Music in the Third Reich
DeLora Neuschwander DeLora J.
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2023-15.1.2-444-458

Music played a prominent role in the formation of Nazi culture in Germany and was widely used in propaganda and indoctrination throughout the country; the Nazi party combined music and politics and sought to shape their ideal culture by elevating their ideas of pure music to the highest status and outlawing what they defined as inferior. The translation of the scholarly article examines Hitler’s specific views on music and explores some of the factors and personalities that contributed to his views and were directly rooted in the Nazi party, as well as how the Nazis used music to spread their propaganda, what was considered ‘pure’ music, and what influence the idea of ‘pure’ art had on Jewish musicians and composers. Hitler considered himself an artist and believed that art and music were a vital part of life and culture. He was deeply influenced by both Wagner’s views and his music, and Hitler saw many parallels between Wagner’s conception of Germany and the stories the composer used in his operas.

      The Nazi Party used music to a great extent to reinforce its political activities and indoctrinate individual citizens. Not only music, but Nazi doctrine played a significant role in the fate of Jewish composers and performers and was used to portray Nazi ideology. Many Jewish musicians lost their jobs and were excluded from major cultural and musical organizations. Arnold Schoenberg is a prime example of the influence of Nazi ideology on the music and perception of a Jewish composer, and Wagner is a perfect example of a composer who conformed to Nazi criteria of pure Aryanism. This study attempts to examine these historical facts in an attempt to promote a better understanding of the socio-cultural aspects of the Third Reich in the hope that an informed person will ensure that such views never penetrate society again.