hitler took this ‘prophecy’ to heart.

The Hebrew term shechita (שחיטה‎), also transliterated shehitah, shechitah, shehita, is the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds for food according to Jewish dietary laws (Deut. 12:21, Deut. 14:21, Num. 11:22) The animal must be killed by a shochet (שוחט‎, “ritual slaughterer”), a religious Jew. The act is performed by severing the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and vagus nerve in a swift action using an extremely sharp blade (“chalef”). This results in a rapid drop in blood pressure in the brain and loss of consciousness. According to Jewish religious sources, the animal is now insensible to pain and exsanguinates in a prompt and precise action. The animal can be in a number of positions; when the animal is lying on its back, this is referred to as shechita munachat; in a standing position it is known as shechita me’umedet. Before slaughtering, the animal must be healthy, uninjured, and viable.

‘Der ewige Jude’ – The Eternal Jew

In fact, in the documentary film “The Eternal Jew”, the Jewish ritual slaughter of cattle and sheep was graphically shown right at the climax of the film to heighten its effect.

Neither does it fail to mention that the Mosaic Law has “no love or respect for animals in the Germanic sense.
The documentary film then finally reveals Hitler for the first time, and lauds his efforts on the passage of Nazi animal rights legislation. 

‘Der ewige Jude’ The Eternal Jew (1940) is a German documentary film, presented. The film’s title is the German term for the character of the “Wandering Jew” in medieval folklore. The film was directed by Fritz Hippler. The screenplay is credited to Eberhard Taubert. The film consists of feature and documentary footage combined with materials filmed shortly after the Nazi occupation of Poland. The film was in production for over a year. Throughout the end of 1939 and the beginning of 1940, Goebbels devoted “constant attention” to the film.  The basic tenet of the film is that “the Jew is an oriental barbarian who has insinuated himself cleverly into European society, and now exploits it parasitically.
   
The public distribution and exhibition of the film is prohibited in Germany; the only exception is for use in college classrooms and other academic purposes; however, exhibitors must have formal education in “media science and the history of the Holocaust.” In addition, only a specially annotated version may be screened. Elsewhere, it is generally legal. It is free to view and download, and can be seen on YouTube in both subtitled and dubbed versions.

In this context it should be remembered that 
To many National Socialists, the great sin of modern international civilization, which was characterized as Jewish Bolshevism in the East and Jewish Capitalism in the West, was its incessant concern in trying to overcome nature according to Judeo-Christian values
The fact of the matter is that Völkisch ideologues adopted a literal reading of the concept of ‘Nature’.
More than a few of these ideologues characterized National Socialism as “politically applied biology.”
Since biology is a part of ecology, what the Völkisch ideologues meant with regard to ‘politically applied biology’ was that nature was to have primacy over politics and the economy.
Biology and ecology were thus everywhere applied socially and politically.
To many National Socialists, the great sin of modern international civilization, which was characterized as Jewish Bolshevism in the East and Jewish Capitalism in the West, was its incessant concern in trying to overcome nature according to Judeo-Christian values.
Such an endeavour Hitler called “Jewish nonsense.”
In the eyes of the National Socialists, this self defeating effort would finally come to an end through National Socialism.
Indeed, Germany’s eugenic survival depended upon the success of the indigenous Aryan instinct to ‘authentically’ counteract the Judeo-Christian international rebellion against Nature and her Social Darwinian laws.
The National Socialists were thus determined to usher in a new world order based on the literal application of Nature’s Social Darwinian laws to social and political life.

Richard Walther Darré
SS Runes

Hence, in a similar, but significantly more profound manner that the Marxists, who envisaged a secular eschaton of a socialistic utopia at the end of history based on the literal socio-economic conditions on the ground, so the National Socialists countered with the much heralded 1,000 year Reich based on literal biology and ecology, which Himmler’s SS especially took to heart with their doctrine of “Blood and Soil”, derived form Richard Walther Darré.

German blood and German soil were principles that according to Nature’s Social Darwinian laws of life, must be adhered to if the Third Reich was to achieve the eschaton.
While the Marxists, however, viewed the eschaton as more open ended, National Socialists viewed the 1,000 year Reich as the perfect means of denying the idea of the 1,000 year Judeo-Christian Millennium predicted in the book of Revelation.
Both the Marxists and National Socialists thus extracted from the Judeo-Christian world-view its apocalyptic view of history, yet discarded its sacred and supernatural framework for the latest political and social-scientific-evolutionary discoveries of the times.
In short, the Marxists believed that the eschaton would be realized through the socio-economic dialectical conflict between the capitalists and the proletariat. 

The Soviet Eschaton is the ‘withering away of the state’ – a concept of Marxism, coined by Friedrich Engels, and referring to the idea that the social institution of a state will eventually become obsolete and disappear, as the society will be able to govern itself without the state and its coercive enforcement of the law. Although Engels first introduced the idea of the withering of the state, he attributed the underlying concept to Karl Marx; other Marxist theorists – including Vladimir Lenin – would later expand on it. According to this concept a communist society will eventually require no coercion to force individuals to behave in a way that benefits the society. Such a society would occur after a temporary period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This scenario depended on Marx’s view of coercive power as a tool of those who own the means of production, i.e. certain social classes (the bourgeoisie) and the capitalist state. In a communist society the social classes would disappear and the means of production would have no single owner; hence, such a stateless society will no longer require law, and stateless communism, a communist utopia, will develop.

Herrenvolk

The National Socialists believed that the Aryan Millenium would come about through the application of proper biological eugenics.
The process would take an immense period of time, as the Master Race would slowly be  created as the pinnacle of biological evolution precisely because it was most in tune with the laws of Nature.
But this would not be the final result.
Although Hitler never spoke about the final process in detail, he indicated that the ‘herrenvolk’ would form the grundlagen for the coming Übermensch.

 Übermensch
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

‘It is my ultimate aim to perform an act of creation, a divine operation,
the goal of a biological mutation which will result in an unprecedented exaltation of the human race and the appearance of a new race of heroes, demi-gods and god-men.
My party comrades have no conception of the dreams that haunt my mind, or of the grandiose edifice of which the foundations, (grundlagen) at least, will have been laid before I die. 
The world has reached a turning point, and will undergo an upheaval which the uninitiated cannot understand.’

Adolf Hitler
.


Das Haus der Deutschen Kunst

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Hitler Speaks at the
Das Haus der Deutschen Kunst
München
Tag der Deutschen Kunst – München – 1939

Das Haus der Deutschen Kunst was constructed from 1933 to 1937 following plans of architect Paul Ludwig Troost as the Third Reich’s first monumental structure of National Socialist architecture.
 The museum was opened in 18 July 1937 as a showcase for Germany’s finest art.
Tag der Deutschen Kunst – München – 1939
The inaugural exhibition was the ‘Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung’ (“Great German art exhibition”), which was intended as an edifying contrast to the condemned modern art on display in the concurrent ‘Degenerate Art Exhibition’.
On 15 and 16 October 1939, the ‘Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung’, inside the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, was complemented by the monumental ‘Tag der Deutschen Kunst’ celebration of “2,000 years of Germanic culture” where draped floats (one of them carrying a 5 meter tall golden Reichsadler) and thousands of party activists, in historical costumes, paraded down Prinzregentenstraße for hours in the presence of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Albert Speer, Robert Ley, Reinhard Heydrich, and many other high-ranking members of the government, with minor events taking place in the Englischer Garten nearby.
Haus der Deutschen Kunst – München
Main Fascade – Prof Paul Troost

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Prof Paul Ludwig Troost
Paul Ludwig Troost (17 August 1878 – 21 January 1934), born in Elberfeld, was a German architect. An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved Westphalian with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental Jugendstil, and advocated a restrained, classic architectural approach, almost devoid of ornament, combining Spartan traditionalism with elements of modernity.
He became Hitler’s foremost architect, whose neo-classical style became the official architecture of the Third Reich.
His work filled Hitler with enthusiasm, and he planned and built state and municipal edifices throughout Germany.
In the autumn of 1933, he was commissioned to rebuild and refurnish the Chancellery residence in Berlin. 
Hitler and Frau Troost
at the Haus der Deutschen Kunst
Prof Paul Ludwig Troost
Along with other architects, Troost planned and built State and municipal edifices throughout the country, including new administrative offices, social buildings for workers and bridges across the main highways.
One of the many structures he planned before his death was the ‘House of German Art’ in Munich, intended to be a great temple for a “true, eternal art of the German people”. Hitler’s relationship to Troost was that of a pupil to an admired teacher.
Hitler frequently declared, according to Speer, that “he first learned what architecture was from Troost”‘.
The architect’s death on 21 January 1934, after a severe illness, was a painful blow, but Hitler remained close to his widow Gerdy Troost, whose architectural taste frequently coincided with his own, which made her “a kind of arbiter of art in Munich.”
Hitler posthumously awarded Troost the German National Prize for Art and Science in 1936.
Haus der Deutschen Kunst – München
Interior – Prof Paul Troost
Haus der Deutschen Kunst – München
Main Fascade – Prof Paul Troost
Haus der Deutschen Kunst – München
Main Fascade – Prof Paul Troost
Ehrentempel – Königsplatz – München – Paul Troost
The Ehrentempel (“honor temples”) were two structures in Munich, erected in 1935,
housing the sarcophagi of the sixteen members of the party
who had been killed in the failed Munich Putsch.
The martyrs of the movement were in heavy black sarcophagi
in such a way as to be exposed to rain and sun from the open roof.
The pedestals of the temples are seventy feet wide.
The columns of the structures each extended twenty-three feet.
The combined weight of the sarcophagi was over 2,900 pounds.
Ehrentempel – Königsplatz – München – Paul Troost
Ehrentempel – Königsplatz – München – Paul Troost

click below for more information and images
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
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Zeitungsleser
Otto Kirchner (1887 – 1960)
Bäuerliche Venus – 1939
Sepp Hilz
Bäuerliche Venus – 1939
Sepp Hilz
Die rote Halskette – 1942
Sepp Hilz
Eitelkeit – 1940
Sepp Hilz
Die vier Elemente – The Four Elements
Adolf Ziegler
Die vier Elemente – The Four Elements
Adolf Ziegler
Working Maidens – 1940
Leopold Schmutzler
Der Fuehrer Spricht – 1939
Paul Matthias Padua
Bauernfamilie
Adolf Wissel
Erbhofbauer 
Liegender Frauenakt – Reclining Female Nude
Ernst Liebermann
Dianas Ruhe – Diana’s Rest
Ivo Saliger
Frauenakten – Female Nudes
Ivo Saliger
Weiblicher Akt
Leopold Schmutzler
Weiblicher Akt im Meer
Karl Truppe 
Mädchen mit einer Sonnenblume
Karl Truppe
Leda und der Schwan
Paul Matthias Padua
Und ihr habt doch Gesiegt
Paul Hermann – 1942
Alter Kämpfer – 9th November 1923
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Bereitschaft
Arno Breker
Consider Arno Breker’s Readiness.
A muscular male nude with a body seemingly perfect.
Its debt to classical sculpture suggests that the ideal it represents is an eternal one, to which we must aspire but that we may not judge, while its proportions suggest a calm but obvious fierceness.
Such unblemished forms are stripped of all individualizing defects, – stripped of their singularity as specific humans to which the viewer might respond. Instead, they are archetypes, with abstract titles like ‘Readiness’ or ‘Comradeship’, “worthy” of Hitler’s call for an “eternal” art that would express immutable Aryan values.
Adolf Wamper
Genius des Siegers
Danziger Freiheitskämpfer
Josef Thorak
Josef Thorak (7 February 1889 in Salzburg – 26 February 1952) was an Austrian-German sculptor.
In 1933 Thorak joined Arno Breker as one of the two “official sculptors” of the Third Reich.
In his studio outside Munich, Thorak worked on statues intended to represent the folk-life of the German Volk.
These works tended to be heroic in scale, up to 65 feet (20 meters) in height.
His official works from this period included a number of sculptures at the Berlin Olympic Stadium of 1936.
Some expressionist influences can be noticed in his neoclassical style.
Männliche und weibliche Akt
Josef Thorak
Murcur
Fritz Klimsch
Eos
Arno Brteker
Kniend Krieger – 1937
Richard Scheibe
Nach dem Kampf
Hans Bühler
Bauer
Jacob Wilhelm Fehrle
Männlicher Akt
Fritz Klimsch
Männer in der Ausbildung
Anton Grauel
Der Stürmer
Arno Breker
Arno Breker (July 19, 1900 – February 13, 1991) was a German sculptor, best known for his public works in the Third Reich, which were endorsed by the authorities as the antithesis of degenerate art.
He was born in Elberfeld, and died in Düsseldorf.
The neoclassical nature of his work, with titles like ‘Comradeship’, ‘Torchbearer’, and ‘Sacrifice’, typified National Socialist ideals, and suited the characteristics of the architecture of the Third Reich.
The proportions of his figures, the highly colouristic treatment of his surfaces (the strong contrasts between dark and light accents), and the melodramatic tension of their musculatures invites comparison with the Italian Mannerist sculptors of the 16th century.
This Mannerist tendency to Breker’s neoclassicism may suggest close affinities to expressionist tendencies in German Modernism.
Der arischen Rasse
Arno Breker
Kameradschaft
Arno Breker
Der Racher
Arno Breker
Der Bannertrager
Arno Breker
Sterbende Krieger
Arno Breker
Abfahrt zur Schlacht
Arno Breker
Kampf
Arno Breker
Das Urteil des Paris
Arno Breker
Du und Ich
Arno Breker
Euridice und Orpheus
Arno Breker
Daphne und Apollo
Arno Breker
Thanatos
Arno Breker
Arischen Menschen
Arno Breker
Heroischen Kopf
Arno Breker
Richard Wagner
Arno Breker
Adolf Hitler
Arno Breker
Adolf Hitler
Arno Breker
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Music in the Third Reich – 1933-1945

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

GERMAN  MUSIC – 1933-1945

In the years 1933-1945, Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party used music as a tool to forge political unity among Germans.
Hitler and the senior NSDAP leadership instinctively grasped that among the arts, music was the most readily laden with ideology, and could inculcate both the youth and the masses with state-serving Bildung.

NSDAP
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Hitler-Jugend
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

National Socialist music education, promoted heavily by and among the Hitler Youth, expanded along with concerns of “cultural Bolshevism,” and served as a counterpoint to “degenerate music.”

Once in power, Hitler moved to purge music and music scholarship of Jews, in an effort to promote the unique origin of the German Volk, and further saturate citizens with racial theories.
In keeping with origin myths and racialism were the Romantic works of the composer Richard Wagner, a prominent anti-Semite who would assume supreme musical status in Hitler’s Germany.
In such a personalized regime as Hitler’s, the dictator’s tastes virtually defined official aesthetic norms. 
Throughout the period of Hitler’s chancellorship, the musical bureaucracy of the NSDAP would struggle to balance the tensions between art music (symbolized by Wagner) and popular demand for music such as jazz. 
Justified by vague  memos from their Führer, Hitler’s close associates carved out their own personal spheres of influence.
Hitler’s unwillingness to clearly lay out lines of command, combined with his intense personal interest in artistic policy, resulted in an administrative situation in the arts which was exceedingly complicated.
In 1933, competing National Socialist entities separately claimed control of all musical theaters in the Reich, proclaimed jurisdiction over all state musicians, pronounced guidelines for publication of musical materials, and sparred over administration of musical culture generally.

Alfred Rosenberg

A key figure in these struggles, and a key figure in any study of Nazi cultural policy, was Alfred Rosenberg.
For all of his failings – from inflating Hitler’s trust to vacillating administration in the occupation of the East – Rosenberg undeniably possessed a keen awareness of the power and potency of art forms as a means of ideological struggle.

In response to electoral defeats in 1928, Rosenberg had fashioned a political contingent upon the arts that would attract the German middle class to the NSDAP.
He also established the ‘Nazi Society for German Culture’ [Nationalsozialistische Gesellshaft für deutsche Kultur].
In keeping with the administrative entropy that characterized Nazi operations, Rosenberg’s Society for German Culture spawned still more organizations.
‘The League of Struggle for German Culture’ [Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur], founded in 1930, became an important offshoot.
This organization consisted of departments for music, cinema, visual arts, and radio, and effectively served as the forerunner of Goebbel’s ‘Ministry for Enlightenment and Propaganda’ [Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda].

Berlin Philharmonic

Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur (KfdK), was a nationalistic anti-Semitic political society during the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. It was founded in 1928 as the Nationalsozialistische Gesellschaft für deutsche Kultur (NGDK) [National Socialist Society for German Culture] by Alfred Rosenberg, and remained under his leadership until it was reorganized and renamed as the Nationalsozialistische Kulturgemeinde in 1934. The aim of the association was to make a significant imprint on cultural life in Germany based on the aims and objectives of the inner circles of the NSDAP. Upon its reorganization, the club was merged with the association Deutsche Bühne (German Stage). This was connected with the establishment of the official body for cultural surveillance, the “Dienstelle Rosenberg” (DRbg), later known as the Amt Rosenberg.

In 1933, Rosenberg’s adjutants took control of German music Radio and Recording during the Third Reich, which amalgamated popular and traditional music history.
Membership in the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur shot upwards.
From a membership of one thousand in 1932, the Kampfbund saw more than 20,000 new members join up in the first eight months of Hitler’s Chancellorship.
Music thus functioned not only as an emblem of German distinctiveness, but served as a magnet for mass involvement in party activities.
Rosenberg was the early architect of National Socialist cultural policies, but he was not their ultimate champion.

 Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels

On July 20, 1933, only months after the Gleichshaltung, Hitler arrogated far-reaching oversight over state culture to Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels.

A philologist and writer, Dr Paul Josef Goebbels welded the whole of German artistic culture to the aims of the National Socialist  state.

Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous orations.
Goebbels earned a PhD from Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 19th century romantic drama; he then went on to work as a journalist. He also wrote novels and plays. Goebbels came into contact with the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP) in 1923 during the French occupation of the Ruhr and became a member in 1924. He was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin.

Goebbels would have lasting impacts on German musical culture.

Berlin Philharmonic

The ease of Goebbels’ first task – the co-opting of arts organizations – had been facilitated by the financial devastation of the preceding Weimar Republic.

The Weimer era may have produced some significant cultural figures, but a period of fiscal abundance it was not.
Orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic among them, were actively seeking state support and patronage from any party in 1933.
Guided by Dr Paul Josef Goebbels the National Socialists supplied the Philharmonic with operating funds and in the process armed themselves with a significant tool that conferred the Party additional legitimacy among German elites.
Not only symphony orchestras fell under National Socialist sway.

Dr Paul Josef Goebbels 
Reichskulturkammer
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

On September 22, Dr Paul Josef Goebbels established the Reichsmusikkammer (Reichs Chamber of Music).
The Reichsmusikkammer promoted “good German music” which was composed by Aryans and seen as consistent with Völkisch ideals, while suppressing other, “degenerate” music, which included atonal music, pop music such as jazz and country, those experimenting with electronics and music by Jewish composers as they were seen to be of non-artistic merit and produced solely for popularity and financial gain.
The Institute was founded in 1933 by Joseph Goebbels and the Reichskulturkammer (State Bureau of Culture), and it operated until the fall of the Third Reich in 1945.
One of the Institute’s primary goals – that of extolling and promoting “good German music”, specifically that of Beethoven, Wagner, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, Pfitzner and the like – was to legitimize the claimed world supremacy of Germany culturally. These composers and their music were re-interpreted ideologically to extol German virtues and cultural identity.

Peter Raabe
Richard Strauss

Although Richard Strauss was the president of the RMK, real power lay in the hands of the organization’s chair, Peter Raabe, a musicologist.

Peter Raabe (27 November 1872, Frankfurt an der Oder—12 April 1945, Weimar) was a German composer and conductor. Graduated in the Higher Musical School in Berlin and in the universities of Munich and Jena. In 1894-98 Raabe worked in Königsberg and Zwickau. In 1899-1903 he worked in the Dutch Opera-House (Amsterdam). In 1907-20 Raabe was the 1st Court Conductor in Weimar. Raabe has been giving performances in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands etc. On 19 July 1935 Raabe superseded Richard Strauss as the president of Reichsmusikkammer. For almost ten years Raabe directed the music activity of the Third Reich.

Franz Liszt

He was the first to provide a complete Chronology of Franz Liszt works.

By 1934, the organization consisted of seven departments for composers, performing musicians, concert managers and publicists, choral and folk singers, music publishers, music dealers, and music instrument manufacturers, respectively.
The high degree of organization indicated also that the RMK was not free to set its own course in the arts.
In keeping with his desire to see the Propaganda Ministry become the cultural arbiter for all of society Goebbels would provide the RMK with direction from above.
As scholars would later note, “the Reichsmusikkammer and German musical life were to become a single entity.”
Although orchestras suffered purges of their Jewish personnel, orchestral programming was not immediately brought into harmony with the Aryan party line.

Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn, Berlin’s wunderkind of the early 19 century, initially escaped censure, and his celebrated Violin Concerto remained on the programs of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Stravinsky, another problematic Jewish genius, enjoyed a 1935 performance of “Firebird” in Berlin.
In the autumn of that year, however, the NSDAP cultural apparatus initiated more codifie efforts to end the performance of music even marginally associated with Jews.
On September 1, 1935, Gobbels’ Propaganda Ministry issued a document for internal circulation, outlining a “blacklist” of 108 composers whose works could no longer be played in the Reich.
Of the composers listed, most were Jewish.
Goebbels clearly attributed high importance to both classical music and the elimination of the “Judenfrage” (Jewish Question) within the community of musicians.
After this,  little would be left to chance in the sphere of high culture.

Undoubtedly the two greatest German composers of this period were Richard Strauss and Hans Pfitzner.

Richard Georg Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was undoubtedly the leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras.
His significant works of the period were:
‘Film music for Der Rosenkavalier’ (1925), and the operas ‘Die Frau ohne Schatten’ (1919), ‘Intermezzo’ (1923), ‘Die ägyptische Helena’ (1927), ‘Arabella’ (1932).
‘Olympische Hymne’, for chorus and orchestra (1934)
Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major (1942) and Oboe Concerto in D major (1945)
At the end of this period Strauss wrote the incomparable ‘Metamorphosen, for 23 Solo Strings’ (1945)

Hans Pfitzner

Hans Erich Pfitzner (5 May 1869 – 22 May 1949) is undeservedly less well known.
He was a German composer and self-described anti-modernist – (‘modernism’ being the atonal work of Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern)
His own music – including pieces in all the major genres except the symphonic poem – was respected by contemporaries such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss.
Pfitzner’s works combine Romantic and Late Romantic elements with extended thematic development, atmospheric music drama, and the intimacy of chamber music.
His greatest work of the period was the romantische Kantate ‘Von deutscher Seele’ (Of the German Soul) (1921).
During this period he also composed a ‘Sonata in e-minor for Violin and Piano’ Op. 27 (1918), and his ‘String Quartet [Nr. 3] in C-Sharp minor’ (1925).
Other Orchestral works composed during the period include the ‘Piano concerto in E-flat Major’ (1922), the ‘Violin Concerto in b-minor’ (1923) and the Symphony in C-sharp Minor (1932).
Small Symphony in G major, Op. 44 (1939).
Symphony in C major, Op. 46 (1940).
Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 52 (1944).

.
Music and Youth
Trommeln und Trompeten – Hitler-Jugend

With the inception of National Socialist rule in Thuringina and across Germany, the NSDAP conspicuously sought legitimacy through the promotion of German music.

The National Socialists thus merged their ideology with a deeply ingrained German song culture in a successful bid to assume a leading role in the music education of the youth.
Such a perspective is particularly necessary when one considers Germany occupied an elite position at the end of Weimar period as a world leader in the realm of music education.
Carl Orff

In the free-wheeling mélange that preceded Hitler’s accession to the Chancellorship, a number of German music educators and pedagogues had experimented with various pedagogical approaches.

The emerging pedagogical canons promoted Carl Orff and J.E. Dalcroze, however, were eventually overwhelmed by the ideologically-driven National Socialist party machinery.
Working from the basis of German tradition, German music educators were inevitably co-opted by the state. 
German music educators also had to pay obeisance to the racial theories of the National Socialist leadership. 
While music historians were looking selectively for examples of “Musik im Judentum,” the task of music educators became similarly wrapped up with the National Socialist cause.

Fritz Jöde

One National Socialist music educator, Fritz Jöde, wrote of the important role played by music in Kindergarten, a level he clearly believed should mark the beginning of overt state control over children.

Fritz Jöde (* August 2 1887 in Hamburg , † October 19 1970 ) was a German music teacher and one of the leading figures in the youth music movement .

Jöde wrote of Kindergarten as “a conclusive break from children’s reliance on their mothers” and the beginning of “going their own way…to fulfill their goals and dreams as adults.
Kindergarten marked a clear opportunity for the state to sedulously promote National Socialist through ideological texts.
Wolfgang Stumme, an educator and editor, became one of the most prolific advocates of National Socialist music education.
His 1944 essay “Music in the Hitler Youth” reveals much about the climate for arts education under National Socialism.
Stumme enthusiastically cited over nine hundred musical groups united under the banner of the Hitler Youth, including all manner of youth choirs.

Hitler-Jugend Trommler

To this list, Stumme noted the presence of “orchestras, instrumental groups, groups of wind-playing comrades, music teams, sport and fanfare teams, song playing and puppet shows, and radio groups,” all sponsored by the Hitler Youth.

Stumme, in a plea for resources in the waning years of the Second World War, linked the expansion of music groups to the war effort:
This high number of musical groups has arisen from the progress of the war, the beginning of which saw only one hundred unified Hitler Youth music groups.
These groups evidence the foundational emotions of gratefulness that Germans hold toward all cultural efforts of the Hitler Youth; they also prove that political leadership and music education are intimately unified.
The war has established itself as the father of music practice, and formed an explicit antithesis of the old Latin saying that during the war the muses must have silence. The rich number of Hitler’s words [zahlreich Führerworte] on the “importance” of art are like the deepest kernels which the youth, in their action, transform into a constant state of fulfillment.
Throughout the war effort, Hitler Youth raised flagging morale by singing at community events, hospitals, and factories.
In the words of one Hitler Youth executive, performances of the “Hitler Youth Cultural Circle” simultaneously supported the war effort and “exposed the boys and girls to our nation’s most valuable cultural heritage.”
German musical traditions thus fused with party-centered patriotism.
The music of the Hitler Youth played an important role in state indoctrination and public morale, and the visual arts thus validated and eulogized the idea of musical youth.

 Jürgen Wegener – Hitlerjugend Wandmalerei

A mural by Jürgen Wegener shows the ideal musical setting for the boys of the Hitler Youth.

The centerpiece of his triptych shows six boys in a circle, grasping bugle and drum, joining in the anthem entitled “For us the sun never sets.”
Such images were infused with the National Socialist desire to unite the nation through the martial music of the youth.

Leni Riefenstahl 
It was not merely by coincidence, after all, that Leni Riefenstahl chose to highlight group musical activities of German youth in her film apotheosis of the NSDAP, ‘Triumph des Willens’ (Triumph of the Will).

Triumph des Willens
Beyond mere imagery, National Socialist musical curricula dipped deep into the stream of German folk tunes, creating a base of easily-retained tunes onto which nationalist texts could be sedulously placed.
The National Socialists thus used the classic model of music education first promoted by Plato, while simultaneously drawing upon theories of Martin Luther in order to improve the efficacy of their musical indoctrination.
In an age proliferating with radios and jazz, however, these techniques would be severely tested.
The National Socialists were not alone in their efforts to secure the loyalty of the youth.
Music was a battleground through which the NSDAP endeavoured to wrest control of children’s hearts and minds from Germany’s established churches.
While manoeuvring to separate the youth from the churches, the National Socialist Party also moved to counter secular rivals in the sphere of music education.
As became apparent in Vienna, the NSDAP expanded its influence among the youth by establishing ‘Hitler Jungend Music Schools’.
The Anschluss of 1938 had not resulted in the immediate National Socialist control over the musical apparatus; indeed, Vienna’s relative cultural autonomy in the early months of the Anschluss was reflected in the independence of all twenty-seven of the city’s youth music schools.
As part of political consolidation in 1938, the National Socialists opened two branch schools [Zweigschule für Volk und Jungend].
The first of these schools was planned for and administered by the Hitler Youth.

Hitlerjugend Musikschule

By 1942, the Hitler Youth music school had attracted sufficient numbers of students to close down six of Vienna’s non-Nazi youth music schools.

Administrator Othmar Steinbauer, the head of the Hitler schools, celebrated this triumph in a statement flecked with Austrian dialect “Now only the Party is the force for progress.
In strenuous cooperation with the community of Vienna, we set out to create a school fully new in form, through which the Volk, the youth, the industrious classes, and the artistic elite will unite and train for music.”
The unity that had eluded Germans during the Weimar period could now be achieved through dedication to a common musical culture.
Epitomizing this common musical culture was folk music, a genre which took on renewed importance in the Third Reich.
Although Germans had been drawing inspiration from their linguistic and mythical origins since the early nineteenth century, the National Socialists enacted a particularly forceful turn to this product of the Volk.
A 1934 essay by Fritz Stein, a music professor in Bremen, directly illustrates the connection between National Socialist ideology and folk music.
Stein’s essay “On the Nature of German Music” posited that folk music was the key method of unifying a fragmentary people.

Hitler-Jugend Trompeter

Moreover, as long as it remained undiluted and true to its German roots, folk music was an essential means of gaining respect abroad.

The purity of German music, the sacred symbol of the Volk, was also a means of national cultural defense in a hostile world.
Stein described the responsibilities of the musician in the Third Reich: The task of the German guardians of music is to be the intermediaries between art and the Volk. Our experience with German musical culture allows us to understand uniquely; we are the defenders of our highest musical inheritance, of its fullness and fulfilling purity. To further this defense, we must win over the Volk through orderly plans of education [Erziehung]. Our foundational work strives for unity, and we must strive to complete the desired and worthy goal: to create the great musical unity of Germans and to further struggle for the world recognition of German music.
With “world recognition of German music” came the possibility of German music serving as the glue for a new German empire.
Indeed, military campaigns into such regions as Poland and Ukraine prompted German musicologists to press hard for folk music education as a means of cementing the consolidation of the newly acquired Eastern territories.

Hitler-Jugend Trompeter

As the Germans knew from their own experience, political consolidation could be considered complete only when broad masses of citizens could raise their voices to the same tunes and words without fear of reproach. 

National Socialist efforts to guarantee the loyalty of German youth, however, inevitably clashed with ecclesiastical tradition.
Up until the forceful emergence of youth movements in the early twentieth century, German churches had held a monopoly on ritualistic rites of passage.
A regional report from a National Socialist Party Chancellery in April 1943 outlined several difficulties confronting the party in its competition with the churches.
The report stated that although induction ceremonies for new Hitlerjungend had followed all guidelines issued by the Propaganda Ministry, progress in recruiting new members remained slow.
The report complained: These Hitlerjungend ceremonies are still not accorded the importance which they deserve, particularly in those districts where the churches are strong. The fact that a large number of those being inducted had already participated in a corresponding church ceremony was particularly invidious.
The report went on to highlight the importance of the “musical background of the ceremonies,” criticizing wartime conditions for the lack of “appropriate musical backing.”
Wagner and National Socialist Culture
Richard Wagner

In their drive towards legitimacy, the NSDAP took pre-existing elements of German nationalism and amplified them.

In this period, therefore, the philosophical underpinnings of musical culture increasingly rested upon Wagnerian ideals.
The composer’s well-known writings and compositions accorded with Hitler’s ideology, and the cult of Wagner grew prodigiously under the National Socialists.
Wagner Societies, already a fixture of bourgeois [Bürgerlich] German life, further proliferated across the country.
Individuals joined for divergent reasons: some were prompted by Hitler’s nationalistic awakening, others by careerist desires, while others desired to display ideological conformity.
Among artistic circles, Wagner formed the centerpiece of Germanic musical rhetoric.

Walter Abendroth

In an essay in the prominent journal ‘Die Musik’, critic Walter Abendroth decried recent products of modernism while upholding Wagner as the attainable paragon of German musical expression: Avant-garde music was a foul, anti-Volk bacillus that denigrated the cultural body through cynicism and calculation.

Walter Abendroth (29 May 1896, Hanover – 30 September 1973, Fischbachau) was a German composer, editor, and writer on music

Wagner, in other words, served as a correct model from whom proper inferences could be drawn.

Bayreuth 

Hitler’s personal connection to the cult of Bayreuth made Wagner’s image all the more powerful during the Gleichschaltung.

Hitler’s intense interest in Wagner’s ideals stemmed from the Austrian’s adolescent self-perceptions as an artist in Linz and Vienna, – cities where he attended many operas.
Some have speculated that Hitler’s failings as a young man en-flamed his deep desire to use the arts, particularly opera and the visual arts, as a means of propelling him to a position from which he could “save Germany.”

A performance of Wagner’s Rienzi in 1906 had called forth visions of grandiosity in the young man. Wagner’s musical architecture, his ideals of Gesamtkunstwerk, and his heroes had influenced Hitler profoundly.

Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen (WWV 49) (Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes) is an early opera by Richard Wagner in five acts, with the libretto written by the composer after Bulwer-Lytton’s novel of the same name (1835). The title is commonly shortened to Rienzi. Written between July 1838 and November 1840, it was first performed at the Hofoper, Dresden, on 20 October 1842, and was the composer’s first success.

August Kubizek

The opera is set in Rome and is based on the life of Cola di Rienzi (1313–1354), a late medieval Italian populist figure who succeeds in outwitting and then defeating the nobles and their followers and in raising the power of the people.

The youthful Adolf was “overwhelmed by the resplendent, dramatic musicality” of the opera, as well as deeply affected by the story therein; that of Cola di Rienzi, a medieval rebel who was an outcast from his fellows and was “destroyed by their incomprehension“.
After the opera …
“… Hitler began to orate. Words burst from him like a backed-up flood breaking through crumbling dams. In grandiose, compelling images, he sketched for me his future and that of his people“.

Thirty years later Hitler would remark: “It all began at that hour !“.

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Moreover, Hitler’s intimate connections to Wagnerian art forms profoundly influenced the artistic direction of state policy in the Third Reich.
This influence extended beyond Hitler’s table talk about the undoubted supremacy of German tenors. 
Wagner’s opera was accorded the highest respect by Walter Abendroth, in “Kunstmusik und Volstümlichkeit” in ‘Die Musik’, März 1934.
A recent source-book on the Third Reich accords Wagner a great deal of influence, including an excerpt from the 1850 essay “Judaism in Music.”
Celebrations of Wagner’s genius (and, by extension, the creative potency of the German people) were undertaken at tremendous state expense.

In December 1938, for example, Hitler’s adjutant personally authorized a payment of 150,000 DM for Clemens Kraus to direct ‘Tannhäuser’ (Richard Wagner) and ‘Arabella’ (Richard Strauss) in the Munich State Theater.

‘Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg’ – (Tannhäuser and the Singers’ Contest at Wartburg Castle) is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg. The story centres on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love, a theme running through most of Wagner’s mature work.

Arabella is a lyric comedy or opera in 3 acts by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, their sixth and last operatic collaboration. It was first performed on 1 July 1933, at the Dresden Sächsisches Staatstheater. The beautiful but proud Arabella is the daughter of the Waldner family, who face financial ruin unless Arabella marries a rich husband. Arabella hopes to marry for love, not money; but when a loving suitor unexpectedly appears, her happiness is threatened by a web of misunderstanding and deception.

Naturally, the NSDAP leadership could justify such expenses with arguments about culture superiority and the need to instil the German Volk with the myths of their origins.

Winnifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler – Bayreuth 

Hitler’s birthday celebrations were typically Wagnerian affairs, although Verdi’s operas were sometimes performed in a concession to the alliance with fascist Italy.

Hitler’s devotion to the annual festival in Bayreuth was such that in late 1944, Hitler insisted that the Wagner festival scheduled for July 1945 proceed as usual.
Hitler ultimately saw the fundamental political gain to be reaped by declaring himself as the paladin of a reinvigorated and authentically German culture.
From his position at the pinnacle of the National Socialist hierarchy, Hitler used cultural to enhance the legitimacy of the National Socialist weltanschaung.
Richard Wagner’s music would serve a vital function in this endeavor.

In 1923, just before the abortive “Beer-Hall Putsch”, Hitler presented himself at Wahnfried, the home of the Wagner family.

There he met Siegfried Wagner, (Richard Wagner’s only son), and Siegfried’s English born wife Winifred (*see below). He is said to have sought out the Master’s study, and, deeply moved, stood before Wagner’s grave in the garden for a long time. 
Afterwards, he was introduced to Houston Stewart Chamberlain (seeAN ENGLISHMAN AT THE COURT OF THE KAISER), (Richard Wagner’s English born son-in-law), who was of advanced age and could not speak. Chamberlain later wrote a letter to Hitler voicing his support for Hitler’s goals and ideas. 

Hitler valued this letter greatly, almost as if it were “a benediction from the Bayreuth Master himself”.

Hitler continued in his contacts with the family of Wagner, and it is rumoured that he had a relationship with Winifred after Siegfried’s death.




Hitler also became a favourite ‘uncle’ (uncle Wolf), to the Wagner’s two sons, Wieland (left) and Wolfgang (right).

His idea of the supreme expression of opera was the final scene in ‘Götterdämmerung’, and, when in Bayreuth, whenever he witnessed this finale, he would turn around in his darkened box, seek out the hand of Frau Winifred Wagner, and “breathe a deeply moved Handkuss upon it”.
By this time he had seen all of Wagner’s operas countless times, and boasted of having listened to ‘Tristan und Isolde’ and ‘Die Meistersinger’ over a hundred times each.


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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013


Degenerate Music
Clearly, National Socialist officials wished to use music didactically, using opera and symphonic music to heighten the sense of Teutonic identity among the listeners.
Yet National Socialist musical policy was not immune to popular pressures and public demand.
Goebbels and his subordinates could never escape the necessity of providing light entertainment for the masses.

Weimar Jazz Club

This contradiction between high and middlebrow culture became markedly apparent after 1942.

The free flow of largesse for opera performances was one arm of a Nazi musical policy within which leaders used enormous amounts of discretionary funds.
When a Japanese violinist toured Germany in 1942, Goebbels personally presented her with a priceless Stradavarius. 
While Goebbels wanted to strengthen the backbone of the populace with extravagant paeans to sacrifice, such as the film “Koblenz,” German citizens increasingly demanded distractions.
Like filmmaking, opera was expensive, but National Socialists were willing to pay the price.
Ultimately, however, distracting citizens with popular broadcast music became more important than engaging them in a polemical musical discussion of Germany’s racial origins.
American music, particularly jazz, had flooded into Germany in the 1920s.
Nationalist responses to this music focused on the negative African origins of jazz, while combining fears of American occupation of the Rhineland.
Entarte musik,” or “degenerate music,” became a frequent target for the National Socialists. 
The National Socialists endeavored to steer Germans, particularly the young, away from such degenerative effects.
In a directive to his propaganda ministry, Goebbels stated: “Publications should be produced in a popular style aimed at the masses and, in particular, at young people, and should demonstrate that the uncritical adoption of certain American activities, such as jazz music…shows a lack of culture.” 
Extending on this theme, Goebbels instructed his subordinate to refer explicitly to “the grotesque distortions which occur, for example, in the transposition of Bach’s music into jazz.”
Germanic music, like the Volk itself, had to remain pure.
Also dangerous to national morals was the music of the new avant-garde, which had reached a heyday during the free-wheeling Weimar period.
Individuals like Paul Hindemith, scarred by the experiences of World War One, had freely released their angst, and in so doing, had vented their distaste for the political and artistic order.

Hitler-Jugend

Under the new life of the National Socialists, potentially dissenting voices were more or less silenced.

In a 1934 essay from the newly co-opted NS musical organ, ‘Die Musik’, a musicologist discussed the orthodox view of the avant-garde:
Everywhere in Europe, we Germans have released the immediate products of cultural decay, which fall under the name “New Music.” This “music” devours our Volk’s living and characteristic art music, directly attacking our healthy origins that presently and by all means long to recover the smallest Lebensraum. This ‘New Music’s’ spririt and essence, is antithetical to the people [unvolkstümlich] because it releases every natural dissatisfaction. Worse yet, it both knowingly and unconsciously denigrates the possession of the healthy feelings and desires felt by the strong, self-knowing Volk, whose music is a singular medium of expression, alert and humorous.
Faced with such pabulum in the mid-1930s, cutting-edge composers like Hindemith and Krenek had left Germany.
Clearly, however, the National Socialists could not stem the tide toward escapism in German musical life. 
Strauss’ ‘Arabella’, a three-act comedy set in nineteenth-century Vienna, was the most well known opera of the National Socialist period.
The opera’s libretto is devoid of political content, and there is nothing particularly Germanic about the story, other than the Viennese setting.
But given the circumstances, the work functioned as a display of normalcy in a faltering domestic economy. 
Even in the prior period, Goebbels had shown some flexibility toward popular music, remarking: Not all music suits everyone. Therefore that style of entertaining music that is found among the broad masses also has a right to exist, especially in an epoch in which the task of the state leadership must be, next to the difficult concerns that the times bring with them, to intervene on behalf of the Volk’s recuperation, support, and refreshment.
Acknowledging “difficult times,” Goebbels could justify sponsorship of music that might otherwise have verged on the “degenerate.”
Conclusion
German-speaking lands have always enjoyed a special connection with music.
Germanic composers were a dominant creative force in classical music from the eighteenth century.
The National Socialists wielded the legacy of Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner, Richard Strauss and Pfitzner precisely to justify the defence and expansion of German culture against “cultural Bolshevism and Jewish degeneracy”

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013


German Reactionary Modernism

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

To understand National Socialism one must consider the concept of `reactionary modernism’ – a concept which reconciles anti-modernism, romanticism, and tradition with modernity – and it is this apparently contradictory combination  of  traditional culture and aesthetics, and  a  modern reliance on instrumental reason and modern means that made the Third Reich a unique and highly effective political system.
Reactionary modernist tradition was an important component of German nationalism, and it was pervasive within the conservative revolution in Weimar, and in the cultural politics of German engineering from the 1870s to the collapse of the Weimar Republic.
Before 1933, the National Socialists were aware of the tradition, and were contributors to it.
The reactionary modernist tradition continued until the very end of the Third Reich.
It did not give way to rural nostalgia or post-ideological technocratic world views.
This is not to say that Luddites and technocrats did not exist in the Third Reich.
Rather, the continuity of ‘reactionary modernist’ ideology, after 1933, was both more pervasive than these other views, and more important in accounting for the primacy of ideological politics during those years.
The embrace of technology articulated by the reactionary modernists contributed to the technical innovation that characterized the Third Reich.
Development of a distinctive National Socialist view of technology began well before the seizure of power. 
At the centre of all National Socialist views on the subject stood a historical construction of a racial battle between Aryan and Jew – ‘Blut und Gold’ – (blood and gold).
National Socialism combined both anti-Semitism and thr approval of technological advance, which is important to note, given the frequency with which anti-Semitism and generalized rejections of industrial society have been associated with one another.

Alfred Rosenberg
Gottfried Feder

In the years immediately following World War I, Gottfried Feder, himself an engineer, dominated discussion on the subject in the NSDAP In the early 1920s, his pamphlet, ‘Das Manifest zur Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft des Geldes’ (The Manifesto on Breaking the Interest Slavery of Money) was, along with Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’, and Alfred Rosenberg’s ‘Mythos der 20. Jahrhundert’ (Myth of the 20th Century), one of the party’s most important tracts.

Feder distinguished between “Jewish finance capital” and “national capital,” thereby encouraging anti-capitalist rhetoric that left actual property relations intact.
“Creative labor” and industrial capital would have to be liberated from the tentacles of international Jewish power.
His works borrowed from Marxist vocabulary, speaking of the “liberation of productive labour” and calling on the people to unite against the force of international finance.
In his 1923 pamphlet, ‘Der deutsche Staat auf nationaler und sozialer Grundlage’ (The German State on National and Social Foundations), Feder insisted that “the Jew” had remained remote from productive labour, and was the bearer of a parasitic spirit.
But at the same time he claimed that German big industry – Krupp, Mannesmann, Thyssen – and its property were “not at all in conflict with the interest of the totality.
The fundamental recognition of private property is deeply anchored in the clear awareness of the Aryan spiritual structure.”
Feder summarized his “theoretical” contribution to National Socialism in the formula, “creative versus parasitic capital” (schaffendes gegen raffendes Kapital), which appeared in his 1933 work, ‘Kampf gegen Hochfinanz’.
Creative capital was a source of utility, employment, and technological advance, whereas parasitic capital drained national resources for the benefit of a smaller number of international financiers.
Feder’s outlook served to shift the conflict between capital and labour into a nationalist idiom.
Describing capital as “creative” banished any talk of class conflicts arising from the labour process, blamed the banks for the problems of the whole economic system, and carried hints of the aestheticization of the labour process that the NSDAP made so much of in the Amt Schönheit der Arbeit.
In 1926, Hitler selected Feder as he final arbiter of disputes arising from formulation of the party’s twenty-five-point program.
Feder used this position to publish a series of pamphlets, the “National Socialist Library,” which set forth a National Socialist theory on economic organization and technology.
In July 1933, a published speech by Feder stated that National Socialism was compatible with the internal tradition of the engineers and with their desires to elevate “service” to the nation above individual profit.
In his view, National Socialism would fulfil the engineers’ demands for greater social recognition, and more state intervention to unleash technology.
He admitted that technology posed dangers, for example, undue dependence on foreign raw materials, an unhealthy urban atmosphere, and an excessive division of labour that might destroy the German “feeling for home” (Heimatgefühl).
But all of these problems could be surmounted if technology were placed in the service of the national “totality.”
In practical terms, this meant job programs, highway construction, and production of synthetic fuels to reduce German dependence on imported oil.
Feder’s National Socialist Library was the vehicle for the first “official” National Socialist statement on modern technology, which appeared in 1930.
‘Nationalsozialismus und Technik: Die Geistigkeit der nationalsozialistischen Bewegung’ (National Socialism and Technology: The Spirituality of the National Socialist Movement) was written by Peter Schwerber, a philosophically adept engineer who, four years earlier, had written that right-wing politics and Christian ethics were the path of salvation from the depravity of modern industrialism.
‘Nationalsozialismus und Technik’ was the earliest effort to synthesize Nazi ideology with the indigenous traditions of German engineers.

Oswald Spengler

Schwerber made reference to Dessauer, Zschimmer, and Spengler as well as to Feder and Hitler.

Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (29 May 1880 – 8 May 1936) was a German historian and philosopher of history whose interests included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book ‘Der Untergang des Abendlandes’ – (The Decline of the West), published in 1918 and 1922, covering all of world history. He proposed a new theory, according to which the lifespan of civilizations is limited and ultimately they decay. He wrote extensively throughout World War I and the interwar period, and supported German hegemony in Europe.

His pamphlet rested on one main idea, namely, that racism was the logical end point of Germany’s reconciliation with modern technology.
Schwerber’s argument became a familiar one in Germany after 1933.
Far from being anti-technological, National Socialism was dedicated to liberating technology from the “domination of money” and the “fetters” of Jewish materialism.
Jewish abstraction” was alien to the “autonomous life element of the German Volk,” whereas technology was not only in tune with the Volk, but was something around which a whole world view could and ought to be constructed. 
Schwerber wrote that technology was more than a material foundation of National Socialism.
It was an “independent factor” of a new, post-liberal, post-materialist culture.

 Fronterlebnis 

It was the generation that survived the Fronterlebnis that really grasped the idea of freedom inherent in technology.

National Socialism was the product of this generation.
But the idea of freedom – from physical labour, and for free time – remained unrealized due to the “domination of a power alien to the essence of technology, that is, the power of money…the Jewish- materialist suffocating embrace [Umklammerung] of our life elements.”’
The really decisive contribution of National Socialism, Schwerber continued, lay not only in recognizing the “major cause of our misfortune,” but also, and more importantly, in moving to the level of the “decisive deed. . .the act of liberation.”
Only “blood” and action would prevail against “the titanic power of money.”
National Socialism was more than a collection of protests against materialism and the Jews.
Schwerber attributed to both technology and National Socialism a “primal life instinct.”
Both would join forces against “Jewish- materialist restrictions.”

Victory of Spirit Over Matter
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Like the engineering professors at the technical universities, Schwerber saw technology as a natural force, at once demonic and passionate, which sought a victory of “spirit over matter.”

But Schwerber introduced a new twist: Whereas the Jews destroyed and misused technology, the Nordic race was ideally suited to it.
Technical Geist and the Völkisch racial myth would form a common front against Jewish materialism.
National Socialism was dedicated to emancipating technology from capitalist exchange, a goal that bore striking similarities – at least on a rhetorical level – to the engineers’ own anti-capitalist language.
Schwerber’s protest was against insufficient rather than excessive technological progress.
If we substitute “relations of production” for “Jews” and “technology” for “forces of production,” Schwerber’s rendition of  Völkisch ideology amounts to an appeal to liberate a will or telos said to be inherent in the forces of production from restrictions imposed by the existing bourgeois social relations of production.
Removal of the Socialist and Communist parties and the trade unions, dissolution of parliament, and breaking the Versailles restrictions on German rearmament were the practical meaning of such a program.
This conception of the “primacy of politics” was simultaneously a plan for political reaction, and technological modernization presented as a cultural revolution from the Right.

Hermann Rauschning

At the centre of the Third Reich stood the figure of Adolf Hitler and his ideas.

The view, first expressed by Hermann Rauschning, that Hitler was an opportunist without scruple, has been effectively laid to rest by scholars such as Eberhard Jäckel and Joachim Fest.
Hitler’sWeltanschauung was both coherent and politically decisive.
At no time did he join in the hostility to technology found in some völkisch ideologies.
For Hitler, the decisive element remained the ideology of the will to power.

The ‘will to power’ (der Wille zur Macht) is a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in humans: achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life; these are all manifestations of the will to power.



Arthur Schopenhauer
Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche found early influence from Arthur Schopenhauer, whom he first discovered in 1865. Schopenhauer puts a central emphasis on Will, and in particular has a concept of the “will to live.”
Writing a generation before Nietzsche, Schopenhauer explained that the universe and everything in it is driven by a primordial Will, which results in all living creatures’ desire to avoid death and procreate.
For Schopenhauer, this will is the most fundamental aspect of reality – more fundamental even than being.
Hitler was deeply influenced by Schopenhauer’s writing and the concept of the Will.
For Nietzsche, however, the Will to power means self-perfection as well as outward, political, elitist, aristocratic domination. Nietzsche, in fact, explicitly and specifically defined the egalitarian state-idea as the embodiment of the will to power in decline.

If life and politics were essentially a struggle in which the strongest won, then in politics among nations the technologically weak would deserve to be defeated.
He insisted that the Germans must succeed in the battle against nature in order to win in the battle among nations and races.
As early as 1919, in a speech advocating German rearmament and abrogation of the Versailles treaty, Hitler said that “the misery of Germany must be broken by Germany’s steel. That time must come.”
In ‘Mein Kampf’, he divided humankind into three categories: founders, bearers, and destroyers of culture, and assigned these historical roles to the Aryans, the Japanese, and the Jews, respectively.

The Building of the Reich’s Chancellery – Erich Merke
‘Greek Spirit and Germanic Technology’

He went so far as to define Aryan culture as a synthesis of “the Greek spirit and Germanic technology.”

He also acknowledged his debt to Gottfried Feder’s ideas on “breaking interest slavery.”
This notion was :
a theoretical truth which would inevitably be of immense importance for the future of the German people. The sharp separation of stock exchange capital from the national economy offered the possibility of opposing the internationalization of the German economy without at the same time menacing the foundations of an independent national self-maintenance by a struggle against capital.
This selective anti-capitalism had been common in the völkisch tradition.
But where Sombart’s anti-capitalism attacked Jewish Geist, Hitler turned this cultural revolution into a biological revolt.

Die Ruinenwerttheorie
Adolf Hitler and Alber Speer

Hitler did not write extensively on the subject of technology.

Albert Speer reports listening to Hitler’s theory of “ruin value,” according to which the purpose of Nazi architecture and technological advance should be to create ruins that would last a thousand years and thereby overcome the transience of the market. (the juxtaposition of permanent technology and evanescent capitalism was an important theme among the reactionary modernists.)

Die Ruinenwerttheorie – (Theory of Ruin Value) is the concept that a building be designed such that if it eventually collapsed, it would leave behind aesthetically pleasing ruins that would last far longer without any maintenance at all. The idea was pioneered by German architect Albert Speer while planning for the 1936 Summer Olympics, and published as “The Theory of Ruin Value” (Die Ruinenwerttheorie), although he was not its original inventor. The intention did not stretch only to the eventual collapse of the buildings, but rather assumed such buildings were inherently better designed and more imposing during their period of use.

John Soane – Ruins of the Bank of England

The idea was supported by Adolf Hitler, who planned for such ruins to be a symbol of the greatness of the Third Reich, just as Ancient Greek and Roman ruins were symbolic of those civilisations.  Predecessors include a ‘new ruined castle’ built by the Landgraf of Hesse-Kassel in the 18th century, and the designs for the Bank of England built in the 19th century produced by Sir John Soane. When he presented the bank’s governors with three oil sketches of the planned building one of them depicted it when it would be new, another when it would be weathered, and a third what its ruins would look like a thousand years onward
Hitler accordingly approved Speer’s recommendation that, in order to provide a “bridge to tradition” to future generations, modern “anonymous” materials such as steel girders and ferroconcrete should be avoided in the construction of monumental party buildings, since such materials would not produce aesthetically acceptable ruins like those wherever possible. Thus the most politically significant buildings of the Reich were intended, to some extent, even after falling into ruins after thousands of years, resemble their Roman models.

Hitler was the first political leader of the twentieth century to use the air-plane extensively.

Hitler over Germany

The radio spread his voice and fast cars sped him over the Reichautobahnen.

His conversations with associates, published as the “table talks,” reveal a man fascinated with the details of military technology.
His embrace of modern technology as an expression of Aryan will was fully consonant with rejection of the Enlightenment and the social consequences of the French and industrial revolutions.
Given his outlook, Hitler never feared that a rearmed Germany would be a soulless Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, devoted a great deal of effort to convincing the Germans that their souls were compatible with modern technology.

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945.
As one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous orations and antisemitism.
Goebbels earned a PhD from Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 19th century romantic drama – . he also wrote novels and plays.
He became a member of the NSDAP in 1924. He was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin. Goebbels despised capitalism, viewing it as having Jews at its core.
Goebbels rose to power in 1933 and he was appointed Propaganda Minister.
Goebbels exerted control over the media, arts and information in Germany.

Goebbels’s speeches on the subject are interesting because they were directed to the general public as well as to engineers, and thus combined elements of the conservative revolution, romanticism, and völkisch ideology with a cult of technological modernism.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

For example, in a speech in 1932, Goebbels echoed Hitler’s view that the true politician was an artist whose task was to give form to the “raw material” of the masses.

In the century of mass politics, the political leader must avail himself of the most modern means of propaganda, such as the radio, to encourage “spiritual mobilization” (geistige Mobilmachung).
In March 1933, he assured his audience that he was not “an un-modern man who is inwardly opposed to the radio. . . but a passionate lover of the press. . . theatre. . . radio.”
In his view, the radio should not be used to create an illusory objectivity, but to assist in the spiritual mobilization the National Socialist regime was fostering.
The Germans, he argued, must learn the primary lesson of World War I: Germany was defeated by deficiencies of the spirit rather than by material deficiencies.

German Troops Returning to Berlin from the Front

We did not lose the war because our cannons failed, but rather because our spiritual weapons didn’t fire.

The radio gave National Socialism unprecedented means for reaching the masses with this message of spiritual revolution.
From his earliest broadcasts to his last, Goebbels returned to a theme that reflected reactionary modernism.
In November 1933, he first celebrated a “steely romanticism” (stählerne Romantik) that had “made German life worth living again.”
This new romanticism did not hide from the “hardness of being”, or dream of escape into the past.
Instead it “heroically” faced up to the problems of modern times.

Die stählerne Romantik – Reichsautobahn
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Goebbels often discussed the meaning of stählernde Romantik, and his speeches were reprinted in ‘Deutsche Technik’ (German Technology), a monthly journal published from 1933 to 1942.

One particularly graphic example appeared in the February 1939 issue of this journal. 
The cover shows Goebbels delivering a speech, a Volkswagen on one side, Hitler on the other.
The following passage indicates Goebbels’s skill at administering a cultural tradition – what Horkheimer later called the bureaucratic dispensation of the revolt of nature: 
‘We live in an era of technology.
The racing tempo of our century affects all areas of our life.
There is scarcely an endeavour that can escape its powerful influence.
Therefore, the danger unquestionably arises that modern technology will make men soulless.
National Socialism never rejected or struggled against technology.
Rather, one of its main tasks was to consciously affirm it, to fill it inwardly with soul, to discipline it and to place it in the service of our people and their cultural level. 
National Socialist public statements used to refer to the steely romanticism of our century.
Today this phrase has attained its full meaning.
We live in an age that is both romantic and steellike, that has not lost its depth of feeling.
On the contrary, it has discovered a new romanticism in the results of modern inventions and technology.
While bourgeois reaction was alien to and filled with incomprehension, if not outright hostility to technology, and while modern sceptics believed the deepest roots of the collapse of European culture lay in it, National Socialism understood how to take the soulless framework of technology and fill it with the rhythm and hot impulses of our time.”
This is a remarkable condensation of reactionary modernist themes.
Over and over again, Goebbels claimed that the cultural crisis German conservatism had feared had been “overcome” by National Socialism.
Filling technology with soul was a practical matter as well.

KdF Wagen Poster

The Volkswagen meant that now modern technology was accessible to the masses, and accessible in a way that spread the “rhythm and hot impulses of our time.”

KdF Wagen Logo
Volkwagen
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

During the war years, Goebbels continued to boast that National Socialism had developed a “new ideal of cultivation” freed from the “false and saccharine romanticism” of the past.

In Heidelberg in July 1943, Goebbels elaborated on the theme of the kind of romanticism peculiar to National Socialism.
Every time has its romanticism, its poetic presentation of life. . . Ours does as well.
It is harder and crueller than a previous romanticism, but it remains romantic.
The steely romanticism of our time manifests itself in actions and deeds in service of a great national goal, in a feeling of duty raised to the level of an unreachable principle.

KdF Wagen
Volkwagen

We are all more or less romantics of a new German mood.

The Reich of droning motors, grandiose industrial creations, an almost unlimited and unenclosed space which we must populate to preserve the best qualities of our Volk – is the Reich of our romanticism.’
For Goebbels, the war years were a period “overflowing with deeds,” in sharp contrast to the “exaggerated intellectualism” of Weimar politics and culture.
German victories were possible only because German engineers and scientists approached their work with the “same fanaticism and wild determination” as did German soldiers, workers, and peasants.
In the last year of the war, Goebbels again turned to stahlernde Romantik.
The geistige Mobilmachung must again turn for assistance to the “German genius for invention” (deutsche Erfindungsgenie) to avoid impending defeat.

V-2 (A4) Rocket
V-1 Flying Bomb

In July 1944, Goebbels promised that Hitler’s leadership, the spirit of the Volk, and the V-1 and V-2 rockets would combine to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. There are two points to be made about these passages.

First, Goebbels spoke with slogans and stock formulas.
He was, in other words, an administrator of political meanings.
But however administered these meanings were, they were not arbitrary.
On the contrary, Goebbels spoke a language familiar to German engineers (among others), one stemming from traditions that really did, as he put it, “grow from the Volk.”
Without this cultural resonance, he would not have been the successful propagandist he was.
Second, it is difficult to determine the degree of cynicism or belief Goebbels aroused in his listeners, but we certainly ought not to rule out the possibility that he actually believed what he was saying.
Sociology has devoted much effort to measuring public opinion, but less thought has been given to the effect of political propaganda on the political elites that express it.
It is – and was – obvious to anyone with minimally unclouded vision that “fanaticism and wild determination” would do little to turn the tide of the war in 1944.

Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer

Hitler was an enthusiast of technical advance.

The reception of National Socialism among German engineers also appears to have been enthusiastic, but less so than that of the legal and medical professions, as indicated by the results of student elections at German technical universities in 1933. 
About 41 percent of the 10,000 students at the technical universities voted for the Nazis in student elections compared 48 percent of the 37,000 students at the non-technical universities.
Beyond the campuses, approximately 300,000 people were classified as engineers in 1933, including Germany’s 36,000 architects and 31,000 chemists.
Of this total, around 7,000 belonged to the NSDAP.
In January 1933, party membership stood at 720,000 (of a population of 32 million). 
Hence, about the same proportion of German engineers was drawn to membership in the NSDAP as German citizens generally, but less so than white-collar workers and independent professionals.
After 1933, the number of engineers in the NSDAP doubled, but the increase in the other middle-class professions was even greater (about 230 percent).
Only 13.1 percent of the leadership positions in the mid-1930s were held by engineers, compared to 56 percent for lawyers, and 15.5 percent for doctors.
Since their inception, the national engineering associations in Germany had bemoaned their lack of political influence and social prestige relative to the non-technical middle-class professions.
Both the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure(Association of German Engineers, VDI) and the cultural politicians publishing Technik und und Kultur called for a national office of planning for technical development, a Staatstechnik, which would coordinate state, industry, and engineering in the interests of the national community.
The overall leadership of the new regime’s efforts at “coordination” (Gleichschaltung) lay with Robert Ley, the director of the  Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF – (German Labor Front), whereas Feder directed the activities of the Reichsbund deutscher Techniker(RDT).

Robert Ley
Deutsche Arbeitsfront – DAF
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF – (German Labour Front) was the National Socialist trade union organization which replaced the various trade unions of the Weimar Republic after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Its leader was Robert Ley, who stated its aim as ‘to create a true social and productive community‘ (Smelster, 1988). The DAF existed to act as a medium through which workers and owners could mutually represent their interests. Wages were set by the 12 DAF trustees. The employees were given relatively high set wages, security of work, dismissal was increasingly made difficult, social security programmes were made mandatory by the Arbeitsfront, leisure programmes were instituted, canteens, pauses and regular working times were established, and therefore generally the German workers were satisfied by what the DAF gave them in repaying for their absolute loyalty.
Employment contracts created under the Weimar Republic were abolished and renewed under new circumstances in the DAF. Employers could demand more of their workers, while at the same time workers were given increased security of work and increasingly enrolled into social security programmes for workers. The organisation, by its own definition, combated capitalism and liberalism, The DAF prefered to have large companies nationalised by the German state, instead of privately owned companies.

Metropolis – Fritz Lang

Interestingly, the conclusion of Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ can be seen as a precursor one of the main concepts underlying the activity of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront with regard to the reconciliation of the interests of the employers and the workers in the German economy. The main themes of Metropolis culminate in the final scene on the cathedral steps, where Freder fulfils his role as mediator (“heart”), linking the hands of Fredersen (the city’s “head”) and Grot (its “hands”), to bring them together. In this way Hitler, through the Deutsche Arbeitsfront can be seen as bringing all social classes together in a united purpose as part of the Völksgemeinschaft. Not surprisingly, Dr Joseph Goebbels was impressed – and took the film’s message to heart. In a 1928 speech he declared that:
the political bourgeoisie is about to leave the stage of history. In its place advance the oppressed producers of the head and hand, the forces of Labor, to begin their historical mission“.

Feder wanted to replace the existing technical associations – Fachvereines – with  organizations focused on his version of German anticapitalism; Ley sought to integrate the existing engineering organizations into the German Labor Front.
The RDT had been founded in 1918 to foster the interests of engineers in national politics.
Although Feder envisaged a Front der Technik under leadership of the RDT, by the end of 1933 it had collapsed.
Some of its functionaries turned to the Deutsche technokratische Gesellschaft (DTG), founded in 1932 as an international Weltbund, organized around slogans of a technocratic socialism.
Although Feder saw the greatest opportunity for technocratic ascendancy in private or state capitalism, those who took seriously the goal of production for human needs over the needs of profit became increasingly uncomfortable with the National Socialist regime, especially after the announcement of the four-year plan directed at rearmament.
The DTG, whose Veblenian socialism of the technicians was utterly removed from the goals of the regime, ceased to exist in 1937.
The Gleichschaltung process of the engineers is a chapter in the story of the underestimation of Hitler by the conservative elites of German society.
Initially it entailed a trade-off between the regime and the engineering organizations. 
In exchange for accepting and assisting the new regime, the engineers sustained a semblance of organizational independence, which, however, was gradually whittled down to insignificance.
The leadership of the VDI (which now had about 30,000 members) informed the new government that it was ready to help deal with the problems of unemployment, energy, and rearmament and to work with the National Socialist’s own organization of engineers, the ‘Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure’ (KDAI).

Rudolf Heß

In April 1933, the KDAI membership included only 3 percent of Germany’s engineers, a fact that led Rudolf Heß and Fritz Todt to urge integration rather than destruction of existing organizations.

The leadership of the VDI viewed Feder as economically incompetent, and was more interested in placing the engineers’ technical skills at the service of the new regime through combining the energies of industry, engineers, and the state.
Hitler also regarded Feder’s anti-capitalist rhetoric as unhelpful when the regime was intent on convincing the existing organizations that their interests were best served by adapting to the program of the new regime.
Although not enamoured of Feder’s ideological pronouncements, the leaders of the VDI opted for political accommodation rather than resistance.
In exchange for offering their services to the new regime in a spirit of objective functionality – objektive Sachlichkeit – the engineering associations were able to survive as organizations, although the leadership positions were controlled either by members of the NSDAP or sympathizers.
The executor of the political coexistence of regime and the pre-existing engineering organizations was Fritz Todt.

Organisation Todt
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Fritz Todt

Fritz Todt (4 September 1891 – 8 February 1942) was a German engineer and the founder of ‘Organisation Todt’.
In World War I, he initially served with the infantry and then as front line reconnaissance observer within the Luftstreitkräfte (the German Air Forces – DLSK), winning the Iron Cross. After his military service, he finished his studies in 1920 and joined at first the “Grün & Bilfinger AG, Mannheim” company and, later, the civil engineering company Sager & Woerner (1921).
Following the appointment of Hitler as Reichskanzler on 30 January 1933, Todt became ‘Generalinspektor für das deutsche Straßenwesen’ (“Inspector General for German Roadways”) and was involved in the new construction company for the motorways (Reichsautobahnen).
He later became ‘Leiter des Hauptamts für Technik in der Reichsleitung der NSDAP’ (“Director of the Head Office for Engineering in the National Directorate of the NSDAP”) and ‘Generalbevollmächtigter für die Regelung der Bauwirtschaft’ (“General Commissioner for the Regulation of the Construction Industry”).
Todt was permitted to have considerable power, and was not necessarily immediately answerable to any of the Reich ministries. He was also appointed to the rank of Generalmajor of the Luftwaffe after its official promulgation in March 1935. Todt was awarded the ‘German National Prize for Art and Science’ by Hitler for his work on the autobahnen.
In 1938, he founded the Organisation Todt (OT), joining together government firms, private companies and the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labor Service), for the construction of the “West Wall”, later renamed the “Siegfried Line”, for the defence of the Reich territory. On 17 March 1940, he was appointed Reichsminister für Bewaffnung und Munition (“Reich Minister for Armaments and Munitions”) and oversaw the work of Organisation Todt in the occupied west.
He died in a plane crash on 8 February 1942.

In 1934, Hitler designated him as his representative for “all questions” concerning the organization and development of technology.
Todt, a party member since 1923, had strong and enduring ties to the engineering profession, and to its political and cultural traditions.
Rudolf Hess and Alfred Rosenberg also sang the praises of technology in National Socialist terms, but it was Todt, more than any other leading figure of the regime, who could truthfully claim roots in both the NSDAP and in the engineer’s cultural politics.
Following initial bureaucratic struggles with Feder, Todt assumed leadership of the ‘Amt der Technik’, the office charged with coordinating Hitler’s goals and the aspirations of the engineers.
Whereas Ley viewed the ‘Amt der Technik’ primarily as a tool for political control, Todt hoped to present this new political control as itself the outcome of the engineer’s own traditions.
To this end, he linked practical issues of raw material resources, new energy sources, and decreasing German dependence on raw materials with the ideological traditions that German engineers had themselves developed.
Todt urged his fellow engineers to consider political as well as technical issues and to favour both “revolution and tradition.”
In 1934, under the umbrella of the German Labor Front, Todt assumed leadership of the Amt der Technik, which in turn administered the Nationalsozialistischen Bund deutscher Techniker (NSBDT).
Members of the NSBDT were also members of the NSDAP, whereas most engineers were also required to join a broader front organization, the Reichsgemeinschaft Technischewissenschaftlichen Arbeit (RTA),and to pay dues to the all-encompassing Labor Front.
Thus Feder’s political demise did not mean that National Socialist ideology had given way to the solvent of industrial rationality.
His eclipse was accompanied by Todt’s ascendancy, and Todt was by no means an apolitical technocrat.
On the contrary, he understood that the price of formal autonomous existence for the Vereines was not a high price for the regime to pay for their political submission.
As part of this strategy of politicization, Todt used his office to publish the “technopolitical journal,” ‘Deutsche Technik’, from 1933 to 1941, a magazine of essays and photographs that sought to convince its approximately 80,000 readers that National Socialist ideology was compatible with modern technology.
Deutsche Technik thus supplanted , some of whose contributors were more taken with Feder’s anti-capitalism than with Todt’s emphasis on Staatstechnik.
By 1937, Todt announced with great pride that the “new ordering of German technology was complete” and that the NSDAP and the regime had completely integrated the organizations of German engineers that predated 1933.
The number of engineering organizations had been reduced from eighty to sixteen, and in 1937 these were placed under the control of a central government office called the Hauptamt fur Technik (Central Office for Technology).
About 81,000 of Germany’s 300,000 engineers participated in the schools and in propaganda efforts, and received journals published by the Hauptamt für Technik.

Reichsschule der deutschen Technik
Genossen Zimmer
Reichsschule der deutschen Technik

One of the most interesting examples of the amalgamation of ‘Modernism’ and ‘Tradition’ created by the Hauptamt für Technik was the ‘Reichsschule der deutschen Technik’ (The Reich School of German Technology – NSBDT) on the Plassenburg in Kulmbach, in the Gau Bayerische Ostmark.
The institution was founded by Fritz Todt.
A key task of the Reichsschule der deutschen Technik’ was to introduce various disciplines of engineering into the mindset of students so that major construction projects could be tackled holistically.
Significantly, rather that construct a new, modernistic building to house the Reichsschule, the architect Siegfried Schmelcher extensively remodeled and refurbished the medieval castle of Plass.

In 1939, Todt was elected chairman of the VDI.
By 1936, when Hitler announced a four-year plan of economic development, rationalization of industry, expanded development of synthetic energy substitutes, and rearmament, the Hauptamt für Technik and the NSBDT gave the regime an organizational monopoly over the technical instruments necessary for rearmament.
If up to 1936 the focus of National Socialist economic policy had been recovery from the depression, the four-year plan contained the additional goal of reducing German dependence on the world economy through technical innovation.
Fundamentalist slogans of national economic autarky went hand in hand with technical advances.
National Socialist publicists presented the plan as yet another act of liberation of technical workers from the tentacles of Jewish finance, and the leaders of the engineering associations extolled the ideal of placing their skills in the service of the Volk.
Pragmatic, rationalizing themes existed alongside traditional National Socialist ideology.
The propaganda of Todt’s office of technology insisted that there simply was no contradiction between developing new energy sources, building the Reichautobahnen, and rearmament, on the one hand, and serving the “general interest,” on the other. 
Whereas the National Socialists claimed that völkisch ideology and technical advance went hand in hand with Hitler’s ideology of the will, the engineers drawn to the regime believed that their sober commitments to technical rationality would finally be placed in the service of the state.
They also realized that their own power and importance would grow as the demands for armaments production expanded.
This history of organizational survival through political acquiescence reminds us that many German engineers remained outside the ideological disputes over the relation between technology and Germany’s soul.
The most that can be said on the basis of the evidence presented here is that in this period, when and if German engineers turned their attention to the connection between technology and Germany’s national identity, the terms of discussion were dominated by the cultural tradition of reactionary modernism.
The National Socialists were more successful at preserving their ideological souls than the engineers were at imposing pragmatism on the German dictatorship.
German engineers, however,  including Todt, subordinated their knowledge of technical realities to the demands of National Socialist ideology.
In the first issue of Deutsche Technik, published in September 1933, Todt wrote that the new “technopolitical journal” would make “German technology into a pillar of the total state” and place technology’s “cultural and spiritual outlook on the foundation of a pure National Socialist world view.”
Todt was able to speak in terms similar to the aesthetic and philosophical themes of the engineers’ traditions.

Reichsautobahnen

For example, the construction of the national highway system would be based on a unified plan, in sharp contrast to the chaos of the Weimar system.

It flowed from a unified Geist, and represented an artistic effort to give proper form to the German landscape.
Germany’s highways were to be far more than an engineering feat; they must be “an expression of the German essence.”
Todt argued that the “decisive” fact of the era for German engineers was that National Socialism was liberating technology from the “material bonds” that had restricted it for the last half century.
Here were both an opportunity and a necessity for “total engagement” by engineers in the nationalist revival.

Reichsautobahnen – Service Station
(note the ‘modernist’ architecture)

During the first years of the Third Reich, Todt pointed with pride to the construction of the Reichsautobahnen as evidence that the Nazis had rescued technology from an era that had treated it as an object without soul or spirit.

Like Freyer and Schmitt, Todt argued that now politics, not economics, was in command.
Aesthetic criteria were displacing the profit motive, and the National Socialists were demonstrating that technology did not consist of dead matter, but of “soulful cultural works” that grew organically from the Volk.

Reichsautobahnen – Under Construction

Todt also stated  that there was a specifically National Socialist conception of technology that elevated creativity over materialist considerations.

During these years, Deutsche Technik was filled with photographs of the highways gracefully weaving through valleys, mountains, and farmland.
These roads demonstrated that, as Todt put it, “the artistic and technical powers of invention and formation live together in the creative engineer.”
The following passage is typical of Todt’s view of technology as an art form:
The following are the features that make a road as a totality into an artwork that brings the environment joy through its intrinsic beauty and harmony with the environment: The direction of lines is bound to the land [landschaftsverbundene Lininefiihrung], Construction remains true to natural forms [naturformgetruere Erdbau]. Workmanship is based on the craftsman’s principles of building and implantation in the earth [bodenstände Bepflanzung‘.
If this was what highway construction was about, it hardly conflicted with the cultural revolution promised by National Socialism.

Reichsautobanen – Bridge

Building the “highways bound to the land” (landschaftsverbundene Strassen) and saving the German soul were mutually reinforcing projects.

Todt’s message was clear:
‘The new highways posed no threat to the German Volk.
On the contrary, they promised to restore the nation’s lost unity’.
As Albert Speer later put it, Todt did not see “brutal and loveless images of iron and cement” when he looked at highways, but rather deliverance and redemption from a fragmented, materialist era. 
As one of the official eulogies for Todt in 1941 put it, the National Socialists had learned to lift technology out of the web of “bureaucratism”, and had taught German engineers that “the language of technical works must rest. . .on the grammar of nature.”

Reichsautobanen 

Deutsche Technik is a striking document of the continuity of the reactionary modernist tradition after 1933.

The Zeitschrift des Vereins deutscher Ingenieure continued to appear in these years, but it was primarily devoted to technical discussions combined with promptings for loyalty to the Führer.
Deutsche Technik proceeded to adapt many of the themes that first appeared in.
Unlike Albert Speer’s Bureau of the Beauty of Labor, Deutsche Technik did not replace völkisch pastoralism with technocratic aesthetics but, as Todt urged, incorporated technology into the National Socialist Weltanschauung.
Articles were short, usually no more than three pages long.
The message of the journal was straightforward: Whatever had been posed as a problem before 1933 had now been solved.
At the Haus der deutschen Technik in Munich, the National Socialists presented annual exhibitions on the theme of art and technology.
Deutsche Technik reproduced many of these paintings as well as photographs of cars, planes, trains, and roads.
Typical of the commentary was a 1942 essay asserting that National Socialism understood that art infuses technical processes with Geist.
As a result of this understanding, German artists were “no longer out of step” with technology, but saw in it instead “the essential and necessary principle of our being,” which established law over arbitrariness, duty over selfishness.
Now that technology had become part of the Volksgemeinschaft, it had assumed clear and beautiful forms. 
Technical advance under the National Socialists was a cultural revolution that gave new meaning to cold steel.
Among the accomplishments of the Third Reich regarding technology were a “victory over the elementary,” “overcoming” the threat of Americanization, balancing city and country, and bringing to the surface a uniquely German “surrender” to technology.
Deutsche Technik elaborated the engineer’s view that there was a specifically German technology.
As contributors toTechnik und Kultur had done before them, the writers for Deutsche Technik traced technology back to famous figures of pre-industrial Europe, such as Leonardo da Vinci, who were stylized as models of the not-yet-divided engineer-artist or scientist-soldier.
The point of these accounts of the past was to stress links between the very old and the very new, and to root technology in pre-capitalist and pre-industrial traditions. 

Goethe der Technologe

A great deal was made of “Goethe the technologist.”

But the central message of Deutsche Technik was that National Socialism had indeed overcome the conflict between technology and culture.
An essay published in February 1943, “NS-Technik,” surveyed the first ten years of technology under Hitler.
Its argument was as follows: Before 1933, Germany and German technology had suffered from capitalist misuse, the Jewish financial “plutocracy,” American “de-souling” (Entseelung), and the threat of enslavement by the Bolsheviks.
National Socialism had made clear that it was the Germans who were the truly chosen people and had helped them construct a new German landscape saved from the “filth of civilization” and the “American-Jewish destruction of German nature.” 
Ferdinand Fried, editor of ‘Die Tat’ in the Weimar years, presented such views in several essays.
Although Germany’s “racial soul” was in tune with technical advances, technology had been “raped” by the Jewish Ungeist.
Under the National Socialists, the German soul was reasserting itself.

The Volkswagen, the Autobahnen, the air force, and Speer’s Bureau of the Beauty of Labour were all examples of a new NS-Technik.

Fried claimed that envy and resentment of Germany’s liberation from “the chains of Jewish money” were the real motivations of the Reich’s enemies. 
The danger of dehumanization at the hands of the machine or of destruction of the German landscape had been averted.
National Socialism meant deliverance from a wasteland.
Deliverance from the past only highlighted present dangers.
Like the reactionary modernists, the National Socialist propagandists transformed Germany’s geographical location into a cultural-political identity.
Germany, they said, as the country between East and West, was the only one to really grasp the “essence of technical creation.”
The Deutsche Technik authors repeated the complaints about American and British materialism, and Soviet-style dialectical materialism.
Only the Germans had synthesized technics and nature.
By the time Hitler’s armies dominated Europe from the Soviet Union to the Atlantic, such ideas were developed into a Grossraum Technik, a unified, integrated technological system in Europe, with Germany as its center.
The reader will recognize the familiar themes of reactionary modernism in these ideas. 
The National Socialist propagandists were administrators of already existing traditions.
But they were distinct within the panoply of German nationalism for the emphasis they placed on anti-Semitism, and the biological foundations they gave to German technological advance.
They wrote that the Nordic race had peculiar technical and scientific abilities.
Had Germany only been a nation of poets, philosophers, and artists, it would be defenceless.
Fortunately for the Germans, the Nordic race had a distinctive urge to dominate nature.
Unlike the Americans, or the Jewish-Bolsheviks, who introduced technology with murder and forced labor, the Nazis built on German racial foundations to ward off the threats from both capitalism and socialism. 
As one frequent contributor, Richard Grun, put it,
In this ruthless world, a nation of poets is defeated, a nation of philosophers hungers, a nation of aesthetes is subject to ridicule. Only a people able to produce arms, weapons, commodities, machines and knowledge is able to survive.”
Grun argued that Germany must compensate for its numerical disadvantages in relation to its enemies with its technical capabilities, and with efforts to increase the birth rate among the scientifically and technically talented.
Deutsche Technik, like Technik und Kultur earlier, published excerpts from books or from essays that later were expanded into books published in editions of about twenty to twenty-five thousand.
The continuities with reactionary modernist ideology are striking.
In 1936, for example, Fritz Nonnenbruch’s ‘Die dynamische Wirtschaft’ (The Dynamic Economy) was published by the National Socialists.
He wrote that National Socialism had overcome the abstract economic laws of a capitalism bereft of “ties to the Volk.”
The primacy of politics, not class conflict, had led to “the actual overcoming of capitalism.”
Nonnenbruch periodized the history of German capitalism in terms of predominance of either the Jewish or the Nordic spirit.
Whereas pre-1933 capitalism had been dominated by the spirit of the merchant and financier, he argued that after 1933 it was dominated by the spirit of the “Nordic peoples” and was therefore productive and favourable to the interests of German engineers.
Economic crises had been brought about by production for the market rather than for the needs of the nation.
But the economic recovery after 1933 was evidence of the affinity between “the Geist of technics and the Geist of the race.”

Ernst Jünger

In a manner reminiscent of Ernst Jünger, Nonnenbruch recalled the soldier formed by the Fronterlebnis as a “master of technology.”

The war had shown a generation of young Germans that technology need not be soulless and impersonal, but could be “great, manly, dangerous, free and wild. . .The will of the race speaks in highway construction.”
Like many other contributors to Deutsche Technik, Nonnenbruch argued that the National Socialist’s great accomplishment was to have restored a dynamic to capitalism without also restoring bourgeois rationalism.
Placing economics at the centre of attention would have been a purely “intellectual exercise.
But surrendering to the “will of the race for technology” would be a matter of the spirit and the soul, which are “superior to the intellect.”
“Where the race speaks, the intellect can offer no resistance. Appeals to the intellect bring dis-harmony. Appeals to the will of the race bring unity, harmony and creation.”
Nonnenbruch picked up on Goebbels’s efforts to recast romanticism for a technological age, thereby linking National Socialism to another German tradition: Technology is romantic but in a way that is totally different from any other kind of romanticism. It is not a flight from reality but a flaming illumination of reality.
Flying in an airplane, driving in a car, the thunder of the elevated railway, the various landscapes of the battlefield, the glowing stream of flowing iron in the ghostly night filled with steel ovens – all of these thing are incomparably more romantic than anything previous romantics could imagine.
Both Goebbels’s steellike romanticism and Nonnenbruch’s new romanticism were directed against those elements of the romantic tradition that supported a reconciliation with or return to nature.
There were only two alternatives for the reactionary modernists: effeminate and cowardly escape into the Asian or pastoral past, or masculine and courageous flight into the German future.

Carl Jung

In  a later of Technik und Kultur, Paul Ernst’s criticisms of the dehumanizing impact of the division of labour were rejected in favour of a Jüngerian celebration of the Gestalt of the worker.

Ernst was charged with escapism, having a merely “external” view of technology, and failing to recognize that technology was essential to the nation and grew out of the “inner necessity of our being.”
The process of selectively borrowing from past cultural traditions, in this case romanticism, is again apparent in these statements.
The reactionary modernist tradition would have been inconceivable without romantic legacies.
Nonnenbruch’s second book-length work, ‘Technik, Politik und Geist’, repeated many of the themes he had developed in ‘Die dynamische Wirtschaft’.
The immediate purpose of the book was to depict the four-year plan, in particular the achievements of the German chemical industry, as examples of a will-to-freedom present in the German nation.
Development of synthetic fuels would free Germany from foreign sources of raw materials, and state direction of the economy abolished restrictions on growth due to commercial greed.
In Nonnenbruch’s account, National Socialism was attempting to reverse the results of World War I by “unleashing” technology.
In so doing, the Nazis demonstrated that technology expressed the will of the Volk rather than the will of “international capitalism hostile to the Volk.”

Fronterlebnis

The synthesis of energy and organization in the four-year plan had been prefigured by the Fronterlebnis of World War I.

Like all of the National Socialist propaganda its effectiveness rested on the repetition of  metaphors and associations such as – Geist, Gemeinschaft, Schicksal (destiny), Heldentum (heroism), Opferbereitschaft (readiness for sacrifice), will, freedom, and race.
In this cultural perspective, rationalization of industry appears as a cultural revolt against the obsolete and historically bypassed liberal era.
‘Politik, Technik, und Geist’ is evidence of the reactionary modernist effort to preserve the charismatic experience of World War I, and of the persistence of reactionary modernism.
In 1937, Wilhelm Stortz, a professor of engineering at the technical university in Stuttgart, presented a National Socialist version of technological development in modern Germany, ‘Der Weg der deutschen Technik’.
His reconstruction was as follows:

Bismark

Nineteenth-century Germany was spared the full brunt of the soulless materialism that engulfed England, France, and the United States because its industrialization process was guided by the state under Bismarck, Germany’s “first National Socialist.” But by the turn of the century, “production of useful goods” (Gebrauchs gutererzeugung) was replaced by “commodity production” (Warenerzeugung), with a resultant decline both in the quality of goods and in the skills of the labor force, as well as growing unemployment. The years preceding World War I were characterized by the increasing predominance of “capitalist market calculation” over “technical quality.” But the war reversed this trend by wrenching technology out of the control of exchange relations and placing it in the service of the nation.

Treaty of Versailles

For Stortz, the tragedy of German technology was that at the very moment the generation formed by the war experience became aware of the value of technology for German nationalism, the Treaty of Versailles blocked German technical expansion.

The Weimar system once again established the primacy of “economic thinking” over that of technical idealism.

Oswald Spengler
No wonder Spengler’s pessimism found an echo.
Stortz saw in National Socialism a political movement that presented resistance to cultural pessimism and that averted the “escape from technology which threatened to strangle us before 1933.”
Stortz credited the National Socialists with having successfully incorporated technological advance into the spiritual renewal of a victorious national revolution. 
As with so many of the reactionary modernists who preceded him, Stortz saw in war and nationalism the ideological and political alternative to the culture and politics of the market.
Book-length expositions of reactionary modernist themes continued to appear during the war years.
Several works published from 1940 to 1943 deserve mention: Alexander Friedrich’s ‘Die unsichtbare Armee: Das Buch der Energie’ (The Invisible Army: The Book of Energy), Richard Grun’s ‘Wir und die Technik’, and Anton Zischka’s ‘Erfinder brechen die Blockade’ (Inventors Break the Blockade), and ‘Seig der Arbeit: Geschichte der fünftausendjährigen Kampfes gegen Unwissenheit und Sklaverei’ (Victory of Labor: The History of the 5ooo-year-long Struggle against Ignorance and Slavery).
All three authors continued to maintain that technology is not a threat to the German soul, and to insist that it is an expression of the heroic virtues of a united Volksgemeinschaft.
All of them attacked intellectuals and artists who have shown no appreciation for technics, and no understanding that “from Gutenberg and Luther through Hitler,” the Germans have used technology to advance national unity.
And all of them attacked those remaining humanist Luddites who, they believed, were incapable of grasping the higher laws working in technical processes.
These laws were not social or economic laws but determinations grounded in Germany’s racial soul.
For years German technology had suffered from the unproductive jüdische Geist, but those days of depraved commercialism were over.
Grun in particular stressed the masculine nature of technology.
The proper order of things suggested that men built technological artefacts, while women remained in the home.

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Further, he distinguished between tradition, which was good because it offered ties to the past and hope for the future, and reaction, which was bad because it stubbornly clung to obsolete methods of production and could thus harm the nation.
The National Socialists had addressed the engineers’ need for tradition by integrating technology into the traditions of the whole nation.
The calling of engineers demanded that they be innovators and revolutionaries, but this did not mean that they would be separated from the Volk.

Darwin

Recalling Todt’s words on nature and technical form, Grun celebrated the synthesis of a German feeling for nature with a no less German drive for technical progress. 

Finally, Grun wrote that National Socialism demonstrated that Social Darwinism, the laws of nature, and the laws of technological advance were compatible.
If the survival of the fittest was an unavoidable requirement of life, restricting technical progress would conflict with biological laws and make possible the triumph of those less racially fit.
The real National Socialist achievement was to have seen that technology was a biological rather than an economic phenomenon.
To have succumbed to the anti-technological currents within German nationalism would have meant rejecting National Socialism’s racial theory of history.

Synthetic Fuel Production

Zischka and Friedrich also attacked Jewish influence on German technology, praised Hitler for restoring technical progress in Germany, and advocated further development of synthetic fuels to overcome Germany’s paucity of natural resources. 

Both Friedrich and Zischka emphasized the importance of scientific and technical discoveries for Germany’s independence.

‘Erfindung liegt in unserem Blut’ – Die Glocke ?

As Zischka put it, Germany was strong because “invention lies in our blood.”

Now that the power of the Jews over German energy and technology had been broken, a bright future of national independence, technical advances, and authoritarian politics promised to sustain the Volksgemeinschaft indefinitely.
Germany’s enemies  – the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union — still laboured under the burden of the Jews.
The reactionary modernist tradition by no means faded away under the pressures of political rule and the conduct of war.
On the contrary, the National Socialists gave to the tradition both institutional and propagandistic expression.
The German soul and will proved tenacious but eventually woefully inadequate when confronted with the Allied arsenal. 

The reactionary modernist tradition was politically consequential in that it contributed to the technological strength that made the war conceivable, if not winnable.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
To understand National Socialism one must consider the concept of `reactionary modernism’ – a concept which reconciles anti-modernism, romanticism, and tradition with modernity – and it is this apparently contradictory combination  of  traditional culture and aesthetics, and  a  modern reliance on instrumental reason and modern means that made the Third Reich a unique and highly effective political system.

Gas Attack on the Western Front
People in Germany realised the importance of technology before 1914, but the First World War nevertheless came as a shock because it fundamentally questioned the widespread belief that technology was an occasionally difficult but potentially obedient servant of humanity.
Not only the common soldiers in combat felt the overwhelming power of modern weapons, but so also did the military and political leadership, who were forced to change all of their plans to adapt to the realities of industrial and technological warfare.
War was no longer a matter solely of the military sector as scientific achievements, the potential for industrial production, and the mental preparedness for war were at least as important for success as the armed forces themselves.
The pressure to attempt total mobilisation in modern warfare forced Germany to accept the industrial and technological logic unreservedly, that is to say, with all the often unwanted consequences a strong focus on efficiency implied.

Ernst Jünger
Ernst Jünger was one of the many middle-class volunteers who in 1914 saw the First World War as a chance to escape from the boredom of a secure everyday life.
He was motivated by the hope of finding his `true self ‘ and a more `elemental reality’ outside bourgeois society.
This hope and desire to engage on an adventurous journey to discover one’s authentic existence beyond the false conventions of civilised society was not a `pre-modern’ notion, but an expression of a `romantic individualism‘ originating in the artistic way of life of early romanticism, giving the central motif to many modern writings and representing a common ambition for the avantgarde and ‘life-reform’ movements at the turn of the century.
In a similar vein, Jünger believed that society in the `mechanical age‘ restricted the potential of a much richer self, while a more authentic life promised the discovery of one’s own individuality and the experience of the `multitude of life, its diversity and the glowing beauty of its intoxications’.
But Jünger was quickly forced to realise that his naive notions of a warrior’s life had little in common with modern warfare.
The desire for adventure and emotional intensity is an integral part of modernity, but for achieving success the industrial world demands, in war as much as in peace, the precise work of every soldier or worker as a small cog in a large technical system.

Friedrich Nietzsche
Inspired by Nietzsche, Jünger could not reject technology, which was clearly the prime instrument of the human `will to power’ in modern times.
As there was no escape from the all-pervasive power of technology, he had to find a way of integrating it into his world-view.
The acceptance that it was not the `abilities of the individual’ which counted in modernity (in particular in modern warfare), but `production, level of technology, education and railway systems’ was a difficult step for Jünger as it challenged his hope and desire for a less civilised space in which one could realise an adventurous path of life.
On the one hand, he admitted a `deep fear’ of modern technology, but on the other, his Nietzschean convictions forced him to embrace all aspects of the modern condition.
After a laborious struggle, he reached a position towards the end of the 1920s where he strongly rejected any glorification of nature or ‘rural life’ by critics of civilisation as sterile `romanticism’, demanding an unreserved acceptance of modern life instead.

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It was not the conservative acceptance of technology which was original about Jünger’s position, nor was it the attempt to integrate it into his world view and employ it as a means for his own objectives.
What was new about Jünger and other conservative revolutionaries at the end of the Weimar Republic were the two following convictions:
Firstly, while earlier conservatives had the confidence to believe that modern technology could be used at will, Ernst Jünger was correct in realising that technical developments and applications followed their own logic and thus placed demands on users.
Different technical means could not be employed by any person for any purpose, but only by people prepared to accept fully all demands of the technical age, because individual technical means are part of an interdependent technical system and cannot exist in isolation.
Furthermore he developed the conviction that a productive engagement with technology demanded a certain `language’.
As users have to follow a certain code to live in the technical world and make use of technical means, modernity turns them not `just into subjects of technical processes, but simultaneously into their objects’. `The application of these [technological] means demands a specific lifestyle, which encompasses every single aspect of life. Technology is thus by no means a neutral force, no reservoir of effective and simply convenient means, which any traditional power can take from at pleasure’.
The First World War had taught Jünger an important lesson which the Weimar Republic could only reinforce: that modern technology places precise demands on its users, produces unintended results and becomes a force in its own right, shaping history in unexpected ways.

Walther Darré
Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer
Equally, Hitler called himself a techno-enthusiast (`Narr der Technik’), Goebbels said programmatically that National Socialism `consciously approves‘ of technology, and a publication of the SS called it a `weapon in the struggle for life‘.
Himmler and Walther Darré were more critical, but Albert Speer, Fritz Todt and Robert Ley were also advocates of the unreserved embrace of modern technology.
Even one of the main representatives of the  völkisch wing, Alfred Rosenberg, saw technology as an expression of an `eternal Germanic drive’, and Peter Schwerber’s book `National Socialism and Technology‘, published in the official NSDAP series of pamphlets stressed technology’s positive role.

Essen Krupp Werke
While it attacked the banking system and the primacy of profits in the capitalist system as an expression of allegedly Jewish materialism and greed, it praised the potential of modern technology and the deeds of entrepreneurs such as Krupp.


The Krupp family, a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments.



Adolf Hitler and Gustav Krupp
The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.
Gustav Georg Friedrich Maria Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, (7 August 1870 – 16 January 1950) ran the German Friedrich Krupp AG heavy industry conglomerate from 1909 until 1941
Alfried Felix Alwyn Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach was an amateur photographer and Olympic sailor, he was an early supporter of the NSDAP and, joined the SS in 1931, never disavowing his allegiance to Hitler.

At the center of National Socialist views on technology and modernism stood a mythic historical construction of a racial battle between Aryan and Jew, blood and gold.
However, the National Socialists accepted technology `consciously and happily‘ as the foundation of the nation, of a high standard of living and of military strength.

Reichsautobahn
Hitler Promotes the Reichsautobahnen
With an equally strong belief in the positive role of modern technology in changing society, Franz Lawaczeck, one of the three founding fathers of the National Socialist engineers’ association, ‘Kampfbund Deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure‘, believed that the Third Reich could generate an abundance of cheap electricity that would promote small farms and businesses and promote a decentralisation of modern society. In its presentation to the public, National Socialism also stressed its positive attitude towards technology.
With the slogan `Hitler above Germany’, National Socialism drew attention to his use of an aeroplane.
Hitler also presented himself  as the father of the autobahn, opened car exhibitions and promoted the idea of a cheap car for the mass of the people, not primarily for military or economic purposes.
He wanted to become a moderniser of German cities and had a book of photographs published in which he presented himself alongside cars, aeroplanes, ships and industrial sites.
Also, the hope that a `Wunderwaffe‘ might miraculously change the outcome of the war indicates a strong belief in the power of technology.

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While Ernst Jünger, and other conservatives in the Weimar Republic, had eventually realised that systematic work in large technological systems is a necessary prerequisite for efficiency under modern conditions (this was exactly their original contribution to a conservative understanding of modern technology), National Socialism largely maintained the belief held by earlier or less advanced techno-enthusiasts that exceptionally gifted personalities with strong will-power could overcome all the odds and turn technology into an obedient servant.
It neither saw the need to speak the `language‘ of technology, and adapt to its imperatives, nor did it realise the dialectical connection between using technology and submitting to a technological lifestyle.
On a more practical level, Nazi policy never aimed for the consistency and all- pervasive planning necessary to realise a technocratic state.
The National Socialist cultural policy was also marked by certain inconsistencies.
While the modernists on the left and right demanded that all cultural forms should reflect the functions of the technical age by abandoning all unnecessary decoration (`form follows function‘), National Socialism embraced more traditional styles.

Triumph des Willens
Triumph des Willens
In contrast to Jünger’s  futurist demand for a functional logic and a technical style, which was to penetrate and determine all aspects of society and human existence, National Socialism rejected such attempts to close the gap between technology and culture, favouring an undogmatic mix instead.
In literature, novels about exceptional engineers and technological achievements co-existed with stories about rural life.





Hitler Over Germany
Nürnberg Reichsparteitag in 1934
For the Nürnberg Reichsparteitag in 1934 (communicated to us mainly through the modern medium of film, via the famous ‘Triumph of the Will’ ) the historic city of Nuremberg was used as background for Hitler’s arrival in his aeroplane, for mass rallies and military parades with modern armaments.

Traditional Costumes
Adolf Hitler auf dem Bückeberg
The `beauty of work’ programme promoted swimming pools, grass and gardens, but also an increase in productivity; and the attempt to increase agricultural production was connected with an invention and promotion of traditions such as wearing traditional costumes, engaging in folk dance or accompanying the passing on of the farm to the son with a festive ritual.

From 1933 to 1937 the NSDAP arranged an annual Harvest Festival at Bückeberg, close to the city of Hamelin. More than one million people gathered there, dressed in elaborate traditional folk costumes, in order to celebrate the German peasant, and to listen to speeches. To manage this number of participants a special arena designed by Albert Speer was built. The site was intended to be one of the symbolically important in the Third Reich.

Entartete Kunst
This enhancement of modern reality with all forms available from past and present as well as the ousting of a more critical ‘Entartete Kunst’ (decadent art), was essential to National Socialist aesthetics and culture.

Traditional Regional Style Architecture
This is particularly clear in Nazi architecture.
It did not break completely with the modern functional style, but used it primarily for commercial buildings, in road construction and town planning.
Official buildings were designed in a refined classical or monumental style, and residential housing was ideally built in accordance with a traditional regional style.
While the industrial sphere was thus supposed to be functional and the political sphere awe-inspiring, the private sphere was aiming to give a feeling of warmth and gemütlichkeit.

Gemütlichkeit means a situation that induces a cheerful mood, peace of mind, with connotation of belonging and social acceptance, coziness and unhurry.

National Socialism accepted that even people who want to be heroes have secret selves, whose `tastes lie toward safety, soft beds, and beer‘.
National Socialists thus used heroic imagery on an ideological level, but sensibly tried to keep the sacrifices of their followers to a minimum.
Different opinions could exist, because technology was not seen as a the sole principal in society.
If one accepts that the creation of a ‘pure Aryan‘ race was the main goal of National Socialism, then the attitude towards technology could vary and alter, because its value was determined by the question whether it threatened or helped to achieve that goal.

Arischen Rasse
Some National Socialists were against technology, because they believed that it would undermine the strength of the ‘Arischen Rasse’ (Aryan race), but most were convinced that the National Socialist goals could only be achieved by means of a full embrace of modern technology.
Like the group of those right-wing extremists in the Weimar Republic which have been named `reactionary modernists’ (but also like many other conservatives), National Socialism accepted technology as an important tool in achieving their militaristic and racist goals.
But while the modernists on the right tried to face the fact that technology also places demands on its users and thereby alters them and society, National Socialism drew on less sophisticated beliefs more typical of conservatives in imperial Germany.

Relaxation and Distraction
Liegender Frauenakt – Ernst Liebermann
The technical age was accepted as a practical necessity, but not celebrated in a ‘technical style’; people had to fulfill their function, but relaxation and distraction were granted; and culture was consciously employed as an escape from a certain aspects of material reality.
In this respect, the National Socialists arrived at a more sustainable lifestyle within modern reality than the modernists: in their openness to compromise in all but their core beliefs they accepted that the demands of the modern functional age were only bearable if allowance was made for traditional values and culture.
National Socialism was popular and politically successful because it acknowledged and tolerated different forces and desires in human beings, thereby avoiding purist extremes.
Ironically, the National Socialists world-view (with their trust in the positive potential of a pure Nordic race) allowed them to absorb pragmatically a whole variety of impulses of the time, and thereby integrate different important social groups.

Olympia-Schwimmhalle – National Socialist Modernism
National Socialism cannot be understood as completely anti-modern, because it made full use of technology.
It is simply not strange or paradoxical to reject modernism and embrace technology at the same time.
National Socialism does not have just one cultural root.
It is eclectic, drawing on many different traditions and reacting pragmatically to the circumstances.
As its attitude towards technology is mainly pragmatic, it could take many different forms.
The requirement to maintain power and achieve its central policy goals largely determined its usage of technology, not a preconceived world view.
Thus National Socialism can be seen as the optimum position with regard to the apparently antagonistic positions of modernity and tradition.